Candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 10, Ondo State governorship election, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and Mr Eyitayo Jegede respectively, yesterday, disagreed on the best way to grow the economy of the state during a debate where they each unveiled their intended programme of action if elected.
The debate by Channels television and the Civil Society Election Situation Room with support from UK Aid and UK Commonwealth Development Office initially organised for candidates of the APC, the PDP and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Agboola Ajayi, who is the deputy governor, featured only the APC and the PDP as the ZLP pulled out at the last minute.
Gov Akeredolu said he remained the best candidate for the job as his administration has performed well in the last three and half years, and added that he does not believe in the 100 days target of achievements and will not be “pigeon-holed” by it.
“With what I have done in the last three and half years, I believe am the best man for the job. What I will be doing is to consolidate on the achievements we have recorded. I will not be pigeon-holed by it. Since we are working, it will be to our advantage, I an not new on the saddle, it will be for continuity”, he said.
Jegede, however, said the incumbent administration has not done well and there was need to inject new ideas into governance.
“Things are not going well, we must have change. I intend to grow the economy, healthcare is not in a good condition and we must address it. We will bring new ideas and improve governance.”
They also disagreed on the performance of the economy. Jegede said the state must strive to strengthen its internally generated revenue (IGR) as it cannot continue to rely on allocations from the federal Government.
He said if elected, all taxable persons and businesses will pay reasonable tax, even as he will plug all leakages in revenue and expenditure.
“We will open the net to encourage everyone to pay reasonable tax and every business must be made to fulfil their tax responsibilities,” Jegede added.
Gov Akeredolu said his administration had grown the IGR from N500 to N700 million he inherited to N2 billion in the last three and half years. According to him, the IGR would have hit the N2.5 billion mark but for the COVID -19 pandemic lockdown that caused a dip in the economy.
On security, Akeredolu said the country can no longer rely on a central control police formation. He said governors, as chief security officers, cannot do much in a situation where they cannot control the Commissioner of Police in their states, and noted that it necessitated the formation of the South West regional security, Amotekun, which he said was backed by law and has come to stay.
Jedede commended the initiative and noted that it was a bi-partisan initiative and not the idea of the APC administration and warned against its politicisation.