Hon. Olayiwola Abisoye is a businessman and a politician. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain was the Chairman of African Democratic Congress, ADC, Lagos State, before joining PDP. Since Abisoye joined former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement, CNM, in 2018, he has not looked back in politics. He speaks on his journey and desire to serve in this interview.
You have run for and elective position in the past. How challenging was it?
Yes, I ran for House of Representatives for Kosofe Federal Constituency. Like other things in life, the better prepared you’re for a task the best for you.
So, well I would say I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered in Lagos politics. My Party people, who I thought we were in it together, felt they should be the first to benefit from my supposed ‘largesse’.
Meanwhile, majority of the voting populace felt I was their “Father Christmas” who should make Christmas and other goodies come early for them. So you could imagine what I went through.
But I want to thank God for the few good people who worked out their hearts to make sure I get elected. They went above and beyond to campaign for me. I truly appreciate them a lot.
Some of them party members, some valuable voters who we met during the course of our campaign and, most importantly, some party leaders like my former LGA Chairman, Ward Chairman and the rest of them, who today have become my very good friends and family.
How do you relate it to our electoral system in Nigeria?
Thank God the National Assembly have passed the electoral law. It shows how serious they are about electoral reforms, because these reforms are the only thing that can make our votes count and make election less expensive.
Having said that, I must also point out that Nigerians, because of the harsh economic situation of the country, are in the habit of always selling their votes.
They believe their vote won’t change a thing. But now, with the ongoing reforms in the electoral system, I pray they turn a new leaf.
You were once the Lagos State Chairman of ADC. What were your challenges, especially as it was a “small” political Party?
The bane of small parties is their insincerity and inability to think outside the box.
You see, small parties are like spectators who go to a stadium to cheer people playing a football match.
They themselves are not interested in taking part in the match, but are content with just cheering and making money off the two major parties.
That’s why IPAC, that is the body of State Chairmen of the different parties, are like toothless bull dog which have not been able to make tangible impact.
And that’s why I left. ADC was just like a beautifully-painted stationary bus without tyres and brain box.
Most importantly, it was going nowhere. I joined politics because I wanted to help solve problems and make a difference, not to be part of the problem we are trying to solve.
You defected to PDP with some of your core exco members. Why?
Like I said above, other parties apart from the two major parties (APC and PDP) are spectators who do not have the capacity, competence or courage needed to win elections.
Shortly before I finally left ADC to join PDP with my core team, someone introduced me to Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa.
If you have met Mazi you would know that there’s no way you would meet with him and not be sold on his idea of building a New Nigeria that works for all powered by his NNG ‘New Nigeria Group.
So I was one of the early recruits of the New Nigeria Group (NNG), and helped by the grace of God in building the South-West and other states for the group.
Today I am not only the South-West Coordinator for NNG, but am also a BOT member. And it was easy to make the transition from ADC to NNG because of the person of Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa.
He’s simple, straightfoward and honours God in his words/actions. Mazi Sam is PDP and it is in PDP he wants to run for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
All this and other considerations made it easy for me to join the major opposition party.
As an NNG Coordinator, would you say it was easy to help build NNG structures?
Like you know, nothing good comes easy. NNG is the greatest movement/platform that is home to all irrespective of Party affiliation.
We are familiar with the Nigerian political terrain, knew what we were getting ourselves into and decided on the best course of action given the limited resources.
And because we are blessed with a great leader like Mazi who had excel in his private sector and governmental/ public advocacy, it is was easy to build long lasting structure from the state down to ward and polling units.
So we can use same structures to achieve our goals and objectives in each state excellently well.
Now that you are fully active as a PDP member, what’s are your future plans with the party?
My plans are to help the party in Lagos build a formidable structure that can take power from the oppressive and wasteful regime of the APC.
And if possible put myself forward to run for elective office in 2023 by God’s grace.
How prepared do you think that PDP is for 2023?
PDP as a Party has its own challenges that are very surmountible. It is the party to beat.
Though in the opposition, people have come to see the difference between it and the ruling party. From all indications, they have come to know that the worst of PDP is far better than the best of APC.
I must mention here that PDP still has the best internal democracy.
Though not perfect, but it usually comes to play when the party is in crisis, and that is the stability they enjoy today across board.
As per our preparedness for 2023 in Lagos, I can assure you that we will win Lagos and end the 22 years losing streak.
A we will turn it around to a never-before-seen victory of an opposition over a sitting government.
By victory I mean PDP will be winning all elective seats in Lagos, including the governorship and Presidency at the Federal level.