Dr. Ayo Akinyelure, a chartered accountant, is aspiring to represent the people of Ondo Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly. In this interview, the Labour Party (LP) chieftain speaks about his ambition, lessons from past elections and politics of the Sunshine State. ESTHER BAKARE met him.
AS a chartered accountant, what informed your interest in politics?
As a matter of fact, I have succeeded in my career as a Chartered Accountant. Over the years, I have used the little I made from my practice to empower the people of my constituency and beyond. Moreover, when you have passion for something and if you have a vision that has not been fulfilled, you are not a complete person. As politicians and professionals, the passion and vision we have of developing our people cannot be fulfilled except we’re in power. So, that is what spurred me to go into politics.
How long have you been in politics?
I joined politics nine years ago in Ondo State. As a matter of fact, I am a progressive politician to the core. I
have been in politics in Lagos where I have also been President Olusegun Obasanjo who see elections were a do or die affair and gave instruction to his party men couldn’t have done better. Iwu was given instruction by the man who appointed him and he had to follow the bidding of his boss. We just pray President Goodluck Jonathan would see reasons why this country must move forward. Even if it is a saint that is appointed to be the chairman of INEC, he would only do the wish of he whoever appoints him.
So, we are still praying for a truly independent INEC that will be able to stand out to conduct elections that are free and fair that even if the chairman does not listen to the dictates of the president nobody can sack him. It is only independent INEC that can operate like a professional accountant in public practice.
Do you believe in the electoral reform?
Yes, absolutely. For 2011 elections to be free and fair the Justice Mohammad Uwais’ recommendations on the electoral reform must first be implemented and the right calibre of candidate be made to head INEC to conduct credible election.
Are you saying that Prof. Attahiru Jega is not the right person for the INEC chairman?
I am not saying he is not the right person, I only believe his appointment should be independent and not by the president who is also contesting because he will only listen to the dictates of the person who appointed him.
What do you think will be the fate of the Labour Party in Ondo State in the coming elections?
Labour Party is the largest political party in the state. There is no state without Labour leaders. We have started educating the people that it is not carrying placards that make them Labour leaders but their readiness to get to power. That is what our convention has sold to many labour leaders across the country, to support good representation in government. Mimiko is loved by the people, not only in Ondo state but across the globe.
You can see his landmark achievements within one year and I must state here that the popularity of the Labour Party does not revolve around him alone but around the implemented programmes of the party in the state. All his achievements are not done by him alone but by the party as a whole. The Labour Party has a dynamic and visionary governor who is working with young professionals and dedicated cabinet members who know what is good for our Sunshine state.
You mentioned that one of the visions of the LP is to clinch power at the Federal level. How possible is this for there seems not to be any concerted efforts from any of the opposition parties to wrest power from the ruling party?
Labour Party was only three months old when it seized power in Ondo State. It was like a dream to the PDP. They have all the instruments of power, the army, the police, money and political god-fathers across the country. But with God and the support of the masses we chased the PDP out of Ondo State.Yes, people will be wondering how a party that is controlling only one state out of 36 states will capture power at the federal. It is a gradual process, watch 2011 and you will see that LP will capture not less than seven states. That is how it will continue till we get to the federal level. Governor Mimiko’s achievements in less than two years is a testimonial.
In year 2007 you contested for the senate in Ondo Central District which you lost to the PDP candidate at the Appeal Court. You are aspiring to vie for the same position next year, what are your programmes for your people?
Basically, I have a 4-point programme tagged SEED”: Service to the people, Education, Enterprise and Development. In my private endeavour, I singularly got a licence to establish a private tertiary institution known as Allover polytechnic in Ogun state but I know this dream has not been fully manifested. By enterprise, I mean people should be able to go to universities and polytechnics, graduate to create jobs and not to be applicants.
That is my dream. Education for what? Education for responsibility, for self reliance and for job creation. When I graduated from YABATECH with an Upper Division in HND, I was already a chartered banker. When I could not get a job I decided to use the skills I had acquired as a professional accountant to create jobs for others. I took that bold step to rent a 2-room apartment for N40:00 in a shopping centre in Ogun State in 1985.
I started training students as chartered accountants, it is that 2-room apartment that metamorphosed into Allover Central Polytechnic today where I employed over 200 workers. Through this, I have been able to solve the problem of unemployment for those people. I believe when I get to the Senate I shall make a big difference.
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