From Wole Balogun and Priscila Ediare
Chief Dele Okeya served as Commissioner for Works and Transport in Ekiti State and also served as Special Adviser to Governor Ayo Fayose on Environment. He was Chairman of the Governing Board of a Federal Board in Abuja, the Nigerian Building and Roads Research Institute (NBRRI).
He speaks about his plans to bring meaningful development to the state by applying Ekiti State resources properly.
What inspired you to want to become Ekiti State governor?
I was born into politics, I grew up in politics, Politics is in my blood and we are very compassionate people, He who wears the shoes knows where it pinches, I know where the political shoes pinch because I have been wearing the shoes of politics since I was growing up, I have been a major player in politics for the major part of my life. I have also worked assiduously to make others become governors. I have broad experience in life, having travelled widely and lived across the globe; I’m also a home boy.
I have schooled, lived and worked in several parts of Nigeria from the North to the South including but not limited to Sokoto, Kano, Zaria, Kaduna, Abuja, Lokoja, Akure, Ibadan and Lagos, I understand the business terrain locally, nationally and internationally.
With the vast experience and exposure, my eyes have been opened to doing things differently and in a better way by just thinking out of the box, I have been part of government and made several attempts to present laudable ideas for development to governments but it depends on what the man at the helms of affairs wants to do with those fine ideas. Some lack the political will while others are propelled by selfish motives – greed and self aggrandisement and all that.
So, when one has such brilliant ideas and know what to do to better the lot of the people but not in a position to implement them you then decide to get the power by becoming the governor so you can realize those ideas yourself without relying on the authority of others not willing. So, I want to be governor to make a difference, to add value, to transform lives and impact on the lives of the majority of Ekiti people and to show to Ekiti people that government can work for them and make their lives better. Right now, government is not working for the people.
What are the things you would want to correct?
Right now, there is a lot of misapplication of resources, leakages, embezzlement and misappropriation, the resources may be lean, no doubt but then it could be used more prudently and judiciously so that it could make a lot of difference. There is enough for everybody’s needs but there is not enough for everybody’s greed!
The major concern I have for Ekiti people, which draws me to tears most times is the very high rate of unemployment among our teeming educated youths. None of my children is unemployed but I still feel terribly sad when I think of our unemployed youths and the burden they become to their parents despite the sacrifices made by these parents to get their children educated. We can do better than the government is doing now. It grieves my heart that the government of the day is not channeling our resources properly. For instance, it is being alleged that the fly-over is gulping about N14.5 billion. I found that very difficult to believe. The fly over is more of a decoration, not bringing any meaningful development to us. We don’t even need half of that to get cottage industries across Ekiti State to provide massive employment for our teeming youths and women. Some of these cottage industries would serve as secondary sources to process some of our agricultural products.
We can also use part of the money to set up well equipped Skills Acquisition Centres as well as Entrepreneurship Training Centres to train our youths and women to acquire new skills in ICT and over 50 other vocations to become self employed and to be employers of labour as well. I don’t need up to another one billion naira for that. A well-equipped skills acquisition centre with entrepreneurship centre would not gulp more than N200 million and you can have one in each of our local government areas or at worse, one in each Senatorial district and our graduates can be re-trained in these centres and become self-employed. Some of them will also need startup capital for their various businesses so with another one billion naira you can make provisions for that.
There is agitation from your senatorial district to have someone from the southern senatorial district to be governor, how far are you pushing this?
First, as an Ekiti guber aspirant, I am qualified and competent to be governor regardless of the senatorial district I come from. So my governorship interest is not predicated on my coming from the south having said that, by justice and equity, it has become imperative for Ekiti South to produce the next governor. The central zone served three times while the north senatorial zone had done it for two times. It is definitely now the turn of the south, more so that we are even in the majority. We have six local government areas others have five each. And I want to advise our great party, the APC to take judicious notice of this, especially now that Governor Fayose has been smart enough to anoint a southern PDP aspirant. He wasn’t actually thinking of the south before but because he had seen the tempo and the momentum of the great tide of the agitation from the south and even other parts of Ekiti state and our people’s determination this time around, he took advantage of that and has presented his own southern candidate and this is what I am drawing the attention of the APC to.
But besides that, I am very confident that I will win the primary of our great party and get the party’s ticket which is coming to the south. I will bring the governorship to Ekiti South this time around by defeating the ruling PDP.