By Oladipupo Awojobi
Ayorinde Adedoyin is the son of foremost Agbamu, Kwara State-born industrialist, Chief Samuel Adedoyin, and a younger brother to the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Army, Hon. Funke Adedoyin, who is representing Irepodun/Ekiti/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency.
He is currently planning to contest for the governorship position in Kwara State in the forthcoming general elections in 2019.
Largely known in the business world than in the political circles, Adedoyin is the chairman of Peacegate, an organisation that provides services in the aviation sector, real estate, oil and gas, logistics and trading sector of the economy.
Addressed as the Prince of Agbamu by his admirers, Adedoyin promised to free Kwara State from underdevelopment and shackles of poverty.
Speaking in an interview, Adedoyin believes that nobody should stand aloof and allow others to be on the driver’s seat in the area of politics, saying politicians control almost all spheres of life.
“What is going on is sad because many people sit down and complain about what politicians are doing and what they are not doing.
“Politicians control our day to day existence apart from the air we breathe. Educational system, health, construction and several others are controlled by them. I personally think that we have to get involved if we want to get better policies.
“Even if it is not working now, if we can get it done for our children and their children, we have to do it. When you look at this, if we want to start getting the best from the policies we make, you have to get involved,” he said.
Adedoyin believe politics is not even reserved for a particular set of people as he insisted that everyone is a politician.
He stressed that we all play politics everyday, run our homes, businesses and families with politics.
He said, “Don’t you play politics at home between your children and your wife, managing them is politics.
“You can only say that going into government and managing your home are different.
“I have been running businesses and thank God that I came from the family I came from, where I have been exposed to running a big corporation that employed close to 8,000 people.
“It is sad to see the way the company has turned out to be due to the policy indirection of the government and when people ask me if I am prepared for politics, I would say I play politics everyday. If they ask me if I have the capacity to provide what my people need for them, I would say I do.”
On his closeness to the Sarakis, who have become the strongest factor in the politics of Kwara State, he said: “When it comes to politics, it is not new in Nigeria. There were people before 1999 and there are people playing politics now and that will play it in the future.
“The world is a stage, we play our own parts. I don’t think my family and the Sarakis are enemies, but I don’t think they are the ones to determine everything,” he stated.
While it is obvious that the stronghold of the Sarakis is there for everybody to see, Adedoyin believes there is nothing for anyone to break before one can make himself relevant in the politics of the state.
“When the late Senator Olusola Saraki started, he didn’t just get into Kwara politics and won just like that, it took him sometime, but he kept on coming back. There have been people that had been in politics too before he started. Someone might start early and another person might start in the middle. I have learnt not to look at other people to work. There is politics in everything we do,” he said.
However, Adedoyin is yet to decide on the political platform he would be relying upon to realise his dreams. He believes that human beings only try and that it is only God that crowns one’s efforts.
Many Nigerians wonder why some states, including Kwara have not realised their potentials, but Adedoyin believes that Kwara State is a sleeping giant, saying that he is proud of his heritage.
“I tell people that God places you in some positions for a purpose, which you may not know.
“We have about 36,000 square kilometers of land in Kwara State. As at 2006 census, our population was 2.6 million people in the state, let’s say we are now 3.6 million and we have 36,000 square kilometers of land, why should we be complaining.
“God has given us something, but we are not using it. God has put us as the gateway between the Northern Nigerian and the Southern Nigerian markets. I don’t want to say we are part of the north.
“They say we are part of the north for political reasons, Kogi State could say they are part of the north, but now they believe that they are part of the middle belt.
“You swing things to where it suits you best. I look at Kwara State from the economic point of view and not political. We have deposits of mineral resources in almost all the local governments in Kwara State that have not been tapped,” he stated.
Adedoyin said Kwara State is blessed with gold, marble, and a lot of other mineral deposits, wondering why the state is not doing well despite her vast resources.
The politician stated that a lot of Kwarans were playing politics in Lagos now because they were born in the state, and they grew up there.
According to him, in those days, especially in the area, where he came from, schools, good hospitals and potable water were provided by people.
He recalled that when Lagos was doing some roads on the Island, the residents of the area partnered with the government because they live there. “So, those roads are still okay now because the people who live in those areas look after the roads and they are paying their taxes.
“They contributed to the construction of the roads. It is not that we lack what we need, but are we reaching out to the people that we need to get across to so that they can partner with us,” he said.
On what he would do differently as the Governor of Kwara State, Adedoyin stated that there were opportunities in the state, especially with respect to the mineral resources that are being controlled by the Federal Government.
“We can actually get investors and leverage with the Federal Government on the exploration of the mineral resources. We are not going to wait for them to bring the investors.
“I would work with the Federal Government because the investors would provide automatic employment for our people once they come in.
“Our people play politics in Lagos State because they don’t see anything good coming from Kwara State. But by the time they see opportunities in our state, they would go back there. With the kind of resources that we have in Kwara State I don’t see why our people would be suffering in Lagos, Kaduna or Abuja,” he submitted.
One other thing is that Adedoyin is not considering working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He emphasised that he did not consult with them before he came out and that they have no power to tell him what to do, while adding that politics is not a do or die affair for him.
That notwithstanding, Adedoyin revealed that most of the projects he had for Kwara State would still go ahead even if he didn’t become the governor of the state.
His words: “It is not about power. It is not that if I want to meet any governor in Nigeria today I won’t meet him or that I cannot meet the President, but for what benefit. I am not looking for appointment and I don’t do government contract.
“I am in this because I believe that our people deserve better things. The people of Kwara State are not asking for too much, they are only asking for the basic necessities of life.”
Is he considering a relocation to Kwara State, he answered in the negative, saying that aspiring to run a state is not what one could do all alone.
“You want to run a state, are you going to run it alone. You would run it with people, we started working on a gigantic poultry project about a year ago. If I sleep in my village, is that what will give our people what they want.
“It is about talking to people, there is no local government in Kwara State that we don’t have a representative. We get feedback everyday, our people are on ground.
“We are doing a lot, it is not a leader thing, it is a people thing. You can be going to Kwara State everyday and have no impact on the people. Those who have been going there everyday or who even live there, tell me what have been their impact on our people other than putting them on the streets and making them shout their names and giving them N500, which they will finish that day.
“We are planning projects that will have impact on the lives of our people, which is better than going there and be making noise everyday. What value would my staying in Kwara State now add to the lives of our people,” he said.
Adedoyin does not have a negative opinion about the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said in the interview that if he did not believe in INEC, then he was not being sincere because, according to him, they have been put there to perform a particular duty and he did not have any cause personally to say they are not doing what they have been asked to do.
“I don’t normally judge people that I don’t have evidence against. That is the best I can say about INEC. Our day to day lives in Nigeria is being controlled by the social media and it is hard to know the truth.
“It is what the social media churn out that we believe. A lot has been said about the Ekiti State governorship election, but some people have been shouting and there is no video clip of any of these allegations.
“You have your children, but all of them cannot love you the same way. It is not that they hate you, but you may have wronged one of them at that particular time.
“You cannot have everything perfect. You have people that would love a candidate and they would give you reasons and those who hate him would also have reasons.
“We have to do what we need to do. If you are praying, the other person too is praying and if you say you are talking to people, the other person too is talking to people.
“But it is only one person that would be the governor. Your strategy needs to be right, your communication needs to be right. It is not you telling them that without you their lives cannot move forward.
“We have governors defecting from one party to another, but you are there because your party trusted you and people voted for you through your party because your name is not on the ballot paper.
“So, if you are leaving a party as governor, your conscience should make you understand that you must resign as the governor of the state since you have left the party through which they voted for you.
“You are holding the mandate of the party so it is wrong for you to just wake up and do it anyhow. People don’t know their rights, some know but they don’t want to talk about it.
“In my own estimation, anybody that leaves a party as a sitting governor, INEC must conduct election to that seat within 90 days because the governor should resign.
“The party you are going to has someone, who ran for the election from that party and he has a right to challenge you that I am the owner of the mandate based on the party the people voted for.
“He must resign because whatever he does after leaving the party is null and void and it means the people cease to have a governor and anything he does could be challenged in a court of law,” he stated.
While assessing the performances of President Muhammadu Buhari since he got to office in 2015, Adedoyin explained that the President is there today because the people voted for him.
He would not judge the administration on its perceived successes or failure, rather he took a retrospective look at when the government took over power in 2015.
His words: “Where were we when President Buhari took over government in Nigeria. We need to assess where we are today after three years.
“The problem is that in Nigeria, we believe so much in miracles. Is President Buhari just going to wake up and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway would be repaired, electricity would start working, Nigeria Airways would start flying and education would start working well.
“Buhari is one man, he is working with so many people and he has entrusted some parts of governance to these people as ministers, heads of parastatals to work on government policies on education, security and what have you.
“Are they moving forward, I think in terms of infrastructure, this government is trying its best. They are doing a lot and they are touching lives. The same people who are criticising this government had been there before, what did they do. If they had done it, would they say Buhari should come and do it again.
“They are criticising the man that Lagos-Ibadan expressway had not been done, did they do it when they were there. I read something about the commissioning of the metroline train project in Abuja by Buhari, they said somebody started it, but who completed it?
“It is sad that the greatest critics of this country are Nigerians. Just because you are opportune to go to the United Kingdom and the United States of America you are now saying rubbish about your country.
“But the education you are manifesting in the US, you got it in Nigeria. This is the same country you are criticising. Read about the percentage of the people that praise Nigeria, they are the foreigners, they come here and see opportunities.
“When you are coming to Nigeria, you see a lot of white men in the aircraft, but when you are going outside the country, you hardly see white men in the aircraft.
“They come in with briefcases and go back with cargoes. I would not continue to criticise what the government has not done or what they have done. My responsibility is to let them see what they ought to see but are not seeing.”
However, Adedoyin agreed that it is “Not Yet Uhuru” in Nigeria, saying that Nigeria is not yet a paradise and that he would not say the people in government have done what they ought to do.
He does not believe people should criticise the current government, but agrees that the people can point out some things to them.
“The same people, who are criticising the government were there, when the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said that before this government took over, the Federal Government was borrowing money to pay salaries.
“You said you left an economy that was the best in Africa, yet you were borrowing money to pay salaries, don’t let us continue to deceive ourselves.
“You said you left a healthy economy, when you were borrowing money to pay salaries. For how long are we going to deceive ourselves?
“When you go to America today, when the President finishes speaking today, he would say ‘God bless America.’ You tell the people in the church that they are blessed and you are cursing that country, where they are living. We need to change our attitude to Nigeria,” he stated.
Adedoyin carpeted those calling for the restructuring of Nigeria as he said that the country used to operate regional government in the past before it embraced presidential system of government.
He said: “When you look at when we had some form of regional government we felt that it was not okay.
“There was a time we had cocoa board, built the University of Ibadan (UI), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and the rest. But the same people that spoke against regional government are the same people that are now calling for restructuring.
“If you plant maize you would not get yam out of it. If what you planted is now coming back to you, why are you complaining? Do you know how long it would take to restructure Nigeria? Can we even afford that now? We need to look at that. I am not saying it is bad. It would take time, we may never agree on it.”