Undoubtedly, the youngest aspirant jostling to represent Ilaje constituency 11 in the Ondo State House of Assembly, Comrade Olabode Asogbon hails from Atijere in Ilaje Local Government Area. A holder of Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics and Communication Technology and presently the Personal Assistant to the Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Asogbon in this interview with Sunshine Integrity asserted that he garnered enough experience to excel as a legislator.
One may assume that you are still young to run for the Ondo State House of Assembly. Are you not to you to run? Do you have enough experience to handle the job?
Well, considering the constitutional provision on age for someone to run for State House of Assembly, I am far above the age limit and that qualifies me to be in the race. Concerning experience, in 2003, I was the PRO of the National Association of Ilaje Students. In 2005, I was elected the National President of the same Association. Besides that, after school, I worked with EGTL Project, that is Escavos Gas to Liquid as a site supervisor. Afterwards, I joined the Ondo State House of Assembly as Personal Assistant to the Honourable Member representing my Constituency between 2014 and 2015. Thereafter, I became the PA to Gbenga Edema, the current OSOPADEC Chairman. In all these offices I have occupied before, I have been relating with people. By such interactions, I have come to know what the needs of the people are. I have also learnt how to help people to get what they need. If I have passed through these levels, I believe I should be able to perform credibly if elected into office.
Being that you have enough experience for the job, how do you hope to get enough fund for the purchase of nomination form and other campaign expenses?
There is no doubting the fact that running for office can be capital intensive. From meeting with party people to getting to speak with the delegates and the people in question, all these cost money. But the thing is that I have been preparing myself for the task over long time. I didn’t just suddenly wake up to it. And even with friends who believe in me, I believe I can do it better with their assistance.
Do you have people backing you?
Of course, it got to a point when my people from my hometown – Atijere to be precise, felt I wasn’t taking a decision fast enough. Because if we are to look at how things are being arranged conventionally from 1999 till date, Mahin Ward 1 was the one which is my constituency, Mahin Ward 1 has represented us in the State House of Assembly in the person of Sulfuric. Afterwards, then came Etikan, wherein Hon. Tunde Ayimo represented us in the Ondo State House of Assembly. After Tunde came Hon Kunle Odidi, who is from Mahin ward 3. Subsequently, Hon. Gbenga Edema who is from Mahin ward 2 came on board. Afterwards the present person, named Hon. Malachi Koka who is from Aheri ward. Going by this record, you would see that nobody has been to the Ondo State House of Assembly from my ward from 1999 till date. After due consultations from home and even the government, I decided to pursue this ambition. So I can assure you that I have the full backing of my people from home.
Have you been anointed by any godfather?
God in heaven is my God.
What do you have in stock for the people that you will do differently if elected into office?
I think some of the things one needs to consider is that running for office must be a desire that is birthed by passion. In this regard, I think that being in the legislature, one needs to be committed to representing people from home, making laws and performing oversight functions. I will adopt participatory approach in my representation of the people. I will get to my people to find out their needs and not just enact laws from Akure. I will initiate policies that would have socio-economic advantages to my people. I will also ensure that I see to it that the different Government agencies relating to my people live up to their expectations. I will make sure that my people enjoy the clear dividends of my represention.
Some of the key issues facing Ilaje are insecurity and youths restiveness. Which legislative approach will you adopt to curb these problems?
I thank the current Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, because he is already giving keen attention to most of the issues causing these problems. Few weeks ago, we were at Igbokoda for stakeholders meeting where we discussed the issue of electricity. I can assure you that the restoration of power to the area is seriously on-going. People now have a change of mind about the issue because they can see work going on. Concerning militancy, recently, the Governor ingeniously with collaboration with the Federal Government offered armed youths amnesty. Through this, the militants surrendered their weapons and pledged to turn a new leaf. As a legislator, my responsibility will be to push for laws that would support these efforts of the Governor so that youth empowerment will be sustainable.
Are you considering dumping your party for another in a case where you do not emerge?
We built this party together so I have never had such thoughts. Election is a two-way thing. It is either you win or you lose. It is not a do it for affair. In so far as I still believe in the APC and the vision of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, I will still remain in the Party. However, I am very optimistic that come October 4th, I will win the primary election. But God forbids, I loose, I will still remain in the party. APC is my home.
Do you have NYSC Certificate?
Of course. I served in Rivers State.
Some people may assume that your contesting is due to the recently signed Not Too Young to Run Law. Is that why you are contesting?
No. It’s not because of the law. With the little story I have told you, you will discover that I have been preparing myself for the task for long.
Before now, people have complained about the issue of marginalization of Ondo South in terms of development. Do you think the current government has done anything to change this narrative?
Marginalization can only be mentioned with regards to the past administration. The current Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has been ensuring even development across the State. In fact, he once mentioned that if Ondo South is not developed, then Ondo State is not. You can observe that quite a number of projects have been commissioned in the area within this short period of his administration.