Ifedayo Oyedele looks taciturn but he is patently resolute. An administrator par excellence, he has a track record that awes. He is an Executive Director in the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and a governorship aspirant on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming Ondo State governorship election. In this interview with The ISSUES Magazine, he sheds light on his desire to transform Ondo State, among others. Excerpts:
* Tell us what we don’t know about Ife Oyedele’s candidacy?
Presently, I am the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited. I was born in October, 1958 to the family of the late Chief M.O Oyedele. My late father used to be a very prominent community leader when he was alive; he was a constable father in the whole Western Region, he was a public private commissioner public service commission in the whole Western Region and also in Ondo State. My mother is a retired primary school teacher, she is still alive to the glory of God. I attended Government College Ibadan, I attended the Polytechnic of Ibadan for my basic studies, the University of Ile-Ife, and the University of Lagos where I graduated as an Electrical Engineer. I am a fellow of Nigeria Society Organisation, I served at Local Govt in Okitipupa some years ago, I am married and blessed with children.
* In the Niger Delta Power Holding Company where you are Executive Director, what have been your major achievements so far?
Niger Delta power Holding Company Limited is the company owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 States of Nigeria and Federal Capital Territory as well as one Thousand one Hundred and Seventy Four Local Governments area in Nigeria. Being an Executive Director Engineering and Technical Services, I have about nine departments under my control; namely, Generation Project, Transformation Project, Distribution Project Department, Environment Community Relations, Civil Skill Operations, Gas and Fuel Department, Operation and Maintenance Department, Information Stamp and Documentation and others; I have ten power plants, eight of which are functioning in Olorunsogo in Ekiti State, Omotosho in Ondo State, Edo State, in Delta State, Bayelsa State among others.
So to talk about my achievements, it is to talk about the operations of the ten departments I managed; you can imagine what it takes?, it is like you’re running and managing the whole state for managing the whole ten power projects; on a work day, one single power plant generate at least 10% of what is put on the national grip everyday, and you should understand what it means to amonize the operation, monitor and control all and others. We have done extensive distribution projects, distribution virtually all over the countries. We have done sanitation projects. We are commissioning, you will recall that we just commissioned some stations in Abeokuta and others; we are about commissioning 132/32kb sub stations in Lafia; but working with my colleagues as executive director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited, we have been able to stabilize the power sector in Nigeria.
* Why are you into the politics of today ?
Well, I do have a byline which says grumbling about change dies not change anything. You can grumble from now till kingdom come; about road, not having water, power in the house and so on, it will remain grumbling and complaining. If I was a young man and I am happy we are having this conversation now, my mother told me recently that as a child, “when you are giving an assignment to carry out, you don’t complain and you carry out the assignment very well”. I have always believed that when one is given a task, he has to carry it out very well, 3rd can’t affect 6th unless it comes into the shoe, so you can complain that Nigeria is this, Nigeria is bad, unless you participate in the decision making process. So what I have done in my mind is that as a resident on a street, I contribute my quota through the landlord and residents associations, as an old boy from my alma mater, I contribute my own quota to my Old Boys Association and for many years I have been active as a member of the Government College Old Boy Association in Ibadan also in Abuja. As an alumnus of the Univeristy of Lagos, I have been a member of national executive council, I have been the national secretary of the alumni association; as a member of Ikoyi Club. I was made as an adviser at the main house, so my philosophy is to participate in every decision making process and to show example; and that is why I am in politics, to contribute my quota to the improvement of my land and the people of the country, we can do all these and still maintain the high level of integrity, that I said all what I have been saying and the associations I belong to; you may wish to find out my background in Lagos. I have left my mark in all of those places, that is why I am in politics.
* Are you not worried by the raging crises in your party, both in Ondo State and at the national levels?
We should be worried. Every right thinking person especially for one who is a member of the merger committee, I am one of the founding fathers of the All Progressive Congress. I am privileged, opportuned to have been the one who designed the logo of the party so you can imagine how painned I am by all that is happening today, but most of these things are originated by people who were not part of us at the beginning; they don’t know the vision of the party, the green that we have for the All Progressives Congress, and I remembered we made all of these points. Chief Olusegun Osoba especially emphasised it at the merger committee that the reason we want to come together is to ensure that we do things differently and the people of this country will not forgive us if we do not intervene at the time we may. You can imagine that in the first time of this administration, all of those who caused the problems were those who joined us from the other parties, and when those people left and we won the election all of us left behind should be able to work together. So I am not happy, but I believe, praying and hoping to resolve our differences like matured party.
* Being an aspirant in Ondo guber race, what are your plans to alleviate the economy of Ondo State?
I am determined to rebuild our party in the state, to re-unite the people of Ondo State to ensuring accelerated and rapid economic development and to develop potentials; because one of the greatest resolve that we have is the human capital which is second to non, anywhere in the world, I planned to run a compact government, I plan to resucitate the judiciary of the state, the security, to ensure regional integration, also to ensure that the local government administration improve and also tackle the deficiency in our educational system, to bring sport back, not only as a mean to increase but a means of revenue generator. On health, we are to ensure that water is available to nooks and crannies of Ondo State; the women affairs, youth developments, special focus for people with disabilities, to rebuild our art and culture and to rebuild the infrastructure of the state, to ensure that we have regular power supply. I have done the visibility studies and know what to do and ensure that the Ondo State need to have access to regular power supply, I need to revive information technology and bring agriculture as a means of generating revenue in the state; Agriculture in Ondo State can generate #1.8 trillion every year, we will establish acres of land, establish modernize farm supplements, integration of more farm holders, we will look at mechanisation of agricultural establishment and so on, we will develop our sectors, I will revive manufacturing sector in the state; in six month, I am going to establish different small scales that will ensure that we can produce many things in the three geo- political zones of the state.
* Why do you think you can perform better than the incumbent governor of Ondo State?
Experience, integrity, competence, discipline among other qualities, are all potentials in me. I accept that nobody is asking for too much but we begin to do things in a way that will affect the productivity of the children. In most of the secondary schools in Ondo State now, there are only about three teachers and maximum about four- five permanent teachers, and the remaining ones are the teachers employed by the parent teachers association and some of the citizens of the state and they are paid between #10,000 and #20,000 in a month. What productivity do you expect from such school? When we come into government, we would address such deficiency, one ensuring we match whatever the Parent Teacher Association are spending on the auxiliary teachers. We shall double their earnings, we will organize an interview training for the teachers and those of them that pass the exam will be registered as teachers in the state; therefore, we are giving them the confidence, telling them the productivity in teachings. We must build standard laboratories across the state which is part of our manifestos.
* What is your message to the good people of Ondo State?
The good people of Ondo State have seen the performance of others, now they should work together to ensure that they bring in the best.