A governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the forthcoming November 16 governorship election in Ondo state, Paul Akintelure says he aims to double the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) of the state within one year in office if elected as governor.
Akintelure, who declared this while speaking with members of the Ondo NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel in Akure said; “my dream is to double the GDP of Ondo in my one year of administration. I am not a magician, but I’m going to utilize the resources we have. I’m going to pay attention to agriculture in its full meaning. We are going to pay attention to what is called value addition in agriculture. We are going to do mechanized farming.
According to him, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, adequate security, industrial innovation, affordable and neat energy would all be championed by his administration if elected as governor of Ondo State.
The Igbotako-born politician, in Okitipupa Local Government area of the state, said; “I have decided to come to this point because I feel that Ondo State has an abundance of sources, human capacity, but we are still lagging. Is it a curse or caused by human factors? I believe that it is a human factor and Ondo State could go to its Eldorado.
“My dream is to double the GDP of Ondo in my one year of administration. I am not a magician but I’m going to utilize the resources we have. I’m going to pay attention to agriculture in its full meaning. We are going to pay attention to what is called value addition in agriculture. We are going to do mechanized farming.
“We are also going to involve the youth, so we are going to have what is called economy on scale. The total production we are having will save cost. So, the cost of productivity will be reduced. So, at the end of the day, more profit will be generated by farmers.
“In other words, I’m going to involve youths in what I will call graduate entrepreneurship scheme. It won’t be limited to agriculture alone but it’s about whatever you want to do, whatever skill you prefer because we will take it to the National Youth Service Corps.
“From statistics, you are aware that yearly, Ondo State turns out about 1,000 graduates from higher institutions. So, we are going to base our workings on the 1,000 graduates. We will liaise with NYSC so that instead of posting them to anywhere anyhow, we will encourage them to practical organizations in terms of skill acquisition.
“We are also going to pay them money in addition to what NYSC will pay them. At the end of the year, we will invite them to defend the project and at the end of the day, we are going to earmark N5 million each for the N1,000 graduates and they are going to repay in 10 years. The loan will be interest-free. In other words, they’re going to refund 45,000 monthly.
“We are going to budget N5 billion yearly for this exercise. and the exercise will generate not less than 12,000 jobs in four years and we should note that no government that can run without private sector involvement. So, we are going to ensure that civil servants benefit a lot from our government. We are going to introduce the Pensioners’ retirement self-employment scheme.
“It will encourage people from level 14 and above, who are 55 years and above or 30 years in service to apply for voluntary retirement after completing training for six months. The training will be targeted at there area of investment. From what we’ve done so far, we are aware that over 500 civil servants will be interested in the scheme because there is uncertainty in the land.”
Akintelure, a Lagos-based medical practitioner, also said; “we will also allow the voluntary retiree to bring two people for employment. We will not end there. We will go into an environmental employment scheme. This will look at the hierarchy of the party because the party leaders and elders will be allowed to look at how we can employ 50 people from each local government to take care of our environmental sanitation.
“We are going to introduce dump sites across the 18 council areas in the state. We are going to get 100 waste disposal trucks. Don’t forget that we have 203 political wards in the state. So, two political wards will have one waste disposal truck and it will be managed by investors.
“We are going to create an industrial hub for people to make sure that whatever they are doing in terms of skill we enabling the environment. We are going to ensure that people in the civil service, once they’ve spent five years, allocate land and housing loans to build on the land because shelter is a basic need.
“After all these, the issue of crime won’t come in, the issue of corruption won’t come in and you are likely to live longer. So, in a way, we are promoting our life expectancy and doing this not just because I want to become governor but because my ambition isn’t based on my interest. Honestly, with modesty, I am not hungry. I can eat three times daily (food of my choice) but I believe that there is what we call capacity. I can do these.
“I have the experience because I am an employer of labour. I pay for my water and electricity, I pay my salary, and a lot of people have benefited from me but for your information, as a medical doctor, I have a vocation too (agriculture). I have livestock, an oil palm plantation, poultry, pigry, fishery, and crops. So, I feel that the experience is there. I am not doing this alone, that’s why I am having commissioners to see the workability.
“I have a good moral upbringing, so I want to say that transparency is a watchword in my family and accountability is very important. So, all this is part of commitment to the people.
“I have a clear vision of plans, policies, and programmes of President Bola Tinubu. So, what that means is that as a governor of Ondo state, there is going to be a perfect synergy between myself and the president of this country towards transforming our natural resources in the state.”