A former lawmaker in Lagos State from Epe Constituency 2, and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Segun Olulade feels godfatherism has assisted the development of the state over the years.
Olulade, who spoke in an interview wants the Federal Government to take the issue of security more seriously, and called for support for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition.
What will be your assessment of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu after two years in office?
My assessment is that the most fantastic thing the current government is doing is in the area of completion of all the projects of the past administrations in the state. The ability of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to focus on some of the major challenges in the state in the areas of health and transportation is commendable. We have seen commitment on the part of the government on education, healthcare, agriculture, housing, security amongst others. But I think we still have a lot to do in the area of upholdingthe rule of law.
But some people have criticised the Governor that he is only completing the projects of the past administrations, what is your view on this?
It is ignorance on the part of anybody that is criticising the Governor for completing ongoing projects or abandoned projects of the past administrations. Governance is a continuum and it is about tax payers money and the money must be protected. That is what the government of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is trying to do to ensure that those projects are not abandoned and that some of the so-called abandoned projects are resuscitated. If despite COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSARS crisis we can still see meaningful development and completion of ongoing projects in the state, then the Governor has done well. If those projects are abandoned, it is to the detriment of the tax payers in Lagos. Its unfortunate the kind of government we run in this country that we have to tag a particular project to a particular person. If not, if anybody is working as a public servant, you must be ready to do the needful and complete ongoing and abandoned projects. It is important that we emphasise that because a lot of governments come in and start their own projects and abandon the ones started by their predecessors. For me, it is one of the beautiful achievements that one can commend this government for
Many concerned Nigerians have criticised the state government on the way they handled the #EndSARS saga, would you say that the Governor did the best he could at that time?
The responsibility of every government is to protect lives and property as well as the welfare of the citizens. If the Governor is protecting the citizens by asking the security apparatus to be activated within the state at that time, I don’t think anything is wrong with what the Governor has done. We have been able to establish the fact that it was a well orchestrated plan to destroy Lagos State and we want to appreciate the people of the state that came out to defend their city during the crisis. All their targets and plans were beyond #EndSARS, and the protest was done with all sincerity by those who started it. But unfortunately, it was hijacked, by those who didn’t want anything good for the state and the country. We cannot continue to say that what the Governor did then was wrong. The Governor did the right thing and we must commend him for that.
There are insinuations that Lagos State is being controlled by one individual and that the successive Governors in the state have not been independent. How independent do you think Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is from the perceived godfathers in the state?
I find that funny. I know Governor Sanwo-Olu is above 50 years of age. If somebody that is above that age can be seen to be remotely controlled, then it is unfortunate. There is nowhere in this country that we don’t have people that are godfathers and even all over the world. They in Europe, in the United States of America and other countries. It is part of the game of politics. There are people, who have greater influence on where the people are going to cast their votes. So, the issue that Governor Sanwo-Olu is being remotely controlled is funny and they are saying this out of nothing to say. Sanwo-Olu is responsible for every action that he takes now as the Governor of the state. Nobody is going to take over that responsibility from him. He has that responsibility to defend his people, to provide for his people, to lead them as expected. If anybody is saying that Sanwo-Olu is being remotely controlled, the it is bad for our politics for people to say. Governor Sanwo-Olu is responsible for every action he takes as the Governor of Lagos State. In the church, we have godfatherism, we have it in the mosque, we have it in our homes and families. It is expected in politics that somebody somewhere is a leader. If you find any organization, where there are no leaders, it will crumble. That is one of the reasons you see Lagos State excelling, prospering, and everybody is coming there. We have to appreciate the fact that we have a leader in Lagos State and that leadership has also given some of us the opportunity to express ourselves based on your promises as a legislator and an executive. For me, it will be very unfair for anybody to say things are not happening in Lagos State because of godfatherism. Where they do not have godfatherism, what has happened in those states? If we have a godfather in Lagos, and the state is excelling, prospering, being secured and it is blessed with human and material resources with its level of development and others what else do we want? Whereas in other states that they claim they do not have godfathers, nothing is happening there, then we prefer to continue to have a godfather in Lagos State.
What percentage would you give the Governor based on his performances in the last two years?
I will give him 70%.
The security of Nigeria is being seriously threatened and it appears as if nowhere is safe in the country again, what do you think the Federal Government ought to do to stop this?
For me, I think on the issue of security, this government has not tried at all. Lives are being lost, people are not safe and I don’t think we can continue to gloss over it or to continue to pretend. The purpose of the government is the security of lives and properties and welfare of the people of the states and the country. If that is being jeorpadised, then something is fundamentally wrong. I think they have to be proactive and decisive in dealing with criminals among us. It is not about a particular tribe, it is about criminals saying they are from one part of the country or another. The bulk stops on the table of the President and he must take responsibility on that.
Talking about criminals among us, there is an allegation of terrorism against a serving minister and he is still in government, what do you see to this?
I think it is very irresponsible of us as a people, if somebody is a terrorist and he is said to be supporting Al-Queda, and he says he is no longer there, then he should champion the end of Boko Haram and other terrorist organisations within the country. If he is silent on the issue of terrorism of which he was alleged of, and he has admitted that he was once there, he should come out to apologise to the country and to the people. It is also very honourable for him to resign from that office. The Department of State Security (DSS) screened him, I don’t know why they didn’t know his antecedents that he was a terrorist apologist.
What is your take on the perceived presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and where do we see you next as elections are on the way?
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a great leader and a Nigerian. He is qualified to contest for an election. The man has not come out to say he is contesting. But for some of us and my humble self, I think he needs to come out at this critical period of our life and of the life of this country. Nigeria needs Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu more than he needs the country. I will appeal to the people to support a man, who has made great leaders in the country that are well established in their fatherland and have distinguished themselves. We need to put a round peg in a round hole. We have not been able to do that perfectly in this country. We have great minds that can turn around this country to a greater nation. But have they been given the opportunity to do so. Now we have someone who has that capacity and who is democratically inclined, it is important that we should not allow such an individual to go without serving this nation and put us in the right direction.
About myself, 2023 is still far, I am a private person and I am concentrating on my business. By 2023, I will let people know if I’m contesting or not. For me, I am enjoying my time with my family and my business. All we pray for is life and a country of our own. It is only when we have Nigeria that the election can hold. I put everything in the hands of God for now.