Ekiti 2018: We’ll Turn Ekiti-People’s Dream to Reality - VOK, APC Guber Aspirant
Victor Olumuyiwa Kolade is an Efon Alaaye born Legal Practitioner of about three decades. He was born in 1962 to the family of Mr and Mrs Kolade of Ejigan quarters in the heart of Efon Alaaye and cut his first academic teeth at the Saint Peters Nursery & Primary School, Ilesa in Osun State between 1968 and 1973 before proceeding to Hope Grammar School, Bolorunduro same town in 1974 where he obtained his West African School Certificate. He then went to the Oyo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS), Ile-Ife in 1980 where he completed his Advance Level. He studied law at the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) and graduated in 1987 and was called to bar in 1988. He is now the Principal of Victor Kolade Chambers where he illuminates the path for younger lawyers to reach the very height of their dreams. Kolade, an acknowledged strong member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is also a member of the South African Chambers of Commerce & Industry.
In this exclusive interview, this resourceful social crusader exposed his relevance and contributions to the development of the society and his active roles on many fronts such as mentoring of youths and sponsorship of indigent but poor students. He speaks about his intention for Ekiti and the need for the progressives to come together and take over Ekiti from the caprices of Governor AyodeleFayose who he said has no finesse of a Governor. Excerpts;
With your background as a successful lawyer why do you think the next thing is to go into politics?
What a question! Well, I must tell you that I didn’t just wake up and said the next thing is politics. A lot of things were put into consideration and I am sure you would agree with me that a lot of water must have passed through the bridge before someone decides to join the murky water of Nigerian politics. Yes, I agree with you that I have been an active legal practitioner for almost 30 years with an impressive record of over one thousand cases won here in Nigerian which no doubt speaks about our competence and brilliance. However, let me tell you that I believe in the words of the late legend, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who said; “it is not life that matters but the courage you put into it”. So it is not my success as a seasoned lawyer and barrister of repute that matters but what I am about to give back to the society. Therefore, I want to categorically tell you that I didn’t just wake up and feel that the next thing is politics but I was pushed by my desire to raise the standard of an ordinary Ekiti man using the instrumentality of power. My mission is clear; to push the frontiers of Ekiti State, using the machinery of a functional and responsive government in a way that will give grace and honour to the time and resources expended on our society-friendly projects. In the same way, my vision is driven by the patriotic desire to bring succor to the greater majority of the citizenry and harness the collective aspiration of our people to achieve our collective dream of greater Ekiti State.
But is it not possible to touch the lives without necessarily going into partisan politics?
Why not? It is very possible but it depends on the angle at which you look at it. If you want to help people at your personal level which is in small proportion to using the instrumentality of governance, this is possible. I have been doing this over the years and many people can attest to it. I have adopted many children and trained them up in the school and some professionally. In the church, they usually refer to me as Oko Opo because of my care for the widows. Annually, I organize a get together for them apart from taking care of their need from time to time. In my legal career, I have also tried to be accommodating as much as possible in touching lives within the realm of legal practice as I have lost count of the number of cases I did pro bono ie free of charge in defence of the poor in court, the moment I noticed that you are a less privileged person. I have tried in my God given capacity to put smiles on the faces of over five hundred orphans in the pursuit of education.
How did you conclude that the only place you could further help the less privileged is the governorship seat?
You are not the first person who would ask me this question but the fact remains that I have had wide consultations with the stakeholders and a broad spread of shades of opinion before making up my mind to contest for the governorship of Ekiti State. I have consciously come to the point of presenting myself to serve our beloved Ekiti State as a competent and trusted Governorship aspirant of our great party – the All Progressives Congress (APC), not only to build on the gains of our democratic sojourn of the last eighteen years, but also bring to bear my exposure and experience as a legal practitioner, social crusader and philanthropist. With our enormous human capital and natural resources, Ekiti State deserves nothing short of the best.
What are your previous leadership experiences?
I have never taken active political position in partisan politics but I have held several positions of responsibilities right from my profession to my community and the church of God. I am a member of the Lions Club District 404 Nigeria; Member of Lagos Country Club; Member of top 25 International Club; Member, EfonAlaaye Consultative Assembly, Lagos Branch and a financial member of the All progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti and Lagos States. In the service of the Lord, I am the Deputy Chancellor of The African Church International. I once served as a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). My untiring drive to improve the society is quite visible and these contributions have earned me many honours and awards. As at today, I am a patron to many social bodies at home and abroad amongst which are; the Hunger Busters, Global Sisters and the UNILAG Alumni Association which has fittingly bestowed on me with the UNILAG Award of Excellence.
What are your plans for Ekiti if you emerge as the Governor?
As a matter of fact, my road map of development touches on practically all facets of the socio-economic strata of the State which is well captured in an all-embracing Agenda; a genuine desire to join hands with the progressive elements in bridging the gap between dreams and reality; with clear emphasis on a government of method to be built on a template that promises a genuine paradigm shift that would usher in a new era of responsive and proactive governance. The journey to this point in our political history has been a mix-grill. Our beloved State is once again on the threshold of history in the sequence of political events since the advent of the fourth Republic in 1999 and here comes another opportunity to make the difference in our choice of candidate for the governorship of Ekiti State. My charter with Ekiti State is hinged on a socio-engineering template that seeks to fulfill the following objectives; one, industrialization of Ekiti is a task that must be collectively done. For Ekiti to maximize its economic potentials, conscious efforts must be made to develop the industrial base of the State. Ekiti is desirous of rapid economic progress and therefore cannot afford to neglect industrialization. Massive investment in industrialization will go a long way in generating employment opportunities, utilization of all types of resources, promotion of education, training and research, improving the productivity of labour and balanced regional development.
The flagship of the industrial revolution would be Made In Ekiti Products; a strategic agenda and philosophy that would push for Ekiti based industries to produce competitive products such as biros, pencils, rulers, exercise books and other consumable items needed by children of school ages. The synergy with stakeholders would revive the Ado Textile industry where school uniforms would be produced for the consumption of pupils and students of schools in Ekiti as well as Ankara fabrics, which for all intent and purpose would be the official attire of the Governor, who would lead by example in propagating and promoting the gospel of using made in Ekiti State products. Two, a public housing activity is a catalyst that can provide affordable housing scheme for civil servants and low income earners. Our government will pursue the expansion of home-ownership as core policy in our housing programme mainly because it promotes economic growth as much as it encourages savings and investment. Affordable Housing for the citizenry has strong economic logic; it generates economic growth, creates wealth, employment and helps in redistributing income and serves as a macro-economic stabilizer during periods of recession.
Three, the agricultural revolution which our administration will bring on stream will have something for every genre of farmers and non-farmers in Ekiti with emphasis on mechanized farming which will come complete with its inherent value chain – processing, marketing and distribution of crops and livestock. As a strategic sector, agriculture across board would be given a pride of place to boost the economy and commensurately increase the IGR of the State. Four, our administration will provide a new director for our youths and women empowerment through the 21st century approach. It’s an approach that recognizes that wealth creation opens doors of opportunities for able-bodied men and women. This is a crucial step and very essential in harnessing the full potentials of Ekiti State. Empowerment of women will help our women-fold to attain healthy and fulfilling lives and the ability to operate at many levels of society, from the most personal to high levels in the public domain.
Six, the success of any government is measured by how impactful it has been in the day to day life and living of the citizenry. Our education policy would be holistic in its implementation and proactive enough a measure that would address salient problems in our education system which includes dilapidated infrastructures; competent teachers and syllabus that would add depth and breadth to formal learning and vocational training. Seven, sporting activities will not lag behind as it is part of our social re-engineering drive. It would be elevated and given priority. Number eight is primary health care. Our government would deliver our Primary Health Care Programme in a variety of settings, by multiple types of providers which would include experienced and competent Medical Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, Pharmacists and other allied health professionals. Apart from building state of the art medical facilities, the all-encompassing PHC would provide a 24 hours essential first point of contact in our efforts to keep the citizenry across age brackets in good health condition, improve their quality of life as well as serve a veritable community-based, multidisciplinary, patient-care centre with a focus on both the treatment and prevention of various ailments.
How would you rate the Ayo Fayose-led administration?
I think what should be paramount to any serious aspirant now is how to clinch the ticket of the APC because by the special grace of God, Fayose has successfully created soft-landing for any credible flagbearer of our party as a result of his sheer hypocrisy and anti-people policies. So I would rather want to concentrate on how we can build our party and capitalize on his weakness. Yes, it is good to move closer to the people by giving them what they want but certainly not by deceiving Ekiti people that you are part of them; eating groundnut and rice by the roadside whereas your children are in Lagos riding the state of the earth cars.
Ekiti has just wriggled out of face-off with petroleum marketers, now it is crisis between the governor and Olukere of Ikere Ekiti, do you consider it wise for a governor to always engage in crisis almost on daily basis?
Any government that is bedeviled with too much controversy will lose focus. Fayose has lost focus if it ever has any. If a government is fighting A today and tomorrow, you fight B, next tomorrow you fight C rather than giving them dividends of democracy, such government can never achieve anything because it would have exhausted its strength on irrelevant things before it gets to D, E, F, G and H. Look at the issue of Petrol, one would have expected the governor to follow a proper way of conflict resolution. As a governor, you are the head of the Executive but in a situation where you want to be the head of the judiciary and the head of the legislature at the same time, making laws and executing it, that is what you get – crisis. There is an agency regulating the erection, establishment and and operation of filling Stations in any State for God’s sake! As a governor, you don’t need to go about with touts and policemen to harass petrol dealers and demolish filling stations and supervising gangsterism before you are acknowledged to be an Action Governor! All these must stop! In a sane environment, even when there is a breach, you see government instituting civil action against an individual not taking laws into your hands by saying; “I’m the Governor, if you build your fillings station on the road, maawo! Maa de tunwo!” Petroleum is just a sector of the economy in the State, so if other sectors commit a breach, he would have demolished their structures too and paralyze the business sector of the State. Anyway, I am not surprised, he closed down banks too! Very sad. I can tell, you come 2018, we will take over from this uncultured governor.
What is your take about zoning arrangement in the State?
To the best of my knowledge, I know that zoning usually comes up after the governorship flagbearer of the party has emerged. This is when the leaders normally come around to say “let’s zone the deputy governor to this place, let’s zone the Speaker to this place or the Secretary to the State Governor to that place”. I am not aware that the leaders of the party had ever sat down in the past to say the governorship candidate should be zoned to a particular senatorial district in the State, not in any of the political parties since the creation of Ekiti State. Please, I stand to be corrected. If that is the case, it will be wrong and self-defeatist. We can agree on zoning in principle, nothing is bad in this but not that anyone will take it as a prerogative rights and as such try to say that some parts of the State should be precluded from vying for the governorship seat of the State. As far as I am concerned, I would not want to belabor this issue of zoning until the sale of form starts and this is brought up by the authority in charge of the sale of nomination form. I have gone to the leadership of the party at the State level and shown my intention, they welcomed me and gave me the go-ahead to use the name of the party to drum support for my governorship ambition without any let or hindrance. So, if the highest ruling body of the party in the State has created a level playing ground for all aspirants without any discrimination, why should I now come here to be pre-empting them? I think that will be very unfair to the leadership of our party at all levels.
Your most embarrassing moment
I have had several embarrassing moment in life but there was this particular one I cannot forget in my life. It was when I was in Form Five in my secondary school days and I wanted certain form to be signed for me by my school Principal. Then I had this eye problem and my eyeballs were always reddish. I took the form to the Principal but he refused to sign the form sending me out without telling me the reason for such action. Just as I was going out of his office, I saw one of our teachers and explained to him what happened. Immediately, the teacher took the form and went to the Principal because I was loved by all the teachers for being cool headed and quiet in and outside the class. On getting to the Principal, he told the teach that he refused to sign the form for me because my eyes looked like someone who had already smoked indian hemp. The teacher exclaimed and vouched for me, telling the Principal that I was a quiet student, brilliant and highly respectful and that I never had any case of disrespectfulness or disobedience to the constituted authority since I was admitted into the school. Up till today, I have not forgotten this incidence and neither could I forget it easily. The lesson in this is that appearance at times could be deceptive and that we should not always judge by someone’s appearance.