Interviews

‘Why I’m the best candidate for Lagos West’- Hon. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola

Hon. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola

HON. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola is a member of House of Representatives representing Alimosho Federal Constituency.  He is also the Chairman of Public Account Committee in the lower chamber.

The young man (45 in August 10, 2014) has certainly done well for himself professionally and vocationally.  He is a chartered accountant and was a member of Lagos House of Assembly for two terms before moving to House of Representatives in 2011.  Now, he wants to go to the Senate to represent Lagos West Senatorial District.

What would you say informed your going into the Senate when it is assumed by many that you will be going for second term in the House of Representatives?

One, the sitting Senator is contesting the governorship of Lagos State.  As a result of that, the seat is vacant.  Two, looking at my antecedents and my experience compared to others who are jostling for the same seat, I feel I stand a better chance.

com-aprilBut many believe you did very well in the House of Representatives particularly as the Chairman of Public Account Committee and therefore, should go back to continue your good work.  What is your take on that?

I want to thank the people who believe I did creditably while serving in the House of Representatives and Chairman of the only constitutionally recognized committee. I also share their sentiment but the Senate is the zenith of legislature.  That is why it is called the Upper Chamber. I also know that Lagos West Senatorial District is 51 per cent of entire Lagos State and whosoever will be representing this particular district must be experienced, articulate, focused, determined, capable and above all committed.

Judging by the size of the district which is the biggest not only in Lagos, but in Nigeria, I am of firm opinion that representation is about the people.  The quality of representation depends on quality experience.  Looking at all these, I felt for the good work I have been able to do while serving at the House of Representatives, I believe I can still extend that to the Senate of the National Assembly since it is still within the purview of the same National Assembly.

If I am opportuned to serve as the chairman of any committee in the Senate, I promise to be committed, dedicated and speak only in the interest of Lagos West senatorial people, whom I shall be representing and by extension Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Are you not intimidated by the political antecedents of people who you are contesting with?  People like Mr. Demola Seriki, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire and Chief Enoch Ajiboso?

I believe that politics is a game of numbers and about the people.  Yes, there is no doubt that all other aspirants who are jostling for this position are qualified to occupy the seat judging by their political antecedents.

They have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of human endeavour.  They have contributed their own quota to the development of the party at various levels.  They are committed and dedicated party members.  They are political juggernauts in their own right.  But all these do not in any way intimidate me because the position we are all jostling for is my own field of specialization and not theirs.

Their own field of specialization in the last 12 years has been in the executive arm of government.  Mine has been in the legislature.

I stand to be corrected.  Irrespective of what they have achieved , if they get to the National Assembly they cannot be ranking members.  But by the virtue of the fact that I have been a member of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, I am automatically a ranking member of the National Assembly.  I believe this will serve Lagos West senatorial district well if they send a ranking member to represent them in the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria.  So, I am not intimidated and I cannot be intimidated.  I am as focused, as determined, as articulate as ever to represent the good people of Lagos West to the best of my ability if given the opportunity to serve.

Are you also not intimidated by the size of the senatorial district being the biggest in the state and the country?

No doubt about it, it’s going to be an enormous task.  But if well structured and properly planned I don’t think it is going to be much of a problem.

One, I have designed to ensure that I carry my people in the 10 local governments and 18 LCDAs along.  I will also ensure that every month or every other month I organize a senatorial meeting.  Doing that every year will go a long way to giving the people the impression of your determination to give them quality representation they so desire.

I think judging by that strategy, ability to put to check and to work effectively as it affects that particular senatorial district will be put to task and I think God will see us through.

Has the leadership of the party given you its blessings?

I can say this without fear of favour that I commend the efforts and the political sagacity of the leadership of the party.  They have demonstrated that democracy is at work.  They have done it in such a way that nobody will be treated unfairly.  They created a level playing field for all aspirants jostling for this position. That all aspirants can go all out there, campaign and seek support and be voted for.  Whosoever emerges at the end of the day will be the candidate of the party for Lagos West.  I think that is a right step in the right direction and that is the enthronement of internal democracy within the party.

The stand of the party is that once you’ve paid the required amount for the forms and you are screened and cleared, you are free to contest the election.  So, I don’t think there is any need for anybody to go to the leadership of the party for any blessing.

If you are asked by the party leadership to step down after winning the seat, will you do it?

In the overall interest of my party, I will do it.  I am a loyal party member. I am a party man to the core.  It is the party first and every other thing follows.  Because it is the same party that gave you a platform to realize your ambition.  I know the party will never forsake you in your time of need.

So, if it is in the interest of my party and the overall and collective interest of everybody, I will abide by the party’s decision.

Do you nurse any fear about this primary election?

I do not nurse any fear.  I know I have done my homework very well. I have worked among party members to seek their support. I have toured the length and breadth of all the local governments and LCDAs within the Lagos West senatorial district. I have sought their support. I have asked them to show understanding and I promise to do their bidding.  I will represent them and not represent myself, I will speak for them and not speak for myself, if given the opportunity to serve.

I think to a large extent they are convinced that at least among those that are contesting, I remain the best that can give them the desired result.  I am sure, by the grace of God I will come out victorious come (Monday, December 8, 2014).

Assuming you win your party ticket and go ahead to win the seat, what will be your first action as the Senator representing Lagos West senatorial district?

There are enormous problems confronting the senatorial district and by extension Lagos State.  There is the issue of special status for Lagos State, where we crave Federal Government approval to give Lagos a special status as a former Federal Capital Territory.  There is also the issue of 37 LCDAs that the Federal Government has refused to be listed in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to complete their creation.  There is also the Lagos-Badagry Expressway which is an international route which has long been abandoned by the Federal Government.  It needs to be revisited, it should be expanded to at least six or ten lanes.

-TOLANI ABATTI

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