Bayo Adelabu is the grandson of the famous Ibadan politician, Adegoke Adelabu who is fondly referred as Penkelemesi. The young Adelabu who is equally a very distinguished Nigerian, having attained great heights in the accounting and banking world wants to succeed the incumbent governor of Oyo State. This young thorough-bred professional and intellectual will be counting on his family’s good name, his personal achievements and support from the entire people of Oyo State.
He speaks on his ambition and how he will transform Oyo State.
Q: Could you tell us the genesis of your life?
Ans;I was born in ibadan on 28 sept 1970 to the family of late Penkelemesi Adegoke Adelabu who is the first son of Ibadan known grassroots politician. I lost my dad very early; I was just 4 years old when my dad died in 1975 then all of us moved to my grandmother’s place because my dad was the only child.
I had my primary school education at Ibadan city Council school which later became Ibadan Municipal Government Secondary school, which is at Ibadan North East today. I was born in Okewure which is in Ibadan North.
After my primary school between 1976 and 1982, I got admission into Lagelu Grammar School where I was between 1982 and 1987. I left the school with distinction and I gained admission into the Obafemi Awolowo University in 1988 to study accounting. I graduated in 1992 with a first class in accounting. I did my National Youth Service in Delta State and later joined first Atlantic bank as a financial controller from 1999 to 2003. I left the bank in 2003 to First Bank between 2003 and 2007 where I rose to Assistant General Manager. I left First Bank for Standard Chartered bank, where I rose to the position of Group Regional Manager between 2007-2009.
Then during the regime of President Good luck Jonathan, he appointed me as the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria,
then I did that for 4 years, before I decided to disengage to participate in active politics in my home state.
I am a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, among others.
I have a lot of international experiences. I have attended almost all the best business schools in the world; Harvard, Stanford, University of Colombia Business School, London Business school, among others. So, I’m who you can call 360-degree finance and banking professional. I have done consulting, operated in the banking industry and also regulated the banking industry. I got married in 1995 to my dear wife, Oluseyi and God has blessed us with four children, three boys and a girl.
Q: You have been richly blessed, what else do you want in politics?
Ans: I admit to the glory of God that I have been blessed in both my carrier and profession. But there is a stage in a man’s life where what he wants is beyond himself, family and your loved ones. He starts thinking of the impact he can make in his environment.
If I ask you about the richest persons in the 80s you may not be able to remember. But if I mention the name of such people like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Awolowo, Ambode, Tinubu, you would quickly remember because of the impact they made in the society and their contribution to humanity which goes beyond the financial gains. I want to contribute more to my community and I have been encouraged by the good work of the incumbent government, he has done more than enough. I want to take the baton of leadership from the incumbent governor to continue where he has stop. I believe we can live a good life here in Oyo state without going to Lagos, Dubai or anywhere else. I also came to politics to serve as an example to younger ones, young professionals. To show them that politics is not what you cannot touch.
Q: Unlike the financial sector where you are most experienced, politics is like a new area to you, what do you have to say?
Ans: I disagree with anybody that may see me as a green horn in politics. Politics is in my blood. I was born in a highly respectable political family. My grandfather was the father of grassroots politics. Let me also say that all of us, I mean everybody is in politics. There is politics everywhere, both in the family and in the cooperate world.
Politics is about creation and protection of both personal and general interests. I have got to the peak of my career both in finance and in accounting. I am in a better position to play politics. However, I am not a novice in politics, it is inborn, our father paid the dues.
Q: Is that why you suddenly resigned to go into politics?
Ans: My resignation was not sudden. As a thorough-bread professional, I would not allow my aspiration to disturb my engagement. I should be able to comply with the laws of the Central Bank of Nigeria. I tendered my letter on the 16th of April, and between the time I resigned and the time of collecting form is about a month and I would not go to collect form as the deputy governor, that is what decency and professionalism demand.
Let me also tell you that electoral processes need a lot of work that you need to do. I cannot seat in the office as a deputy governor and also be going out soliciting for votes, it is not decent. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well; that is why I resigned from the job. It is also an opportunity for another person to go there to display his/her skills.
Q: How do you intend to change the economy of Oyo state?
Ans: Let me tell you, Oyo State is one of the states with the greatest potentials, both in natural resources and otherwise, given the proximity to Lagos. We have everything to make Oyo State a buoyant economy.
In terms of agriculture, we are the largest state in the South with the land mass of 28454sqkm which is even bigger than the five states in the Eastern states. We have a vegetation that can accommodate every kind of faming, this is something we can leverage upon. We also have solid minerals in Oyo state, we can explore them. We are blessed with good neighborhood, we have security. And people can keep their family in Ibadan and work elsewhere. And there are good schools in the state. With all these, we can generate a lot of revenue.
Q: How do you think you can bring back the lost glory of the state in academics?
Ans: The deterioration we have seen in the area of educational infrastructure has been as a result of many more states that have been created out of the state. Concentration shifted from Ibadan because all these states have to develop their own capital territory. There are three thing we need to build a good educational system in the state.
We need the building infrastructure, we need the teaching and learning aids and we need the personnel. I can still tell you today that Oyo State can still boast of having the best of schools in every level.
These are what the incumbent governor has provided. Note also that to build a vibrant educational sector is not what should be left to the government alone; it should be more like a partnership between the government and the private sector, which is why the incumbent governor has introduced the School Governing Board system (SGP), where you have the old boys of each school taking active part in running the school. You can also have the community taking part in running the school. If we can do these, I believe that we can go back to the qualitative education that we use to have.
Q: Which area do you think the incumbent governor have not done well that you could improve on?
Ans: There is no any area that I would say he has not done well. I would rather say that there may be areas that need improvement. No government can do it all at a time.
For instance, a government may choose a construction work which would require months to see the foundation, especially on a land that is waterlogged. So, the time he is using to set the foundation, it would look as if the person is not working. It takes time to come out of DPC. This is the model that Lagos state has used. Tinubu started the foundation, we didn’t give him so much credit. When Fashola came, he started building on the foundation, and we saw Fashola as a performing governor. Now Ambode have just spent three years, painting the project. But to people, Ambode is better than Fashiola. That is how government is. Nobody can go and finish everything during his tenure; you can only do your bit move and on. But we must be able to get a trust-worthy successor so that we do not witness one step forward, two steps backwards.
I would look at the areas that he has started something such as education, security, tourism and commerce. Those that he has not folly focused because of other thing he is doing, we focus on them; such as the generation of internal revenue and taking agriculture to the next level. If we can do that,
believe that we would have taken the state to the next level and build our state as a state where investment can thrive.
Q: Many of APC chieftains have left the party to another party, don’t you think this can have negative effects on the part comes 2019?
Ans; Thank you for that question. APC as it is today is still the strongest party in Nigeria and I don’t think anybody leaving the party now will affect the fortune of the party in an election that would take place in the next 6-7 months. But politics as I said before is all about creation and protection of interests both personal and general. These people that are having issues with the party can be likened to having crises in the family, it is like a husband and a wife having disagreement; ask them to explain their reasons, they can never fully tell you about that. After all, when the going was good they did not tell anybody. Now that they have issues, the should also sit down and resolve it amicably. Divorce is never the first option in marriage, there is also a way of resolving conflicts.
But in OYO State here, our fathers have set up a reconciliation committee to look into the grievances of these people called Unity Forum. A lot of them have shown interest in coming back. That is politics, when you make your grievances known, the party would address it. Politics is about compromise. I can assure you that even those that are claiming that they have joined other parties would still come back because there can never be a better party in Nigeria than APC.
Q: is it true that after you tendered your resignation letter, the EFCC and ICPC invited you?
Ans: For what reason? In my entire life I have never stepped into a police station. I all my working life, one naira that belongs to the organization has never been mixed with mine and as a Deputy Governor of CBN, I didn’t have a budget that I can be called upon to come to explain. My approving authority is not more than 10,000,000.; so, there is no reason why EFCC should invite me. I have never been involved in any controversial issue. So that is a rumor that an opponent may have generated to distract us from our project.
Q: What is your final word for your people in Oyo State?
Ans: My final word here is to thank them for accepting me into their political fold. The way they have encouraged me. Our people are now more educated, exposed. They now know what it takes to have a good leadership. Everything is no longer about the money any longer but about the credibility of the candidate. The integrity and the antecedent of the candidate, what success the candidate have made of his career, what is he known for. I can tell you that my family have not disappointed the state and it will not start from me.