Oyo state commissioner for industries, science and technology, Dapo Lam Adesina started his new appointment with an exclusive interview with IBPulse.com’s managing editor, Paul ADEPOJU.
He revealed his agenda for the ministry, the spate of corruption at Shooting Stars Football Club, the late Lam Adesina, governor Ajimobi and his political career as all eyes are focused on 2015.
IBPulse.com: What was your reaction when you heard you are coming to this ministry
I see it as another opportunity to serve the people. Though it’s with lots of challenges but we are taking them one after another. I resumed to the ministry the first day to see what is going on at the ministry and to fashion out the job.
When you are leaving the ministry, what do you want to leave behind?
As much as possible, everyone wants to be a success story, everybody wants to say that when he came, he saw and he conquered. But for me I won’t be able to say specifically that these are the things we would do because I’m still trying to maneuver my way around to know what’s on ground and what needs to be done.
In a couple of days, I will be able to come up with my blueprint like I did while I was at the ministry of youth and sports on the things I want to get done with timelines.
What are the potentials that you think the state stands to benefit from this ministry?
A lot, that’s why I said I would come up with my blueprint in the next few days. When I come with that, people will know the potentials that abound here.
How will the experience at the sports ministry prepare you for your new assignment here?
When you have gone through a system, you would have learnt a lot. I believe what I’ve learnt would come handy in my roles here.
You recorded quite a number of impressive successes at the sports ministry, especially the teams in different sports. In football, Crown FC gained promotion back to the Premier League. The basketball team also gained promotion in more than 10 years to the premier league but the Oluyole Warriors; Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan was relegated. What happened to the team and what could have been done to avert the sad outcome?
There is nothing that could have been done if you have heard the story. The team went wrong when I went on leave and it’s obvious there is problem with the composition of the board of that club.
How do you explain that when I was around the club was 11th on the league table and when I went away and got back, the club was 19th. How do you explain that for about a month that I was away, they played about 13 matches and won only 3, how do you explain that?
How do you explain that immediately I came back, to show you that there is something wrong somewhere, they played 10 matches and won 4?
Immediately the governor dissolved the cabinet, they played 5 matches, they lost 3. That means that out of 18 matches played when the board was in charge, they won only 3 out of the 18 matches. And when I was in charge, out of the 10 matches played we won 4.
Since the issue is with the management, it ought not to affect the performance of the players. Look at big clubs like Chelsea FC that battle with management issues all the time, yet they remain top contenders for the Premier League and Champions League titles. Why is the problem with 3SC management rubbing off on the players’ performances?
The management recruited all the 42 players; I’m not supposed to know. I wasn’t part of the recruitment process, my own is just to approve whatever they bring to me, looking at it and being prudent about it. If there is need to make I cuts, I do that.
And there are questions that were raised by me. How will the players that would do the job and the coaches go by road and you the board members will say you are flying to the place? Where is that done?
How will you bring a player that will play just one match and you will pay him all his money and some people are playing 20 matches and you are not them up to 50% of their money. How do justify all of those things?
How do you explain that somebody that is a board member is using his hotel for the services of the club and along the line you are telling us that he club owed you N16 million for 3 months and you didn’t pay yourself when you were there as a board member now a new government comes you are now telling us to come and pay because we stopped that fraud.
You are telling us we spent N16 million in 3 months, we got a place that is bigger than your hotel for N2 million. How do you justify that? And we are saying Nigeria is not a good place, Nigeria is bad, and Nigeria is not doing well. How will Nigeria do well when somebody is spending N16 million in 3 months and they are not even paying the players that are doing the job?
Somebody came and stopped it and you want to blackmail the person because he’s doing the right thing. These are some of the problems.
It’s just simple analysis. When we were there, the sports council broke a nineteen-year jinx of the basketball team going to the DSTV Premier League and they were t
hird all through Nigeria.
hird all through Nigeria.
We also broke a jinx of thirteen years of the basketball team going to the National Sports Festival and they won silver for the first time in 13 years.
We also promoted Crown FC of Ogbomoso to the premier league.
All of these teams too have board, how did we do all that? Why is it just Shooting Stars?
The Shooting Stars we are talking about, we are the ones that did all the things that they call achievements today.
We got the Dubic deal that they pay them millions of Naira every year now. We did it for the first time in the history of Shooting Stars. The board was not there when we did it.
We bought 2 buses for them, 2 official vehicles thus ending the era of renting buses when they are travelling.
We started the era of paying salaries as at when due, we don’t owe anybody. We did the website that was adjudged second best in Nigeria. We bought camera for them, those ones started fighting us again because normally they will say they are going to rent camera per match is almost N10,000. When we bought a brand new camera for them, they started fighting us that we have blocked their way of eating.
We bought a brand new dispatch rider for them also when they will say they are renting okada for every time they say they are going to dispatch stuffs. We bought a brand new okada for them to stop all those wastage.
We stopped the era of wasting N16 million on hotels; we reduced it to N1.2 million because we have to be prudent. We renovated the Lekan Salami stadium for them. It’s one of the best which is why DSTV comes to show their matches because they described it one of the nation’s most TV-friendly stadiums.
What else do you want the commissioner to do, or na the commissioner go wear boots enter field? We did our part as the commissioner. We won’t wear boots and enter the field.
You came to the big political scene when you contested for the federal house of rep. As you evolve as a politician, where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
I’ve been in politics since 1998, a lot of people didn’t know because they didn’t find out. During the era of Alliance for Democracy (AD), I was the pioneer secretary of the students’ youth wing of AD in Ibarapa East local government. At that time I was a student of The Polytechnic Ibadan Eruwa campus, before I became president. Along the line, I was into politics until 2011 when I contested for House of Reps.
If you have done something for about thirteen years, you would have had a lot of experience. People would just sit down and just criticize without finding out information.
Somebody that has been in it since 1998 and now came out to contest in 2011. The question you should ask is ‘when did you start politics’ not he is young or because of somebody.
Ask him what he knows about it.
My idea is service to people to the best of my ability. Nobody is a saint, nobody can get 100%. But as much as possible we should be above average. Then let’s try as much as possible to create a platform where young people could also aspire taking into consideration that we’ve also aspired and we’ve gotten one or two things done. Let’s join hands to build the country.
You’ve said it severally that you learnt a lot from the late Lam Adesina. As a politician, what do you think distinguished him from his contemporaries?
It is service to the people; selfless service to the masses. That’s what it is. When you serve the people, they may be difficult at first. People may blackmail you for doing the right thing, people might crucify you but when you stand on the fact that truth is constant all of the time, at the end of the end you will be justified. People will praise.
And you must also remember that there is nobody that was not crucified. Even Jesus Christ came and they crucified him, Mohammed came and they crucified him. So who are we? We are humans.
Just do your best to the best of your ability. Try to turn around things wherever you find yourself and at the end of the day you will be celebrated.
Do you have any plan to contest in the 2015 general elections?
I’m not God. We are still in 2013, 2015 is still a long time from now. Let’s do the one we are doing here first.
How did your first day on the new job go?
If I want to talk about it, I will say Paul ADEPOJU from IBPulse.com came and interviewed me and we had a chat.
What’s your first impression of the ministry? Are you impressed with its current state?
If I answer you now, you won’t come to interview me again. So I want you to come again so you can come and hear that one.