Pastor Olumide Akinrinlola is an indigene of Ode Aye in Ondo State. He’s a Banker and a business mogul, who also engages in property consultancy. In this Interview with Akinyemi Doyinsola, he spoke on the struggle of power restoration to Ondo south l ocal Government and also analysed Political and Social Issues.
What is BBOL, how did you start it?
Bring Back Our Light, (BBOL) is a registered pressure group, an apolitical and non governmental organisation established in January 2015 by a small group of vibrant young individuals of like minds. It was formed for the purpose of uniting the people to fight injustice as regards the blackouts created in our land illegally by the Benin electricity distribution company, BEDC . It all started in my house in Okitipupa after I realised my late father was having credit balance on his last electricity bill payment after the cut off. To me, it was an avenue to fight BEDC and take them to court for illegal disconnection. I called for several meetings and with others we started it.
What were the steps taken by BBOL Toward power restoration in Ondo South and what role did you play?
Our steps to restore power to our communities includes but not limited to 3Cs :
– First C is consultations
– Second C is consolidation
-The third C is Confrontation
We consulted with BEDC severally. We consolidated and we later confronted them when we realised they were not serious and very insensitive to our plight .
From our town hall meeting we discussed several options. Our last option was to go to court. One of our options was to write petition to NERC which today produced the little result we have seen. A petition was written to NERC on behalf of Ikale, ILAJE, Irele and Ese Odo LGA signed by those traditional rulers we nominated as signatories to our fund raising account which we opened with Ecobank after we held a town hall meeting having attendance from various LGAs. One of our committee chairman, Prince Aderehinwo whose committee was in charge of the professional aspect also signed the petition letter.
The petition was submitted to NERC Office through one of our leaders, Hon. Mike Omogbehin who has also been making a lot of personal effort before he was added to BBOL. The struggle went on and in the end NERC directed BEDC to come back to our areas to resume work immediately. NERC also said that both parties should reconcile the disputed debts profile within 2weeks BEDC might have started their work.
How has BBOL been getting funds for its activities?
We were getting funds through voluntary donations by our participatory members. I say participatory members because not everyone on the group chat were participating. But most sincerely, the group is majorly been financed by Hon. Mike Omogbehin. He has always been in the forefront in cash or kind to us while Pastor J.T Kalejaiye of RCCG has also joined in powering the group financially. He has also been supportive to BBOL. All members of the group are also committed financially. People are known for making voluntary contributions to us. That is how God has been helping us.
What is the fate of BBOL after light restoration?
We pray to see BBOL as a formidable group that will produce future leaders in the political setting of Ondo State. We also pray to become a group that will volunteer to fight for the development of Ondo south after electricity is restored.
Insinuations from some quarters has it that you may be interested in contesting for a political office soonest, how true or untrue is this?
Well, what matter to me now is how our people in Ikale, ILAJE, Ese Odo and Okitipupa will be taken out of darkness created by BEDC. What matter to me now is how God will complete what he started because efforts are divine. Though I will not deny the fact that people have be coming to me from various political parties that I should show interest in contesting for assembly election in 2019. But to me, I keep promising them I will consult God who has the final says. Before I could dabble into contesting election, I will ask God to seek His consent. It is not about the emotions or agitations of people pushing me to so do. Though I know as a pastor, God can speak to you even through your enemy. But till then. Now, I am not in for that. May be later, if God speak to me, I may reconsider the request of my people to contest.
What is your concept and basic ideology of public leadership?
I am never tired of fighting for what is right and just for the people. I do not also believe you must be appointed or give a placement as a leader before assuming responsibilities. True leadership is when people take responsibility without be given the job or sent to do the job before you do what is right. That is me and the basic ideology of how leadership should be demonstrated. You see! I love leadership of development. To me, I see leadership as a way of affecting the lives of people positively and meaningfully.
How will you rate the Akeredolu led government in Ondo state since inception?
People said Akeredolu government is still very young and as such should not be rated. That is not correct. To me, a government above 100 days is not too young to be rated in his performance if the results are there for rating. I have not seen what the government has done that impresses me for now since they took over from Gov. Mimiko . I have not seen new project, new policies, and also, I have not seen any blue prints that define the direction of how the government is to be run under this current administration. I will want to advise the governor to sit down and draw out his plans for the people of Ondo State because they seem not to have started hitting the ground and start running .The government still has lot of times to get things right. For now, they have not gotten it right at all. There is nothing to rate now. You only rate performance base on achievement. I have not seen any achievement yet. But I believe with time, Arakunrin will give his best.
What is your message to the Ikale Nation, Particularly to and her Leaders & youths?
Our people in Ikale should show love to one another by giving back to their communities and help their own. We must learn how to put politics aside when it comes to development of our areas or development of our people. We must see unity as sacrosanct and unavoidable when we are yearning for development of our areas. Our leaders must think first about their people and how to develop their land before thinking about playing politics.