A commentator, Dayo Joseph, highlights the challenges that will confront the Minister of State for Niger Delta, Senator Tayo Alasoadura.
Many stakeholders heaved a sigh of relief, following the appointment of Chief Omotayo Alasoadura as the Minister of Niger Delta.
Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and top politicians in Ondo State have expressed divergent opinions about the appointment.
While some expressed delight at the appointment, those in the opposition camp within the ruling APC and other political parties described the appointment as a way of giving the governor a leeway ahead of next year’s election.
Alasoadura, who represented Ondo Central Senatorial District in the Eight Senate, was initially made Minister of State for Labour and Employment and later, deployed as a Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs Ministry.
The latter appointment has not only lifted the spirit of party members, it has made the riverine people of the Ondo State to express gratitude to God Almighty and President Muhammadu Buhari, who nominated him.
In fact, the people of his immediate constituency; Akure South and North Federal Constituency, have rolled out the drum to celebrate his emergence.
Before his emergence, the people of Akure Kingdom comprising Akure South, Akure North and Ifedore Local Governments have complained about marginalisation by the Federal Government.
The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, had always made case for an Akure indigene to be made a Minister. He told Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he visited the state that Akure sons and daughters should be considered for a federal appointment.
The grouse of the monarch was that no indigene of the area has emerged as Minister since 1999. Former Governor Olusegun Agagu from Ondo South Senatorial District was made Minister after he was defeated by Chief Adebayo Adefarati in 1999. He resigned in 2003 to contest for governor.
Since then, the state had produced Mrs Mobolaji Osomo from the South, Dr Olu Agunloye and Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) from the North, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and Mrs Mobolaji Johnson from the Ondo Central, and Prof Claudius Daramola from the South.
Even, when the slot was zoned to the Central District, it had always gone the way of Ondo Kingdom, making the people of Akure Kingdom to allege marginalisation.
With the appointment of Alasoadura from Akure Kingdom, the fray nerves of the people of the kingdom have been calmed.
Opposition camp in disarray:
The nomination of Alasoadura has given Akeredolu an edge ahead of the battle for the ticket of the ruling APC’s ticket in next year’s election.
Before Alasoadura, no prominent person from the Ondo North eyed the job. Akeredolu hails from Owo Local Government Area in the district. That was the reason nobody expected that the position would be clinched by anyone from the zone.
Although the Deputy Governor, made Agboola Ajayi hails from Ondo South, prominent indigenes from the Southern were interested in the job. They included pioneer Chairman of APC in the State, Duerimini Isaacs Kekemeke, Ife Oyedele, the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) and Chief Olusola Oke, a former APC governorship aspirant and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate in the 2016 governorship election in the state.
There were speculations that Oyedele was the favorite of an Abuja Mafia for the ministerial slot. Regarded to be a close political associate of President Buhari, Oyedele was said to be the person who designed the logo of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
The NDPHC boss, who hails from Okitipupa Local Government Area, was also said to have played an important role in the formation of the APC in 2013. It was learned that a group of Abuja politicians sought the ministerial job for him so that he would be well-placed to displace Akeredolu in the 2020 election. But Alasoadura overcame the odds and clichéd the sole seat for the state
This development made APC members to express satisfaction with the nomination of Alasoadura. The major reason is that they saw him as a party man who would dispense patronage to members of the party unlike in the immediate past where the representative of the state at the federal cabinet was unknown to the party members.
The Chairman of the party, Ade Adetimehin, said the members were elated that a man known to them have been made minister.
Adetimehin in a statement by the Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye, charged the minister to further energize the Federal Government to improve on security, and measures aimed at bringing succor to Nigerians. He noted that it is a way to dispel misgivings and negativity among the populace and rekindle their hopes and confidence.
Adetimehin said it was not by accident that President Buhari selected one of the experienced politician in the state, having served as Chairman of Boards and Parastatals, Commissioner for Finance and a senator.
He was the Director-General of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in 2012 and played key role in his emergence as governor in 2016.
Adetimehin said: “The onus is on him to justify the huge confidence reposed in him by conceiving and implementing workable policies, particularly in areas that are key to the overall interest of the people of the country and the state.”
The thinking of party members is that with the emergence of Alasoadura, the state governor would not be distracted as both the governor and the minister are in the same political camp. In fact, Akeredolu had asked the people to pray for the emergence of a political eggheads as minister. He said this during the thanksgiving ceremony of the Alasoadura.
Finding showed that the appointment is like taking the wind out of the sail of any conspiracy against Akeredolu. According to them, if the state ministerial slot had been secured by a foe of Akeredolu, the position would have been effectively deployed to whittle down his influence and probably chase him out of the Alagbaka Government House in 2020. To them, it would have enriched the foe with enormous political energy to wrestle the party’s nomination with the governor
Ondo South question:
The people of Ondo South district have expressed confidence in the ability of the minister to push their case at the federal level.
Alasoadura as a Chairman of the Forum of Commissioners of Finance pushed for the distribution of Paris Club fund among states of the federation which shored up the revenue base of many states of the federation. He was also part of Agagu’s administration that initiated the Olokola Free Trade Zone and linked the coastal areas of the state to other parts of the state.
The new Minister reacts:
Alasoadura has promised to apply his knowledge of mandate of the ministry to move Niger Delta region forward. Alasoadura said the ministry was not completely new to him, having been a member of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.
Speaking while resuming duties at the ministry, he also noted that his knowledge of the ministry’s mandate will give him the insight to move the Ministry forward. He expressed his delight to be in the Ministry and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the rare privilege. He also promised to use his meticulous skills to harness the uncommon brain in the ministry to develop uncommon approach to issues and ensure that all targets are m
Alasoadura is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants in England and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria. He is also a member of the Institute of Industrialist and Corporate Administrators of Nigeria, member of the Institute of Investment Management and Research of Nigeria, Fellow of the Institute of Public Administrators of Nigeria, Certified Fellow of Public Administrators and Management, and the Golden Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Finance and Administration.