Chief Benedict Olugboyega Alabi (aka BOA) is one of the politicians jostling to become the next governor of Osun State under the platform of the All Progressives Congress. In this interview with Femi Ogbonnikan, he sheds light on how he plans to impact positively on the lives of the people of the state
What informed your decision to join the race for Osun governorship?
I will say most of us that are either technocrats or entrepreneurs see politics as a dirty game and as such we try to avoid it. But the truth is that government policies determine our heights, our chosen careers and our businesses. And also, if you look at the decadence in our society, particularly the future of our youths, and even our adults, you would see that people who have managerial capabilities are needed in managing our affairs as a nation. We have entrepreneurs who have taken over the mantle of leadership to ensure that we are doing things the way they should be done, so that our people can have a reformed democracy and better governance. And these attracted me to politics in order to serve my people, using my experience, my knowledge, and also my resources to better the lots of my people in Osun State.
What are your selling points to the people of Osun State?
I have the capacity to govern Osun State with lofty programmes. I grew up in Osun vicinity. From there, I went to Ibadan, Oyo State, for my Ordinary National Diploma, from The Polytechnic Ibadan, and to the University of Lagos and finally to Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University), Ago-Iwoye. So, I sought to understand the issues at hand in Osun State which I have identified to be lack of sufficient resources. That is, the finance to run the affairs of the state because of the peculiarity of our governance. People tend towards government jobs and government contracts than to going into what God has endowed Osun State, which is agriculture and to tap into other natural resources. Therefore, my selling point is to use my experience in the financial sector for 22 years to effectively run Osun State. Also, having been an entrepreneur for over ten years, growing a company from zero level to a multi-billion Naira company, with representation across Africa, I would be able to direct the affairs of the state and make it financially independent, without Abuja Federal Allocation.
And secondly, I have also noticed that our people in Osun love to have a say in whatever we do and we need to give them things that really matter to them than what we think are their needs; with understanding that it will benefit them, benefit the government and benefit the nation. Therefore, I am also promising to introduce what I would call participatory governance. What participatory governance means is that, in any project we want to do in certain areas, they will have village meetings in that community and we will listen to their priorities, while we will agree on which areas the government has the capacity to do at that time. We will also make sure that those projects are done by indigenes with a time set to ensure that they are delivered.
People of Osun State will be part of the decision-making in those things that affect them. And finally, my third main point agenda is to ensure that the indigenes of the state form the workforce in their own ways of doing things. I want our people to be better equipped and be able to compete for jobs outside once they have been internationally trained. I am talking of the artisans and craftsmen, while government will provide tools to ensure that we are up to date in whatever we are doing and take away people from government employment to private businesses.
Do you have the funds to prosecute your governorship ambition?
I want our people to realise that they should not partake in politics because of money or take decisions on who to vote for because of money. People should be part of governance. They must know what I stand for. Then, that is where money spending now comes in because anywhere in the world, where you want to play politics, you will need money for logistics and publicity. In my instance, I have been running my “Osun Ajose Foundation” for over ten years now and its motto is; “for unity and economic growth of Osun State” through which we have assisted a lot of our indigenes, our children to have employments. We have empowered over 4,000 men and women that are petty traders with loan to do their businesses and in which we have also ensured that our farmers have finances to do their farming and also to creating an enabling environment for them to be able to do better in growing their produce. We really mean well for them. I don’t think that the money required to prosecute the purpose should be a problem. And moreso, if you look at it, I have been in this race for over two years and I am still sustaining it. I have the wherewithal to prosecute my ambition.