By Charles Kumolu
DAPO Durosimi-Etti is the Senatorial Candidate of Labour Party,LP, in Lagos Central Senatorial District. In this interview, he disclosed that imposition of candidates on party members forced him out of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, boasting that he would defeat the ACN candidate (Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu) in his constituency. Excerpts:
Why did you leave the ACN, which you were a core member?
THE events preceding and after the primaries were below our expectations. There is no rational thinking person that would remain in the party after witnessing what transpired. Political maneuvering is part of party politics, but when it comes to outright arrogance and disregard for people’s right, one needs to make a proper decision on where to remain or go to. We also witnessed disregard for decorum and party guidelines.
The primaries were bogus and completely shambolic. People were taken to party headquarters, against the primaries that were supposed to be held from ward level. Apart from the fact that the rules were changed by adopting the delegates’ option, when the votes were supposed to be counted, they weren’t.
This is a party that is always quick to condemn other parties. Even the PDP gave their primaries a human face. They may have done anything behind the scene, but what we saw gave the impression that PDP conducted party primaries against adoption.
That was not the case in ACN that claims to fight oppression. It is unfortunate that ACN ironically oppresses people. Even with the hue and cry over the outcome of the primaries, the party chairman still went to the press and declared that imposition is a practice in the party.
I will never be a party to a group of people who muscle the people’s voice. The national chairman said that whoever that is not satisfied with the outcome of the primaries, should go elsewhere. We have no problem with that. We have opted for another platform where our voices will be heard. We are happy we are in a civilised party.
You are contesting in a zone that has the wife of former governor Tinubu, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu. What makes you think you can upstage candidates like her?
I have a better pedigree than any candidate in my constituency. And the people know that because they are wise, they know the person that is a grassroots person, we are not talking of someone, who does not know anything about the constituency. I know that given what is on ground today, I am sure that victory is certain for the Labour Party. I am only appealing to our people to ensure that they vote and protect their votes. They should stand at the polling centre and ensure that no one tampers with their votes.
We are in a society were money plays a determining role in who gets what politically. Do you have the financial muscle to wage the electoral war?
That is why we want to get away from that society were money determines the outcome of elections. Money politics is not good and that is why our people must kick against it by rejecting their money because that money is used to perpetuate corruption and dictatorship. The people are wiser now, if you give them money, they will collect and will not vote for you because they know that you are buying their votes.
Fashola has demonstrated to us that the people’s wealth can be used to create good governance and he does not need to bribe anybody for a vote. That is also how our closeness and understanding of the grassroots will get us the needed votes to represent our constituency. That is why the LP adopted him as our governorship candidate. It is not as if we adopted him without reasons, we believe that he shares our vision. I can assure you that after Fashola’s second term, LP will produce his successor.
We were tired of absurdities in ACN. How do you reconcile the act of imposing someone, who was rejected by his constituency on another people? Is that democracy?
Someone performed poorly in Epe and his people rejected him, then you now imposed the person on Ikeja people. How do you bring someone, who is a failure in his own natural environment to a place he knows nothing about? Of what benefit will he bring to Ikeja.
What are those new things that you would want to attract to your constituency, if elected?
I will initiate quality bills that would make huge difference in my constituency and my state. Lagos State is not fairly represented at the National Assembly, especially in the House of Representatives. I will fight for increased legislative representation for Lagos State. The population of the state warrants that we have more people at the National Assembly.
It will help the population spread in the state. I will have functional constituency offices at all Local Governments in Lagos Central, open-door policy to ensure that problems and suggestions are promptly attended to and addressed, creation of job opportunities, provisions for youth development and empowerment, holistic approach to development of districts like Badia, Orile and Makoko.
Provision of proper jetties for inland boats carrying goods and fisheries for fish docking, construction of the 4th mainland bridge, are areas that I hope to attract federal attention to. The abandonment of federal government infrastructures, is one thing that I will ensure that is readdressed. Most of these structuresare in my constituency.
You headed The Continuity Team, TCT, which campaigned for Fashola’s second term, what happens to that group now that you are in Labour Party?
We adopted Fashola because of his good works in the state, we are not saying that Fashola, asked us to adopt him, he earned the adoption. We also have the same thing at the Federal level where the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, adopted President Jonathan.