GBOYEGA Nasir Isiaka, fondly addressed as GNI, is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag-bearer in the forthcoming governorship election in Ogun State. The accountant turned politician told ENCOMIUM Weekly why he is the best alternative to the incumbent governor, Ibikunle Amosun and much more in an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly in his Abeokuta, Ogun State office on Wednesday, February 7, 2015.
A lot of politicians say so many things that may not conform with the realities on ground, all in the interest of wooing supporters while campaigning. How do you intend to be different from such politicians when you become the governor of Ogun State?
I want to achieve that by being realistic with myself. Also, by ensuring that we are very clear and open with whatever we want to do. In the first instance, there is nothing we’re putting together that is not well thought out. And I keep noting that we have to prioritise as a state and as a people. The four pillars I have been mentioning are very paramount to the development of our state. And none of them will be left out. We can’t leave out the aspect of the economic expansion because we must impact the people, neither can we leave out social services because people must be educated, good health must be provided. We can’t also leave out strengthening our people and society at large because at the end of the day governance is about people. Some people that need support must be supported. Neither can we leave out energizing our government and the polity. So, all of these are the things that are needed by the people you want to govern. I think the most important is for you to design the way you look at them. And you must have a deep knowledge of what you want to do. So, we’re serious about everything concerning the development of our state and the people therein.
And don’t forget, our manifesto is hinged on delivering a life more abundant for our people and it contains and aligned with the other objectives of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, as stated in Article 7 of the party’s constitution. It’s a determination to get the better of today and the best of the future. It preaches hope, gives hope and engenders hope in our people.
Knowing full well that the state revenue base is low, how do you intend to fund all you have just mentioned?
I think that’s also mentioned. I was trying to divide the whole thing into about two or three areas. There are those that will be largely responsible for funding. You also heard the NLC men mentioning Olokola Agricultural Station, even if we don’t deduct a dime from the whole state revenue in a year, to pay workers’ salary, it can’t be enough to fund Olokola Agricultural Project alone. But you have a responsibility as a governor to build a structure that people can be interested in. So, that’s it. As a government, you can take a structure that can work and then be part of that structure. At least, employment will be generated, you generate social services, generate revenue and all of that. So, it’s really about that for those ones. But for those that require good funding, for instance, social services, including education and all of that. Although, it will depend on the revenue on ground, it has to with readjustment, realignment, sincerity of purpose and of course, prioritizing. But you have to continuously begin to look forward, how to expand revenue base, how to really move forward, partner on other meaningful projects and all of that. Continuously that will be going on, and even at that, it’s not as if you can cover everything. So, you have to continue prioritizing.
What stands GNI out in Ogun governorship race? Why will ordinary person want to vote for you in this forthcoming guber election?
I think an ordinary man in the state knows me well. Aside the man that’s there now, I think I am the best alternative to him. They all know I have been consistent, persistent and have demonstrated what I know. Therefore, I see myself as the only alternative that can serve the people of Ogun State wholeheartedly. Aside these, the kind of leadership qualities in me revolve around what the people of Ogun State actually yearn for. And these revolve around sound academic and professional qualifications, rich private sector experience, sterling public sector performance and achievements, proven knowledge of Nigerian economy and socio-political issues, deep knowledge of Ogun State socio-political and economic landscape, demonstrable and proven relevant experience in the governance of Ogun State, consistent, focus and integrity driven, a well known name among the electorate in the 236 electoral wards of Ogun State, self-motivated with a sincere passion to serve the good people of Ogun State, a candidate of merit, a model of excellence, a product of equity and a symbol of justice and fairness. So, GNI is the best for the job, with all sense of sincerity.
What gives you the conviction that you will win based on the fact that all other political parties in the state also have…
(Cuts in) What happens this time around is that people look out for the individuals. I think Nigerians are beginning to be less sacrosanct about parties and look for individuals. Of course, party will push you. So, in this case now, without being immodest, I am in PDP, I think I also have my track record. And I have been committed to that, what I think our state can hold. I have been consistent about it. And I think I have demonstrated enough knowledge about it. I have been there for quite long. I have been in the civil service. For about seven and a half years, I was there. Therefore, those who know me are beginning to form an opinion about me. I have equally told them what I want to do. I was once the Managing Director of Gateway Holdings. The only thing people had against me in 2011 was that they were saying that the only reason Gbenga Daniel set up Gateway Holdings was to siphon money. And that’s the major thing they used against me then. But since that time, they have set up all manners of forensic auditors to investigate their claims. But since then, I have not heard anything from them.
You’re from Ogun West senatorial district where another candidate from another party is also from. Won’t that affect your chances of winning the election?
The fact is that I am contesting for the governorship seat of Ogun State. And don’t forget in 2011, PDP had more votes at the central than the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate. So, I am seeking to become the governor of Ogun State. So, that to me, it’s not an issue. It’s not a major issue at all. I think we have gone past that. I am contesting for the governorship of Ogun State, and I believe I will get votes from all parts of Ogun State. Even the Ogun West you mentioned, I believe people from the place will prefer a very serious candidate and I think when the election comes, you will see the results of that. So, I am not too bothered about that. There is no problem at all.
Is there any area the present administration is doing well that perhaps you can continue if you eventually win the election?
I will say infrastructure is being put together. And somebody coming from outside can feel happy about it. I am also not saying it’s bad, but definitely, it’s too costly. And when I say it’s too costly, I don’t mean in terms of naira and kobo. But what they are destroying in order for them to achieve the goal of upgrading the infrastructure are too much. It’s not worth it. Killing a lot of good things because you want to have bridges where they are not required or you want to have roads where they are not required and all of that. So, anybody coming from outside will feel happy about it but let’s get down to the cost of it, the cost in terms of the alternative use of the fund involved, the cost in terms of how much they are doing it, the cost in terms of the interest that’s being charged on the bond and the loan. I think, there are better ways of using the funds than what the present administration is doing.
What makes a good politician?
I think politics is about serving the people. Once you have passion for that, other things will fall in place.
– TADE ASIFAT