APC not happy losing eight seats to PDP in Lagos – Basorun | Independent Newspapers Limited
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APC not happy losing eight seats to PDP in Lagos – Basorun

Posted: Apr 26, 2015 at 12:27 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 Olorunfunmi  Basorun, a lawyer by profession, was the former Secretary to Lagos State Government and one of the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH, he speaks on the just concluded general elections, the decision of Ikorodu people to vote for APC and other national issues. Excerpts:

Basorun

Basorun

There were lot of predictions that the 2015 general elections would be completely marred by violence, but the elections have come and gone without much crisis. What do you think was responsible for the relative peace witnessed during the period?   

Very simple, both Christians and Muslims went into serious prayers and the prayers yielded results when the former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), who led a peace committee invited major presidential candidates and committed them into peace agreement. I believe that approach has a positive effect on the two sets of elections we had in the country.  If there was violence anywhere in the country, it was as a result of impunity that was reigning in that part of the country.   I think it was only in Rivers State that the violence was more pronounced. As a matter of necessity, both Christians and Muslims should thank God and Abdulsalami group for the favourable outcome of the elections.

 Do you believe Buhari will be able to meet the expectations of Nigerians?

I think Buhari has got the psychological support he needs to succeed; the entire world is behind him. During  the first term of Lateef Jakande as governor of Lagos State, he rode on the popularity of late Obafemi Awolowo, but when it was time for him to contest for second term in office, he  had became popular and the support he got came from the people entirely. Buhari is going to get support from where he did not expect support, there is psychological effect that will make him succeed, and everybody will carry that banner of success for him.  For instance, the IMF is advising that because the crude oil price is falling, the incoming government should remove subsidy on petroleum and the announcement of Buhari’s victory at the presidential election caused the fall of dollar without anybody’s effort. This is part of the psychological effects I am talking about.  In a nutshell, what I am saying is that Buhari is going to succeed because once the environment is conducive, whether business or governance, one will definitely succeed.  I believe he will succeed by the special grace of God, I cannot stay and tell you the detail of what he is going to do but he has said that power, corruption and insecurity are going to be his major priority, we are all watching on what is going to happen but I can tell that you will see a lot of assistance coming from here and there.  I believe he is up to the task ahead of him. I was wondering when recently I heard the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala giving advice to the incoming government on the economy. She has been in that position for some time and we are not feeling the positive impact of what she is doing. It was during her tenure as minister that naira was devalued, she was with Obasanjo and when he did not see her usefulness, he moved her to the ministry of foreign affairs and she left the cabinet that time.  I don’t think she has any useful idea for the incoming administration.

Don’t you think the bandwagon effect of the election would create problem for APC in the future?

What type of bandwagon effect? There was none. If really there were bandwagon effects, what happened in the south/south and south/east wouldn’t have happened during the governorship/ state assembly elections.  I thought that if there were going to be bandwagon effect, it would have shown in the outcome of the April 11 elections but the people went and voted the way they did during the presidential elections not minding that power has changed at the centre.  People went the opposite way by being unnecessarily dogmatic. It is only in the northern part of the country you could talk about bandwagon effect, in places like Jigawa, Plateau and Benue states. I think in these places it is more than bandwagon effect; the people really wanted a change.

The people of Ikorodu division have been yearning for a governor from the area, now that somebody from Lagos-east has emerged as governor, does it stop further agitations by Ikorodu people?

Fortunately, Ikorodu is part of Lagos-east senatorial zone. When the governorship position was zoned to Lagos-east by our party, nobody from Ikorodu in APC came out to indicate interest. The person, some of our people here who call themselves eminent persons brought, is from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Apart from being a member of PDP, I was 76 years last year and was born in this town, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t know him with this town.  I don’t know him with this division, even if he is from Ikorodu, I would not have voted for him because he is not from my party.  Another fact you must know is this, all along in Ikorodu here right from the 50s we have been consistently voting for progressives, or call it Awo politics. Anybody that believes in Awo’s political philosophy will get the ticket.  Even in 1979 when Ogunsanya was not in Awo’s camp, he failed to get the ticket. The person who won in Ikorodu here was Alhaji Jakande with about 23,000 votes, while Ogunsanya got about 3,000 votes.  It is not because Ogunsanya was not loved by the people here, but because the people have been voting for parties that is pro-Awo policies. This time around, we went to explain to the people why they should vote for APC and the result bore us out, we scored about 52,061 votes as against 35,259 by PDP. The Agbaje group was able to get such votes in Ikorodu here because they invested much into the elections but the gap of almost 20,000 votes should be something in which we are proud of. In terms of percentage, we scored about 59 percent and we came fourth out of the 20 recognised local government areas by INEC in the state. We also won the senatorial, House of Representatives and the 10 members of state House of Assembly in the senatorial zone. In the whole of Lagos State, we did not lose any election.  We are happy in Ikorodu because our supporters really  demonstrated their support by voting for candidates of our party, like the time of Otedola as governor when many people were voting for the National Republic Convention (NRC) because of the crisis in Social Democratic Party (SDP), the people of Ikorodu voted for the governorship candidate of SDP and we won Ikorodu Constituency 1 House of Assembly election.

Many people are suggesting that the APC should be magnanimous in victory; does that mean that the party will run all inclusive government?

I don’t know about that. It is the decision that is left for the leadership of the party either at the level of National Working Committee or BoT to take.

What is your advice for Buhari as he prepares to take over the mantle of leadership?

I want him to govern the country according to constitutional provisions. In the appointment of ministers, I want him to appoint just 36 ministers, as stipulated in the constitution that each state must produce a minister, otherwise I would have suggested for 20 because it is part of efforts to reduce cost of governance. This is my only advice for him, every other thing the party will take care of.

How will you assess the performance of APC in Lagos State House of Assembly election?

We are not happy that we lost eight seats to the opposition party here in Lagos State,  it then means we are going to face opposition and I believe that will make that house virile and healthy in taking decision. Winning eight positions to our own 32 is not bad and I believe we will be able to manage that very well.

What do you think will form the criteria for appointment into the incoming government in Lagos State?

Anything that has to do with appointment is usually left for the party to decide. It is left for the party to sit and discuss the modalities to adopt and I don’t think we are going to have problems because some decisions have been taken which I cannot tell you here.

What is your view on the statement by Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, before the governorship elections that generated a lot of tension in the polity?

Kabiyesi just expressed his personal opinion, he is somebody that talks very fast but then event will prove us right or wrong. I don’t want to comment on whether some people decided to vote this way or that, but Kabiyesi’s opinion remains his opinion, you remember he expressed such opinion before the governorship primaries over Ambode and everybody was criticising him, that is his nature. Though, Lagos is a cosmopolitan city, people must respect the ownership of the place. I cannot go to Benue State now and say I will contest an elective position even a councillorship position, it will be an uphill task. I don’t know whether you are from Benue State or not, I just mention Benue as an example but because Lagos is cosmopolitan in nature, it offers opportunity to everybody but people must respect the owners.