HON. Femi Adebanjo, former Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on Establishment and Training between 2007 and 2011, has every reason to be joyful. Aside the fact that his first daughter got married few months ago, he has just been elected a member of House of Representatives in the National Assembly election of March 28, 2015, by the good people of Alimosho Federal Constituency, Lagos.
He told ENCOMIUM Weekly in this interview how elated he was, what was responsible for his victory and more.
How will you describe your experience at the presidential and National Assembly elections?
That is the best election after June 12, 1993 presidential election, in the sense that we had a very close to perfect election. The reason for this is not far-fetched. The card reader prevented a lot of people from rigging. I believe with the card reader, Nigeria’s democracy will improve faster than expected. The card reader prevented stuffing of ballot boxes with votes and it gave us a near perfect election. I am talking about Lagos State, I don’t know what happened in some other states.
What is your personal experience on that day as a candidate contesting in the election?
I give glory to God everything went smoothly despite the impunity displayed by the PDP candidate.
What would you say is responsible for your victory?
The goodwill I enjoyed from the electorate and that of the party (APC). I want to say if not for our goodwill, it wouldn’t have been easy for us to win because our opponents were not only cajoling and intimidating the people with violence, they were also giving them bribe such as Plasma TV. I think their violent display worked to our advantage because a lot of people rather than being intimidated by them saw their actions as effrontery.
Has your opponent congratulated you?
No. I don’t think they are enlightened as such. They are not like some of us who can still co-exist with our wives despite belonging to different political parties or religions. To them, an opposition is an enemy that must be killed. That is why President Jonathan’s wife said if you hear change, stone them.
Have you on your part called him to extend your hand of fellowship?
I called his number but it was switched off for almost two days. I just decided to forget about it.
How much would you say the election cost you financially?
It didn’t cost me much because I don’t have much. Don’t forget I have been unemployed for four years. My campaign had a very low budget and I was able to manage it through experience and the grace of God.
Can you give us a conservative estimate of this low budget?
Let us say at least about N10 million, which we spent on posters, handbills, logistics, customizing of vehicles, campaign rallies and so on. A little less than N10 million.
Would you say there was a low turnout of voters?
No. There was very high turnout of voters. In my own polling unit, the INEC officials could not complete the accreditation of voters on the queue. About 50 registered voters were not accredited before the INEC officials stopped.
Why did they stop?
The INEC official said accreditation was for four hours only and after four hours he stopped.
What are the things you want to do for the people of your constituency now that they have voted for you as their representative at the National Assembly?
First, I want to put Alimosho in its rightful position because Alimosho is the largest local government council area in the whole of Nigeria. In terms of population, it is bigger than some states and it only has one House of Representatives seat. Bayelsa State is not as populated as Alimosho and yet it has three senatorial districts and eight federal constituency seats. That type of lopsidedness has to be corrected. That is where I am going to start.
My second priority will be the supply of electricity. I will in collaboration with my colleagues in the House of Representatives move to amend the constitution to remove electricity from the exclusive legislative list. So that states that have the financial capacity to provide electricity on their own could go ahead.
We must put all hands on deck to make sure we get it right with electricity. I am going to vigorously campaign for it.
– TOLANI ABATTI