Akeredolu: LP is Setback to Regional Integration

Home  »  Gubernatorial Candidates  »  Akeredolu: LP is Setback to Regional Integration
Oct 12, 2012 No Comments ›› josh

The standard bearer of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the October 20 poll, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Olusola Oke, yesterday accused the Labour Party (LP) Governor Olusegun Mimiko of aggravating the security situation in the state.

The trio of Mimiko, Akeredolu and Oke were engaged in a debate over security and the role of police at the second session of the governorship debate organised by the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG), led by the veteran broadcaster, Aremo Taiwo Alimi, in Akure.

The debate, which lasted for almost three and a half hours, was held at the Adegbemile Cultural Centre, Oke-Eda.

The candidates answered questions during the televised debate on various issues, including mission statements, agriculture and rural development, possibility of a seaport in Ondo State, oil and bitumen exploration, water pollution, education, tourism, sports development, micro-industrial development, rule of law, job creation, leadership and security.

They flaunted their credentials in their opening and closing remarks, appealing to the electorate to vote for the next Saturday.

Akeredolu said he has come to the conclusion after traversing the 18 local governments that the state is yearning for development.

He added that Ondo State deserves a visionary and transparent leadership.

Akeredolu noted that the state was lagging behind in the critical sectors, including education, health, agriculture and sports.

He flayed the governor over the Mother and Child Hospital in Akure, pointing out that the state needed health centres at the wards.

Akeredolu said: “I offer myself for service. Having gone round the 18 local governments, I’ve discovered that the state is in a perilous condition. One road in three and a half years is not enough. I will open up the rural areas with roads. We need water and electricity. I will give a transparent leadership.”

Mimiko said he had bridged the gap between the government and people through his people-oriented projects in the last three and a half years, adding that he is the most experienced candidate, having served as a commissioner twice, minister and governor.

Oke, who said he was coming for a rescue mission, promised to fight the infrastructure battle and tackle corruption in the state. He said the Mimiko administration is a corrupt government, frowning at the alleged inflation of contracts and burden of unnecessary loans.

Mimiko defended himself, saying he had run a transparent government.

The debate degenerated into personal attacks among the candidates, following Governor Mimiko’s allegation that Oke was unfit for leadership because his re-nomination as an NNDC member from Ondo State was rejected by the Senate because he falsely claimed to be building a non-existing village in his locality. The governor also alleged that Akeredolu was indicted by an administrative panel that probed his tenure as a former commissioner, adding that members of the executive committee of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) accused him in a petition of awarding NBA contracts to his chambers.

Defending himself, Oke said it is not every contestant to a position that succeeds in his bid every time.

Akeredolu berated the governor for a shortfall in perception and recall, stressing that he told lies before a global audience. He said although government set up a panel, the panel’s decision was set aside by the ruling of the Appeal Court.

The ACN standard bearer added: “Three members of the executive wrote a petition. Does that translate to the executive committee? If NBA did not clear me, would they have named the lawyers’ house in Abuja in my honour? I am a successful lawyer, unlike others who have no time to practise their profession.”

The debate on security also degenerated into personal attacks and abuse, which ultimately violated the rules of the debate. Mimiko said the security situation in the state has improved because he has invested heavily in the sector, adding that the atmosphere of peace has impacted on other sectors in the state. He, however, supported the decentralisation of the police.

Akeredolu, who called for state police, lamented that the distant Federal Government has an exclusive control over the police to the detriment of the states, which nevertheless contribute to its funding in terms of logistics and equipment provisions.

He said the security situation in the state has worsened because the LP government has promoted thuggery and violence ahead of the election.

Akeredolu stressed: “Security is over-centralised in Nigeria. This has been challenging to the state governments. States cannot command the police. We must decentralise the police. We must have state police. The security challenge we have in Ondo State is associated with thuggery and violence.”

Oke opposed state police, saying it would be misused by the state government. He attributed the insecurity in the state to soaring poverty, stressing that there is capital flight from the state.

The PDP candidate, who described security as a joint challenge, said he would not have been able to campaign in the state if he was not guarded by armed policemen because LP government has been fuelling thuggery and violence.

He added: “If we decentralise police, with the type of government we have in Ondo State now, the opposition parties would not participate in this election.”

The candidates were also divided on the issue of regional integration. Akeredolu said integration does not connote that Southwest should belong to one party, adding that what is more important is the need and willingness to collaborate for the purpose of development.

He lamented that LP government has been a setback to the integration agenda, citing the example of its refusal to even honour the memory of the late Chief Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the historic 1993 presidential election, through the celebration of the June 12.

Akeredolu described LP as a one-man party personified by the governor. He lamented that he lacked the political will to support an economic agenda that could catapult the zone to progress.

Oke partly supported the integration agenda, saying it is important for Southwest states to collaborate in areas of mutual interest, especially road, industries, revival of Oodua Group, which a state cannot do. He, however, said he would not be part of any agenda characterised by the subjugation of the economy of one state by another state.

Mimiko said integration is welcome, adding, however, that he was not ready for the domination of anybody.

 

The Nation


Leave a Reply