HON. Olumuyiwa Jimoh is a member of Lagos House of Assembly representing Apapa Constituency II. The Socrates (because of his philosophical leaning on issues on the floor of the house) of Lagos House of Assembly has just won the just concluded State House of Assembly election for the same seat.
ENCOMIUM Weekly interviewed him recently on the victory and the issue of speakership since he is also from Lagos Central Senatorial district where we gathered the speakership has been zoned to.
It was not an easy win. It was tough, the votes went along ethnic line. The easterners and the people from South South deliberately voted for PDP. It was deliberate because of promises made to them by the PDP governorship candidate that they are going to have nine commissioners in the cabinet. For this reason, they (Easterners and South South people) joined the bandwagon and started campaign of calumny against us (APC). It is also a known fact that the presidency pumped money into Lagos but because of the veracity and political consciousness of many Lagosians, we were able to win in many of the wards.
Which means the gap between you and the PDP candidate was not much?
It was just about 1,155 votes.
What will you attribute your slim victory to?
I am the mind of the people. Second, the Badia area of my constituency voted massively for us because the area is predominantly inhabited by the Yoruba. The Marine Beach area too voted for me because the people living there are predominantly Hausa. Where we had problems were the wards in Sari-Iganmu. In these wards, the people voted massively for the PDP. The situation in these wards was not helped by some of our own people’s apathy towards elections.
However, we thank God and the people that came out to vote for our party. 1,155 votes is not a joke in a contest that was hugely financed by the Presidency.
The ethnic leaning also favoured you too because the Yoruba and the Hausa voted for you.
Yes, of course.
Has your opponent congratulated you?
No, he has not done that.
Have you extended your hand of fellowship to him?
No, I didn’t like his style of campaign. As I am talking to you now, we have never met one-on-one. But he was going around telling people that he met me in Abuja, where he asked me what programme I have for the community. That I told him I did not have a programme for the community. This is a person I have never met. So, I feel reluctant to extend any hand of fellowship to him. I even learnt he was in the hospital.
He is in the hospital? What happened to him?
I gathered that he fainted because he over assessed himself. He believed that he would win because he has perfected plans to rig the election. But man proposes, God disposes.
Are you sure he is actually in the hospital?
That is what people are saying o.
Now that you have won the seat to represent the people of Apapa Constituency II again, what are your plans for the people of the constituency?
I will facilitate many things that will be of good help to the people. I will intensify efforts to improve on the things that I have been doing. Like the training that has been going on for the people. The training is not only done in Nigeria but also abroad. I just sponsored two people abroad for training recently.
Can you give us the conservative estimate of what the election cost you financially?
With the postponement and everything, I overspent my budget, I must confess. I had to raise money from friends and well wishers to maintain the tempo of the campaign. As I said, the Presidency over pumped money into Lagos, but we thank God that we triumphed at the end of the day. I can’t say precisely how much I spent on the election until I sit down to do the account. I cannot give any estimate now.
There is this rumour that all of you from the Lagos Central Senatorial district are vying for the speakership of the House of Assembly. How far is this true?
I think the party leadership is best placed to choose the next Speaker. At the appropriate time, the party will determine whatever will happen. We didn’t contest as independent candidates, we contested on the platform of a political party. So, it is the party, to a large extent that will determine who the next Speaker will be. The supremacy of the party interest overrides that of any individual interest. So, we are waiting for the party guideline on the issue.
Do you personally have interest in the speakership?
No, I have not shown interest in the leadership of the House. Not that I am not competent. I have the prerequisite and political credentials to be the next Speaker of the Assembly but as I said, the party will be the ultimate decider of who the next Speaker will be.