Hon. Femi Kehinde represented Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. Hon Kehinde who is seeking to be the next year governor of Osun State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), recently spoke with TOKUNBO OMISAKIN on myriad of issues including his vision for the state, the legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Bola Ige, the agricultural potentials of Osun State among others.
You are one of the aspirants coming out in Osun State Alliance for Democracy (AD) to seek the party’s ticket for the 2018 governorship poll, how prepared are you?
By the grace of God when I assume office as the governor of Osun State in 2018, we will hit the ground running.
Right now we have a blue print which is the culmination of efforts of distinguished and eminent people in the academia, professional groups and critical stakeholders that will articulate our politics that would certainly re-invent Osun State
and make it once again a beacon of light in progressive governance and also in the accomplishment of life that would bring abundance to the citizens of Osun State.
In concrete terms, what would be the major thrust of your administration?
We will invest massively in Agriculture and explore the mining potential in the state. We will re-engineer and re-energise the populace towards advantages that are derivable in an agrarian economy.
We have large quantities of solid minerals in Iperindo – Atakumosa, gold belt which is currently being neglected. We have cassava which is a money spinning crop.
Out of cassava, you get ethanol and about 14 derivatives. We have rice belt in Erinmo, IlaOrogun, Odo Oba. Apart from this we have livestock – poultry which was developed in the days of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Bola Ige’s administration.
These resources can adequately feed the 2876 communities in the state and still be exported. We have large quantities of Cashnut.
Right now, a ton of cashew is being sold for $1800 in the world market as against $300 in the past. We are going to look inward agriculturally, Federal Allocation will just be an addition.
Above all we will regenerate the tourism industry – Erin waterfalls and other tourism centers. Osun-Osogbo festival will be repackaged to be highly revenue generating. We are doing our researches day by day on how to make Osun State great again.
The people of Osun State have been under the ALL Progressives Congress (APC) rule for close to eight years now, what does your party have to offer that makes you believe that it will have the edge over APC ahead of 2018?
In the first place, I do not believe in criticising or commenting on the current government.
It is what we plan to do that matters to the good people of Osun State.
Having been a stakeholder in the Nigerian politics from the grassroots level for over three decades, starting from Ward Councilor to the membership of House of Representatives, I have contributed immensely to the articulation of progressive welfare politics in the interest of common man.
Apart from this I have a burning desire to wipe away the tears of the common man in Osun State.
Right now, the common man goes to bed unhappy and wake-up without optimism. Why? A lot of factors. The rate of unemployment is so high.
Today there are graduates roaming the streets looking for non-available jobs. Many graduates are now glorified Okada riders. Workers do not receive salaries as at when due.
My party, the AD is the authentic political platform fashioned and designed after the progressive Action Group and subsequently the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
I could say AD is the 21st century replica of Action Group, especially in our four cardinal programmes of Free education; Free health services;
Rural integration and Full and gainful employment. Osun State will be restored to the prosperous era of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Bola Ige’s government.
I believe with this grandiose programmes and the help of God who does exceedingly abundantly and above what we think or imagine, we will not let the good people of Osun State down.
Do you have any godfather piloting your political ambition?
God is my Godfather, I do not believe in Godfatherism. Godfatherism syndrome has destroyed the art of government in many states of the country.
The issue of Godfatherism is a bane to service delivery and good governance.
This is why I stay put in AD. There will be no inhibitions and no encumbrances to stop me from performance and delivery the dividend of democracy to my people.
You said you have master mind behind the blue print you put together. Have you consulted widely with other stakeholders like traditional rulers?
I have consulted widely. I have sought audience with notable traditional rulers in the state.
These include the revered Ooni of Ife, OwaObokun of Ilesha land, Ataoja of Osogbo, Awara of Awara, Apetu of Ipetumobi, Orogun of IlaOrogun among others.
I am still going to visit other Obas in the state. So far their prayers main focus is for Osun State to be brought back to God.
Governor Willy Obiano recently won the governorship election in Anambra State by landslide, what do you think is responsible for his victory despite formidable oppositions against him?
Governor Willy Obiano won the election fair and square not because of the popularity of his party, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), but on his understanding of the dynamics of governance, demands of his people and his readiness to satisfy them.
Someone said: “Attitude determines altitude” His attitude towards prompt service delivery to his people is second to none.
This made him to enjoy unalloyed support from market men and women, town union associations, traditional rulers, religious leaders and leaders of thought across political divides.
Salaried workers are paid as at when due and the Bible says “A Labourer is worthy of his wages”. These and other factors returned him back to the Government House.
While other Nigerian’s are facing economic heat, Anambra people have seen an alternative in farms that yield bountiful produce and put cash in their pockets.
I hope Governor Obiano will continue with his laudable efforts in providing prompt service delivery to his people.
Obiano proved the wise sayings right that “your success and happiness depends on your willingness to help someone solve his problem”.
How do you see INEC’s performance in the Governorship Election?
It is commendable. I commend INEC for a beautiful job. About 2 million voters registered. Despite the fact that about half a million voted, the election was credible.
It is a beacon of hope for Nigeria’s democracy. Apart from Obiano’s landslide victory, other parties had good showing.
This all pointed out to the fact that Nigeria is moving from party’s affiliation to voting for individual performances.
What is your message to members of your party in particular and the people of Osun State in general as 2018 approaches?
My message to our party members is that they should pray continually for the state and reach out to the people. They should not take things for granted.
They should work together as one family. Now to the people of Osun State, they should bear all things happening now with faith in God and prayer.
We believe all things work together for good for them that trust in God. They will get the best from an AD led government.
Tell us briefly about yourself?
I was born 58 years ago; I am a Lawyer and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. I am a former member of the House of Representatives.
I studied History and later Law in the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University. I started Law practice at the Chambers of Obafemi Awolowo and Co. (Barrister and Solicitor) between June and October 1984.
I was also in the Chambers of Fawole Babalakin and Co, where I did my NYSC before I established my own Law firm. Femi Kehinde and Co. as the Principal partner in Aug 1985.
The AD is the authentic political platform fashioned and designed after the progressive Action Group and subsequently the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I could say AD is the 21st century replica of Action Group, especially in our four cardinal programmes of Free education; Free health services; Rural integration and Full and gainful employment.