Abdulazeez Yinka Oniyangi is the Chief Executive Officer, Swift Air Ambulances Services Limited, and a gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the New Progressive Movement in Kwara State.
In this interview, Oniyangi says unless the state does away with stereotyped politics and politicians, it will continue to miss out from both the dividends of democracy and the evolving democratic processes in Nigeria.
PATRICK ANDREW brings excerpts.
Why do you want to be governor of Kwara State? Well, firstly, it is my constitutional right to aspire to any elective position that I feel competent enough for.
Besides, Kwara state needs real competent leaders to lead it out of its present woes and ensure that infrastructural development that has eluded it since its creation is achieved.
The state needs redirection through quality and visionary leadership.
Good leadership is very important to drive Kwara State.
You know Kwara state was one of the first states created in Nigeria, yet it has remained really backward in terms of infrastructural development.
And we have very bright minds who have made it in their respective endeavours: be it business, politics, academic etc.
Yet, the state has remained backward, so people like us, who are armed with our experiences and records of achievements from various endeavours, have come out to salvage the situation.
We want to move the state forward and ensure that we, as a people, are no longer left out in the scheme of industrial and development strides.
Kwara State is the home state of the Senate President who also belongs to the ruling party, what chances does the New Progressive Movement have against such formidable opponents? Well, the New Progressive Movement’s main slogan is ‘Success is from God’.
We have said if we are not going to make a difference so shall it be, let God not make it be.
If, indeed, we are going to make a difference may God help us through the registration processes and here we are.
Now, people are tired of the stereotypes that have been on the scene for long but without making any tangible impact in the society.
So with God on our side and the people in the field with us, who believe in our background, and the fact we have no other place to call our home but Kwara State, we sincerely think we have something to offer to make a difference in people’s lives.
So, I don’t think there is anything the ruling party can really do to prevent the people’s wish.
It is just about getting the right people at the right time to offer the right challenge.
But will Kwara electorate accept your political platform as the channel to effect this desired change? Absolutely! As I speak with you we are well accepted in Kwara as the new kids on the block, which is different from what they used to know: the PDP, APC and others.
People are yearning and ready for real change and you know 2019 general elections offer opportunity for the younger generation to decide their future.
Of course, 2019 is just round the corner.
It is a future election that revolves on the younger generation to determine the future of this country.
As I said people are tired of the stereotype politicians.
They don’t want the kind of stereotype politics and the people that play it anymore.
They desire fresh breathe on the scene and 2019 offers ample opportunity to effect the needed change in leadership and leadership style.
So our chances are bright because everywhere you go people are singing NPM, NPM, and our slogan ‘Success is from God’.
And the fact that we have also said success is from God is making us sell.
God is the ultimate provider of opportunities and I think we have real bright chances for success.
What do you think you will do differently that will change the complexion of Kwara politics? Well, absolutely! We have to move away from Godfatherism and move on to Kingmakers.
For us in Kwara, who are fed up with stereotypes, we want to move away from godfathers who decide who becomes king and move on the people who are the real kingmakers.
There is a consensus amongst us that it is high time we returned to what I used to know while going up when we used to have the kingmakers.
And who are the kingmakers? The people! The people you serve are the real kingmakers.
Unfortunately, it is no longer so, Godfatherism has taken over.
As far as I am concern, our idea is to return to what will deliver the economy.
What will improve the lot of the people should be the determinant factor to be voted into power.
Again, we want to move to people who can deliver in the economy and those things that make real positive impact in people’s lives.
For us, our three-point plan which serves as our vision is to focus on: agriculture, education and healthcare and we hope to invest massively in them.
If we can do that successfully, obviously the issue of unemployment will also come to pass.
As you know Kwara State is strategically located between the North and South.
So, there is no reason why we will fail in our quest to attain infrastructural development.
The main point is to have the right people to do the right thing; put the square pegs in the square holes.
May 29 is celebrated as Democracy Day, are we truly democratic? Well, for me I think we are getting there.
Democracy is always evolving and I think we are still in the evolution process.
I also think 2019 will be the defining factor to see how well we have improved and what we can do differently because I can tell you 2019 is not going to be business as usual.
It won’t be about the party anymore but persons; the candidate and the level of integrity of the candidate which is very key to getting elective position.
For me, democracy is an evolving process and we will continue to work hard until we get there.
For us in the New Progressive Movement, like I said, our motto is ‘Success belongs to God’ and we believe whatever God decides so shall it be.
So, if we are not going to be successful it does not matter.
And as regards Kwara, we don’t have any other place that we can call our home, so we are willing to do the right thing to ensure that as democracy evolves Kwara also evolves in terms of infrastructural development.
Infrastructural development is almost nil, at the moment, and people yearn for real change that will affect their lives positively.
People, like us, who have cut our milk teeth in various socio-economic endeavours, think it is high time we made a difference by ensuring that the evolving democracy is felt very positively in Kwara State.
Oniyangi, whose father was one of the first medical doctors in Kwara State and pioneer former INEC Deputy National chairman, is cousin to ex-number two citizen of Nigeria, late Major General Tunde Idiagbon.