Son of former minister, who is also a PDP chieftain in Lagos state, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, Moyosore, in the last general elections contested to represent Kosofe Constituency 1, in the Lagos state House of Assembly , but with a little margin, he lost to APC’s candidate, Bayo Osinowo, who is serving a fourth time in the Assembly. Wole Adepoju engaged the youthful barrister at law turn politician in an interview, in the process, he spoke about how he was able to pull a big one in the election, how he intends to defeat APC in future elections and what he feels his edges are among other issues.
At your first outing, you pulled a very big one by coming very close to the winner. Will be right to say it basically about your father’s influence?
First of all, my dad did not even get involved in the election but at the end of the day, there is nothing you can say to Nigerians, they will still say if it was not your father and all that. I pulled the bull by the horn and everything I did was my thing. Of course, there was nothing I could still have done without him because I still had to go to some places through him, but he didn’t get involved. His involvement, I could say was only about ten percent.
So what actually did you got right to pull that?
My campaign team was great. It was a house to house campaign basically and it was a lot of work. And I want to advise Nigerian youth. Politics is not as easy as you think, I have been part of it, I know what it is. It is just strictly business, you have to work hard…serious work, it’s day and night and it takes a lot of things away from you. You can’t do a 9 to 5 kind of job and you say you want to play politics in the real sense …Nigeria politics now is not a social media politics, you have to work hard and that was what helped me. I worked real hard.
Next election is fast approaching, what moves are you making?
For now, I’m just observing, looking at things while I keep my moves to myself. You know anything can happen overnight in politics, so I’m just waiting.
Are you going to be contesting for the same office you tried in last election?
I don’t know. I might be contesting against Governor Ambode and it could be anything. I could contest for Senate; I have the required age to do that by the virtue of the constitution. I am still hoping. I can contest for presidency if I want to, but I’m still watching.
Don’t you think it’s going to be a futile effort contesting again because Lagos and Kosofe, by extension is one of the strongholds of APC?
People say Lagos is APC but to me, I just feel it’s the personality that contest election that matters. I will defeat APC anytime. I can say it all over again. I will defeat them any day; they are not a problem to me. When the time comes, we will play the game but I’m very sure what happened last time can never happen again.
The winner of the election you contested won by eighty seven votes, what did you learn from the election?
There were a lot of irregularities in that election. First of all, on the day of the election, ballot papers were missing, we started protesting at that point, but things turned around and we had to go for the election. We just had the believe we were going to defeat them, which we did at the end of the day and we found out some of the ballot boxes, when we were in court that there were ballot papers from other local governments among the boxes. It was a planned rigged election that is all I would say. It’s gone and it’s gone. I have moved on with my life, I’m practicing law and I’m loving it. I have taken the necessary lessons out of the last election and what happened last time can’t happen again. I have played the game, I know their plans…I know practically everything. You know why I like the APC, they have started planning now and that is the problem with PDP, they don’t plan a year to election. APC in Lagos has started planning election now. I’m not talking about the federal, but they plan or they don’t plan, I will defeat them. I know how to defeat APC.
You sound so confident about defeating APC, but let’s look at Obanikoro. He contested for governorship a few times but couldn’t make and now, he’s joined APC. Some say he was frustrated. Are you ruling that out of your case?
Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has his own opinion and I do have mine. I have been hearing a lot of rumor that I want to cross to APC, but to me, for now, I don’t think APC is the best party to join. We never can say. Anything can happen. If they feel I’m a better candidate and they want me, why not? I will join them but I will defeat them even if I don’t join them.
Why did you say if they want you and not the other way round?
In politics it’s when they need you that you have value. If they don’t need you and you go to join them, it might boomerang, that is how politics is. Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has gone to the APC now, I’m sure he’s not finding it easy unlike the way he was comfortable in PDP. He met people there who want to vie for office…but he’s good player of the game and I’m sure he will do well in APC. But as for me, I am a PDP member.
I guess you are still in PDP to satisfy you father, because one would expect you have joined APC since you admire how they plan for election and all that?
I have a different view from my father. My father can be a PDP member for reasons best known to him and I may decide to move to any political party I wish at any future time, but for now, I’m a PDP member and I’m enjoying where I am. I’m enjoying the leadership of PDP; I’m enjoying what is going on at the federal level. We are coming together as a stronger force for 2019 elections. For now, I’m in PDP.
You have repeatedly said you will defeat APC candidate. What would then say it’s your edge?
I’m a young man, full of life. I’m in my early 30s; I have had experiences in different aspects of life. It might not be enough as they always say but I feel I have good experiences to do the needful when it comes to legislating. Well, I’m a lawyer by profession as you know and legislating is more or less my job. That is the problem we have in Nigeria, people that can’t read the laws or understand the laws manage our laws and you expect good things out of it. It’s the law of the country that makes the country a better place or the state, a better place. I have a lot of things I could put together that can help the people of Lagos state. That’s one of my plans. My aim in politics is to impact lives, that’s it basically.
But some are of the opinion you may not ever win the seat of Kosofe constituency 1 as long as Bayo Osinowo of APC is still interested because of his popularity?
To me, Osinowo is not popular. He just has a war chest, he has a lot of money and probably that is why. And you know Nigerians get influenced with money, but that didn’t play out in the last election as we all saw, but he was able to manipulate himself and he won. I respect him for that because it’s the person that is on the seat that wins the election. He’s been there for about sixteen years now and that is my point. You can’t be in a place for sixteen years as if there is nobody within the constituency that can do better than you.
But they kept electing him and not by appointment (Cuts in the interviewer)
Yes, but some say he’s in the Assembly to hold it for his political party and I wonder what he’s holding when he’s not the speaker. The point is what have you brought to the constituency in sixteen years? Maybe people in his political party are afraid of him that they can’t ask questions but the truth is that this man has not done anything. You can ask around. I give him just five percent. He’s been there since I was in JSS 2, that’s a long time but nothing to show for it. Even he’s been there for just four years; there is nothing wrong in asking questions. That is the problem Buhari is having now, there is nothing he can point to that he has done.
It’s quite becoming fashionable for children of political big wigs going into partisan politics, and some are of the opinion their parents might actually be positioning them for selfish gains. What is your opinion?
Everyone has their own opinions. I am not into politics because my father positioned me, my father never supports anything that has to do with my political career because he knows the game and he knows how tricky the game is. My father always tells me to go and engage myself in my job and not that he asks me to sit down and say we should talk politics. Yes, it’s becoming rampant that Nigeria’s political bigwigs are engaging their children in politics and positions, but to me, if you don’t have anything to offer, you don’t get involved in politics. Its service to the people, you can’t get into a position and lock your gate. It doesn’t work that way. And we all have different backgrounds. I have lived all my life in Nigeria, even when my father was a senator and a minister. Most of these other kids lived all their lives abroad; they are not closer to the people. And that is why they don’t know anybody when they get into the system. But for me, it’s a different thing; I have been here all my life. I didn’t school abroad when my daddy was a senator or minister. That is why we are different and I feel very privileged by the sacrifice my father made then, because it’s a sacrifice that has helped me. I could have also been in Harvard or wherever but I am happy I have always been part of the system.
There are signs Ambode wants to do a second term. What is your assessment of Ambode’s government?
I think he has done well, he has done exceptionally well. But he can do more because anybody can govern Lagos because there is a lot of money that comes in. It’s just about putting two or three together and that’s all. His predecessor, Fasola did well and Ambode too, has done well. They are great guys, I like both of them but I think more can be done. There is actually a lot of things that can be done and I wish him all the best.