•What Senator YAYI Told City People
Senator Olamilekan Adeola, the Lagos Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial seat hardly grants interviews. But he spoke to City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE a while back about why he is the best candidate for that zone. What he said then is still as relevant as what he feels today. It shows what many don’t know about Yayi. Below are excerpts of this rare interview.
What’s the significance of Lagos West? And how come a lot of attention is being focused on this zone?
Lagos West is the biggest Senatorial district in Nigeria. Its made up of 58% of the entire population of Lagos.
And it is 58% of the entire Lagos. Also the most densely populated part of Lagos State are basically in the Lagos West and as such no party will form a government in Lagos State within the contribution or the support of the Lagos West Senatorial District.
And as such, given the opportunity to represent this largest Senatorial district goes to show that there are a lot of things needed to be done as far as this senatorial district is concerned.
The person representing this zone must be up and doing and must be ready to deliver, in all facet and must be ready to work round the clock, because the number in terms of population, in terms of infrastructural facility and human capital development a lot needs to be done as far this Senatorial District is command. And that makes it a very peculiar and very strange Senatorial District in terms of population, when compared with other Senatorial districts that made up Lagos State.
Before now you were in the House of Reps why was there a need to step up to the Senate?
The opportunity given me to step up to the next level came from my party. I am a party man to the core. I think its because of my wealth of experience. My experience in the legislative business spans across 12 years, meaning 12 years of cognate experience. I have had the opportunity of representing Alimosho Constituency 02 at the Lagos House of Assembly for 8 years.
Now, I am currently in the Federal House of Reps for another 4 years. Now, going to the Senate makes it a total of about 16 years in the legislative business and as such there is no way, you can set aside all these and say somebody with 12 years cognate experience is not fit or capable of representing Lagos West Senatorial District in the Senate.
What necessitated my action is not far fetched. I believe by all standards I can perform effectively well. I have what it takes to represent Lagos West in the Senate and to give the desired representation to the people of Lagos West since I have been given the opportunity to contest for this particular seat in the forthcoming general elections.
You were in private business before you went into the Senate what was the attraction politics had for you?
Prior to now I have had the opportunity of a working experience that spans almost 15 years I served at The GUARDIAN Newspapers for about 10 years, then I went into private practice for the last 5 years. I am a Chartered Accountant by profession. I have my own firm of Chartered Accountant and also a tax consultancy firm.
I was doing very well in my practice. But in 1993, during the June 12 struggle, while Hope 93 was alive all we were after then was to ensure at least let the will of the people prevail. Chief MKO Abiola was the presumed winner and the actual winner of the June 12, 1993 election. And after the elections we were engaged in service of fighting and trying to ensure why the military Junta should allow the man who has been declared winner by the National Electoral Commission to take over the reigns of power, so that we can move this nation forward. But along the line, I lost my immediate junior brother, who we were both involved in the bonfire during which we were trying to do a peaceful protest to show the Federal Government why MKO should be allowed to take over the reigns of power. Along the line, he was short by a strange bullet in the neck and he died on the spot.
After that I was a little bit laid back because I find it very strange, that if they would not allow the truth to prevail, then the chances of this country to survive as an indivisible entity is slim. It is a problem. So I return back to my plane of work, I started to work to try to make ends meets.
In 1999 when the military junta decided to leave power and allow democracy dispensation to come on board, I was one of those who doubted their sincerity. So I never believed they can concede power to civilians.
But along the line, election was held Chief Olusegun Obasanjo emerged and was shown in. I now said could this be true? We were watching with keen interest and in 2003 I was not particularly keen until my people came for me, they encouraged me and called upon me to come and represent them in the Lagos State Assembly. I then said if that is what you want and what you think, representing you will not be a problem because if I refuse you will go and get a mediocre going there to go and represent them without making any meaningful contribution towards building the State.
On that note I decided to give it a trial. I contested for the Lagos State House of Assembly and by the grace of God I emerged the winner. I repeated the same feat in 2007. Having served 2 terms my people feet I have done very well and I should take a step further that was why I was given the opportunity to serve at the Federal House of Reps where I am currently.
And there going by my performance, the way I have been able to deliver on my promises and rise to pilot the committee of Public Accounts of the House which I chaired and what I have been able to do with that little space gave me a little bit of an edge. And my people saw that the leaders of the party also believe in me, leaders like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and other leaders of the party gave me the little edge as well to give me the opportunity to serve in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And by Gods grace I have been given the ticket to be the party candidate for the Lagos West Senatorial District.
You enjoy the confidence of the leaders and members of the party. How have you been able to balance the two?
One of the reasons is because I have chosen to be a party man to the core. I believe in the Philosophy of my party I believe in the ideology of my party and I share all the interest and concerns of my party at all lands. I always ensure that the party’s position is my position.
Any other position remains secondary. I did that at the State legislature and House of Reps. And as for the members I have decided not to operate with my group at any level. But rather to relate with APC members as a party. So, it has given me the opportunity to cut across all the groups within the party and as such I have been able to carry everybody along in whatever I do as their honourable member and also as a party member.