Mr. Femi Onireti, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogbomoso, has charged members of the party to work hard for the party to attain victory in the forthcoming local government elections scheduled to hold on May 22, 2021.
Onireti speaking at ward campaigns of the party promised he would provide a borehole at any ward in each of Ogbomoso North, Ogbomoso South and Oriire local governments, that notched the highest votes in the council elections.
The House of Reps hopeful was among the party’s leaders participating in the rallies of the party which are being taken round the wards. Meanwhile, it would be recalled that he commissioned three boreholes he donated to three communities in the constituency last year during which he promised to provide more boreholes in order to ease the stress of water supply among the people.
ogbomosoinsightonline.com now spoke with him at his residence last weekend during which he reiterated the pledge, saying, “We donated three boreholes last year, one each in Ogbomoso North, Ogbomoso South and Oriire local governments; so, concerning the electoral promise, it is just a way of trying to encourage people to come out to vote.
“Yesterday, we made the promise at Oriire local government that whatever ward had the highest votes is going to get a modern borehole, and also we visited Ogbomoso North as well, where we promised the same thing. In a couple of days as well we are going to be in Ogbomoso South and we are going to promise them the same thing.”
Onireti always go about in a convoy of exotic cars, accompanied by policemen, “Isn’t this a sign that when you get to office you will become inaccessible, if you can mount security with policemen before you even contest election?” But he defended his action positing that he had to take precautions in view of the worsening security situation in the country. He however added that his gates were always open and that the security operatives were never even visible while he is at home.
Hear him, “Policemen are not strangers. We know the security challenge in this country and we know a lot needs to be done by the federal government. Then, you must concede the fact that I do not live in Nigeria and I think I will rather go around with policemen than be kidnapped.
“But if you come to my house my gates are always open, you won’t even see the policemen around. So, I am actually close to the people, I am accessible, I walk freely on the streets.”
The US-based businessman now urged the federal government to do the needful towards combating the deteriorated security situation in the country. “The only advice I have for them is to do the right thing. They should have the interest of the masses at heart and do the right thing.”
He was asked while PDP is putting so much effort in the campaign when the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) isn’t participating in the election.
He retorted: “We just don’t want it to be like the regular way of conducting elections. We want to make it transparent and we don’t want to deceive ourselves, so, we actually want to go round, to gauge the pause of the people, reach out to people and we want people to vote for us.”
However, he rejected the idea that it was all part of the 2023 general elections, submitting, “I wouldn’t say that, we are taking it one step at a time, it might be part of it but the most important thing is we are doing the local government election first, we are campaigning round the wards and make sure we come out with good results.”
The Executive Director of Femi Onireti Foundation also expressed confidence that the masses are behind their party, disclosing that the crowds at their rallies have been massive. “Honestly, it has been awesome because seeing the crowds, seeing the people coming out, I mean there is no one that will not like PDP because we are making impact in the society. Oyo state is witnessing tremendous positive change. This is obvious.”
So, Onireti was quick to dismiss the claim that Ogbomoso had not really benefited from Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration, noting, “Looking at LAUTECH (Ladoke Akintola University of Technology), that is a good example, there was a time a PDP governor was there, we couldn’t get LAUTECH for Oyo state; APC government was there for eight years and despite the fact that APC was the governor in Osun state too at the time, they couldn’t also get LAUTECH for us, but in a spate of two years Governor Makinde has achieved this and this says a lot because a lot of effort was put into it and we now have LAUTECH. This will cause tremendous boost to the economy of Ogbomoso.”
Reminded that though LAUTECH now belongs solely to Oyo state it has come with a proposal to turn the institution into a multi-campus one, which appears retrogressive for Ogbomoso, he opined, “Honestly, I am not an educationist but I know he (Governor Makinde) has Special Adviser on Education, and trust me, he knows how to make the best decision when it comes to LAUTECH issue.”
He was unfazed by the fractionalization in the Oyo state’s ruling party assuring that elders of the party would resolve the grey areas, adding, “that is another beautiful thing about PDP, there are mechanisms to resolve all matters.”
The philanthropist was asked if he was contesting in 2023 and actually why his interest in politics in view of being relatively rich. His response: “If contesting will make me get closer to the people, yes, I will. Serving the people will make me fulfilled in life. But I can’t say I am rich, God has blessed me but I want to get closer to my people. I want to be able to affect their lives and when I get to where I want to get to we can do that in a lot of ways.”
He was confident that Makinde will have a second term, “Yes, I am 100 percent sure.”
When told that Ogbomoso as an instance, has a lot of political bigwigs perching in the APC, portending a mammoth challenge, he noted that the good works being executed by the incumbent would pave the way for him in 2023. “When we look at the tremendous work the governor has done, it is so obvious, look around us and I believe our people know the right judgment to dispense when the time comes.
“They so much believe in our governor, and I believe 100 percent the governor has worked, and come 2023 he is going to be reelected as governor of Oyo state.”
The Femi Onireti brand is a variety just getting a foothold in Ogbomoso and so, he was asked how much he felt the brand had been embraced. He remarked however that he couldn’t assess himself noting it was a gradual process. “Hmmm, we are still trying to do our best but we cannot talk about ourselves, we await other people to tell us how much they have embraced us but it is a gradual process, it is a continuous process, we are still doing our best to see how we can impact the society more.”