Muyiwa Olumilua is son of the erstwhile governor of old Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua. He is among the aspirants jostling to contest next year’s governorship election in Ekiti State. In this interview with HENRY TYOHEMBA and BLESSING BATURE, he took time to explain what informed his quest to succeed Governor Ayodele Fayose as the next governor of Ekiti State.
How would you rate the performance of the current PDP-led Ekiti State government?
I do not intend to antagonize the PDP government nor the governor there right now. Governor Fayose who is the present governor has his own mindset. People voted him and largely a lot of people are happy
with him. Though quite a lot of people who have not been paid salaries and they are quite upset, but I believe he still has his own findings and knowing him on a personal level, I still give him respect as the governor of my state, which I’m duty-bound to do, considering that he is like an elder brother to me. So I will not antagonize him, but what I’m promising is that, when we get there, we will build up the structures and correct the mistakes that we believe the PDP government is making.
Government, as I always say, is continual. It flows from one government to another, regardless of which party is in power, so when APC take over the government in Ekiti state, we will try to correct as many mistakes that the present government has made and we are giving to make life worth living for the citizen of Ekiti state.
What would be your agenda in road infrastructure?
Well, I’m saying it categorically, that during the tenure of Governor Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti state had one of the best road networks into the whole of
South west; a lot of money, efforts, time, was put into construction of these roads and because of the good roads in Ekiti, most of the people coming in from the north were passing through Ekiti, even now and you know these roads, because of the texture and the use, they are trying to break down. They are tending to collapse. What we are looking at is to build these roads all over again and we are going to tour them. It might sound like a crazy idea, but the truth of the matter is that it takes money to maintain these roads, so if you are going to pass through Ekiti state and you are going to use our roads, then, I don’t see any reason why you should not pay a tour to it. You should pay a fee and these monies we be used to maintain these roads.
How does Muyiwa Foundation operate?
Actually, Muyiwa Olumilua Foundation was started to fulfill a childhood dream. My childhood dream had always been to put smiles on the faces of people. People in this case are the less privileged , you don’t need to put a smile on Dangote’s face because he is already smiling, but the common man; those that find it hard to live on a daily basis, those who find it hard to make to meet daily needs, the foundation is to try and make life more substantial for them; to make life worth living, because you know, the truth is that things are very tough for a lot of people. When average people like us hardly meet our daily needsat times, you can imagine what people like that are going through. So that is the essence of the foundation, to try and make life more abundant for the less privileged people; men, women, and children.
How is your foundation working with UNESCO in reducing out-of-school trend in Nigeria?
Let me start by saying I am one of the friends of UNESCO. I started as a goodwill ambassador for a project UNESCO then later I was upgraded to a friend of UNESCO. So now there is a Read-and-Earn project under
UNESCO. What that means, is giving people the ability to go to school and study and make a living. Now UNESCO, Muyiwa Olumilua Foundation, SDGs,
UBE commission and Education 2030 have come together to look at how we can reduce the incidence of dropping out of school by the children. So the programme essentially is in three different categories. One it has to do with education of the children. Number two is that since the education of children is the primary concern of a mother, then the mother has to be healthy to take care of these children and send them to school, so it has a health aspect. Number three is that if you have a healthy mother that doesn’t have money, then the whole objective is defeated, so the number three aspect of it is how to empower these women. Empowerment in the sense that those that have businesses that they presently engage in, how can we boost their businesses in terms of financing them. For those who do not have any skills, then there will be skills acquisition and also loans to help them acquire the choice of their trade and some working capital so that at the end of the day, we will have a healthy mother who is earning an income and who can take care of the education of these children without having drop outs of school.
You declared your intention to vie for Ekiti state governor come 2018. What are your plans if you get the ticket and eventually win the governorship election?
You see, the primary focus is how to create wealth in Ekiti, make Ekiti state self-sustaining and modernize it to a large extent. Now, these three things I mentioned, have sub-heads which are many. If you are talking about creating wealth, how do you do that, we look along the lines of agriculture, we also look along the lines of tourism, boosting education that will make it attractive to people from other states and if possible outside the country. We are talking in terms of ICT development. One of my dreams is to make Ekiti state core value of Nigeria. You all know Ekiti people like reading, that is why we are called the fountain of knowledge in Nigeria, so we want to live up to that name, let it not just be a name for the sake of it, but to actually translate into real terms. Let people know that these people are actually the fountain of knowledge in Nigeria. So along these lines and some other facets and in my manifesto, that is how we intend to create wealth in Ekiti and now when you create wealth, then we are talking about the state being self-sustaining. Self-sustaining in what way? presently, Ekiti state is almost 100% dependent on federation account allocation. If we don’t get any money from the Federation Account, the state will collapse. We will not be able to pay salaries, not to talk of embarking on capital project. Looking at that it means the state is not viable, so we want to make it viable, then again, we want to increase the standard of living of our people. A lot of people in Ekiti live well below the poverty life we want to improve the lives of our people. There are some basic things that people should have which Ekiti people lack and which we want to make available to them.
Over 25 aspirants are already jostling for APC governorship ticket in the state. What stands you out among others?
Number one, I will say my pedigree speaks for me. That is an advantage that I have. My father was once the governor of old Ondo State as Bamidele Olumilua so people know his antecedent and his performance is there for everyone to see, so based on the principle that a lion cannot give birth to goat, people know my father will believe that if he could do this it is most likely that his son under his tutelage will do something just as good or possibly even better. Rightfully, Baba is still alive, so he is always there as a reference point. Secondly, we are talking about what stands me out as an aspirant, number two I have been a member of the party right from the beginning. I have been progressive, now the term of progressive truly has been bastardized, because once you join APC then you are a progressive, but I don’t believe that is true, being a progressive state of mind, it is not just a word, it is not a nomenclature that can be used for anybody, because you are in a party. You might be a member of APC and still be a conservative, but I’m a progressive person and I have always being, so that one alone speaks for me as well. Number three is that I believe that in terms of academic qualification I have read enough.