‘Oyo State Should Expect The Best’ Dep-Gov, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan

Many know that Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, holds a degree in Civil Engineering, not many however know what he went through before he could achieve his dream of becoming a graduate. The Deputy Governor once worked as a labourer and even went as far as selling bread to make ends meet.
In this interview with Omi Tuntun’steam, made up of WOLE ADEJUMO, TUNDE AYANDA and OLAWALE AWE behind the camera, at his Oyo Road, Ibadan office, apart from narrating how providence and the quest to make Oyo State better brought him and Governor Seyi Makinde together, Engr. Olaniyan explained that the new government is headed by people who do not have obsessive tendencies.
He also spoke on how the experiences they have garnered over the years will help them in formulating policies that will restore the confidence people of Oyo State used to have in the government.
Excerpts:
How did you meet Governor Seyi Makinde?

We met by providence or you can call it destiny. We met on the political field. We met while we were playing the politics of how to move Oyo State forward by being at the helm of affairs. We met as competitors and funny enough, we ended up as friends.

You wanted to be Governor, so at what point did you decide to team up with him and why did you take that decision?

We both evaluated ourselves on the field and the space. We were over 40 on the field, at a point we were over 65 on the field. Life is a matter of give and take; if it is for the purpose of moving Oyo State forward, my brother, let me tell you, three people cannot be governor at the same time. So it had to be a matter of give and take. You know everybody has his own area of comparative advantage, so after analyzing with people, if you don’t have something else that you are looking for other than how to move Oyo State forward, we have two things in common; one, the task of getting the All Progressives Congress out of Oyo State, the second is that I prefer making life meaningful for the citizenry and Engr. SeyiMakinde’s number one task is to make life abundantly easier for the people too. That is another common area.
From the little time you have known him, how would you describe his person?
Perfect gentleman. He is a focused person, he is not loud. Being an engineer too, you know we have some things in common. If you want me to tell you one of them ,itis brilliance. That is a common denominator of people who can be an engineer.

Both of you are Engineers; having two Engineers at the helm of affairs, what should Oyo State expect?

They should expect the best. Look at the history of elections in the state, even during the time of Papa Awolowo, when you had a lawyer as Premier, a lawyer as his Deputy; we have never had it so good. Look at the gap between the winner and the runner up. It has never been so wide.
So, we know that people have reposed so much confidence in us and we know that we can give them the best. Engineering is about solving problems; we learnt technical engineering when we were in school but as you start working, you start learning some other form of engineering, which is social engineering. Politics is about social engineering; and these are not Governor and Deputy whose main job is politics. We have our second addresses; he has his own second address and this is my own second address.
So our outlook to development will be different from the way others are looking at it.
When results trickled in and it was announced that you won the election, how did you receive the news and what was your reaction?

I have a different opinion; after winning the election, I received it with a sigh that ‘hey! Isebere’ (work has started). Some imams and pastors came to congratulate me; luckily, they came at the same time. I told them that they should not congratulate me. I told them, this is not the time to congratulate. If after four years, we are able to deliver, then you can come and congratulate me because the task ahead of us is enormous. It is not yet time for dancing. After four years, we can say yes, we have been able to take Oyo State to an enviable position than we met it.
If after four years we can say when we came into government, in education, Oyo State was ranked number 26, now we have brought it to unit, when we came in, we know the decadence in the health sector, with all the noise the outgoing government is making, if we can say we have been able to transform it to something better, we can then be congratulated.
We went to Iseyin, we found an express road in the town. How do you get to that town? The road to Saki, you are constructing express, how do you get to Saki? What of the outlets to the express, what form are they?So if we can address all those issues with our knowledge and experience, then I can say yes, congratulations to us. We mean business and if you look at the Governor and I, we are not noisemakers and we give respect to elders.
I like Engr. Seyi Makinde because he will not constitute himself into ‘constituted authority’. He will be a servant leader.

You are an engineer, you have problem solving skill but even some of your supporters are scared about the decadence in some sectors; what measures will be put in place to tackle these things, for instance in the health and education sectors?

This is a government that can hit the ground running. You don’t have to learn the tactics of governance. Engr. Seyi Makinde is coming from the private sector; I spent 27 years in the public service. That synergy is what has been lacking. Cast your mind back to all the past governments, where can you get that synergy of a governor with private sector experience and the deputy with public sector experience? What else is Oyo State looking for? We need people’s prayers, our doors to be open for criticism, for advice. The Yorubas say ‘ka fi ogbonologbons’ogbon, kii je k ape agbani were’. (When you learn from the experience of others, you will appreciate the elders). We have been in town so we know where the shoe pinches the people. It is not difficult to turn all these things round. We suspect that is why they are rushing to spend everything, both spendable and the one that shouldn’t be spent, just to make sure they make things difficult for us.
But they have forgotten that we have the experience, we know what we want to do. Let me also say this, your background matters. What we went through, the suffering you endured while growing up should make you think of making life better for people, not make life more difficult.
The governor and I have something in common; you know they say “those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble”. Even before he was elected, Engr. Seyi Makinde has been making life better. I have worked as a labourer before, I once worked in a bakery and I even sold bread. Unlike some people who would say because they suffered while growing up, life should be difficult for everyone else, what we went through made us understand that because we went through it, we should find a way to change the situation and provide an enabling environment so that people can live better.

Credit; Omi Tuntun Magazine