He is the Special Assistant on Youth and Sports in Oyo state but also doubles as business brand developer and consultant, project manager, trained risk manager, Health and Safety Executive (HSE), experienced marketer and advertiser. Kazeem Bolarinwa speaks to Bukky Oyekunle in this interview about the vision of the state governor to take Oyo state forward with regards to Sports and the Youths and his promise of good governance.
As the youth and sports minister, how would you grade sports activities in Oyo State?
Sport activities in Oyo state is better now compared to ever before because our Governor has always been a lover of sports from a young age. He is someone who doesn’t mind what it would take to change the face of sports for the better in the state. He has done a lot to revamp sports in the state more than ever before and the one that is so glaring is the revamping of Adamasingba stadium. The stadium was built over 40 years ago and commissioned over 30 years ago and since then no capital renovation has taken place in the stadium.
Within a year of being in office, the governor saw to the revamping of the stadium. He is futuristic enough to know that if it gets done today, it will benefit the state today, tomorrow and forever. If we were to hold an international sporting event today, a lot would come to Oyo state as Internal Generational Revenue that we may not even get in the next ten years if that place is left the way it is. It takes only someone that is futuristic and a deep thinker to know how productive such a project will be.
What measures are being put in place to restore the lost glory of Oyo State?
The most important thing is to create better welfare for athletes. That is very key. The government has been able to make sure they get their payment as at when due. Those that even played for us in the past when we were not in the government for example, those that played in Abuja 3 years ago, the government paid them up to 40 million naira. This is how you are going to know this government is such a progressive government for settling debt of the past. This is how you know a government is focused on delivering good governance. Our own governor is not a politician but a leader because it is only a leader that would deliver excellence within a short period of time.
A lot of things that went wrong in the past years has been corrected in just one year in office. One of which is the sole ownership of LAUTECH that we now have. God has used the governor to achieve a lot in just one year. Is it the construction of roads in areas that has been secluded or areas that we don’t expect to have such good governance in the next 10 years, but we are now having it in one year in office. When it comes to welfare packages, they now have it. The governor wants to give them a better life and a conducive playing environment by revitalizing and remodeling of the Lekan Salami stadium and a lot more.
What would you consider to be the correlation between age, politics and governance?
Age may have somethings to do with politics but has nothing to do with governance. A lot of people would say, Kazeem you are just like your boss. You deliver excellence to the best of your ability the way your boss is doing. This means compared to those that have occupied the seat of my boss, he has delivered. That is, if you are to use the one year he has been in office to judge. My predecessor says, “I’m proud of you, I’m glad someone like you succeeded me”.
If I had not been delivering excellence, he wouldn’t have sent that to me on different occasions. When it comes to delivering good governance, anybody can. It has to do with your mindset, your preparedness and passion for what you are delivering. For example, look at the passion of his excellency, he contested four times and see where he is today. He has continually delivered because he is prepared to deliver excellence. There is an outright betterment, shift, change in the way things are done compared to ever before. It would just come if you are not prepared for it. He is not the average politician you see everywhere. An average politician would not give us youths the chance because they would see us as their enemy but His Excellency doesn’t think that way. The belief of my boss and which is my belief is that the youths of today are not the leaders of tomorrow but of today. And that is why he is giving us the chance today. The governor has changed the narratives by giving us the chance because what we need is governance not politics. To a large extent, compared to other parts of this country, Oyo state has relegated godfatherism largely. He understands the role of godfatherism and that they do more harm than good when it comes to good governance and they may not aid your ability to deliver. He is a solution to the problem we had long ago in Nigeria. According to Chinua Achebe, the problem we have in Nigeria is strictly and squarely leadership.
What message do you have for the youths?
In anything you do, try to be diligent, try as much as possible to deliver excellence and most importantly, possess value. It is key. The government would not try for you if you don’t have value to project to the world. Identify a value and skill you have and turn your value to your portfolio and you would make an earning from it.