•LAGOS PDP Candidate, Hon. MUTIU KUNLE OKUNOLA (MKO)
His posters and bill boards are all over the major streets of Ikeja in Lagos. He wants to represent his Ikeja Federal Constituency. The posters show his face. And his alias, MKO, is boldly written on them.
Hon. Mutiu Kunle Okunola is the Lagos PDP candidate for the Ikeja Federal constituency race for the House of Reps. And he has been quite active with his campaigns.
He adopted the nickname MKO to bring back old memories of late Chief MKO Abiola, winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential elections. That is why his initials are similar to that of Chief Abiola. Who is this MKO? City People Magazine met this accomplished Lagos businessman last week at his Voyage Inn & Bar hotels in Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. He is a businessman, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. He is the Chairman of Guesstimate Environmental Company. He is also the founder of Wasimi Greek Resort Estate and a host of other businesses.
He has invested heavily in the Agric sector also. He is a Bachelor and Master degree holder in MetaIlurgy and Material Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
He has also paid his dues in politics having been a member of the defunct ACN before he decamped to PDP a few years back. The seat he is contesting for is a hot one, for many reasons. The APC currently occupies the seat. Hon. Faleke is the current House of Reps member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, Ikeja. Apart from being the capital of Lagos State, it is the political base and stronghold of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC.
But despite all these, MKO says he is not scared. He is so positive that he will win that seat and he has embarked on a House-to-House Campaign, which has seen him explaining to all his constituents why he deserves their votes.
He told City People last week that if elected, he intends to pursue the following priorities: the provision of Educational entrance forms, the GCE, Neco, Jamb, etc, provision of Empowerment and vocational training, revenue generation through provision of 20 tricycle Kekemaruwa, provision of annual end of the year competition between our wards, provision of two Hadji and Jerusalem annually, Employ member as political workers in the wards, provision of primary school uniforms and equipment to the wards, provision of Boreholes, collaborate and sponsor a national uniform waste management program bill for our country. According to him, “I will sponsor a bill on national youth directorate environment management establishment for the nation sanitation youth involvement, sponsor National Vocational Trade Centre for Infrastructural Management, Sponsor National Watch Guard (NWG) on corruption watch, monitor youth empowerment programme on a national waste management; sponsor annual youth international exchange residence programme to expose out youths to living abroad. I will sponsor educational award debate, I will sponsor compulsory national primary school meal to nurture and nourish out junior school feeding, provide scholarships and bursary to my constituency, establish and found a cooperative for my constituency women and to provide an abode/housing and legal backing for the oppressed and deprived widows in my constituency”.
Below are excerpts of his interview with City People’s SEYE KEHINDE, ISAAC ABIMBADE and NURUDEEN AKOREDE.
What has been the feedback that MKO has received from going around campaigning?
“Its been very impressive. Actually, we have never witnessed this turn around from the people. Everybody wants a change basically because of the terrible situation in the country. The present government has not done well in terms of the economy. When Buhari came in people supported him because they taught that Buhari having served in the highest capacity as Head of State, then Minister that he will come in and perform. But the present government is a betrayal of trust. They have inflicted so much pain on Nigerians. We are in 2019 now and the PDP will take over from them.
Many people see Lagos as the natural base of the APC and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. You are also now going for the Ikeja Federal constituency seat which is presently occupied by Hon. Faleke of the APC. Don’t you think this race will be challenging?
Not at all. Its not going to be tough. PDP will win. Do you know that we have never really had true peoples elections in Nigeria. It’s all about rigging. APC has not been winning 100% for the past 20 years. Lagos is cosmopolitan in nature, a state with diverse thinking and reasoning. Its all about rigging. They are not doing anything wonderful. In 2015, I came out against the present incumbent, who is going on for 12 years what is this man going to bring for the 3rd time. He has spent 2-terms at as a Local Government Chairman where he has not impacted on anybody. He got the rep ticket through Aregbe as a BATCO member.
We are going to beat APC this time around because we know peoples vote will count this time around and people are going to fight for their rights.
My coming out this time around has been tough in terms of funding. It’s difficult getting funding. You can see the APC mocking us that PDP has no financial muscle, they don’t control anything at the centre. They say we don’t control Central Bank.
But even who control Central Bank what have they spent for the people. They don’t have the interest of the people at heart. Nobody will vote for you at elections, if you don’t take of them or support them or take care of their immediate needs if anybody sees the PDP as the party taking care of stomach infrastructure, it is natural. We don’t mind. You can’t ask people to vote for you on an empty stomach. So in our own case its just an act of humanity.
Godfatherism is the biggest problem facing APC. You can see what happened in Lagos and Osun. That broom that the APC people are carrying about is a ritual sign for their APC cult. Buhari says he was coming to fight corruption but what do you see around him now, corrupt people. He is now a warehouse for all corrupt officers. 97% of all the corrupt people we flushed out of PDP are all now in APC with Buhari. He has warehoused them and given them security. APC is a cult party. As for PDP, we have learnt our lesson. We have restructured PDP, we have been liberated from the stranglehold of APC. Look at the struggle that PDP has gone through.
See the good example Jonathan showed by stepping down and letting Buhari come in. He is a peace loving person. Now, we are regretting relinquishing power to APC who have come to punish Nigerians. They didn’t go through this when PDP was in power. So, we have to fight to take power back. He have to collect government back from the APC. We gave them free of charge. But they have misused it. We need to take it back.
We have shown that through Internal Democracy PDP is back stronger. Look at our primaries. People contested and won those elections. Look at how a National Chairman was picked in PDP. Look at how we picked our presidential candidate. You can see how we used internal democracy to manage it.
APC primaries was illegally done. It was not through democracy. Many of those who emerged in APC were handpicked. Ours was so transparent. Since Atiku got the ticket the PDP has become stronger. That is what Nigeria also needs became Nigeria too is troubled as a nation and you need a firm leader. Atiku in the man. You can see how all the big players in the PDP like Bukola Saraki have allowed Atiku to take charge.
At the time you joined Politics, years back, what was the attraction?
I joined Politics in the year 2000 when I left Trans Amadi. I was a Contract Staff with ELF Nigeria. I graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University in 1997. I studied Metallugical and Material Engineering. I did my Youth Service in 1998. Then, Democracy came in 1999. I left my contract job in Port Harcourt with the money, I have and I came down.
When I came back I found out that politics had been hijacked by illiterates. A lot of those doing politics are not educated. I was like a graduate amongst them and I even wanted to even go for a Councillor in Ikeja here. That is how they began to maneuver everybody. They were unable to use me because they felt my profile was too intimidating and challenging for them to give me power because they won’t be able to control me. I was part of initiator of PSP. I had an appointment with Nigalex in Oshodi. I weighed the 2. I asked myself the question: will I be able to be in paid employment and participate in Politics. I dropped the appointment and did a proposal.
We were the youths that Tinubu used at that time, as graduates. He got our CV and told us to go into the field to confront all those adults who does not want Nigeria to liberate. Tinubu challenged we youth. I was a Youth leader in Ikeja Contituency 1, at Sunday Adigun Street in Ikeja, where Mama Mogaji was under BATCO. So everyone of them knows me. We fought in defence of Tinubu and we supposed him to win. He became the candidate and he had to pacify those who lost to him. I was part of all that game as a young man.
My own aim of joining politics was to transform this state from those who are uneducated and those who see Politics as tradition not because of their qualification or what they want to offer. From that point I started empowering young people who need jobs. I also mentored some young people to go into politics. Later I left ACN to cross over to PDP. If I didn’t cross then I wouldn’t have been what I am today.
I left and I went into business. I went into waste management. And I got a lot of referrals. I increased my capacity and I expanded. I was able to raise money from my business. Though, whatever I raised was still put back into politics and that I have been doing successfully. There is no place I am that I am not really prized.
When I was in ACN then, I spent a lot of money for them even without getting government appointment and I was well loved. I have sunk so many boreholes. I have sunk so many boreholes across our community. I have been providing assistance in the area of GCE forms for the youth. I am telling you I have never seen this kind of government where the youth as a graduate or professionals has nothing to do in your life under Buhari. All our professionals have been devalued like the naira.
What I want to tell Nigerians today is not to allow Buhari to continue, out of cheap politics it is to our peril. How can a Professor, who is the VP starts going to market to share N10,000? It is the height of insult.
The election are just a few weeks away. How prepared how you?
We are very prepared. They tear up my posters everyday, (over night), so you have to go back and paste new ones. So, we spend a lot of money on posters and flexis. As it is now, we in the PDP are the only ones actually campaigning. The APC people are not campaigning. I started my campaign from the 1st ward, which is Ward A. I ended it two Saturdays back on Ward B mobilising people and getting their dates. We are not only getting their dates for elections but for dividends of democracy when we eventually win.
We would be able to know who to take care of and what are their problems and what you can do for them. My opponents have never campaigned because they are not ready to part with anything. They are greedy people. These APC people lie a lot, so much lies. We don’t know what is real any more.
Ikeja is the base of Asiwaju Tinubu. Do you think it will be easy to win that House of Reps seat?
Its not difficult. But in a way you are right. The last time when I won the elections the APC people manipulated it and said I can’t come and humiliate the party in the zone of the leader. But this time around, the Ikeja federal constitutency is free because the APC leader have bigger challenges how to manage a national campaign. There is a lot of crisis rocking APC in Lagos. Asiwaju Tinubu has taken the responsibility to go and manage Buhari’s campaign, so his flanks are opened.
You saw what happened at the APC rally when they stabbed themselves. That kind of thing happened because Asiwaju wasn’t around. He would have managed the situation. I am not so bothered that Ikeja area belongs to Asiwaju. He has left the goal posts and we can score goals. His defence his weak, so there can be score, serious scores, practical score. We are prepared for that.