Tunde Eso is a political scientist and author of African Security Solution published in UK 2012. In this interview with OUR REPORTER he spoke on the situation in Osun state, opportunities for youths with regards to politics and his plans to offer visionary leadership if elected as governor of the state.
Can you tell us why and what prompted your decision to seek for the post of Osun State governorship seat?
What prompted me is the passion I have to serve the good people of Osun State with a view to providing equal opportunities for all as I have been involved in various life impacting projects. If this opportunity is offered me to serve our people, there shall be multiplication of such efforts which will ensure youth empowerment, good welfare package for civil servants, bursary and scholarship award for students, skill acquisition by men and men, respect for traditional institution, industrial growth and security and general improvement of quality of life.
I am fully committed to providing an enabling environment for business growth, development and social integration if elected. I have often considered myself a visionary which became clearer at the age 19. Visionary leaders are compassionate and humane and my desire is to provide visionary leadership to my people in Osun state when I become the fifth governor of the state, by the grace of God.
What are the qualities you think you have that will endear your people to you?
With my constant discussions and interactions with fellow youths here in Osun State, I have discovered that they do not desire to have the following categories of individuals to lead the state at this time: anyone above 50 years of age; anyone who has soiled his hands while in government; anyone who has deprived youths of their fundamental human rights; they don’t want money bag politicians who will in the bid to canvass for votes buy off our conscience and at the end oppress us; would-be politicians who reside abroad and don’t understand the antics and aspirations of Nigerian youths. Finally, youths want a visionary candidate who will offer opportunities to live quality life.
I have been involved in youth leadership for over 20 years apart from my involvement in human development and nation building initiatives to ensure that good governance, unity, equality, probity, selfless service, maintenance and respect for rule of law is entrenched in Osun State and Nigeria in general.
Do you have trust in the electoral system of the country?
I am supportive of the electoral system, but there could be improvement with emphasis on reducing cost of politicking. Politicians see politics as another business venture and so will not mind spending huge sums of money to get there which they hope to recoup eventually.
Any politician who spends more than the stipulated amount for any political position should be disqualified henceforth.
I advise Nigerians to be more supportive towards INEC, but criticise them when necessary.
As a young aspirant, do you think you stand any chance of making headway in your aspiration considering the fact that Nigerian politics does not offer youths opportunities to contest for elective posts at the highest level?
Yes, I have the chance to win. With God on my side, I will become the fifth Governor of Osun State. It is a nurtured vision with facts and I am fully prepared. We are in a season of change. In Osun State, there is a demand for change where youths are allowed to inject new political thinking that will provide for social integration, industrial development and political stability among many. As I speak with you, I have my coordinators in each local government and meetings are being held regularly. I know I cannot do it alone; I therefore seek the support of like minds and I know and believe that when we come together, we can make Osun State great.
Have you vied or held any lower political posts before now? If no, will you say it is a good decision for you start with the governorship?
I have vied for councillorship positions when I was much younger, but I was later invited to run for same position in 2007. In 2014, I was invited to run for Osun state governorship position by one of my admirers, but was advised by my people to contest as a member of House of Representative or Local Government Chairman. I opted for local government chairmanship. Unfortunately, the party under which I contested lost to the opposition and we all went back home to re-strategize.
However, few months ago, some youths and elders from Osun state came and persuaded me to contest for the next governorship election of Osun state since they believe I have what it takes to rule the state. So far, God has been helping us in this direction.
With your declaration of interest to contest for this exalted seat in your state, you have sent a strong message. What is it that you think you want to change about Nigerian politics with this bold step?
I want to change the continuous recycling of old and tired politicians who believe that without them, we cannot achieve something better. They have deprived youths the opportunity to grow and become leaders of tomorrow especially concerning governance in Nigeria.
I am sure in Nigeria, this is the first time someone as young as I will be bold to come out and say he has a vision and yet we have been clamouring for visionary leadership.
I want to prove to the world that Nigeria is the giant of Africa by using my bid to change our mind-set positively and make a difference in our political engineering.
Do you think that things have been done well in your State? What plans do you have for the State for its all-round development?
To the best of my knowledge, every leader comes with an agenda to lead his people apart from his or her party manifesto. Those who have had the opportunity of ruling the state performed to the best of their ability. I will take it up from there for the sake of continuity, but will change those things that do not conform to our ideological aspirations.
Your aspiration is a good source of inspiration for the youths. What will be your advice to them?
Presently, in Nigeria, the youth have become frustrated and utterly depressed. As we all know, “a country that neglects its youths is toying with the best part of its future”. However, in affirming a stand for Nigerian youths, it is right to say that power is not easily attained; one must struggle for it. The youths of this country will not get power on a platter of gold. So they must come out of their cocoons and begin to make sacrifices in search for power. Research has shown that most Nigerian youths do not belong to any political party and those who are there do not attend ward meetings, yet that is where major decisions that that affect us directly are made.
Therefore, youths of this country must be resolute. They should be interested in how they are being governed and must be interested in policy formulation and implementation. They must be interested in their political and economic environment. That is the only way they can capture power because power is not given; power is taken. The youths of this country must show capacity and interest in every aspect of our national life and they must also make sure that they react to the environment. Power ultimately belongs to God. But when man wants it, man must labour for it because he that refuses to labour should not eat. Youths constitute about 69 percent of our population and about 75 percent of voting rights in this country. They have the strength, energy, dynamism, intellectual capability and more importantly, the population to capture power. So, in this regard, I advise dynamic youths to stop criticizing without proffering solutions to problems of our dear democracy and pick up a contest in their respective locality to contribute to policy formulation and implementation.