When we talk about notable indigenes and leaders of Ibadan especially In Ibadan South East Local Government, we cannot but mention a name that has been in politics for decades; Honorable AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE. Honorable AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE is a born leader who holds at heart the interest of his people. He has been leading right from his school days even before he started politics. Because he knows how important the role of the people is in governance, he has never failed to deliver; by meeting their needs. There’s rarely any area in Ibadan where you won’t find his projects ranging from construction of tarred roads, health care centers and so many other things. Despite the many projects he has executed, it is little when compared to the political ambitions, missions and visions he has planned for the people if the opportunity is given. IBADANKINISO was privileged to interview this calm and selfless leader and he had fascinating things to share with us about his career and his life as a politician. Enjoy!!!
IBADAN KINISO: Thank you very much sir for granting this interview. Can you introduce yourself sir.
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: You are most welcome. My name is AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE. I am the honorable member representing Ibadan South East Constituency 2 in Oyo State House of Assembly.
IBADAN KINISO: How has it been representing the people of Ibadan South East?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: Well, it has not been so difficult for me because I have been in politics for decades and I have worked with several political leaders. This present Governor, Senator ABIOLA AJUMOBI ISIAKA will be the fourth governor I will be working with. I have worked with KOLAPO ISHOLA; I have worked with Senator RASHEED ADEWOLU LADOJA as Chairman Caretaker Committee of Ibadan South East Local Government. I was voted in during his regime as Executive Chairman of Ibadan South East Local Government. I also served as the Chairman Caretaker Committee under ALAO AKALA and as the Chairman of Ibadan Property Company Limited which is a Joint venture comprising the eleven (11) Local Government in Ibadan and its Headquarter is at Town Planning, Ring Road. I also served as the Senior Special Assistance to the Former Governor, ALAO AKALA in Youth, Sports and Social Development. Presently, I am the honorable member representing Ibadan South East Constituency 2 and I am also the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Relations. I also serve as the Vice Chairman Committee of Local Government and Chieftaincy matters. I belong to several other Committees too: Culture, Information, Tourism, Water Resources and the likes. So, it has been so interesting because representing the people is something I have passion for therefore I feel happy whenever I have the opportunity to represent people or to be at the fore front of a team.
IBADAN KINISO: Looking at your loads of experience, it showed that you have been able to manage all kinds of political leaders and all these leaders are from different political parties. How have you been able to manage and cope with all the leaders and still remain relevant for more than two decades?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: It’s the grace of God and my ability to learn from leaders. No man is an island, so being submissive and putting the interest of the people above other things plays an important role in this aspect.
IBADAN KINISO: At what point did you join politics professionally or fully?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I started politics way back Secondary School; this may have been due to the leadership qualities I portrayed then. During my days in Technical College, I was the General Secretary of the Ibadan Zonal Union. I was also an active member in many associations. As a Student in Polytechnic of Ibadan, I was an Honorable member of the Student Representative Council.
IBADAN KINISO: Apart from politics, what do you do?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I am a trained Engineer by profession. I studied Electrical Engineering; Power option, from The Polytechnic Ibadan. I have a registered company which where we get contracts to do electrical works like electrical wiring, house wiring, street light project and the likes. During the course of this interview, I will share with you projects I have been able to do with the experience I gained in school. Despite the fact that I am a politician, my profession as an Electrical Engineer still shows in everything I do.
IBADAN KINISO: Can you tell us about your background, where you were born and other things that shaped your future?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I am a very simple person. I come from a family that is not so popular in Ibadan; Alhaji MOSHOOD IGE’S Family of AYELANGBE COMPOUND, IDI ARO and my mom is from AFINJO ELEGE. Both areas are within Ibadan South East Local Government. I had my primary education at Christ Church Mapo School, Odinjo. I later proceeded to Odinjo High School but I completed my Secondary School at Urban Day, Orita Aperin. Then I proceeded to Government Technical College in Oshogbo, Osun State. Then I came back to The Polytechnic Ibadan where I had my National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering.
IBADAN KINISO: What are your political philosophies?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I hate it when things are not being done the right way. When I was in school, anytime we were not treated well, I was usually part of the people that led protest. I have never been afraid to tell the truth and I think my colleagues noticed this, so whenever there was a protest, they always insisted I lead. There was a time leaders and members of my community came to meet me to fill up an elective political post because they saw what I was able to do as a youth belonging to the community youth forum and actively participating in the development of the community. I participated willingly without pay, sometimes we contribute from our pockets, other times it might be manual labour such as filling of potholes or seeking for employment for other youths and taking our case or needs to the people in government. I think the post they wanted me to fill then was that of a councilor but I was in school and so my dad refused. He said joining politics without completing my education will affect me. Thank God till today, I am still representing.
IBADAN KINISO: Sir, how have you been able to do a lot for your community despite the fact that much is not coming in from the government?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I think it’s the passion I have for meeting the needs of the people that drives me. Instead of being selfish and self centered, I find so much joy in giving back to the people, this helps me in managing the little I get well. The election that brought me into the House of Assembly was as a result of the reflections of things I did in the past. There I was no place I campaigned that didn’t have a project executed during my past tenures. In fact, it really helped me because during my campaign, some communities will say I shouldn’t campaign to them because I built a health centre during one of my previous tenures or I constructed tarred road for transportation or Police Station for security or borehole for clean water and the likes. I was impressed and it really reduced the money I spent during campaign because it was the projects I had on ground that spoke for me.
IBADAN KINISO: As a grass root politician, what can you say about the creation of LCD in Oyo State? Do you think the state is ripe enough for this development?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: Well, it supposed to be a positive development because it was created to take government from the grass root and moving government closer to the people. But as it is now, it doesn’t look like a positive development. It has affected a lot of things and has caused the postponement of the Local Government elections and court action also. There are regrets in taking the step to create it even though initially we were happy, thinking development will become rapid.
IBADAN KINISO: Apart from politics, do you have any other medium through which you serve the people?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I have said so before. Before I joined politics, there were Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) that aided in assisting the people. Now that I have joined politics, I am now a Patron to some NGOs that are doing that. Anything that has to do with community development and serving the people, I am always in.
IBADAN KINISO: Recently, I saw a picture of you visiting the Seriki of Shasha. What was that all about?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: I am a notable Ibadan indigene and also a member of Ibadan Annual week Festival and I am the Chairman of some Committees. One of such committees is the Contact and Mobilization Committee and I and some members of my committee have to visit notable people and invite them for the programme. Even few days ago, I was with Seriki Ilorin in Mokola and that same day I also visited Seriki Nse digbo, Seriki Oba Igbira, New Ososami to inform them of the programme and the reason they should support the programme. These visits were done on behalf of Olubadan of Ibadan Land and Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes.
IBADAN KINISO: What is the Ibadan Week about?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: Ibadan week is a festival that is held annually where we celebrate with Olubadan of Ibadan Land. It showcases and preserves the cultures of Ibadan Land. It is also a gathering that unites Sons and Daughters of Ibadan Land both home and abroad.
IBADAN KINISO: When is this week coming up?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: The Ibadan Annual Week Festival has started. The Luncheon is what is going on presently. One luncheon has been held, one is to be held this week and two more luncheons will be held next week. These luncheons are held to raise funds to finance the projects. Other programmes that will be held includes football competition, Indoor games too such as Ayo, Ludo e.t.c, paying homage to OLUBADAN of IBADAN LAND and the grand finale which is called Gbagede Olubadan, where the OLUBADAN himself will be on seat with all the Olubadan council at Liberty Stadium. The governor, chairmen, all the honorable members and all other people of Ibadan Land will also be present
IBADAN KINISO: Considering all these engagements, how do you relax?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: (Laughs) God will help me on that. By the time I came back from Abuja two weeks ago, I nearly collapsed. I had to give myself a few days rest. I planned resting for three days but I ended up resting for a day because the next day I was being called at the office. I actually enjoy meeting people and chatting with people in issues that deals with development and progress. It may be the person’s personal progress, my own progress or community progress. I can say this moment I am having with you is one of my best moments.
IBADAN KINISO: Finally sir, according to our research we found out that on the 15TH of March, you will be clocking 48. Will you say you are fulfilled as a politician?
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: To God be the Glory, I can tell you that am fulfilled. If I say I am 99.9% fulfilled then I am being ungrateful. God has seen me through a lot. In fact, it’s a miracle to be alive today. I would have been dead two years ago when people came to attack my campaign team. Three people were killed on spot while others were seriously injured. Then I thought life was over for me but I am grateful to God. I still have visions and political plans for my people. If I am given the opportunity, I will get there.
IBADAN KINISO: Thank you
HON. AKEEM ADEMOLA IGE: