‘I Did Not Betray Ladi Adebutu To Work For Dapo Abiodun’s Victory’- Hon Waliu Taiwo

For former Commissioner for works in Ogun state, Hon. Waliu Taiwo, the victory of Prince Dapo Abiodun, who emerged as Ogun State Governor-Elect under the All Progressives Congress (APC) was well deserved.

Now that election is over, Taiwo, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who supported the candidature of Abiodun, wants Abiodun to perform better than his predecessors and turn the state around within the next few months after May 29, 2019.

One of his agenda for the incoming Governor is the areas of road constructions, while not neglecting security, employment, education and other infrastructural development. The very popular Ogun state politician spoke with the editorial team of Ogun News Express. Enjoy the excerpt of the interview……..

About two days to the governorship election in Ogun State, you shifted focus and began to go round your supporters in Ogun West and Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government in particular to support the APC candidate. Prince Dapo Abiodun despite that fact that you were a chieftain of the PDP. What informed that decision?

Number one, you will recall that I was the Director General of the Ladi Adebutu Democratic Campaign Organisation and our objective was to ensure that he became the Governor of Ogun State. But due to reasons beyond our control he was not given the flag of the PDP. When it became obvious that Hon. Ladi Adebutu would not be the candidate of the PDP, we had a choice either to support Hon. Abdukadir Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) or Gboyega Nasir Isiaka of ADC or Prince Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was obvious that Hon. Ladi Adebutu was moving to APM, but we the leaders of Ogun West, having been persuaded by our people, we had to go to the APC. We were in the forefront of the struggle for over 20 years. We told former governor Gbenga Daniel that he would give us Commissioner for Works and  support Ogun West for Governor after his tenure and he agreed to this. But due to our own fault in Ogun West, we lost the opportunity in 2011 because we had two candidates from the area. In 2019. We discovered that the same factor was still there, that we are not united. We spoke to the younger ones to come up with a better way. At the last minute, we felt insulted, they called us names for supporting Hon. Ladi Adebutu. The reasons we supported Ladi Adebutu was still there till the we went for the election. We were later vindicated after the election because if you add the votes of GNI to that of Akinlade, an Ogun West man would have become the Governor of Ogun State if they had come together as one. If Governor Ibikunle Amosun was sincere about handing over to an Ogun West man he should have supported GNI. Why insisting on Hon. Akinlade. We politicians are usually self centred. It is not that Amosun wanted us, he just wanted to protect his own interest. He should have supported GNI, a brilliant man, very intelligent, who has worked with the government in the past, and had contested elections two or three times. We were not convinced to support an Ogun West man because the factors that cost us the office in 2015 were still there.

Number two, Prince Dapo Abiodun is a very known person to us for a long time.

We were together in UNCP when he won the primaries for Ogun East Senatorial District under the party, I was the returning officer then. He couldn’t go beyond that due to the death of a former military head of state, Gen. Sanni Abacha in 1998. So we have been together for a long time.

Another reason is that for the first time, somebody from Ado- Odo/Ota Local Government was nominated as the deputy governor in  the person of Mrs. Noimat Salako-Oyedele. She was nominated by our people from the local government. So due to that, I had no choice than to do what our people wanted. As you know, politics is local. No matter the situation, once you don’t disappoint your people, there would be no problem.

Some people said that while you were the Director of Ladi Adebutu Democratic Organisation of PDP, you worked for Prince Dapo Abiodun of the APC, they said you have betrayed your party. What would you say to this?

Anytime I hear this I always laugh. What is betrayal, I can’t understand. My duty was to make Hon. Ladi Adebutu the next governor of Ogun State, but when this was not possible, I had to go somewhere else. Where I go next is nobody’s business, Ladi did not contest. How can anybody say I betrayed him. If he had contested and I leave, then you can accuse me of that. Even if he contested and I leave, you cannot blame me. Politics is about interest, if I am here and I discovered that my interest is no longer there, I have right to go somewhere else. There is freedom of association.

Buy you were still in the PDP then

No, it is not like that, some people in the PDP voted for the APM led by Hon. Ladi Adebutu, while some people in the PDP led by former governor Gbenga Daniel supported the APC.

But, your party had a candidate in the election

The party had no candidate because as far as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP was concerned, the party had no candidate in the election. The NWC wanted Hon. Ladi Adebutu, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recognised Senator Kashamu Buruji as the PDP Governorship candidate for the state. As a loyal party man, the party did not recognise Kashamu, so we have the right to support somebody else.

What do you think should be the agenda of Prince Dapo Abiodun for the people of Ogun State, Ogun West and Ado Odo/Ota Local Government, where you are a leader?

Prince Dapo is not new in the business. He is not new in Ogun State politics. He contested for senatorial seat in the past. Ogun State is complex, he should study the past governments, see where they have performed well and improve on them. There are area where they have worked and there are areas, where they did not perform. Majorly, our problem in Ogun State is road. He should look for cheap ways of constructing roads.

But, some people say that Governor Ibikunle Amosun did well in road construction. Do you agree with them?

Which road did he construct. You can talk of the bridges he constructed in Abeokuta, the capital of the state, a place that has no water and you have so many flyovers. All these are elitist projects that would take us nowhere. Let us leave Abeokuta and come to Iyana Ilogbo, along Lagos Abeokuta Express road, where you could spend 10 hours on the road due to bad portions of the roads. I was there one day from 5pm and didn’t leave the place until 3am because of traffic jam caused by bad road. So what is the essence of the flyovers.

(cuts)…People would say that one is a federal road

Most of the roads, where Governor Amosun built flyovers in Abeokuta, are they not federal roads? From Kuto to NNPC junction, he has two flyovers there. From Lafenwa to Adatan, are they not federal roads. If he did that, why can’t he do some interventions in other places. He was still asking for refund from the federal government on some of these roads. Look at Agbara Atan Road, where he wants to build flyover, is it not a federal road. What is the volume of traffic there that he wants to build about one kilometer flyover there. This is a place where there is no river. He demolished houses in Ijoko, Agbado and Akute and still left the areas like that. He has completed about eight flyovers in Abeokuta and left roads in other places. Look at the time of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, he wanted to go into Independent Power Project (IPP) and bought 25 big generating sets from China. He installed one to serve the secretariat, and government estate and Governor Amosun extended it to one private school. The remaining 24 are lying somewhere in Ikorodu, Lagos State and they have not been cleared. The plan of OGD was to install one in the waterworks in Abeokuta, instead of spending money on diesels. We have another project in Igbesa, we have so many trailers going there that are falling down due to bad road. We have the Olokola site. See how Governor Amosun frustrated Alhaji Aliko Dangote from building refinery in Ogun State. That refinery in Lagos State would have been done in Ogun State. These are the areas we expect Prince Dapo Abiodun to focus on. This would lead to more IGR and provide employment.

What of security?

Well, we can say Amosun tried his best in the area of security. But what we are talking about now is all these young people. You see them belonging to cult groups here and there. You see them smoking marijuana openly. It is becoming a big problem. This is because of unemployment, but the government cannot give everybody job. However, the government can intervene so that they could be self-employed.

How would you advise the Governor to relate with members of the state house of assembly?

He needs to cooperate with them for smooth running of the government. Like one governor said it is not the law the lawmakers were making that made him to have a good governance, but when problem came, they brought the Governor down. So the Governor should know how to work with them. He should be having interactions with them regularly. Though they are a separate arm of government, they still need to work together.

What are your demands in Ogun West?

Number one is road. We don’t have road anywhere in Ogun West. There is this road from Agbara Sokoto Road, they should see how they can link the road from Atan. The road continue to Orile Ishaga. We tried to do it then. The state government should do the road from Agbara to Atan and Igbesa. They should try and complete the road from Ilaro to Owode. Then, there is a road from Igankoto to Ayetoro, that one is very urgent. We call Ota a border town, they should do the roads there, same goes for Akute roads. They should do the feeder roads. When we were in government then, we constructed Itele/Ayobo Road. It was that time that Winners Chapel newly came to Ota, so their members from Iyana Ipaja pass through the road. We have done the one from Odo Pako, now Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has completed his own. If you are going to FESTAC, from Odo Eran, you can connect Ipaja then from there to Egbeda to Idimu to Isolo, then Okota and from there to FESTAC. You don’t need to go through the express. Even if you are going to Surulere, you can link it from here. We need to do our roads instead of wasting money on flyovers. We should try and do feeder roads on all the border towns. The way all these new towns are springing up is amazing. See Mowe Ibafo, you still need to do some interventions. Even if you tar the main roads, how will these people get to the roads. We should do feeder roads for the new towns.

On power, we are expect the government to do some interventions. The government should buy transformers and give communities.

Through the Ministry of Housing, we tried to create OGSEC, Ogun State Electricity Commission. We have many electrical engineers and technicians in the Ministry that are just redundant. So, you need to make use of these people to construct the transformers and fix the cables. They once did that for three days when we were in government.

How would you advise the Deputy Governor on her relationship with the Governor

The Deputy Governor should know that she has only one principal, so nobody should push her. She should know that we have only one Governor. She should always be loyal to him. I will always advise her on that. She should be seen as the Deputy Governor of Ogun State and not that of Ado Odo/Ota Area.

Coincidentally, May 29 is the birthday of Prince Dapo Abiodun and that is the day he would be given power, what do you wish him?

I wish him the best. It is a good thing that the two are coming on the same day. He is a lucky man, I remember that nobody gave him a chance, when he started the race, but today he is the Governor-Elect of Ogun State. So I wish him the best.

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