January 13, 2011

My withdrawal from Senate race is a sacrifice – Mamora

Senator Olorunimbe Mamora (ACN, Lagos East), Deputy Minority Leader in the Senate, had on Monday at a press briefing held at his constituency office in Ogudu, Kosofe Local Council of Lagos State announced his withdrawal from the senatorial race following consultations with the party hierarchy. In this interview, Mamora spoke on his decision to quit the Senate and other sundry issues. Excerpts:

Senator Olorunimbe Mamora

What informed your decision to withdraw from re-contesting the senatorial ticket, were you forced to do so.?

Well, my decision was informed by the need to respect the party supremacy. And the party chairman and other party members want me to have the sense of belonging and participation. another factor is avoidance of undue and unnecessary confrontation with the leadership of the party.

On the reason behind the confrontation, if from all indications you are getting feelings that you are not favoured in the race why would you want to go ahead against the will of the party?. There is also the need to ensure peace and harmony in the party.

Because the moment that you start giving the impression that there is a crack, that is not good for the party. I am a party loyalist. These are some of the reasons that informed my decision to withdraw from the senatorial race.

The people believe that ACN is trying to foist candidates on the people by way of selection. With a party that preaches due process and rule of law, what is your take on this?

I do not think it is a case of selection because the party primaries will still go on. I have collected the form but I felt again that my own ambition cannot supersede the collective interest of the party and in a situation where you intend to avoid crisis situation within the party, no sacrifice is too big to give. For me it is a sacrifice to ensure that there is peace and harmony within the party.

The party is still going to organise primaries for other aspirants. I have my own opinion to give my own endorsement to any candidate. That is why I gave my endorsement to the Permanent Secretary of Lands Bureau, Mr. Gbenga Ashafa, who is my friend and a good brother.

Was there any pressure from the party on you to withdraw or could it be as a result of your support for Fashola during the purported crisis between him and his godfather that made them not to give you the ticket?

I did not have any pressure; it was my own voluntary decision to bow out of the race. There was no meeting with the party hierarchy. As a candidate, you must be able to see beyond the situation and then analyse the situation. There is political operational strategy.

Supporting Fashola is not the issue. Do not forget that in any political environment there are political speculations. In my press statement, the reason was to lay all speculations to rest. People are free to say whatever they want to say. All the information that has been making the rounds was all perceptions from the general public. Speculations are not the reality of any issue. It is God’s purpose for my life.

Do you still have the intention of pitching your tent with ACN. If other parties woo you, will you dump ACN ?

No, I will not. Never will I decamp to any other party. This is a party that has given me so much. Is there any party where there are no crises? Why will I want to move from fry pan to fire? I want to hold on to consistency. I am not a desperate person for political post, it’s all about service to humanity.

What is your advice to your teeming supporters?

I want to assure them that God has a purpose for me. My best is yet to come. I know my supporters feel bad about it because they have been with me for long. They have worked with me and they understand my style and approach to issues. It is not a do or die affair. I should be willing at any point to accept the situation and that was why I appealed to them to just accept the situation. This is the only way we can ensure that there is peace within the party. Ashafa is my friend; I will work for him and ensure his victory. I have the right to personally endorse any candidate. If he wins, that is when I will be comfortable.

What would be that thing you will miss most in the Senate?

I will miss my passion for debate. The legislature thrives on debate. Debate is the hallmark of any legislature. It is the only institution of democracy where decisions are taken on the rule of majority and robust debate. The legislature is unique. I am passionate about issues concerning the welfare of the people especially when it is relating to Lagos State. I have strong passion for robust debate.

What is your next ambition?

I will betray my supporters if I withdraw from my party and politics. I will work for the success of all the candidates that will emerge after the party primaries. There are so many assignments for me within the party that I can still be called upon to do anytime. I am still in the game but I may be out of the race.

What if you were given a ministerial appointment, would you accept the offer?

It is all in the call to service. If I am no longer serving as an elected member, I can still provide service to the legislature on consultancy bases, because I am passionate about the activities going on at the legislative level.

You can never have good governance without a robust legislature. There are too many things like the budget, ministerial appointment, and ambassadorial appointment. While at the state level, the house approves the commissioners and other political appointments.