Amebo: How will you describe the present legislature compared to what was obtainable during your time.
Otunba: Firstly I will say their is no much difference, at our time we had 26House members from the same party and presently we have two parties having the majority and the minority. I’ll give it to the present house because they have been able to manage themselves despite coming from different parties unlike ours which was like an opposition within the ruling party, the G-15 against G-11. I was a member of the G-15
Amebo: At that time of G-15, it was submitted that the group crises led to the defeat of your party PDP at that time especially that an external politician sponsored your group, what’s your reaction?
Otunba: if you say G-15 was the cause I’ll say No. The foundation of the party was already shaking , also governance at that time had issues; where their is a communication gap between us and the Governor. I don’t really want to delve into this issue but can you imagine as a legislator then I needed to see the Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel and I was asked to wait in the waiting room for close to 12hours and was later asked to come back the next day. Once communication gap exist you allow rumour and self determination to take place. We were only seeking for how things should be done properly but it later degenerated into something else.
Amebo: the present house is still considered as rubber stamp despite many denial, how do you react to this?
Otunba: do you believe if I become a state governor tomorrow I will have issues with my assembly? No way! It is not what you see on the floor that matters it is the meetings before the sitting that does the magic. A governor who has a legislative background would have done his primary assignment among them or even a very skilled adviser or assistant as the case may be. It’s usually done after office hours. If by the time you are now seeing the free passage it doesn’t connote that they are rubber stamp it means someone has done his assignments very well. By the time you are at the state of forming a policy or bill you carried them along then you will have a smooth passage unlike just throwing it at them, they will throw it back at you. These set of legislators are not push overs, an advantage of living together is what you are seeing, outside the house you find them arguing, brainstorming and finally reaching a uniform understanding.
Amebo: The Schedule of payment of the past political office holder was last amended during your house in 2008, and now a new tune different from what your house did is being rumoured to want to apply to the 2012-15 political office holders whereas there had not been any amendment especially on Severance package till now yet some said the present Governor did not pay what is due to these politicians,your take?
Otunba: The last remuneration law was done by the 6th assembly which I was a member, I think their was a bit of politics then, what the then Governor wanted was meagre renumeration but we felt it must be jacked up ,at the end we had our way by boosting the amount stipulated. I’m not very sure we can go to the extent of determining the severance package, I don’t think every appointee is legitimate to be paid severance. Only RAMFAC can say who is and who is not. I am cocksure of the law covering the Chairman, Vice, Councillors, SLG, and Supervisors. At that time we have a governor that believes we should have more appointments at the grassroot which to me I am not sure we went ahead on the issue of their severance. I need to be careful of who the law covers, for the Governor to have come out to say those it covers means it’s coming from the angle of the law which supercede whatever we might have done if truly we did which I doubt anyway. If the law says they should be paid, they will.
Amebo: As a former special assistant to the Governor on Youth (Ogun Central) what will you classify as your landmark?
Otunba: I tried as much as possible to key in the youth into decision making process in Ogun state. Those that do come to MTR hall would attest that I have on various times take on the Governor to key in the youth in some of his decisions. We have factions of youth, partisan youths, notorious youth and the apolitical youths but they all constitute voting power. Most of our leaders sees this season as theirs and I think we youth have to stop taking peanut and sought for audience that things will get better for us. Within the youth their is no cooperation, interests come into play at any time you ask them to organise anything. The hurries in us is too high, for anything you try to organise and they see you change trouser they will start the attitude that you have collected a change on their behalf. So in one word, during my time, the youth were keyed into Government policies.
Amebo: the last youth summit had complaints that youth that were present are only APC Youth, how true is this as a former youth assistant to the Governor?
Otunba: if their is complains, I’ll that to the success of the program. We have 1,500 participants which is geared towards ensuring results is achieved. I’m cocksure the National Youth Council were carried along which comprises of various youth organizations, do they expect us to take the forms to PDP Secretariat? I’m so happy at the result anyway; I wasn’t there but people that participated gave kudos to the Governor for spending two solid days with them and even serving them likewise answering questions on the state of governance.
Amebo: you are presently the Senior special assistant to the Governor on political matters Ogun Central, what are the challenges you are facing?
Otunba: the major challenge I can say I’m facing is we still have people that after being a member of a political party still having caucus. When I joined this party,i let go of every thing that has to do with the part I’m coming from. Can you imagine a situation where in the same party you are abusing your Governor, funny enough they still want to use the same platform to sell their own candidate. Some even try to compare this state to other southwest state, and I tell them I don’t do such because they are all APC States. If their is anything one finds wrong their is a channel to vent such mistakes for corrective purpose, it’s not every thing the Governor does that I like but I have ways of telling him my mind and he’ll carefully explain why it is so. Most issues raised online, we tell him. People instead will begin to attack the structure. I’ll give you an instance, some people have been complaing about finding technocrats as Commissioners, it is because the office required that, you can’t just be a lay man and be expected to handle the health ministry for instance, it won’t work;the technical know how will miss out. That’s why you see the Governor trying to favour each group or caucus. There are four categories of politician with Amosun, those who were with him before becoming Governor and have benefited immensely, those who joined him after he becomes and have benefited, those who were with him before becoming Governor and haven’t benefited and those who joined him and haven’t benefited. We now found out that those who have been leaving him are those who have benefited but because of spreading to others they are now pulling out.
Amebo: What have you done so far to manage this challenges?
Otunba: I won’t let the cat out of the bag but seriously all issues will be sorted. You know by the time politics starts we won’t campaign with how we satisfied politicians it will be how many infrastructures and life we have touched as a government. The time for politics is yet unripe, by the time we are through with delivering electoral promises, we can then start politics so we are leaving those playing it to continue because to us it’s distraction.
Amebo: you said the time for politics is yet unripe, is the Governor going for third term?
Otunba; Definitely not! But what is good for the goose is good for the gander. As a father it’s natural to want to give my empire to my son who had been tutored in my ideology of running the system. Politically, every outgoing Governor wants to key in someone who has believe in his ideology and trend. He won’t be the first to do it, Lagos did it severally, Mimiko wanted to, Oshiomole did, Akpabio did it so their is no big deal, Gbenga Daniel wanted to as well (koseni to feda odun mejo nu ninu odun e now). By the time the Governor is at the peak of auto driving the state then he will reply the distractors. When you see a Santa Claus giving out gifts it’s natural for you to go and collect yours.
Amebo: recently a special assistant governors office resigned his appointment, there must have been some internal wrangling before the explosion, as the SSA Political what measure did you put in place to subdue his resignation?
Otunba: I wouldn’t love to talk about this issue, Ogunpola Damilola is my brother but an impression I want to correct in your question is that he resigned. I’m not sure he told you that or anyone else because he would have shown you his resignation letter. He is very close to the Governor and whatever transpired between him and His Excellency is between them. The Governor has the machinery to know which decision best suits him on any issue. So it is not within my jurisdiction to discuss a fellow appointee, I might do that if the affected has a political relevance to the office I’m holding.
Amebo: the Governor just bagged the sun man of the year award, how do you feel about that?
Otunba; when I saw it online, I was shocked because the Ibikunle I know doesn’t like awards. Who convinced him was the singular question I asked. I stand to be corrected, in Nigeria their is no Governor without chieftaincy title except him. He believes awards distract, for him to have received the award shows the organisers have integrity and this have really changed my mindset on the sun award and that Amosun is changing gradually because I have seen him rejects so many.
Amebo: As his SSA Political, what have you designed for a safe play of politics for the Governor
Otunba: Firstly, in the last election it was a massive voting pattern for Amosun in appreciation of his unprecedented achievement in governance especially in Ogun Central and in other senatorial district. I won’t reveal our joker but for now we are receiving the support of the people and that’s what matters most. The Governor use to say we know ourselves, when the time comes, Boys will be separated from Men; a man who can’t even convince his wife to vote his party will now be given millions for decamping, that’s noise making to me. We know our fathers, youth, mothers by that time it is ripe for politics, we will know who holds the base.
Amebo: There have been reported cases of marginalisation in the distribution of projects in favour of Ogun Central, your take?
Otunba; I won’t generalise this saying because few elites says this, go deep to our grassroot nothing of such. Now that some are saying marginalisation, it shows healthy development. Most projects in Ogun Central is because it is the capital. You must open your capital for investors. I’m hoping our rural roads of 10km each will see the light of the day soonest, I’m sure their will be a new song on the lips of our people at the grassroot across the state. The capital we are talking about is even Abeokuta North and South, it’s not the same at Odeda, now you see. Consistency matters in governance and we have that. Ijebu Ode Mobalufon bridge is a pacesetter in Ogun Governance, Awujale was the happiest on that day of commissioning.
Amebo: there was a time it was rumoured that the Governor said he is under pressure to recontest the Senatorial seat, how true is this?
Otunba: Hmmmm, some people take decision based on hearsay, some based on body language but for me I take based on instructions. I have never sat down to ask him and it’s insulting to be distracting him with political ambitions, if you ask me which area he would prefer to become the next Governor I’ll say he is dangling his pendulum towards the Yewa people. So I have not heard him saying anything of such but even if says, the structure is there already.
Amebo: Ijebus are laying claim to the seat, now you are saying it’s Yewa, wont that heat up the polity?
Otunba: Anything outside the constitution is void. The constitution stipulates three senatorial district, for God sake isn’t it ideal and morally upright to allow this third senatorial district govern too? For equity, and according to the constitution we should rotate among ourselves in the three senatorial districts. The former Governor brought RIYE to the assembly but we threw it out because their is nothing of such it is simply Egba,Ijebu and Yewa, it was a big argument then. Some will even say it’s Egbados, but I have continuously asked, are the Imeko,Aworis, Ipokia people Egbados? No!
Amebo: If the Ijebus are denied the ticket in your party and they float another party, who will the central support as the bride?
Otunba: Laughs! All these are just mere calculation, what I’m sure of is APC will field a candidate, PDP will and a new party. Two from Yewa, One from Ijebu. Central will go with Yewa and I’m sure APC will deliver and it will be Governor Amosun’s candidate.
Amebo: In 2011, PDP fielded a Yewa, PPN did same while ACN present from Egbas, don’t you think history will repeat itself?
Otunba: hmmmm, what happened at that time is different from the present. Amosun at that time had paid his dues since he had been running for the office since ANPP time, so the sentiment was in place, but now it’s different. Central won’t allow cheating and so I repeat whosoever ijebu present which might be from PDP won’t make it to Okemosan, it is long over due for crying out loud.
Amebo: how have you been coping with your female fans having gotten both money and power and a socialite?
Otunba: Laughs! I don’t have money but what makes me happy is testimonies. I love hearing and seeing people I have contributed to their lives. Females are essential spice to politics but I am happy to have been able to cope without affecting my home. Special appreciation to my dad and wife; the most difficult creature are women, they always want to have their way some even become my wife’s friend, poisoning her mind but I thank God for my wife’s maturity. My social life is even declining and I’m more religious because I don’t want my children to be too exposed to that;I don’t want a situation where my children won’t live a normal life like there peers.
Amebo; If you are given any chance to run for any office which office would you go for?
Otunba; Firstly, my running for any post depends on my boss Sen Ibikunle Amosun CON FCA, in the last couple of years he has told me Kunle easy, it’s not that I’m fearful or don’t have the wherewithal, but he knows better than I. If tomorrow he says oya what do u want, I’ll say becoming legislator, either at state, federal even abroad if their is; laughs! I’m not this wait for appointment type. Funny enough after all this I want to retire in politics as a Councillor of my ward. If I can’t be Adekunle of southwest I should be the Adegbenro of my ward, by the time I’m gone it will be a legacy. As a Muslim, I want people to remember me for my impact, I want to be remembered for developing manpower; on the day you are buried, we were taught that Angels will come down to hear what people are saying about you, so I want to make Aljanau.
Amebo: Appreciate your time and we hope to have you any other time.
Otunba: You are welcome amebo, I’m available any day any time.