Tuesday came with another opportunity for some of the governorship candidates in Oyo State to intimate the people with their plans as Splash FM and its sister station, Lagelu FM organized a debate for the candidates. Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Action Democratic Party was the only one absent as the other invited candidates; Engr. Seyi Makinde of the People’s Democratic Party, Mrs. Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu of the National Interest Party, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the African Democratic Congress, Mr. Olalekan Ayorinde of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party and Barrister Sharafadeen Alli of the Zenith Labour Party as well as Chief Bayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress answered questions from different angles.
While presenting himself for service, Ayorinde, an entrepreneur and United States returnee described the coming election as “a fight between good and evil”. He promised low interest loans and pay wages as and when due. On education, he assured people of Oyo State that all out of school children would be returned to school and cancel all fees in primary and secondary schools. He also made it known that tertiary education would be made free for those who cannot afford it”.
Chief Adebayo Adelabu on his own part disclosed that he has a seven-point plan that would focus on security, agriculture, housing, education, health, environment and transport.
Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu spoke on her plans to ensure that people of the state live god lives. “What matters to me is that the state is well run. The power to do it however lies with the people”.
Engr. Seyi Makinde used the opportunity to reel out his philanthropic activities including busraries that have benefitted over 10,000 students. “I believe if given the opportunity, I will do more than I have done. I am from a humble background and I remember my father always told me to be honest. If the honesty doesn’t make you wealthy, it will make you a star and you will help others to shine”, he said.
Barrister Sharafadeen Alli, the pioneer Chairman of Ibadan North Local Government revealed that free education and qualitative healthcare delivery form key aspects of his programme.
On the issue of godfatherism and continuation of the projects of the present administration, Makinde said “I don’t believe in godfatherism, I got to where I am today by the grace of God. No penny of Oyo State will go to any godfather whether in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt. I will not continue any project that does not benefit the masses of Oyo State”.
Salumi Aliyu on her part agreed that she would continue the Schools Governing Board “but Dead on Arrival Projects, I Bolanle Sarumi Aliyu will never continue”.
Chief Adelabu too disclosed that he does not believe in godfatherism. He however pointed out that “everybody needs a mentor. Without equivocation, Bayo Adelabu is an independent minded professional. I struggled through my childhood and my guiding principle is that I must emancipate people”. Continuing, he said “I will continue the good works of Ajimobi and where there is need for improvement, we will do it”.
Ayorinde made it known that he joined a new party because he does not believe in godfathers.
Like other candidates, Lanlehin expressed his love for mentoring. He gave examples of mentors like Gani Fawehinmi, who he said was a mentor to him professionally as well as Chief Bola Ige and Alhaji Lam Adesina who were his political mentors. “I will continue projects that are realistic and beneficial to Oyo State and I will discontinue white elephant projects”, he said.
In the segment anchored by Edmund Obilo, a question came on whether Adelabu was being controlled. “No way”, he responded sharply. “Was I controlled as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria? As Executive Director in the banking sector, was I controlled?” he asked.
When asked whether they would probe the present administration on assumption of office, Sarumi-Aliyu’s response was “if it is true that there is a refinery in Lebanon, I will invite the EFCC”.
Bayo Adelabu however differed. “To achieve what?” he queried. “In a race, you don’t look back. Have you seen a son probing his father?”, continued.
Seyi Makinde too said he would not have the time to probe. “I will be too busy creating wealth for the people of Oyo State”, he said. Lanlehin’s response was a bit similar. “I won’t probe Ajimobi, I don’t have time for that. We will review the contracts awarded in the interest of the people of Oyo State and if we discover anomalies, we will act”
When Senator Lanlehin was asked if his moving to different parties would be an added advantage, he said “I move from the ruling party to the opposition, I have never moved from the opposition to the ruling party. I was in government when I left Alliance for Democracy. When I left PDP, it was the ruling party. I am a man of principle, when I don’t agree with what is being done, I leave. I am not a bread and butter politician”.
Adelabu had to delve into his family history when the moderator asked whether he knew that his grandfather, ‘Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemeesi’ was indicted for fraud in 1955. “As pioneer chairman of Ibadan Native Authority, he was accused of corruption. He was taken to court, he was discharged and acquitted. That was what gave rise to the song in Ibadan then, “maa ko ‘wo wan a, Adelabu, maa ko ‘wo wan a, Igunnu lo ni Tapa, Tapa lo ni ‘Gunnu” (spend our money as you please, Adelabu, the Igunnu masquerade belongs to the Tapa people, the Tapa people belong to the Igunnu masquerade) .