By Bashir Adefaka
Dr. Rotimi Olulana, governorship candidate of Labour Party, Lagos State, in 2011, stepped down from the race and mobilised his supporters for Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). In a chat at the weekend, the real estate business magnate told Vanguard how his party in Lagos was working hard to ensure that Ondo people living in Lagos were mobilised home to vote for Governor Olusegun Mimiko in the October 20 governorship election. Excerpts:
YOUR party’s candidate in Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, is labouring hard to sustain his position for second term in the coming election. What are you doing as party stalwarts from outside the state to ensure his victory?
If you watched the media these days you would see that we in Lagos State have been trying our best to mobilise for him because we know that a lot of Ondo indigenes live in Lagos and they will all be going home to vote during the election. So you can see that we are really mobilising for him as our own contribution and we believe strongly that Mimiko is going to win that election.
How would you react to the allegation that Governor Mimiko runs Ondo State Government like his family business?
I don’t think it is wrong for a governor to run his government as his own family business because, any person or persons vested with the responsibility of governance in a given state is supposed to take that state as his own property and do it to the best of his ability and knowledge.
Ability and knowledge
So, if someone says he’s running government as if it is family business, yes; it is because he is committed. Commitment to duty can make some people feel that you are running the affair of your state as your own business. It shows responsibility. It shows commitment. It shows complete temptation to duty. So that is the way I look at it.
There was once a time when AC (ACN) could only be proud of one state. Today, they can boast of six states. The Labour Party is another scenario of this example with Ondo State as the only pride of government they have at the moment.
What are you doing as a party to ensure a spread beyond Ondo State?
I can only talk about Lagos State which is my own state. But I can also say that our party is working hard to ensure that we not only win Ondo State but also we want to extend the leadership of governance to other states of the federation including Lagos.
As to what we are doing to make ourselves relevant in the rumoured quest for ruling party change in Lagos State come 2015, I can only tell you that we are already working from the background because it is our determination to take over from Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). But ‘how’ is what we cannot discuss for now.
But there is a merger arrangement going on, in order for opposition parties to successfully wrestle power from PDP come 2015, what is your opinion about such merger side by side your resolve to win more states as a party?
It is the responsibility of the national body to decide whether they want to merge with any party of interest or not.
Then, we at the state level will comply.
It was popularly reported during the last days to the 2011 governorship election that you were stepping down and mobilising your supporters for Governor Fashola at the election. More than one year after, do you have any reason to regret your decision?
If you are talking of performance of Governor Fashola, I have no regret at all for stepping down to support him.
His policies especially the new Traffic Law have been misconstrued in sections of the state. What is your take on that?
Definitely, in every government policy there is bound to be pros and cons where you find some people finding it easy while others are not finding it easy.
I will not say anything to the contrary talking about those laws because I know that there is no policy of the government that is totally acceptable to the people. There are some people that the policy would assist to advance while such policy would bring some people down. It is now left for the government to look at the basic reason for that law and see which area it needs to amend because any policy that is not in the interest of majority of the people is not a good law.
What is your general view of the state-of-the-nation presently?
Well, I would say categorically that I begin to realise the present administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is trying to advance the economy of this country.
It is true that in the area of security, he hasn’t been able to achieve much. But when it comes to the people and the character of the people, if the government is doing something to advance the course of economy, it must be in collaboration with the entire populace. By this I mean that the entire populace must contribute their own quotas toward the development of the economy of the country.
But in situation where the government and the governed, because that is what is happening now, are only concentrating on stealing state money, it is a sad situation. And this is a general phenomenon in Nigeria today, which is bad.
I pray that God will re-orientate the minds of the people and government needs to do a lot to re-engineer the minds of the people and let people understand that government cannot do all things alone.