Hon. Olusegun Olulade needs no introduction. He was a former Lagos Lawmaker who represented Epe Constituency II. He had contested to represent Epe at House of Representatives but lost out at the primaries. But he will always be remembered as one of the most glamorous and accomplished Lawmakers while in the Lagos House of Assembly. Popularly known as Eleniyan, he had an eventful two terms while at the Lagos Assembly. He was a Lawmaker with many firsts. And he was always seeking to make life better for his people. His Mega Empowerment programmes remain unmatched. It’s been about two years that he left the Lagos House of Assembly and City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) sought him out to know how he has moved on after his shocking loss at the primaries and what his plans are going forward. Enjoy excerpts of the interview.
It’s unbelievable to see that despite being out of public office, you’re still seeking to reach out to people, to empower them, and it’s clear to see that, with you, this is not about playing to the political gallery, this is who you are. What informs this passion in you?
Well, I’ve been able to demonstrate that over the years. Even now that I’m no longer in office, if you go through my social media platforms, you’ll realize that it’s not about the office. From day one I knew that someday I would have to leave the office and so I needed to do things that would stand as my legacies, that will become my antecedents tomorrow and stand as my pedigree. I will say that what inspired me is my upbringing. I have always had mentors from different spheres of life to mentor in every area of my life. From Jakande, to MKO Abiola, to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, these are the people that I’ve had personal contact with and all of those experiences have really helped me as an individual to shape me into who I am today. The desire to do things differently and look at how I can impart on my society has always been my drive. This has helped me to make an impact on people’s lives and on society as a whole.
I have been privileged to see one or two of your empowerment programmes and I must say they were truly massive. I remember asking myself, how does this man do it? For how long would he have the capacity to do it? And even now, I understand you’re still very much into empowerment?
I believe its inborn. I’ve been able to empower so many people to the glory of God. I will say that my joy is putting smiles on the faces of the people that I come in contact with. I detest seeing people in pain, in lack. I don’t want to see tears in the eyes of people around me. I don’t feel comfortable hearing somebody around me say they can’t pay school fees or something of that sort. As a former chairman committee on health, the records are there for all to see. Most of the oversight functions I did while I was chairman of that committee, I had to pay the medical bills of people I barely knew. I just felt it was important to help those I could. I just believe that, to the glory of God, the little God has given to me is not for me alone, I have to share it with people I come in contact with. People think I have so much money, no, I don’t. All I do is that, as the money gets into my hands I share, even at the detriment of my immediate family sometimes. But what I’m concerned most about is making impact in the lives of the people.
One of the questions a lot of people would like to ask you is, when is Hon. Olulade returning to mainstream politics after what transpired at the primaries about two years ago?
Let me say this, one of the things that brought me into partisan politics was my desire to reach out to a lot of people within the society. If you look at my empowerment programmes, they are not meant for people who voted for me alone, they are for everybody. People from all over the country come for my empowerment programme. At the last empowerment we did, people came from Ghana, people came from Plateau, Kano, from Kwara, from Edo State, from all over. So, it’s not about me. And it’s not like I’m contesting for president or governorship. I ensure it’s all encompassing. That’s why I say ‘Eleniyanism, the ideology beyond now,’ because it’s not about now. For me, it’s about walking down the street tomorrow and somebody says to me, thank you for being a blessing to my generation. And that has been happening over and over again now. So, if you ask me, what do I have in the offing? I will tell you that when we get to the bridge we will cross it. For now, I’m a private citizen and I want to remain so. When 2022/2023 comes, we will know what the period holds for us. But for me, I know that I still have a lot to offer my people, I have a lot to offer this country, I have a lot to offer this continent and the world as a whole in terms of the kind of potential the Lord has blessed me with. For me, I am more focused now on how to use the new office and I will tell you what I mean by the new office. It’s the office of the citizenry, which is the most powerful office in the world where I’ll be able to say things the way I feel, where I will be able to look at issues dispassionately without being sentimental. This is why, throughout my time as a lawmaker, I always go back to my constituents to ask questions and say what is your position about this matter. At times, their position might clash with mine, but at the end of the day, I have to go with their position because they sent me there. That’s why on a quarterly basis I hold a stakeholders meeting with a group of people. This could be the artisans, it could be the traditional rulers or students, at least I must sit down with a group, interact and know how they feel. And it really helped. In 2015 when I contested for my second term, I won in every polling unit. My people were solidly behind me.
One of the most shocking results of the primaries two years ago was that of the outcome of your result. It left many stunned. Did you see it coming? Was there some sort of caucus meeting where you were told the direction things would go even before the primaries took place?
No, I didn’t see it coming, but for the inner caucus thing, it does happen. The man currently representing us in Epe is Hon. Wale Raji and the opinion was that he should also be given the opportunity to serve for a second term, that it’s not always good for us to keep having people serve for only one term.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I remember you broke that jinx by becoming the first man to serve for two terms..
Yes, I broke the jinx in my constituency, I was the first elected Lawmaker to serve for two terms. Well, I would say my people were not in tandem with that position but all the same, however, the party is supreme. For me, it’s a welcome development. I have no regrets that things happened the way they did. I believe that all that happened then was programmed by God. I believe too that the party is supreme. I campaigned vigorously for our candidate. We won convincingly, especially in my ward and where I voted, the results are there for everybody to see.
What sort of reaction did you get from your people? How were you able to convince your constituents, especially those who have benefitted immensely from your programmes, that this was the position of the party?
I thank God for the kind of constituents that I have. They have learnt a lot from me like I have also learnt a lot from them. I believe in God. I believe that everything that happens to man is programmed by God. It has been destined by God. So, I don’t allow whatever happens to me to weigh me down. You won’t find me feeling sorry over any issues. I was born a champion so I understand that anything that happens to me is for greater things to come. For me, that same day, I called people into my room and began dishing out instructions as to how we were going to work the following the day. Some of them were looking at me like, what is this man talking about? You were robbed, are we not supposed to do anything about it? And I said, no, that’s not the way we have to react. We must move on. I’m a party man. I have benefitted from the party. When I came in, it was like an imposition, so if I’m now a victim of imposition why should anybody query that. So, I took it all with all sense of responsibility and humility. And I thank God I was able to add value to the legislature business. As a legislature, I was first lawmaker to do this, first lawmaker to do that, I was first in many areas. I should thank my God I got the opportunity, so why would I throw spanners in the wheel of progress of the party? Why should I even think of decamping? It is not part of me. I was not brought up that way. I have always been a progressive politician over the years. And I have one person who is my mentor, and that is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. That man is my party, he’s my mentor. So, if he says today, we are in APC, then, I am in APC. If tomorrow he says we’re moving to NNNN or whatever he chooses to call the party, then that is the party I belong to. Don’t just come and ask me which party I am joining or why am I joining such party. Why because someone like me would not have had the opportunity to serve if not for Asiwaju who changed things from the way they used to be when the younger ones were not given opportunities by the older ones who would simply tell you to wait till it’s your turn. Give it to Asiwaju, he has raised more leaders than anybody living or dead in this country. He has empowered so many young people and turned them into accomplished individuals today. This is why I will always stand with Asiwaju anytime, any day.
You have been making a bit more of public appearances lately. You were also quoted to have expressed your discomfort over the state of insecurity in the country. What really are your concerns?
The spate of killings across the country is worrisome. This is why I think the allegations made recently by governor Ortom is critical to our co-existence as a nation, therefore cannot be disregarded or left unattended to by Mr. President. President Buhari’s silence over such indictment is unacceptable by the Nigerian masses. The Commander-in-chief is the highest security officer in the land and as such he needs to make a frantic statement in defense of such weighty allegations, otherwise his silence over such delicate serious is dangerous. Mr. President should be the last person to be suspicious of insecurity matters. This is why I commend Senator Smart Adeyemi for his boldness at expressing his position on current security lapses in the nation despite being a member of the ruling party.