Ifeoluwa Adesanya is a successful businessman who worked as a data processing administrator at the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS). He was born to the royal families of Odugboro Adesanya (Sagamu) and Asekunle Osude (Ilisan Remo) in Ogun state, in January 1968.
Adesanya started his primary education at St. Paul primary school, Makun Sagamu, Ogun, and also attended St. Barnabas primary school, Ilisan, still in Ogun. He proceeded to Agbele Community High School, Sagamu, Ogun, Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, and Adventist Seminary of West Africa, Ilisan. He obtained a diploma in computer science at Yaba College of technology and an LLB from Birkbeck, University of London (LLB Law).
He had a stint with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) during the 1993 general election, where he served as a returning officer.
Nine years later, he got a job as a team leader in the server quality testing department of IBM, a renowned IT firm. He was with the company until 2003 and by 2004, Adesanya floated IFADOL Links Consult UK. Presently, he is the managing director and CEO of IFADOL, which has offices in Nigeria and the UK.
In this interview, he speaks about his political ambition and his quest to succeed Ibikunle Amosun, incumbent governor of Ogun.
Sir, at what stage did you make up your mind to contest the 2019 election?
When the incumbent government in Ogun state came into power it was our general belief they were ready to take the state forward in terms of development in every area of life endeavors, but after the first term in office, it was a general failure. Since then, we have the opportunity to evaluate their promises against what they have delivered. It has been a total destruction of human value and everything that was expected. it is very glaring that leaving governance issues to politicians in keeping the control of our society will not lead us out of the present situation we find ourselves. It is my general belief that when you are critical of a certain situation within your society, sometimes humanly, we strongly believe in criticising those who are in control or those who seem to be in charge of the situation – expecting them to introduce a concept of change that could salvage the hardship in question.
I believe criticising this situation is not enough and one must be prepared to get involved in order to contribute or effect to such changes. Often time, we are left waiting for this change that never comes. However, this is why I decided to come into the race to present myself as the messenger of the change required, hence, my decision to contest for the 2019 gubernatorial election in Ogun state. I intend running as an independent candidate.
If the powers that be see you as a threat and offer you the ticket of a popular party, will you reject it?
In principle, my answer to this question is yes, YES I will reject it.
Because I have come out to run for this gubernatorial election without no godfather and also remember the offer is not for the people and NOT to their benefits. Rejecting such an offer will send a clear message that I am not for sale and equally such an offer will always come with a set of conditions that will incapacitate me from delivering my promises to the people for a better future and our dream Ogun state. Sincerely I don’t believe it is wise to sell our people again because this hardship must come to an end.
Given the fact that independent candidacy has not come of age in our society, how prepared are you for the challenges?
An independent candidate is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. As long as all political parties are allowed a level playing ground, the challenges that arise will be met and addressed without fear or favour. My personal integrity and character with deeply rooted patriotism will eventually overcome money politics which I see as one of the huge challenges in our society. I am prepared to present the electorate with the benefits of independent candidacy by showing my credibility and fact file of my character. Together we will find a way of building a bridge of understanding that will connect the people with my core values such as transparency, accountability, equality and protecting lives and property by creating a secure working society for Ogun state.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s message to the youth was that those who desire to reach and keep their places at the top in any calling must be prepared to do so the hard way. And sincerely I am ready.
What are the factors that stand you out from other politicians?
My consistent lifelong desire for transparency, equality and fairness is to build a diversified society that includes young and old, men and women, the working class, professionals and people from all walks of life. This has been my main dream for a future Ogun state. Politicians are seen as corrupt individuals as we all know and with an attitude of selfishness and mismanagement of public funds, I strongly detest such attitude and this can no longer continue. I always stand for justice, equality, fairness and accountability in all my dealings and this is how I built my integrity in both the private and public sectors. I have always believed and been involved in helping our people whenever the need arises. Through the Aremo Ifeoluwa Oluwole Adesanya foundation, I have been able to offer my sincere contribution towards the helping of our people that are in need of medical care, educational support and several community developments within Ogun state.
Which message do you have for the electorate?
Power must change hands!
Let me begin by saying we are on this journey for a reason and together. It is not me against the people, but the politicians against the people. My mission is to come and effect a visible transparent change into the business of governance in Ogun state, and my belief is that with the people’s support we are ready to take off to a better destination where we all hope and dream Ogun state should be in terms of economic, social, sustainable secure environment, education and health services in future.
My message is simple. Take control of your future by giving yourselves freedom from what I see as slavery from the political cabal. All we see is the reintroduction of the same recycled people in different forms. The electorate vote is their veto power and their means of decision in deciding who takes their future serious and to the next generation.
This is why I am asking for the electorate to elect me as the next Ogun state governor. I remember Chief Obafemi Awolowo said – for our people to enjoy good governance, they have to decide in fighting against the power holders and come together to secure their freedom… and the time is now.
What inspires you as an individual?
What inspires me is the patriotic culture that is embeded in people like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Dr. Tai Solarin, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, General Murtala Muhammed and those who fought sincerely for the freedom of our people. This group of people believed in service to humanity and I share the same patriotic belief in service to humanity as a good leader. I am also inspired by the French President Emanuel Macron who has showed the benefit of having a fresh ideology by using his leadership and the youthful energy to turn the French economy around in such a short term of being president. This indeed is a great inspiration.
Restructuring is one of the key words in the polity at the moment, can we have your take on it?
Restructuring is about making sure that every part of Nigeria has a fair share of the resources in a simple definition. My belief is we need to create and shape Nigeria as a country out the chaos of its history. It is very easy today using digital footprint to establish the national population in Nigeria by knowing the actual number of its citizens. This would enable those who are in charge of restructuring in deciding what each part of the country is entitled to. This must be done in a fair context.
So, in a nutshell, I will say restructuring is a true reconstruction of a dilapidated Nigeria.
What’s your view about state policing?
Generally, state policing is just an example of giving the right remedy to a certain sickness. If you look at every state in Nigeria, we have different cultures and societal beliefs which are different in concept from state to state. State policing includes patrolling roadways, enforcing state laws, maintaining peace and assisting the local governments to carry out and enforce local laws as at when necessary. This invariably would improve the level of security within the state and increase the confidence of the citizens as regards their safe environment. We should not forget that a secure state is an asset for investors. My belief and view about state policing is that this will eventually create a modernised secure environment.
Are there other things that you like to say that we haven’t addressed in this conversation?
I will want to use this medium to reiterate that I am not a politician. I am a policy player. However, I have come into this platform to win this election for the people and create the type of government that will be acceptable to everyone in the state by ensuring that all the wastage that is usually embarked on by politicians while in government are eradicated and also move the focus of my government towards investing into our youth as we know they are greatly marginalised which has invariably affected every area of our lives. This must be supported by creating a sustainable and conducive economic environment that will be attractive to businesses and investors. This would help us in creating substantial employment opportunities; we must be the generation that will shape our existence.