Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant Akinyinka Akinnola spoke with reporters in Lagos on his plans for the state and other partisan issues; Excerpts:
You are from Ondo central senatorial district like Governor Olusegun Mimiko. Will that not affect your chance at the primary?
I expected some kickbacks from some quarters with regards to my coming from the central senatorial district but I was encouraged by the party’s open declaration that there would be no zoning. Overwhelmingly, people are more interested in what aspirants have to offer and their ability to administer the state in such a way as to bring the desired change to their lives. This is reflected in the support I have received and our organizational spread across all local governments in the state. The reality is that from llaje in the south to Akure in central and Akoko in the north, we are all plagued by the same issues of poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure and a general insecurity. People are looking for a problem solver with experience and vigour. They are looking for a departure from the past.
You are professional and businessmen. How would you contend with politicians who many believe are more experienced in political brinksmanship?
The game has changed. The terrain is different now. There is no secrecy as to who the delegates for the primaries are and all aspirants have had an opportunity to visit and engage delegates in all the local governments. Political brinkmanship is of little value here as the people are generally tired of this also. If the primaries in Edo are a standard for what is to come in Ondo, the secret ballot system of voting also reduces the issues of intimidation. The citizens of Ondo are also very enlightened, they see and hear what is happening in other progressive states where people with professional and business experience have taken the helm and brought their skills to bear on good governance. Everyone is clear that the issue now is one about governance and not politics for the sake of it without adding value to people’s lives.
There are fears and agitations in the state about the possibility of imposition of a candidate by the APC leadership in the state. What is your view on this?
I tend not to bother too much about such issues and focus on my objective. I am fairly confident that there will be no imposition, but different leaders may have a preference for certain candidates. This is their prerogative. That is not the same as an imposition. It is now up to the delegates to make their choice. Aspirants waiting to be anointed or who are positioning themselves without putting in the hard work will be very disappointed. There are just under 3000 delegates and as we speak now still over 20 aspirants in contention. It’s going to be very interesting.
What are you bringing to the table as an aspirant?
I have brought youth and vigour, and reawakened the concept of inspirational leadership. I also constantly preach the message that this is a competition and not a war and thus, promote peace, especially amongst our youth. I come to the table with 32 years of experience in engineering, manufacturing, infrastructure development and general commercial activity and management. I represent a new breed of leaders who understand that it’s about service and not rulership, willing to demystify the office by dropping the pomp and pageantry and addressing the running of government with a businesslike purposeful and result-oriented approach.
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