The Zenith Labour Party governorship candidate in Oyo State, Alhaji Sharafadeen Alli, explains his agenda, in this interview with ADEMOLA BABALOLA and DAVID OLORUNSOGO
Exactly two months ago, the ZLP was inaugurated in Oyo State. How has it been so far?
We thank God for what we have been able to achieve so far. The party is progressing by the day, the acceptability is very encouraging. Today, the ZLP is everywhere. I have been moving round the state. I’ve visited some local government areas and the reception has been encouraging and reassuring.
People have alleged that ex-Governor Ladoja is a general without troops and that his ‘followers’ have scattered all over other political parties.
When these so-called ‘followers’ were with him, he did not win any governorship election. When they were with him, what were their contributions? They rode on his back all the time.
Are you saying Senator Ladoja and you have not been having sleepless nights over this?
Not at all, by the grace of God. In fact, we thank the people of Oyo State for the reception we have received so far. Let me add that ever since Senator Ladoja left, or let me say that for the past eight years, we’ve not had any good governance in Oyo State. Senator Ladoja’s government is the benchmark for good governance since the inception of the current political dispensation. That’s one of the advantages that we have over candidates in other political parties.
You and Ladoja have moved across political parties in the last one year, what is the problem?
The problem is that we’re seeking the enthronement of good governance in the state. We want a specific platform that we believe there will be less friction. What inspires us is the politics of service, not politics of making money. And if you want to serve, you need peace. That’s when you can really serve. Anywhere there is friction, it will be difficult to serve. There are three sets/categories of the electorate in the state: the working class, the political class and the entire populace. There is no problem with the entire populace. Just provide what the people want and they are there for you. For the working class, just meet their demands and make sure they are happy. With the political class, that’s where the problem lies . That’s why we kept moving. There were people creating problems in the respective political parties.
Again, some of the electorate seem disturbed, about the ZLP and more importantly, the inconsistency of Senator Ladoja and you (cuts in)
We had answered that question many times. I will give you two examples: The current governor of Oyo State became a Senator under Alliance for Democracy. He later went to the ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party) to contest a governorship election, went back to the AC (Action Congress), and finally became a Governor in the ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria). So, if he had not moved, he wouldn’t have been able to achieve his dream. Another person is former Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State. He was in the AD, he moved to the PDP, went to Labour Party and became a governor. He was able to accomplish this due to the fact that he was out to serve and he felt these platforms were not ready for him as vehicles to achieve his dream.
Are you likening those scenarios to your own case?
Yes. President Buhari was in the ANPP later the CPC. He became President under the APC. It is about service. Anything you want to do, you must do well. Those politicians who moved due to the influence of money are the ones that will have problem. I will cite an example, when I was in the ACN, I left whilst still on the board of Odu’a Investments Company Limited as its chairman. If it is about money, influence or office, I would have stayed back.
What are your agenda for the people of Oyo State?
The manifestos of all the political parties seem the same, but you journalists must help our democracy to grow by interrogating candidates in order for the electorate to make informed choices. For instance, ask the candidates how they intend implementing their programmes. Have they done it before? What are their pedigrees and their past? The ZLP will offer free and qualitative education for primary and secondary schools. For tertiary institutions, we are going to ensure that we restore the lost glory of these institutions.
How do you intend to do that?
In 2005, LAUTECH was the best state university in Nigeria, and it was adjudged the fifth best in the entire country, whether private, state or federal-owned under Governor Ladoja’s regime. I thank God that I was the chairman of the Committee on Development of Tertiary Institutions at that time, same as College of Education in Oyo at that time. And we were able to do these things. It’s about prioritising, giving education the right place that it deserves, having adequate budgetary provisions and accessing the necessary funds that you have all around, UBEC and several other international organisations that could come to give you supports.