Any Govt That Don’t Invest In Youth Invest In Crime And Vices – Hon Awude

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Honourable Dayo Awude is currently the Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Ondo State. In this interview with nationalTRAIL the youthful Commissioner who was Head of the State Scholarship Board, says his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would still win the coming governorship election in the state, despite All Progressives Congress, APC‘s threat, he also said that all who have decamped to APC would remain tenants in the party, just as he also spoke on many other issues. Excerpts:

Can you tell us your blueprint as the Commissioner for Youths and Sports in Ondo State? You know I just came in December last year, and that is about six months ago. Of course, there were a number of issues to be resolved even though I met a functional Ministry with two Parastatals. That is the Ondo State Football Agency and the Ondo State Sports Council. They were functional at the time I came. There were challenges. Number one is in the area of sports, the Akure stadium was banned because of some issues that came up during a League Match. The stadium was banned, and Sunshine Football Club was banished to Lagos State, and I felt that shouldn’t continue. For me, that was the first thing to attend to, because as footballers, if you are playing your Home matches as away. One of the first things we did was to ensure that the stadium was unbanned, and our team restored back to Akure, and within a month, we were able to accomplish that. As for my blueprint, Ondo state is noted for excellence in term of sports, and generally, you will recall that Sunshine Stars Football Club played Continental matches two years consecutively. Last year, we missed winning the League narrowly; we came sixth, because of some distractions. We were on top of the League for several weeks until about three weeks to the end of the league. Our blueprint is to ensure that we maintain a steady position in terms of being number one in Football and other sports. As I speak today, we have five of our Sunshine Stars players in the camp of the Super Eagles, and they are not just in the camp, the five of them start matches with the Super Eagles currently as I speak with you. That means we have qualities in the Sunshine Stars Football Club, and we will continue in that light to attract the best. We have a Soccer Academy which we intend to improve upon. That Soccer Academy produced the likes of Godfrey Oboabona who is now an international football star. Also, Adeniji who is a member of the Super Eagles is a product of our Soccer Academy in Ondo state. Seun Olulayo, a member of the Under-23 team that just played recently, is another product of the Academy. We have quite a number of them ditto other sports. Odunayo Adekuoroye is also a product of the academy, and today is doing exploit all over the world. She won Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games recently. She was in India recently. In fact, she is been all over and doing very well. Also, Anike Adeniyi is another star that we raised from the academy. She is a Gold medallist of the All African Games. So we are focused on raising them and not just poaching them, but we raise and make them stars. You are also to oversee the affairs of the youth. Can you brief us on the plans you have for youth empowerment in the State? Any government that doesn’t invest in the youth is investing directly in crime and vices. That we know, and it is very clear. So, investment in youth is not an option, it is the only way to go. If we fail to invest in young people, we are directly investing in crisis, because if we don’t build them, they will destroy the system, and this is a matter of time. My ministry is committed to youth empowerment. I have always said this, and I will say it again that one of the plans we have in this ministry is to change the orientation of the young people. That is the number one empowerment. Young people must begin to think right. It is not enough to sit down and bemoan the past, or the present. It is not enough to sit down and blame other generations. We may not be responsible for the way we got into this mess, but we must be responsible for the way we get out of the mess. So young people must begin to think towards that direction; they must begin to think that we must collectively find solutions to these problems. Nigeria today is a nation in crisis whether we like it, or not. Nigeria is a nation in crises, and as it is, unless something drastic happens, it is not going to be a good news. Our economy is getting worse day in day out, and those most affected are the young ones. The jobs are not there anymore, and looking for jobs has become a job itself. To some, looking for jobs for two, three, four, or five years has become an occupation, and this shouldn’t be allowed to continue. I met two guys recently, they are running fish ponds. These guys are graduates from FUTA for almost six years now, and they said they had been doing the job since they were in 200 Level. Today, they turn out 40,000 pieces of fish every four months. This means they turn out 120,000 pieces of fish every year, and the price of one fish is about 500 Naira, or more. When you calculate you will see that they make like 60 million Naira every year. All that will be required to raise those fishes is about 36 million Naira, and this means they make nothing less than 24 million Naira profit every year. These are graduates, so we must begin to think of work in that light. No youth should put on his shirts every morning and start looking for what that doesn’t exist. One of the primary things that we want to do is to re-focus the youth. If you empower a man from within, it truly means that you have empowered him. If a man is not empowered from within, if you give it to him in his hands, he will soon lose it. So we want to see how we can strengthen them, as well work on their minds. The time has changed so our thinking must always change. In the build up to the October governorship election in Ondo State, some loyalists of Governor Mimiko like Pius Osunyikanmi, Pius Akinyelure, Cecilia Ifayase, and a host of others decamped to the APC, do you think your party, PDP, will be able to win the election in the light of this development? Well politics is a
game of numbers, and everyone is free to talk. Anybody can say anything, but what is important is how connected you are to the people. APC can brag that they will take over power in Ondo State, because it is their free right to talk, but let us compare what we have here in Ondo State under PDP with any of the APC states, then that will form the basis of our argument. Of course they bragged and took over power from Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. They said he was a lame dug, they said he was clueless, and they took over power with all sorts of propaganda, but is the system moving forward today? Has Nigeria moved forward since Buhari took over in May last year? These are questions we have to ask ourselves. Today, a Dollar is 385 Naira, but when Jonathan left, it was 190 Naira. This means our Naira has lost its value 100%. We know how much things are sold now compared to what was obtained in the past. Our people are wiser now. Those who were shouting the Change slogan then are regretting now, because rather than seeing a positive change what they are seeing is hardship. Now the question is what do they want to offer here in Ondo State that is better than what we already have?. I believe that when the time of politics comes, we will play it, we will talk to the people, we will bring fact for fact and then the people will take a decision. I believe that PDP in Ondo State will still carry the day. In 2014, you tried to run for a seat at the House of Representatives, but you were asked to withdraw from the race. Many people, who didn’t get PDP’s ticket in Ondo State then, decamped to either APC or SDP but, in your own case, you stood your ground and remained in the PDP, and even delivered your Ward to your party. Can you tell us why you decided not to decamp? We have our different reasons for joining politics. I came into politics for a reason. That reason is to offer myself for service, and you cannot serve your people by force. Yes, it was my right to aspire, and i did so, but in the wisdom of the leaders of the party, they felt it should go elsewhere. I felt bad as a human being, and I expressed my disappointment to the governor, but it didn’t go beyond that. All I said was between me and him. I never went out to destroy the party, or to destroy him. You are not considering others if you want to destroy a party, because of your personal interest. Whoever has defected would have remained in the PDP if Jonathan had won the presidential election then. I am not saying they don’t have the right to defect, but the bottom line is that they defected because, they saw power shifting to the APC at the national level. It means they will still leave APC if by tomorrow another party wins at the central. To me, it is because of their selfish interest. In politics, we have the men and we also have the boys. As a landlord, you cannot say that you want to leave your house, because there is a crisis there. As a landlord, if you leave your house and run to your neighbour’s house because of an internal crisis, then you will become a tenant there. All you need to do is to stay in your house and salvage it. As far as i know, those that defected from PDP will always remain tenants in APC. Can you tell us why you are embarking on projects in some schools like; Alakunre Comprehensive High School, here in Akure with your personal funds? Everyone has a source. Nobody just happens to exist, he must have a beginning and that Alakunre that you talked about is one of my beginnings. That place moulded me to be whatever i am today, and i cannot forget my beginning. So when i got there seven years ago and saw that the toilet facility we used in 1983 was the one still in use 26 years after, I felt bad. It had gotten dilapidated, and i did it for them, and some other projects. I also reconstructed their Hall. I remember i was called to the stage of that same Hall every week as one of the best students in my class when i was a student there. I had a nostalgic attachment to that hall, so that was why I gave it a total reconstruction. The philosophy behind that is to give back to the system, and to tell others that this is the right thing to do