If he had won Saturday, April 11, 2015, house of assembly election in Lagos State, he would have been the speaker of Lagos House of Assembly today, because as far as he was concerned, it was a done deal that he would be the next speaker after Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, whom he was his deputy. But man proposes and God disposes, Hon. Kolawole Taiwo, aka, HKT lost the state House of Assembly seat and in essence his ambition to become the speaker of Lagos House of Assembly. He told ENCOMIUM Weekly during his 55th birthday celebration on Monday, July 18, 2016, that the loss of that election was his saddest day. He also told us many things about his life.
Congratulations on your 55th birthday, sir.
Thank you very much.
How do you feel turning 55?
I am okay. I thank God. I think my health is better than when I was in government, because, I have time for myself now. I do enough resting before going to work. I keep to myself a little and I play less politics these days.
Do you feel your new age in anyway?
Certainly, I am not getting stronger. Before you came, somebody just helped me to massage my legs. It is because one is getting old. I still give thanks and adoration to God.
What will you say you are grateful to God for turning 55?
Everything. When I was growing, my greatest aspiration was to have a three bedroom flat with my children and wife. Just live a very quite life, probably with a car.
I can’t even remember the year I achieved that and I have been progressing since then. God has been looking at my direction.
So, today, when I turned 55, I don’t have any other choice than to thank God. I have achieved virtually everything that I set for myself except that I have not gotten my doctorate degree.
I would have been able to do that if not for my involvement in politics and my stay in house of assembly. Maybe now that I am no longer in any elective post, I will be able to finish it (Ph.D).
Have you started it already?
Yes, I have started, about two or three times, but I stopped.
Is it on your line of course, statistics?
Yes. I am a professional statistician. I love the course. I love statistics. I see statistics as the major solution to most world problems. Statistics is the most beautiful aspect of mathematics.
So, what is stopping you from going back to the university to get your Ph.D now?
Now, I am in business but the environment in the country is not conducive. I am just striving to keep afloat. The greatest problem in Nigeria that hinders business today is manpower. Most Nigerian workers are just interested in what they can steal from your business not what they want to add to it. It is a pity, I am just entering business at this stage of my life. Most of my productive life were spent in public service. I became a member of house of assembly in my late 30’s and I was there for 16 years. I left when I was supposed to be thinking of my retirement. In business, you need to learn and learn very fast
It is okay, I thank God. God has been wonderful.
When would you say was the greatest moment of your 55 years of existence?
It was when I became the deputy speaker (of Lagos House of Assembly). It was funny because I was eyeing the speakership and it was almost becoming a reality before the then speaker, (Rt. Hon. Ikurofiji) said he was not going again. Then the leaders of the party now said I should be given the deputy speakership. But despite this, there were still some people that were hell bent in making sure I was not made the deputy speaker. Some people, including those from my constituency went to our leaders to say I should not be made the deputy speaker. But at the end of the day, our leaders did not agree with them and so, eventually, I was made the deputy speaker. That was certainly the most colourful and exciting moment of my 55 years on earth.
When will you say was the saddest moment of your life so far?
You should know that. That was when I was unable to win the 2015 house of assembly election. That was the most disappointing moment of my life. I was disappointed because I had put in so much in the house of assembly that I knew my becoming the next speaker was a done deal, only for my own people to work against me in the general elections. Right from the primary, the council chairman sponsored 11 aspirants against me. I defeated them all at the primary. I told them that it would benefit the whole Ajegunle if I was allowed to go back to the assembly to become the next speaker. We will be able to solve most of the problems bedeviling Ajeromi/Ifelodun LG as a whole. But this did not deter them from still working against me and we lost. We lost by 3,400 (votes) in just one ward. That was the most disappointing moment of my life. But I thank God I have moved on.
Without that disappointment, will you still contest for any elective post?
I am a politician, anything can still happen if not now.
Which one would you say you missed, being the speaker or being a member of the assembly?
You cannot be the speaker without being a member of the house. I missed being a member of the house because I wouldn’t have lost the speakership if I had won the election. You cannot aspire for the speakership if you are not a member.
Even after losing election into the house you were instrumental to the emergence of the incumbent speaker. How did that happen?
The house of assembly has hierarchy and the hierarchy of the house is based on seniority. By virtue of my years of membership of the house, I was one of the senor members of the house then.
So, when the issue of picking a new speaker came up, the responsibility fell on all of us who were most senior and therefore considered as the elders of the house.
We made most of the new members to realize that the responsibility of the house goes beyond lawmaking and therefore, anybody who should be the speaker of the house must be someone who, apart from being verse in law making must also be experienced in other areas. So, the selection of the new speaker was basically that of the elders of the house. I was only given the responsibility of talking to other members on the decision and direction of the elders of the house.