Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Oyo State in the 2019 election, is the Special Counsel to the Oyo State Governor. In this interview with YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, he speaks on his assignment, the situation in the country and political appointments in Oyo state among other issues.
What is your role as the Special Counsel to Oyo State Governor, some describe it as just ordinary?
Yes, it is largely an honorary position. I am available to advise and take on special tasks for the Governor as required. Basically, it is just to give legal advice on issues.
What is your view on the End SARS protest?
The agitations are well-grounded. The system has become so dysfunctional over the years and there is considerable hopelessness in the land. There is a big disconnect between the government and the governed especially the youth who form three quarters of the population. So even where government believes it is putting in place all manners of programmes, the youth are not feeling the impact. There is a serious missing link.
What do you suggest on this disconnect?
Government is not properly structured and the gap between the top and bottom is too wide. The chain is too long and this breeds corruption and ineffectiveness. Every young generation will always make a point with protests. Even in the military era, I was part of the demonstrations in the late seventies. We did “Ali Must Go” and we were severely and brutally dealt with by the military. The student leaders were killed and maimed.
There were protests during the June 12 crisis and violence will arise if our protests are not well managed by the authorities.
End SARS was going well until the Lekki toll gate issue, government should never deploy state coercive and armed personnel to quell or disperse peaceful protests. The violence is regrettable.
Businesses and public utilities have been destroyed. We must do all we can to correct the situation.
What can be done to salvage the situation we find ourselves as a country?
Beyond rhetoric, politics and cosmetic overtures, we must have impactful programmes that will give our people hope. We must re-arrange the structure of government to enable strong states and local governments that can attend to the needs of the youth directly. If we keep distributing resources from Abuja, we are not going to achieve much. The clamour for true federalism has been vindicated.
The centre cannot continue to hold onto the humungous exclusive list.
It will always lead to failure. It is clear that if the states have more resources, they are better positioned through the local governments to deliver a better society.
Recently, there was criticism on appointment of technocrats in Oyo State. What’s your take on it?
It is a misunderstanding of the direction of the current Oyo State Government. There is a good balance of core politicians, technocrats and professionals in politics. I am a professional in politics like the governor himself. There is a reset going on in the political leadership of the state; the governor is in touch with the established political leaders but again he appreciates that the buck stops on his table. This is the essence of leadership. Let us look at two major events that have dominated the year 2020; first, the Covid-19 pandemic. The governor directly leads the Covid-19 Response Team in Oyo State and he has been acknowledged as providing effective leadership. Secondly, despite the fact that the End SARS protests took place in Ibadan, there has been curtailed violence due to the direct engagement of the governor with the protesters and other stakeholders. The Governor has therefore shown good leadership in those areas. Politicians will always clamour for patronage believing that once they are party members and participated in an election process successfully, then it is time for pay back. There should be a reset of minds. If you successfully back a candidate, you owe it to yourself and the public as a leader to support the policies of the government so that that the public including yourself will benefit on the long run.
This is not to say that you might want a certain approach that is different from that of the governor but there can only be one governor at a time.
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The party also said that immediately the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee was put in place after the NWC’s dissolution, the crises that had characterised its affairs were laid to rest.Clamour for true federalism Clamour for true federalism
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