Hon. Jide Adejuyigbe is a former Council chairman in Akure sounth local government area of Ondo State. He is also the immediate past commissioner for Education. In this interview with Israel Fagbemigun, he Analysed Social, political and Economic Issues in Ondo State and Nigeria at large.
Insinuations by some persons has it that You are a new comer in Ondo politics, can you tell us Briefly your history in politics?
Well, If you say i’m new yes I accept it. But I’ve been around visibly since the Adefarati era, so you can take your judgement. I was an active member of the AD, and I was part of the team that moved to labour Party, and now i’ve found myself in PDP. before then on Youth basis, we were active under the old Awolowo group of UPN as small boys running errands for the Party. So politically i’ve been active. Even in my University days, I served as the Vice President of Akure National Students’ Union. So if people say I’m news, yes I accept, but that’s my experience.
The government of the day in Ondo State turned a year old Last month, what’s your assessment of the administration?
What a question. Let start by saying that on a personal note, I’ve no issues with the governor, He is somebody I respect, and I’ve free access to him. So if I think he has areas to improve on, I Will rather discuss them with him personally.
The recent calls for restructuring has been greeted with different reactions from major stakeholders, what’s your take on this?
Restructuring to me, is the only way for Nigeria to survive. If we truly desire progress and development, then this union must be restructured. The injustice and inequalities must be addressed to take care of the federating units. For example, Akure south local government is one of the biggest local governments in Nigeria, and if we don’t restructure, we can’t take proper care of the needs of Akure People. Akure south should ordinarily take not less than five local governments. And if I’m luky to find way to Abuja, that is one of the issues that we must address.
The current herdsmen/farmers crisis seems to have been taken for granted by the government both at the state and national level. What Steps do you think the government should take about it?
Thank you, this is an embarrassment to even the government of the day. It’s a sensitive and critical issue. Sadly, the government has not been proactive about it. Sentiments apart, its a shame that the government of the day has not been able to find a solution on the issue. Chief falae is even a lucky man to be alive today. In ekiti, they have been able to find a temporary solution that is working. I expect Ondo state government to do something like that. Arrange a summit on Security, let there a peace agreement between the farmers and herdsmen. Make it known to them that it is criminal for anyone to carry guns. The President must wake up to actions. There have too much talk on this issue. We want actions to arrest the situation.
Governor Akeredolu said he will increase the tuition In AAUA, a fee that was maintained by the Immediate past governor for Eight, as a former education commissioner, what is your take on this sir?
It’s rather sad. Like I said I will have loved to discuss with him personally. But this is a sensitive issue that I must talk about. For eight years, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko maintained the school fees. In southwest, we are known for education. And for our state to develop, we must Priorities the education of our people. And it was because of this that Mimiko made education free at some levels, and affordable at all levels. Where it is not totally free, it must be affordable. Education is not a privilege, it’s a right of Our people. Every child in Ondo state must go to school. If you increase tuition fee, you will discover that many can’t go to school because there is poverty and serious crisis in the land. It is rather sad, if anybody is thinking of increasing school fee. We should be talking of reducing it. We made sacrifices to sustain the fees and ensured that N25,000 was the payable fee. And this didn’t translate to poor quality of education. We were coming first and our students were doing well across board. We must sustain affordable education. All the government has to do is to give it the necessary priority in the budget. I will never support any increment in tuition, rather government should look inward and provide for the needs of our students. Every child must go to school. Akeredolu should have a rethink on this because children of the poor must go to school.
As a man that God has blessed with many good things of life, in what ways have you helped the people?
Well, let me start by saying I’m grateful to God. Because at every point of my need, he has provided. I was not expecting to local government chairman, God made a way. I was not expecting to be commissioner, he made a way. And because my height in public service today is by the grace of God, I made up my mind to walk with a different approach at any other opportunities given in public service and priorities the welfare of the people. And I thank God he has helped me so far in that resolution. Both as council chairman and as commissioner. When I was the Akure south council chairman, I brought stanbic IBTC Bank to partner with us.
They brought N100,000,000 to empower our people inform of loans and facilities without any collateral. All I did was to sign that our people will pay back the money. And they did not disappoint. It was sucess story. Apart from this, I increased that bursary for students of my local government to encourage them and enhance the welfare. And I’ve not stopped giving priority to the people’s welfare till now, even out of office.
When I came in as education commissioner, we were able to improve the standard of education. We met Ondo state at the 22nd position in national ranking on the basis of performance in WAEC. we left the state at the 7th Position. And we came from 7th in southwest to first in southwest. And I expect the current government to build on this.
2019 is around the corner and Many People are speculating that you will contest in Ondo state, what’s your aspiration?
We thank God that we are living today, and we leave tomorrow for tomorrow. I pray we are alive tomorrow. Whatever my people want me to do, I’ve offered Myself to the people, whatever they want me to do, gladly, I will accept. And I’ve told them that i’ve come in their interest and that of their welfare, but I will leave tomorrow for tomorrow to decide.