With less than fifty days to the general elections and the campaign in top gear in wooing electorates for votes, The Alimosho Mail caught up with the House of Representative candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Hon Oluwagbemiga Ahmed Amuludun as he bares his mind on his aspiration and the failures of Alimosho from enjoying and adequate and qualitative representative.
TAM: Can we meet you sir?
AMULUDUN: My names are Amuludun Oluwagbemiga Ahmed, the House of Representatives candidate for the Alliance for Democracy (AD) a forty one years graduate of the department of Building faculty Environmental Design Management from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and married.
TAM: Some weeks back, you were a bonafide member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Would you tell us why you left for AD?
AMULUDUN: It’s simple, every political party is a creation of the law as contained in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A political party has laws that guides her as an entity and that of her members and activities. My decision to leave APC was borne out of my desire to belong to a party where rule of law is respected and is applied to all members irrespective of their position. During the primaries, the APC created several huddles for the aspirants and members whereby majority were disenfranchised from exercising their will in selecting their representatives for the party. This has been the norm in the party for years and some of us felt that we need to continue insisting on the right things by demanding for internal democracy which is the panacea to successfully ensuring that democracy thrive. When we lose that strength, there is no democracy. Democracy allows for the liberty to chose what you want. If we have a million members who started the party from the era of AD, then it only means that I went back home because AD is the foundation of all the true progressives today. What is rampant in the APC today is imposition of candidates as against internal democracy.
TAM: It is no longer news that in the APC, leaders chose who represents the party way before now. What would you say is the reason for the current revolt or agitations?
AMULUDUN: You are right. Like I said earlier, the AD metamorphosed into AC, ACN and currently APC, but during her time as AD, it was more or less a regional party despite being registered with all the provisions of a national party as her dominance was more in the South-West. The leaders of the party concentrated the activities of the party within the southwest and the Yoruba culture of respecting elders played huge roles then. Also, being in opposition for such a long time and the desired to wrestle power at the center, alliances were formed with other political parties which then metamorphosed into what is currently known as APC, which now became a national party that cuts across all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria even in diaspora. There is therefore the need to have another orientation which will be based on internal democracy. I have on several occasions championed the course for internal democracy at the ward level in APC, I have faced disciplinary committee for demanding rule of law in the party. Due to the lack of internal democracy and rule of law in the party, I saw where a local government chairman was saying untold-things to the governor well before the primaries which ordinarily translate to script acting in a bid to denying the governor his second term bid. The implosion of the party is going to be from within.
TAM: Could it be true that most of you that left the party did so because you were not selected by the leaders?
AMULUDUN: Every Nigerian within the appropriate age limits has the right of aspiration and the right of joining any political party. In the first place, let’s not justify the imposition by the leaders because it will mean ridiculing the principle of democracy. If a political party follows the rules fair and square and people lose and defect from the party then you can say it’s because of their aspiration and not about serving the people but that was not the case. When you are allowed to contest and members of the party fail to vote you it will be accepted but when the process is truncated ab-initio, then aspirants are left with no other choice but to seek alternative platform to push their aspirations.
TAM: How do you see your former party, the APC fairing in the 2019 general elections?
AMULUDUN: Between 2015 and today politics have evolved hence going into the general election with what is happening to the party with its house utterly divided hence it is imperative for every candidate to go local in driving his aspiration, banking on the APC platform to win might not be possible like it was in 2015. People need to go and do their homework by selling themselves to their constituents as the era of riding on the good will of the party is far gone.
TAM: Talking about the goodwill of a party, could you highlight to us the goodwill of the Alliance for Democracy (AD)?
AMULUDUN: Every human being today definitely has a mother and it won’t be appropriate to ridicule ones mother irrespective of the circumstance, hence the good will of the AD include the successes of AC, ACN, and APC because it remains the mother of all these parties.
TAM: How vibrant is AD in today’s politics?
AMULUDUN: As at today we have about 91 political parties and each of them is very relevant so far as it is registered in Nigeria. Before now, AD might be quiet but the current dispensation it is ready to slug it out with the ruling party at every level of the contest. We have executives from the national through to the ward levels. The challenge you might say is that AD does not have anyone in any elective positions currently hence how would they be able to contest with the ruling party. There is a thin line between politics and governance, politics is the path to governance and if the elected fail to perform, it is left for the electorates to decline in supporting such. It is up to the people to decide, Alimosho which is my constituency remains the constituency with the largest population with about 700,000 registered voters, with AD currently dominated by youths and the true progressives unlike those that hijacked it then under the guise of progressives and intimidated others with their position .
TAM: Talking about your aspiration, you were the personal assistant to Honourable Olufemi Adebajo, the incumbent House of Representatives member representing Alimosho Federal Constituency, could you tell us why you have chosen to unseat your former boss from office? Is it as a result of your experience working with him?
AMULUDIUN: As a young man I have always believed in having a very big dream and often time I’ve have asked people what it costs to dream, so if it costs you nothing to dream why dream small. Firstly its out of the quest of whom I want to be and secondly I have deliberately avoided to speak on my relationship with the incumbent not because I don’t have things to say but I believe in selling myself, every product is appreciated through quality marketing.
The incumbent has been in office for close for over three and half years now and I worked with him till October 2017, as a young man I felt I was trapped because am the kind of person that require more gas to burn. A leader is one who motivates others and if I don’t see that in you I don’t feel comfortable hanging around such persons. Looking back I recall some of the beautiful moments which I was very instrumental to its success but it’s not enough. In 2019 Alimosho’s choice should be between complacency and competentencyy. The incumbent has been in various political offices in the last sixteen years and yet in all good intention I cannot point to any meaningful achievement to his credit in these many years. Hence there is need to bring in vibrancy and professionalism in representing Alimosho. My core values are put out for people to look at it while my vision is to turn Alimosho constituency into a respectable community, where people will be proud of their representative while my mission is to sponsor relevant bills, ensure constituent engagements. A representative must be accessible by his constituents, there must be a functional feedback mechanism.
TAM: The aide to the incumbent and your successor claimed that the size of Alimosho with a population of about six million is one of the factors hampering the performance of his boss, what would you be bringing to bare occupying same office?
AMULUDUN: I commend you for your research and interviews but you still need to hear from the incumbent and not his aides who are really not in tune with what is obtainable at the National Assembly. One of the qualities I expect of a leader is when one is deeply knowledgeable of duties. What I will be bringing to bare is first understanding the demographics of Alimosho, how many people are there, the communities , infrastructure , healthcare, education etc. The function of legislator is to make laws by taking in to accounts the needs of your constituents. A typical example example is the nearly abandoned health center at A Zone , I don’t want to use the word abandoned because when I get there I will complete it. That project was initiated by the current Lagos West Senator, Senator Adeola Solomon Olamilekan while in the House of Representatives , when he left, I personally approached the incumbent as my boss on the completion of the project and nothing was done. From my understanding of how National Assembly works, every member is required to nominate projects that will be included in the budget; these project are then termed as constituency projects for the members. What are the projects on ground by the incumbent, how many were nominated and for those nominated how many has been completed. It is one thing to complain of marginalization and another is for us to realize that it’s all about incompetency.
TAM: So how prepared are you representing Alimosho at the Federal House of Representatives ?
AMULUDUN: Firstly, I told you my vision. I have carved out my mission as well am fully prepared and am sure today if you have been following me on social media even while in APC lots of people never believed me up to the point of selling primary forms many were mocking me by asking, “Amuludun where is your form” but I have remained focus on my vision. I have a vision which is to represent the good people of Alimosho. The literal meaning of my name Amuludun is the one that make the community happy and that is what I am coming to do for Alimosho. I am prepared, with 701 polling units in Alimosho we have people to monitor them. I reiterate that am prepared even though today’s elections have been characterized by large sums of money which I may not have but am adopting a smart approach to my campaign which is not dependent of any godfather rather on the God the father. Funding may be the only weakness I have in my camp but my opponents have several other weaknesses. Where they will spend a million to achieve a result my few thousands will achieve even more. It is a huge joke on the people of Alimosho to have a representative close to four years without a bill credited to him, even if the bill does not originate from him.
TAM:, What are the difference Alimosho constituents should be expecting from you if elected as the representative?
AMULUDUN: Several. When I’m elected, I will work with the members of the Lagos house assembly representing Alimosho and state government devoid of party differences in attracting further infrastructural development in Alimosho, I shall create a vibrant database of residents of Alimosho for one-on-one engagement. Like I said, early the health sector will benefit from my office firstly by the completion of the nearly abandoned health center at “A” Zone. There will be introduction of health scheme for constituents. Indigent students who are willing to further their education will be supported while those disheartening dilapidated blocks of classrooms will be renovated. All these have been articulated into a paper tagged my plan of action, It’s time to give Alimosho a qualitative representation. The point you highlighted earlier on gross marginalization of Alimosho is political and I will sponsor bills to that effect of having at least three members representing her in House of Representatives. With her population of about six million greater than that of some states, Alimosho deserves the status of a state even while in a state these will be lobbied for with the support of the constituents.
Another major factor affecting the performance of representatives of Alimosho remains that of godfathers, most of them are imposed on the people hence their loyalty remains to them rather than their constituents, what difference are we likely to see if elected?
I do not have any god father rather what I have id God the father the creator of godfathers. Though I have those I may call godfathers or for the benefit of the doubt political leaders who do not have the traits of imposition and can not impose me. To me a godfather should be one who should guide and help his subject to get to the top in line with the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria . The challenge with majority of us is that we are comfortable with the status quo and do not wish to be seen as rebellions. it’s not peculiar with Alimosho but the entire nation. I’m not asking the Alimosho people to take arms against the ruling party but what I ask them for is to come out and effect the desired change by voting a young man with vision and mission to represent them, who is ready to fight for what the people want and marry them with what I want to have a win win situation.
TAM: How are you engaging your voters to educate them prior to the election?
AMULUDUN: There are lots of distrust among the electorates due to the failures of the political class, it is now more difficult for electorates to believe that a political officer will keep to his promises prior elections, but I am not relenting because I know I will keep to every of my promises and my camp intends to embark on a massive campaign against the ugly trend of vote buying and vote selling. There is a need to liberate Alimosho from jokers.