Osun 2018: Why Aregbesola should hand over to me —Ezekiel Oyemomi, APC governorship aspirant
March 21, 2018
You are a seasoned civil servant, why the interest in politics, after a very long spell in service?
I am happy that you described me as a civil servant. After my retirement from the public service in 2015, I registered as a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to continue serving the people. But before then, even within the space of time that I was in service, there were a lot of things that I was able to do for my community.
Politics, for me, is a continuation of service to the people. So, I don’t think I am out of line to want to continue serving through politics even when I was a civil servant, all we were doing was delivering the benefits or what you called dividends of democracy to the people. As a civil servant, I served nine administrations, including military and civilian governments. I will say that it is a big different thing serving under a civilian rule as compared to the military government.
Aside from that, I discovered that all my life, I always feel bad when I don’t see things happening the way they should, especially when you see people in need and in lack and we are still living amongst plenty. I have tried one way or the other to help the downtrodden and people who should not be in lack but are in lack. I believe that after my service at the federal level where our first level of interaction would be the state because we don’t go directly to the local government except when we are doing the monitoring of our projects, like Rural Access and Mobility Programme (RAMP) that happens essentially at the federal level, I believe that my interest in politics is a continuation of my service to the people.
You see politics as service to the people, but there is this scepticism among Nigerians that politicians are just there for their selfish ends. How do you hope to address these conflicting realities?
I like that, but realism points it to me that people should be in politics to serve the people who elected them and I will still want to live within that realm of reality. It is true that a lot of people go there and instead of serving the people, they serve themselves. Let me bring in the motto of my school, Wesley College. Jesus Christ was relating with his disciples and they asked him, ‘who is the master?’ He replied, ‘it is he who serves’. So, our motto is ‘Bi eni tin se iranse’ (‘As one who serves’). If you say you are the boss, you are not the boss until you serve because you are brought in to serve the interest of the people.
With what Governor Raufu Aregbesola has done, I can see that I have a lot of space to really satisfy the yearnings of the people and I believe that going in for the position would really help me because, at the Federal Government level, we see what has been happening; we relate with the politicians all along. Don’t forget that as a permanent secretary, I was reporting directly to some of them. Most of the visions they say they have, we bring them to reality by writing for them and we see them through in the execution of programmes, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing them. So, practically you can really say the person who is the chief executive is the civil servant because if we don’t do things correctly there is no way there can be correct delivery. If we don’t monitor, there is no way you can make these objectives to be realized. So, I will still say service, through politics, is a continuum for me.
What informed your choice of APC as the platform to realise your governorship ambition?
Yes, we used to visit one of our revered elder statesmen and during one of times we went to him, he said, ‘look, what are you going to do in retirement’ and one of my uncles whom I went with said it is politics, whereas, I have not discussed anything with him. And the elder statesmen said why not, but he added, ‘I know that you are a gentleman. For you to be a politician you must have ‘skonskon’ and you need to have money. Since it is APC that is ruling in my state, the way to apply yourself to your state is to relate with those people who are there [the people in power]. Go and register with the government of the day’. That was how I became a member of APC. Since then, we hav been relating with the people, at the local level especially.
In the state today, the issue is where the next governor is coming from and coincidentally all eyes seemed to be on your own zone, Osun West. How are you sure that you will emerge the acceptable governorship candidate from there?
Let me say this: You have the Gbagi Market in Ibadan where the line of shops sells the same type of items. Shop A is not going to be afraid of Shop B or Shop C; all you need to do is to make sure that you get your items from sources that are reasonable in prices. You make sure you are selling qualitative materials. You make sure that your shop attendants are very welcoming, warm and attract customers. Those are the things to do because you know you have competitors. All I will do will just be like that.