Hon. Segun Olulade is the Director of Mobilisation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming Lagos East Senatorial District Election. Olulade, who was also a lawmaker until 2019, believes that having served as a commissioner in the state and as an ex-Executive Director in the First Bank, former Managing Director of Polaris Bank, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, has all the needed experience to represent the senatorial district at the senate. He spoke with OLUDOTUN OSHUNRINADE recently. Excrpts…
What’s the situation with the campaign of Mr. Tokunbo Abiru after a brief break over #EndSARS protest?
The campaign has been very successful based on the man’s pedigree, he is loved by all. He has unified the party and Lagos State in general and his candidature has brought sanity into the party in the state. He has gone round the entire Lagos East, and met with every interest group, and individuals that matter in the senatorial district. Mr. Abiru has been communicating with everybody. He is someone with a good pedigree, he has been tested and trusted, he is someone with an enviable resume. He is someone that we need in Lagos East.
Mr. Tokunbo Abiru has never occupied any public office in the past; do you think he has the requisite experience to perform as a legislator?
Some of his predecessors were never legislators before; someone like Senator Gbenga Ashafa started elective office from the senate. He was a public office holder before then and he did his best and delivered on his campaign promises. For someone like Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, he has served in the executive arm of the state and worked from nothing to become the Group Managing Director of Polaris Bank. He has worked with GT Bank and First Bank and we understand what he is bringing to the table. He worked in First Bank as Executive Director and turned around the former Skye Bank to Polaris Bank and made it very strong and viable. He has a lot that the Lagos East can benefit from. If you talk of connection and experience, humility, and integrity, he has them in abundance. If he could serve Lagos State as Commissioner for Finance then he would do his best for the people.
Do you think the APC has done its best for the people to make the people vote for your candidate in the election?
Unfortunately, the party got into power in 2015 and prior to this period, a party was in office at the national level. Mr. Abiru would be representing the state at the national level if he wins the election and the position is important to Lagos State and Nigeria. As a financial expert, he has a lot to contribute to the development of our state and country. He would add value to the state and the country in the area of attracting local and foreign investments. Someone like him is needed in the senate. The APC has done well and in 2015, when the party got into office at the national level, we already had a recession in the country. The party has done a lot to bring about respite in the country. This year has been a challenging one with COVID-19 and #EndSARS protests. This has not given us the opportunity and fair judgement to say this government has done one thing or the other. But, despite that we are moving forward.
What is your view about Nigerian democracy since 1999?
The worst democracy is better than the best military government. We might not be having the best of democracy in Nigeria now, the United States of America too is not having the best of democracy, but we are moving forward.
The people are talking about our economy that is not yet buoyant…
Economy is not okay worldwide and the world has become a global village. No country can stand on its own; Nigeria cannot stand on its own. We have a global economic recession. If you talk about our democracy, we have discovered that a sitting president can be removed from office; he can be defeated at the polls without using guns. We have been able to remove a President through the ballot and not through the bullet after spending one term in office. If we can get it right with that, we can get it right in other areas. Where we are is not where we were before. In the past, you see people snatching ballot papers, killing themselves unnecessarily, but things have changed now. Now, we are using Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for our elections in Nigeria. It is quite different from how we used to do it. You could see that we are now experiencing freedom of speech, security of lives and infrastructural development. If I cannot talk of other states, at least I can talk of Lagos. We have had massive infrastructural development that has attracted a lot of people to the state not only in Nigeria, but across the globe. If people are coming to Nigeria or Africa, they want to visit Lagos, which means that Lagos State is doing well.
Would you say that Nigerian leaders have done well for the people, especially with the recent protests across the country by youths?
We cannot generalise that, we have seen some of our leaders that have done pretty well. If someone has an issue with a particular institution, government or people, he should come out and mention them. We cannot generalise. We have brilliant, intelligent and wonderful people that are doing well as governors, senators, and members of the Federal House of Representatives. People should not generalise on that. We will not bring somebody from any other place to lead us. So, we will still get that a leader that would come and lead us right.