Chief Funsho Ologunde is the Vice chairman Lagos West of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State. In this interview , he boasts that the APC will maintain its hold in Lagos State come 2015. Excerpts:
The outcome of the Ekiti governorship elections took many by surprise especially chieftains of your party. What measures are you putting in place to ensure your party fortunes do not dwindle?
We had a bad experience with the Ekiti election but to us, we have taken it as an eye opener. We have doubled our efforts and fine tuned our strategies, first for Osun, which is coming up next week and also for the 2015 general elections.
We are ready for the situation. We have seen areas of our weakness and we saw where the PDP was able to manipulate the election process to their own advantage.
Just like it did in 2003, the PDP has vowed to reclaim the South west, how feasible do you think this is?
It is natural for any political party to threaten to be the best in any situation, even if it does not have supporters. The threat of the PDP is not a new thing. They were able to overrun the South west in 2003 but that does not mean that the South west is sleeping.
In 2007, our party was able to overrun them, in 2011, we kept our position. So. Maybe because of the victory they were able to record in Ekiti, they seem to be deluding themselves with fake and imaginary calculations.
How prepared is your party for the 2015 elections in Lagos considering the demand for internal democracy and the fallout of the state congress of your Party?
If you are talking about the protest by a group called the New Lagos Movement, I want to state categorically that they are members of the APC. It is incongruous for people who are not registered and card carrying members of the APC to demand internal democracy within the party.
They are being used by some faceless politicians to create upheaval and division within the APC in Lagos state. They have failed before they took off and they will fail at the end of the day. As far as the party is concerned, there is nothing to worry about in their tantrums because we see them as pawns in the hands of some people.
The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, recently endorsed Mr Akinwumi Ambode to be the next governor of the state. Is your party on the same page with the traditional ruler?
The Oba of Lagos is not a member of the APC in Lagos, he is not a card carrying member of the party.
He is the Oba of Lagos and he has a right to his own opinion.So, whatever statement he made publicly to endorse an aspirant does not translate to be the voice of the party.
The party has not adopted any candidate and in actual fact, we have a good number of people who are also party leaders in their respective rights. They have voiced out their aspirations and are busy talking to party members for endorsement at a congress that will be arranged at the appropriate time.
Is your party still interested in zoning the governorship position?
The issue of zoning should not arise any longer in the sense that, in this current political dispensation, Asiwaju Tinubu from Lagos West governed for two terms. He was succeeded by Babatunde Raji Fashola from Lagos Central.There are three Senatorial Districts in Lagos and for equity, Justice and fairness the other senatorial district that has equal status, should be able to put up a candidate. I believe Lagos East has an array of competent persons from which the party could choose.
Is your party still in the business of consensus which has been its tradition?
The party’s constitution does not state that a consensus candidate should be picked. What our constitution states is that there should be a primary to elect our flag bearer.
What qualities should the next governor of Lagos State posses?
The next governor should be an embodiment of both Tinubu and Fashola.
Bola Tinubu did excellently well for Lagos state. He was outstanding. Fashola stepped into his shoes and used Tinubu’s achievement as a launching pad. So, what you see today that Fashola is doing has a base. So, whoever is going to succeed the present governor, must be able to do better.
How is your party responding to the agitations of a Christian governor by some Christians?
I don’t think people should lose sleep over the issue of a Christian governor in Lagos state. Lagos state has both Christians and Muslims.
If the immediate past governor and present governor are Muslims, nothing stops the reasoning of those who love Lagos state from angling for a Christian governor. We are not out to create a religious dichotomy in the state as we do not want it in Nigeria.
So, if we have had Muslim governors and there was peace,then angling for a Christian governor should not create room for dichotomy.
It is a simple transition and I want to assure Lagosians that the leadership of the APC is capable of taking the right decision in the interest of the party and in the interest of Lagos State.