Mr. Femi Adekanmbi was Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Special Duties in the administration of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko. In this interview with OSAGIE OTABOR, he explained why he defected from the PDP to the APC and why Akeredolu will win the October 10 polls. Excerpts
Why did you step down from the governorship race?
After due consultation with my family, my supporters and most especially I considered the fact that I loved my Owo Kingdom a lot; I took the decision not to contest again and principally I reflected on why I really wanted to contest. Is it not to provide infrastructure, to bring development? I discovered Akeredolu is doing a wonderful job. He is my brother and he is doing well. I decided there was no point contesting against Akeredolu. I didn’t want to contest for contesting an election.
You announced your resignation from the opposition PDP. Why did you leave the party?
I took the decision not to contest because I considered the interest of the larger Owo Kingdom. I then decided that I must join hands with the governor to make sure he is returned for a second term. He has done a marvelous job. I am impressed with his achievements. I then thought that Owo, Ondo North must complete its second term. Ajasin could not because of certain reasons. This time around, the present Olowo of Owo has brought the needed peace to Owo and I don’t want to be counted as one of those against my people; that was why I left the PDP to make sure our son is returned for a second term in office. I took a tour round the state and I was marveled at Akeredolu’s performance. The second reason I left the PDP was because I was part and parcel of the defunct ACN. Tinubu is my political mentor. I joined the APC because I want Tinubu to become President of this country in 2023 and I must start his work. The first task is to make sure Akeredolu is re-elected.
Won’t the deputy governor be a major factor in the election?
The Deputy Governor is my good friend. We were in the PDP together. Man must allow God take control of life. You must not run your race. You allow God to run your race. The Deputy Governor is pushing his luck too far. Former Deputy of this state, Oluboyo, did he get what Agboola is getting from Akeredolu’s administration; he would have been a happy man. What does the deputy governor want Akeredolu to do for him? He was given all the political power in the state. Akeredolu gave him security vote and was even paying his wife. Majority of political decision were taken by the deputy governor. Majority of the contract were through the deputy governor. He is not a threat to Akeredolu. The Zenith Labour Party cannot withstand the APC.
You previously campaigned for Jegede, why the switch to Aketi?
In 2015, I was the prominent promoter of Jegede. I didn’t want to betray Mimiko. I didn’t want to be called a betrayer. I took Jegede everywhere. We made a mistake then but there was nothing anybody can do. The Central did eight years and for the governorship to go back to the Central zone would be very unfair. Talking about Akure agenda, how many Akure indigenes are here? Majority of the people in Akure are foreigners. All persons from all parts of the state are here. I told Jegede he cannot defeat Aketi. To beat Akeredolu will be a difficult task. We started this together but at the right time, Jegede should wait and wait for his time. How many of the over 260,000 votes in Akure do come out to vote. There are 160,000 votes in Owo. We have never recorded 100,000. Has Akure ever recorded 100,000 turnout? Jegede is my good friend. Aketi has been my brother. I was part and parcel of Aketi’s election against Dr. Mimiko in 2011. I was his Director of Security but God wanted Mimiko to have his second term. But this time around, I cannot leave my people. I love Owo more than any other thing. I love the peace happening there. Because of this, I cannot work against the wish of Owo people. Take it or leave it, Akeredolu is performing. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. What Akeredolu has done in his first term is amazing. I went to the South and saw what the governor is doing. At the right time, Jegede will become the governor but not now.
Last week, Akeredolu cried out about fake documents being circulated against him. Don’t you think these things will work against him?
What are those documents they are circulating? PDP and others have been saying Akeredolu is practicing the government of the father, the mother and the son. Tell me which governor will not do that? The best people you can trust in your life are your wife and your children. If I am a governor today, it will be my three sons I will trust.
Are you saying my first son who is studying Computer Science and he is good, are you saying I cannot bring him in to Head my IT section? Is it not salary? When Adefarati was there, the wife and son, Gbenga supported him to succeed. Agagu came in and his family was all over the place. His brother was Chief of Staff. During Mimiko time, there was cry that in-laws were taking over everything because his children were still small. There was no way he could have placed them. It was his in-laws that were over the place. You must trust somebody. Akeredolu’s son, Babajide did well for his father in the 2011 campaign. He is sound and you don’t expect the father not to listen to him. That is the truth of the matter. The governor’s wife has performed well through BRECAN.
Are you in APC to contest in 2023 elections?
I did not join the APC because of elections. I realised it is not by holding elective offices that you serve the people. You serve the people through various ways. For now, I am not interested in any elections. I want to focus on serving the people in any capacity. I must not win elections to serve them. My ambition now is to be part of the team that ensured Akeredolu’s re-election and make sure Bola Tinubu becomes President in 2023. Tinubu is the best in the APC and the South West to become Nigeri’s next President. APC will not die. Very soon, you will see massive defection to the APC even those that left are coming back. It is the PDP that will die. There is going to be a serious fight between Wike, Tambuwal on the one side and Atiku on the other side for the 2023 ticket. That is what is killing the party. In APC, there is a way they settle issues and the party has a dynamic way to settle disputes. By the grace of God, Tinubu will be the next president.
What about agitation by the Southeast?
You look at the fact that the party mechanism must be obeyed. Primaries will be opened. The Southeast has the right to contest. I can tell you we will convince Tinubu to contest even though he may not have made up his mind. Look at what he has done in Lagos. He developed human capacity. Once he knows you are sound, he will make you his friend. I can tell you, Asiwaju will win.