Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan, is the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), for the Ondo State House of Assembly in Akure South Constituency. He is a seasoned Journalist by profession; also a Unionist and media consultant born and raised in Akure in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State about forty years ago. He started his Journalism practice about 19 years ago at The Hope Newspaper where he served for nine years and became the Chief Sub-Watch. In 2011, he started TRACE News Magazine which is still in existence till today as the only weekly news magazine published in Ondo State. He was the Secretary General of the Ondo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) from 2011 to 2014. He was a National Ex-officio of the union from 2015 to 2017 and he is still an active member of the union. He is a community activist; a member of the Akure Community Development Forum under the chairmanship of Pa Reuben Fasoranti. He is a member of development groups within and outside Akure.
Recently he had a chat with Journalists in Akure where he disclosed his intention to serve and improve the economic status of the people, ODEYEMI SAMUEL was there for New Nigerian. Excerpts.
What informed your decision to contest for a seat in the House of Assembly?
My ambition was borne out of the desire to contribute to the development of this community on a higher pedestal. I’ve always been part of the community. I was born and raised here. I have my business and family here and I’m well rooted in Akure. I believe that up till now, I’ve played active roles in various capacities in terms of development in Akure but I feel representing the community in the legislative chamber of the state government will give me a greater opportunity to protect and champion the interest of the community. We have a lot of issues in Akure in which we want legislative business of the government to be in our favour and I believe that with me in the House of Assembly, Akure can be rest assured that they have someone who can champion whatever interest it is that the community has.
Why did you choose the SDP to contest the election?
I chose the platform of SDP because of the policy thrust behind SDP and because of its progressive nature. We have been telling people that election should not be about big parties but should be about “credible candidates”. I believe that I’m a credible candidate. The leaders of the party approached me to be the candidate because they saw in me a marketable product and now we have been trying as much as possible to go round the constituency to market ourselves and the party to convince the people on why they should vote for Ebenezer Adeniyan and SDP in the March 9 House of Assembly election in Akure South Constituency 1. So far, the reception from, the people has been very encouraging.
What are your expectations from the people?
My expectation from the people is that this time around, they should break the belief that for you to win an election, you have to belong to PDP or APC. We should not make this coming election a straight forward fight between APC and PDP. We should rather look at the candidates, identify credible candidates and vote for them. Some of my opponents who are in the bigger parties are not known in the community here but they are banking solely on the popularity of their parties to win election. I have been operating my personal business here since 2011 and I have employed a lot of people in Akure, both indigenes and non-indigenes.
I have contributed my quota to the development of this community. I did not just come from outside the country or outside the state to come and contest an election. I am not being sponsored by any godfather. I’m well rooted here and I keep saying it that out of all of us contesting this election, I’m the only one that has a spread across the six wards in the constituency. I was born in Oritagun which is in Ward 7 in the constituency. I grew up and had both primary and secondary education at Oke-Aro which is in Ward 8 and both of my late parents have their houses there.
My office is located at Oshinle which is in Ward 9. My place of residence is at Oke-Ijebu which is in Ward 4. My father’s cocoa farm is located at Oda cocoa board which is in Ward 6. Now, my campaign office is at Ilisa, which is in Ward 5. So, I have presence in all the six wards in the constituency where I’m contesting. The people are rest assured that if I get into the House of Assembly, I will be accessible to them; they can locate me whether it is in the Assembly, my personal office, or family house or personal residence. So, I want to implore the people to vote for a candidate that they can locate and have access to, not a candidate that will take any opportunity of a break in the House of Assembly to travel outside the state or the country. I will always be here with them because I’m part of them. I am part of those who wear the shoe here and I know where it pinches. So, I’m not going to be in the House of Assembly and be asking questions about what needs to be done because I know what the people are going through.
If elected, what will be your areas of priority?
The first on that list is to help formulate government policies that will favour the people of Akure. There has been this constant bickering between the state government and Akure community and I think this is partly because those who represent us in government are not doing enough. I also want to facilitate developmental projects to my constituency which is the most critical among all the 26 seats in the Assembly because of its location and population.
I want to influence the promotion of local content in government projects so that our artisans and small business owners can have jobs and we can reduce capital flight. Another on the list is the promotion of self-help projects in our streets and communities. There is a limit to the funds available to a lawmaker to spend on projects. Therefore, we will use the little funds to support communities that are pursuing self-help projects like road grading, construction of culverts and footbridges and provision of potable water.
There will also be what I call “Legacy Projects”. These will be small and medium developmental projects that I want to facilitate from well-to-do individuals from within and outside Akure and corporate organizations operating in the constituency. These projects will carry the names of the sponsors as their legacy projects in the constituency.
Within the first three months in office, I will open a functional constituency office where the people can come to for access to their representative. An annex of this will be opened in Oda which is a little bit far from the other parts of the constituency. I will use my position to facilitate employment opportunities for the youths and also seek empowerment for those willing to go into their personal businesses. I run a small scale business here.
So, I want to assist people who are into small scale businesses in Akure because our economy here depends largely on the civil service and government. We want to assist those who are into small scale business to empower themselves to be able to employ more people who will get off their reliance on government work. I’m part of the system here and I understand the system; that is why I’m pleading with the people to elect someone who is already a part of them and not somebody who has just come to town for the purpose of this election and will disappear after.
We are in the election period now, what is your advice to the people?
My advice to the people is what I’ve said now. We have seen a lot of people taking the decision that in this coming election, they are going to vote for credible candidates and not for party.
A very prominent individual in Ondo State recently posted something on a WhatsApp platform in which he said that in the coming election, he is going to vote for four different parties in the four elections. That is a party for Presidency, another party for Senate, another party for House of Representatives, and another party for House of Assembly.
He mentioned the four parties and I’m happy that he chose me (SDP) for the House of Assembly election. This is what we’re pleading with the people to do. We should not just vote for same party in all elections. We should look at the candidate of the party, choose the one that we think will represent us well.
Don’t just collect the ballot paper and vote for a party because the name of the party sounds familiar to you or the logo looks better to you. Identify the party and a credible candidate and vote for that party. This is the time for them to look for a better alternative and I believe SDP offers that better alternative for people in Ondo State, particularly in Akure South Constituency 1 on March 9, 2019.