chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Oladipupo Olorunrinu, has said that the party has been able to move the country forward from where it was in 2013 despite all the challenges confronting the nation. In this interview he granted OLADIPUIPO AWOJOBI after launching Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mudahsiru Obasa Support Movement (BAT 23/OBASA) Movement in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos, Olorunrinu speaks on his belief that the APC should continue to rule the country.
Why are you campaigning for Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mudashiru Obasa?
Thank you for that intelligent and focused question. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has done a lot for the country. We need people that are honest and sincere to lead this country. Tinubu should not be speaking, we should be the ones coming out to eulogise him and remind people that he is a trusted and tested person. The country is in a stage, where we need continuity of success so that we can be like the foreign countries that we look up to. I see Tinubu as a person to be encouraged for the office of Nigerian President.
As for Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa Movement, this is a man that has been in office as a lawmaker for almost 17, 18 years. He is tested as a legislator and he has done a lot. He started as a councilor and went to the state and became the Speaker of the House of Assembly. He is speaking on behalf of over 24 million people.
It is not easy to speak on behalf of six or seven people in a family, now you see a man managing the affairs and interest of the entire Lagosians. This tells a lot that he can only be an enigma to do that. I believe in continuity, I am a progressive minded person and I believe so much in standing out for such.
I will not wait for anybody, I will pinpoint great people that have been tested and trusted regardless of their shortcomings. Even the Lord Jesus Christ scolded those who wanted to stone the adulterous woman. Everybody makes mistakes, great people make mistakes. David made a lot of mistakes in the Bible and God still said he was a man after his own heart. Who are you to fight the people that God has ordained. Let us go in line with progress and let us push the country forward rather than complaining. Generations unborn look forward to us to make this country great.
But, it seems the people of the South East are agitating that they want to rule Nigeria. They said the South West ruled from 1999 to 2007, the North from 2007 to 2010, then South South from 2010 to 2015, later North took over since 2015. What is your view on this as the Igbos said they also need an opportunity to rule Nigeria?
In as much as I believe in rotation, you don’t compare rotation with what is on ground. We are talking about people that have been tested, people with credibility and people that have the experience. We mean people that have done it several times. We must come to a level that when we need development and progress in this country, we should push some things apart and stop being selfish. The coming generations are looking at us for some level of drastic changes. I am not against people of the South East coming up as president. I think people should just support Tinubu to take this country to the next level. Tinubu has not come out to say he wants to contest, but we are coming out to say he is an enigma and that he should come out to contest. He has been tested and trusted and he has a lot of integrity. He would do better than we can comprehend. Why are we making things difficult for the populace that is looking forward to the extensive growth of the country?
The APC got into office in 2015 and people looked forward to changes in the country. Would you say your party has been able to tackle the problems confronting the country? We have kidnapping, killings and all forms of insecurity in the country; do you think your party merits another opportunity in 2023?
Your question is divided into a lot of places. There is no family or organisation without a problem. What is important is that we will solve them and we are not where we ought to be. The party has taken the country from where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) left it in 2015. Administration has to do with a lot of interest. What is important is having people that are knowledgeable and experienced. People make the party, the kind of people you have in a party matters. If you take people away from Ajegunle to Lekki, for instance, Lekki would become Ajegunle and when you take people from Lekki to Ajegunle, Ajegunle would become Lekki. What make a party are the people, their mindset, their blueprint and agenda. If you have numskull you will have numskull approach and when you have intelligent people you will have intelligent people’s approach. You can’t give what you don’t have. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a movement of progressive. He has a progressive mindset.
Are you now saying that Asiwaju Tinubu should be trusted with power?
He should be trusted with power because he has integrity that he has built for a long time. He has integrity to protect. He wants to accomplish what he has been able to build. He wants to spread it to the masses. If you want to employ people in a company, you have the experienced and you have inexperienced people. There are people we call management trainees in an organisation. Even if you come out with first class or distinction, they must train you on how they work. This is a man that has been trained politically, administration wise, and legislative wise. He has peoplemanagement experience.
Some people are saying Tinubu supported President Muhammadu Buhari to get to office in 2015 and did same in 2019, but they are saying that their relationship is no longer cordial. Do you see Buhari supporting Tinubu’s ambition to be president in 2023?
To say people are insinuating is part of politics. They come up with different rumours. Regardless of different views or opinions, I don’t believe that Asiwaju Tinubu has any problem with Buhari. They have not come out to say they have any problem. So, who are we to say they have problems. Have they shown any sign of problems? We should focus our energy on getting Asiwaju Tinubu into office as president. I am not saying they are having any problem or not. Even if they are having any problem, which organisation does not have problem. If they have any issue, they would resolve it and they would realign. You have to know that there are conflicting interests everywhere. Why won’t Buhari hand over to Tinubu, when he was supported by Tinubu in 2015? He has to reciprocate what Tinubu did for him then.
But there are other people who have been coming up in the APC for presidency in 2023 like Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Are you sure it would be easy for Asiwaju Tinubu to emerge as the candidate of the APC in 2023?
The gospel truth is that we are in a democratic system and everybody’s opinion counts. That it is going to be easy is relative. The people contesting with Tinubu are people who know that they don’t have the same experience or capacity as him. The country needs help and we need someone that can help. Tinubu understands the nooks and crannies of this country. He understands the political structure, the administrative structure and he influenced a lot of appointees there.
How do you think this government can best tackle the massive issue of insecurity in the country?
In my own opinion, the country is divided along party, ethnic and religious lines. There is no group of people without problem, but with negotiations and dialogues, trust me it would be sorted. We are experiencing a lot of security and economic issues; but I believe the country would soon find a solution to them.
You have been a legislator, now you want to cross to the executive as the chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government, how would you cope with this?
I am a trained legislator and one of our functions is to lobby. When you lobby, you are relating with the people and you serve as an intermediary between the people and the government. With this, you are working like an executive. When I was in the office as a lawmaker, we were able to get some organisations that would partner with people for business development. When you talk of local government administration, it has to do with people. People are calling on me to come out for the office. Governance is about service to the people. If I were to decide, I would have gone to the Federal House of Representatives, but the people are calling on me to serve in the local government. Like I said, it is not about being ambitious, I would have gone to the Federal House of Representatives and move higher if I were ambitious. But people are clamouring for me to come and serve, not that there are no other people there anyway. My own philosophy is to serve the people and that is my desire.