With the renewed determination of the Oyo State government to conduct local government elections in February 2017, a number of aspirants since late last year have started underground campaign pending the final primaries of their parties. In this chat with Ibadankiniso, Dr. Amodu Akeem, a lecturer at the Leadcity University and an APC aspirant for the position of Chairman in the forthcoming election shares the motive behind his ambition among other things. Enjoy!
Ibadankiniso: Who is Dr. Amodu Akeem?
Dr. Amodu: I am Dr. Amodu Akeem, a senior lecturer of the department of politics and international at Lead City University and I am aspiring for the position of Chairman of Oluyole local government in the forth coming local government elections in Oyo State.
Ibadankiniso: Can you give us an insight into your background, education and work experience
Dr. Amodu: I am from “Agbole Oluwo labosede” in Oja Oba and my village is “Aba Sule” in Idi Ayure. I had my first degree in Philosophy from Obafemi Awolowo University in 1991 and had my second degree in the same department in 1999 and eventually bagged my Ph. D also from the same department in 2003. I worked with the same department as graduate assistant and assistant lecturer before joining the United State Agency for International Development on a project tagged Literacy Enhancement Assistance Program in Lagos as the state coordinating officer between 2002 and 2005. In 2005, I joined Lead City University as a foundation staff at the department of politics and I have been with them till date
Ibadankiniso: How long have you been in politics?
Dr. Amodu: Since my return to Ibadan, I have been actively involved in politics. In 2011, I was a member of ACN party and work assiduously for the success of the party at Oluyole local government which brought his Excellency governor Abiola Ajimobi as governor for the first term. Against the background of my effort as a grass root politician, his Excellency recognized my contribution not just in Oluyole but in Ibadan generally and appointed me as a full board member of Oyo State Housing Corporation in 2012 and after our term, I was again re-appointed to the board for second term. In 2015, I served as the secretary of the APC campaign committee in Oluyole local government, secretary of stakeholders’ forum in Oluyole local government and collation officer of Oluyole local government. My point here is that I have been involved actively in politics in my local government
Ibadankiniso: Your involvement in politics so far has been on the basis of party functions and political appointment. Why are you seeking elective position?
Dr. Amodu: The issue is that, over time, my people have wanted me to seek elective position. Through exhibition of character and concern for the welfare of the people in the few positions I have occupied, my people felt I should be more involved and this was where it all started from. Besides, I have always had it in mind that we need to change the face of politics just as His Excellency used to say that we should have professionals in politics and not professional politicians. What this means is that we need professional bankers, lawyers, engineers, scholars and professionals from all walks of life to be involved in politics. With their wealth of experience, this people will drive meaningful development which is one of the reasons why I am joining the race. As a political philosopher, I know what ought to be in the management of the state. I can idealize it, I can visualize it but it shouldn’t stop at that. I do tell my students that it’s not all about theories; we should try to bring into reality what we teach in class.
Ibadankiniso: What is your political philosophy?
Dr. Amodu: My political philosophy is essentially about the welfare of the people, people centered philosophy. Governance and politics is essentially about the welfare of the people. Any political philosophy that deviates from this outlook has gone off the rail
Ibadankiniso: When you said we professionals in politics and not professional politicians, are you saying all those currently in the system are not professionals or not doing the right thing?
Dr. Amodu: No, that is not my point. You see, we don’t have to blame anybody here. We would give credits to those that we may what to call “professional politicians” but we also need more professionals such as lawyers, bankers, engineers, lecturers, philosophers etc to come on board because we need all of these expertise in governance. There is this misconception that people who involve in politics are idlers, people who don’t have job to do, people who are not well to do. It shouldn’t be so. Politics needs people with ideas and people with the kind of knowledge that will create a kind of society where the people will benefit. So, governance is a serious business and it requires all serious attention. Please don’t get me wrong, it is not as if we are saying those who are doing it are jobless or idlers. No, that is not my point. The point is, governance is a serious business and it requires all serious attention from all especially people with ideas and expertise
Ibadankiniso: What is the new thing that you are bringing on board that people can look forward to?
Dr. Amodu: What am doing is to showcase what ought to be the gown – town relationship. There should not be a disconnect with what we teach in the university and what is happening in the society. As people who build the minds of others, we should be building the minds of individuals to build a better society. As a pragmatic philosopher, I just felt the best way to showcase what you teach is to actually do it. When you do it, and your students see you do it, there will know it is possible and it can be done
Ibadankiniso: Your perspective appears to be elitist. How do you intend to translate these ideals to the people of your village in “Aba Sule”
Dr. Amodu: I cherish that question but you must understand that man is society made, man is a social being. No matter the level of one’s intelligence, if one cannot relate with is people and the down trodden then such an individual has not achieved anything. Regardless of one’s Ph.D if one cannot relate, then it is useless
Ibadankiniso: How would you convince the market women and people on the streets that you coming from the University environment is better than the person in the street? The so called “professional politicians” and idlers?
Dr. Amodu: At that level, we would come down to their level. You don’t expect me speaking grammar to the market women or artisans. Besides, I live within them and I am part of them. I attend ward meetings and other meetings of my people. They call me because I am a grass root man. The university environment is not excluded from the town. It is a society within a society and that is why I felt there should be no disconnection
Ibadankiniso: What is your political track record? Don’t you feel bothered by those you are contesting against?
Dr. Amodu: If you are waiting to have a track record, you won’t achieve anything. Look at Trump. What is the track record of Donald Trump in the political space in America? None and he just trumped up. So, I am not bothered. The antecedents that I have is the knowledge of statecraft, what ought to be. I have read politics but it is not about reading or knowing it is also about doing it. So we are coming on the antecedence of our knowledge because we know what ought to be. We cannot continue to fold our arms and complain when we are not involved. I cannot continue to lecture my students on political philosophy and complain that people in the system are not doing it right. I have to be involved. Pastor Adeboye of RCCG said once that “Redeemers’ go and get involved in politics”. If you think you know what ought to be then get involved
Ibadankiniso: If eventually you emerge as the local government chairman of Oluyole, with the present local government structure in the country, don’t you think you will be incapacitated?
Dr. Amodu: Those who are the things we want to change. Though, I cannot do it independently but that’s why I am calling on like minds and professionals to get involved in the system. You may see that as a far reaching goal or something but then, we just have to start from somewhere. Presently, the national assembly is looking into the issue of local government and state joint account. Once this issue is resolved, the local government will enjoy its independence.
Ibadankiniso: Do you have a team or a political caucus?
Dr. Amodu: You see, that is one of the things we are also trying to change. As long as one belongs to a party, the party is his team and the leader of this team/party in Oyo State is Governor Abiola Ajimobi. I see no reason why we should have caucuses within the party structures. I am loyal to the party leadership and structure and I don’t belong to any other structure outside this
Ibadankiniso: Do you have the endorsement of the governor?
Dr. Amodu: That question shouldn’t come up now until after the primaries. The governor is a father of all and whoever emerges from the primaries will be supported by the party leadership
Ibadankiniso: How many of you jostling for the APC ticket?
Dr. Amodu: I know of Amodu Akeem Adekunle which is my humble self. That is all I am concerned
Ibadankiniso: What services have you rendered to your immediate community in Oluyole?
Dr. Amodu: My immediate environment is SOCA community, Idi Mangoro and I stay in Ireakare Estate. If you drive to these places and enquire about me from the youths and the people, you will know what have been my impacts. I am equally the vice chairman of Ireakare Estate in SOCA community. Religious wise, I also serve in the constitution drafting committee of the Muslim community. I have been involved in almost all community projects and activities in my area. You can do your independent research
Ibadankiniso: Finally sir, what would be your legacy if eventually you won and served as the chairman of Oluyole local government?
Dr. Amodu: The best legacy you can give the society is education. If you give education, you liberate people.
Ibadankiniso: You will agree with me that people are hungry. How would you educate people who are hungry? How would education put food on the people?
Dr. Amodu: As if farmer, if you are educated, you will be a good farmer
Ibadankiniso: But where is the market? With my education as a farmer, no matter how good my farming is, if there is no market for my produce, all efforts will be wasted.
Dr. Amodu: That is the problem we have all caused ourselves. Our demand for foreign goods has made things so porous that we find it hard to embrace anything Nigerian. Can you imagine that we import tomato paste and turkey when we have thousands of poultry farmers across the country. The turkey imported into the country sometimes spent up to ten days on sea with a lot of dangerous chemicals used to preserve them. You can imagine what effect such will have on our health yet our people still prefers such. So, it still boils down to education. Education in this regard, doesn’t have to be entirely formal. We will engage all classes of people in a holistic education and re-orientation. So, my focus will be education and then agriculture. We are going to showcase and make Oluyole the food basket of Ibadan. We have made our research and we have seen the crop that will give us competitive advantage. So, when we come on board, we will put efforts to make this crop drive Oluyole as the food basket of Ibadan and after a year come and assess us.
Ibadankiniso: Thank you very much sir for your time. It was nice having this conversation
Dr. Amodu: You welcome and thanks for engaging me