Why I Want To Govern Ondo- Former Youth Leader

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John Akinmurele

Why I Want To Govern Ondo- Former Youth Leader

 

John Akinmurele, a retired senior operative of the Department of State Services, DSS, and former Student Union Leader, in this interview with Kazeem Akintunde, shares his passion for Ondo State and his determination to change the narrative

 

How would you assess the performance of the new administration in Nigeria under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

Candidly, there is a strong connection between a personality and his delivery, just as a lion will not give birth to a Sheep, the same way a sheep will not give birth to a lion.

Permit me to make a synopsis of my personal perspective of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR). This is a unique leader of uncommon courage and dexterity. A survivor of many political landmines. A distinction holder from the classroom of political tests and examinations. No matter what other views are about him, it cannot invalidate the fact that he is immeasurably committed to human development. He ensures that his friends and associates thrive limitlessly. He keeps relationships in a healthy and mutually rewarding manner. Even his traducers and political enemies accepted the fact that he performed brilliantly and exceptionally well when he was the governor of Lagos State. He has been tried by many Courts of competent jurisdiction on sundry allegations, but not one has ever convicted him. He is bold and daring. He is creative and economically savvy.
Now, having established that it is the characteristic nature of a lion to roar, then it is safe to say that PBAT is synonymous to good governance and qualitative delivery.
On his assessment in office so far, the president has taken some bold steps all aim at salvaging the nation’s already battered economy by long years of policy summersault, misapplication of resources and inadequate political will by successive administrations.

For one. his public declaration on the mysteriously shrouded fuel subsidy regime is a bold one. His declaration to unify the exchange rates is a decision necessary to liberate the Naira from the bondage of those bent on manipulating the system for their pecuniary gains. The dissolution of respective governing boards of parastatals is capable of moderating hitherto bloated personnel charges.

Again, his plan to inject N125b to support micro, small and medium size enterprises and the informal sector, is another bold move. He has also put in place mechanism to fund hundreds and thousands of SMEs and start-ups. This will go a long way to reinflate the economy. The manufacturing sector is not left out and many others too numerous to mention here.

Above all and most important is the fact that PBAT is providing leadership on all fronts. He is responsive to the concerns and plights of Nigerians. For instance, his intervention in the political logjam in Ondo state, rescued the State from a near comatose situation.
Meanwhile, the masses are actually still awaiting the direct impact of these policies on their daily living. Therefore, my candid suggestion to Mr President in this light is the need to further harness the quick deliverables within the shortest possible time frames so that Nigerians, having been waiting for a responsive leadership would be awakened to the new era of tangible deliveries.

You led as President of the Student Union Government during your undergraduate years at the University, would you say this set the tone for the path you have now chosen?

 

I would agree to that. But I’ve had a similar trajectory from my childhood. Taking a cue from Theodore Epp words “ Our strength is seen in the things we stand for; our weakness is seen in the things we fall for” From the Primary School, I noticed the pattern, to Secondary School, to the Polytechnic and to the University.

As a matter of fact my emergence as the President of the Students’ Union in Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA) was significantly boosted by my previous involvement as the Deputy Speaker of the Students Union in Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo. In like manner, the struggle for the emancipation and revitalisation of Nigerian Students when I was the Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Joint Campus Committee (NANS/JCC). Ondo and Ekiti States in the preceding year to my emergence as Students’ Union President in AAUA cumulatively crystalised my victory at the polls.

Flowing from the above, I can say without doubt that I’m a work in progress in the hands of God. So, my coming to signify interest to salvage Ondo state at this particular time is clearly an agenda of God to liberate the State. I have to key into the plan of God.

You left a promising and lucrative security career at a point when your prospects of rising to it peak became rather obvious. Was the lure for politics responsible for your decision?

 

A fundamental truth is that “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ― Anais Nin.
Like you stated in the question, I was not having a bad time in the State Security Service (SSS) also known as DSS, when I resigned. Oh! The future in the Service was very bright too. But the courage to resign was stronger. I have always had the feeling to serve my state in an elective position. That passion has been there for many years.
Meanwhile, Aristotle said “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. After a deeper reflection on my trajectory especially in leadership and service delivery, and having identified that poor governance cum poor service delivery are the major bane of development in my society. I decided to make myself available for the Service to my people.
Far beyond the lure for politics, ” when you know yourself you are empowered, when you accept yourself, you are invincible” Tina Lifford.

Given the age range of the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo and the Minister of State for youth, Ayo Olawande, both representing Ondo state, do you think this speaks to a generational shift in the leadership equation of the state?

 

Of course, I want to believe that it is a divine trajectory. Look around all over the world. Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom, Jacinder Arden of New Zealand, Gabriel Boric of Chile, Sanna Marin of Finland, Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Xavier Zamora of Andorra, Nayib Bukele of Salvador and the list goes on. These are young men in their early 40s. The quality of leadership delivery is not disappointing.
Governance requires energy and creativity. I’m not advocating that our resourceful elders be sidelined. I’m a crusader of best practices in all that we do so that the elders could be proud of us and believe in our capabilities. For instance, the exploitative and outstanding performance of Dr Bunmi Tunji Ojo in the Ministry of Interior, hitherto is seen and acknowledged by all irrespective of age.
I’m going to unleash the incredible energy of the youth as well as contemporary creative initiatives to make Ondo state a true place of pride for all and sundry.


It is believed, on the basis of power rotation in Ondo State, that it is the turn of the southern senatorial district, where you came from, to produce a governor. Is it correct, as rumoured, that you are interested in vying for the governorship seat in your state?

Oh yes. I’m genuinely and courageously prepared. I am available to be that instrument in the hands of the Almighty God to restore liveliness, responsiveness, patriotism, shared prosperity, human capital development, community development, social services, welfare, infrastructural revolution, rural and urban development, happiness and many more to Ondo State come 2024.

Being an indigene of Ilutitun in Okitipupa Local Government Area in the South Senatorial District of the State, I do not believe that I’m swimming against the tide in the sense that many stakeholders are of the opinion that power should shift to the South.

In all ramification, I’m a vessel prepared and preserved by God to take Ondo State to a destination of political and economic stability.

Nigeria electoral system is absolutely made for money-bags given the challenges of vote buying, official malpractice, imposition and the likes. How prepared are you to deal with these challenges and what’s your level of leadership preparation for governance?

In one of my recent interviews, I was asked to express my view on the effect of political desperation and inordinate ambition which is believed by some quarters as fueling the crisis in Ondo state. And I immediately talked about positive energy. If some persons are desperate to cause a crisis because of any reason, whether ambition or greed. Why can’t some of us be passionate and determined or ‘desperate’ enough to prevent evil? In this case, we need more positive energy to resist all these evil desperations; vote buying, official malpractices, imposition, compromised by INEC staff and the likes. “The ordeal of virtue is to resist all temptation to evil” for instance, the slogan of dibo ko sebe, meaning (sell your vote for a pot of soup) started/popularised in Ondo State, who says we cannot also reverse the trend from Ondo state too?

“Evil triumphs when good men do nothing” Thomas Jefferson. We need an army of desperate good people, those old men, young men, old women and young women that will intentionally determine that no compromise of any kind from their polling unit.

My brother! By the power of God, I’m fully prepared to win this race. My trust in God and the 13 years in the SSS, a foremost intelligence agency in this country, is not for a mere ride.
To address the second part of the question about my preparation for governance. I’m experienced in the workings of government in and out, from the Local Government, State to Federal levels. By divine arrangement I have visited the entire thirty-six (36) states of Nigeria including the FCT. I’ve been a Security Adviser in the Federal Ministry of Health when Professor Isaac Adewole was the Hon Minister of Health. Also in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Abuja. I have international exposure, I have visited and lived in many advanced countries of the world.  I’m currently the CEO of John Akinmurele Foundation. A Foundation that is undertaking a multi-million-naira construction project of a digital literacy centre, to be donated to the Community in Ilutitun, Okitipupa LGA. I was a pioneer member of the Nigeria Youth Parliament in 2008. I cannot afford to fail my generation.