Honourable Segun Olulade who represented Epe Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly between 2011 and 2019, is from the same area, Epe, as the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode. In this interview with WOLE ADEPOJU, he speaks about why he stood with Ambode and the consequences of his action
You have been out of office for about two years but you have remained so visible. How have you achieved this?
I don’t think about our lives. What we do on a daily basis, the impacts and the value we have should not always be connected or limited to the public offices alone. I recall when I was elected to represent Epe Constituency II then. I had it at the back of my mind that I was going to serve my people, and based on that, I began to engage my people in utmost good faith regarding the mandate they gave me.
Even after my tenure of office, I can’t stop because my life is primarily a life of service. When you make people your priority that is what you become – the people’s choice, because it’s about the people, my people, the society. It’s about the value we can add.
We have a lot of people that look up to us as their mentor and we can’t afford to let them down. Often, we tend to mix things up thinking that every public office holder is a leader.
That is not true. Leadership is the value and influence you have, and as such, the people follow you naturally without forcing it. Unfortunately, we now have a lot of accidental leaders; people who had no preparations for the office they occupy.
Somebody somewhere just loves their face and say, ‘you go to the House of Assembly, you go to the House of Representatives,” not that they merited it or planned for it.
It’s generally believed your loyalty to Ambode cost you a ticket to House of Representatives in 2019. What do you say to this?
What I will say is that every step God has ordained for every man must be achieved. If I had gone to the House of Reps, I don’t know what would have happened to me. So I take the outcome without blaming anybody or without having a grudge against anybody. I am a Christian and I believe whatever thing that happens to a man is ordained to be.
So when Akinwunmi Ambode was aspiring to be governor of Lagos State, I didn’t work for him. I didn’t vote for him. I worked for Rt. Honorable Sabit Adeyemi Ikuforiji. I voted for him against Ambode, based on my principle.
My principle is that I don’t betray my friends. Adeyemi Ikuforiji was my benefactor. In 2011, he was instrumental to how I became a member of the house. By 2015, he was campaigning to be the governor of Lagos State.
It would be disservice for me as an individual to work against him. When Ambode became the candidate of the party, I was also a candidate of the party for the House of Assembly, so we worked together.
Sincerely speaking, I was aware this man called Ambode didn’t even like me from day one and I believe it was my activities that endeared me to him eventually.
And the facts are there, I didn’t gain anything financially or economically from Akinwunmi Ambode. I am saying it with all sense of honesty and responsibility that no personal economical or financial benefits were given to me.
But he’s from my community in Epe and I saw what he did there, so I would not only be betraying myself but the generation yet unborn if at that period, I abandoned him as it was suggested to me that I refused. I didn’t know Akinwunmi Ambode in 1998. The man I knew was Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and we started together. I campaigned around Lagos for Asiwaju.
The result of my ward in Epe was the best in 1999 for his primary election. The records are there for anyone to check. Asiwaju is the one who taught me so much about politics. He’s my benefactor. He has helped me in several ways.
So what did you go through for supporting Ambode?
I went through a lot. I mean I went through a lot. Even up till now, some people are still holding it against me. That is when the man in question, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the one who wrote forward of my book.
A book I wrote after I left office and some still bear a grudge against me. I have a good relationship with Asiwaju because he’s my father; he’s my leader.
I am bold enough to challenge anyone of them who has contributed not only in terms of finances but also in terms of ideological promotion of Asiwaju’s ideologies to come out. If anyone has done it better than I do. If anyone of them has promoted Asiwaju more than I do in any way.
I may not have all the money but I have promoted his ideologies, his beliefs and visions. I pasted his posters more than anyone of them back in 1999 (laughs). I was the real guy with the youths and students championing the course of Asiwaju coming to office as the governor. In 2003, the same applied and I have not left the man up till date and I can’t even leave him. He’s my benefactor