By: Yusuf Akinpelu
While the talk of N30, 000 minimum wage is still a subject of debate in many Nigerian states, Engr Seyi Makinde, governorship flag-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the forthcoming election, says his government can do more.
The 51-year-old state made this remark on Sunday while featuring as a guest on Crossfire, an evening belt programme on Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan.
If they say we should do N40, 000 minimum wage it is possible, he said.
“Once we come in, we will engage in sincere and open discussion with the workers to discuss what can take them home.”
He stressed that his major aim is to ensure poverty leaves the land. This, he said, he would achieve by adopting people-friendly policies.
Asked his plans on security, he scored the current administration low. Mr. Makinde faulted this on not “engaging the youths”.
“I don’t think we are where we should be under this administration. At the heart of the issue of security is poverty,” he lamented.
He went on to add: “Our youths are not gainfully employed and engaged. They are not productive. That contributes to the problem of security. Able-bodied young people are not engaged. An idle hand is the devil’s workshop.”
He questioned the rationale behind fighting insecurity with raids and incessant arrests. Rather, he posited, why not engage them with something better?
“It is more like we want to deal with prostitution. If you arrest the prostitute, and you expect it to stop, what about those on the demand side of it?
“You see security men clamp on the thugs. How about those using them? We are not going to run a government of deceit. We will be open,” he vowed.
Reacting to his blueprint on infrastructure, his response was outright: “The issue of infrastructure, you cannot divorce from the economy. I can spend money to build roads and all but what does that translate to my economy? What benefit is it going to bring to us economically?”
He went on to call the policies of the Ajimobi-led administration on infrastructure a “misplaced priority. We will ensure every decision we take is economically delicious”.
Pecking on the state’s education, especially the controversial ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), he said he subscribes to the ownership of the school being handed to Oyo state.
“On education, we are not on the right track. LAUTECH students, for instance, have spent more time at home than in school. I benefited from free education and it made me who I am today,” recalled the businessman turned politician.
“That’s why I feel I owe Oyo state. If you have an issue that you were not able to solve, it should be at the forefront. LAUTECH is the major part of the economy in Ogbomoso. I am open to Oyo state owning LAUTECH fully.”
When the question on whether or not he also subscribes to the multiple traditional leaders introduced by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, he took a dig at the incumbent.
“Ibadan is quite complicated. The complication which has been introduced is needless when we have poverty and other things to deal with. A lot of complication is now added by the introduction of the many Obas. But I’m making consultations to know the take of the Obas on the issue of multiple Obas.”
With victories in the recent Osun and Ekiti states gubernatorial elections, as well as the by-election in Kwara going the way of the ruling All Progressive Party (APC), the PDP flag-bearer has brushed aside the influence this would have on his chances of becoming of the governor of the state.
He assured electorates that their votes would count and be counted. He added that certain measures have been put in place to avert rigging.
“We will win massively and overwhelmingly. We cannot keep comparing. If you look at these elections in Osun and Ekiti, they went down to the wire. If we are all together, how much rigging can they (APC) perpetrate?
“I ran under SDP in 2015 but here, it is totally different,” he brimmed with confidence.
He, however, admitted that his party, PDP, has made mistakes in the past. He, therefore, pleaded to Nigerians to see the party in a new light.
“I want to appeal to everyone listening to me, PDP as a party has learnt a lot. All the mistakes of the past will be corrected.” He promised thus: “We will look into Nigeria’s economy and fix it — and every other aspect of the nation.”
Seyi Makinde is gunning for the seat of the number one citizen of the state for the second time in his political career. In 2015, under the umbrella of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Electrical Engineering graduate of University of Lagos contested but lost.
He is an indigene of Ajia, a small town in Ibadan.