Lagos governorship: I’ll prefer direct primaries – Solomon
Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon is one of the aspirants contesting for the 2015 All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial ticket in Lagos State. In this interview with DAILY INDEPENDENT REPORTER, LUKMON AKINTOLA,he speaks on why he and other Aspirants contending for Lagos APC gubernatorial ticket are springing up by the day,
What stands you out?
I rely on the electorate and my constituents. I’m now moving from a small constituency to a larger constituency that covers the whole state and I hope that what I have done in the past as a public office holder at various levels and capacities will speak for me. Also, my party members will ensure that I get the ticket to be the party flag bearer for the gubernatorial election.
As a two-term Senator, former member House of Representatives and local government Chairman, would it be wrong for people to ask what more do you seek?
There is something called career progression. If you choose a career you will want to progress in that particular field, because you do not want to be stagnant. Career progression will make you want to move from one place to another. Also, the electorate themselves, by voting me at every election, were investing in me because they put their confidence in me and they must follow up their investment into full development. For people to ask what more do I want is like saying we have a barrier above which anybody cannot get.
What is your back up plan if you lose the primaries?
What I expect is a free and fair election. If we have that and I happen not to emerge winner, I will work willingly with whoever wins, because that is the spirit of the party members. I know that some people will say he will be compensated with the post of a Senator if he does not win the primaries, but I also expect someone to have taken that post already. So, if someone is there how will you take the senatorial seat from that individual? APC has said from the on-set that in leadership we would make sure we imbibe the culture of internal democracy in the political party and that you should all expect.
If you lose the senatorial slot and also fail to win the primaries, how do you hope to remain politically relevant?
It is not a must that you have to be somewhere before you are active in politics. You can still do a lot of things and play your role as a politician. Like I said earlier, there have been progressive investments by the electorate, so if at a point they feel this is how far they want me to go, so be it. However, in politics, business or any professional career you must have your exit days because there must be a time that you have to withdraw and watch others. Regardless of what happens, I believe I have my exit days.
Some people are of the opinion that your being an independent minded person is what is making it hard for APC to endorse you as their candidate, do you agree with this?
There is no cause for alarm in that regard. You may be independent minded, but the most important thing is that you remain a part of the team. I believe the essence of having a political party is to be in the government and bring dividends of democracy to the generality of the people at large. I cannot start to say I’m not independent minded so as to satisfy some people, rather it is for them to judge. One thing I can assure all and sundry is that I am a team player. When I belong to a party I carry everybody along and this has been demonstrated over the years. I always believe you must be able to strike a balance between all contending forces if you are an executive. As a Chief Executive, you must be able to think on your feet because there would be situations that would require instant decision taking.
Some people hold the opinion that you are one of the ‘under-achieved’ senators, can you reel out your scorecard as a two term senator?
If anybody says we have not done anything in the Senate I will pardon their ignorance. I am proud to say that in the history of this state no one has attracted more projects as I have attracted to the state even beyond my senatorial district, and they are there for people to see in terms of ICT centers, libraries, toilets for schools, boreholes. We even went as far as providing solar energy powered boreholes, provision of desk and equipment to hospitals, building of health center and many more. I have done a huge number of projects and I challenge anybody to come up with a list. I would not want to flog a dead horse, the records are there for anyone to go and check. In terms of legislation, recently there was a list of bills and motions sponsored by each senator and I was one of the three senators that came second. So, before you criticize you need to check your records.
There have been talks that you have been criticizing party decisions and leadership, what is the relationship between you and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu presently?
He has always been a leader, a father, a role model and a goal-getter. Some people may think he is stubborn but he knows when to be and when not to be stubborn. You can also regard him as an independent-minded person. The issue with young people is that when they have a role model, they try as much as possible to copy some of the things that person does, perhaps that explains my attitude. You cannot but look up to him as he has paid his dues and contributed a lot to the political development of this country and beyond the state. Such a leader is very rare to come by and, of course, we have a very cordial relationship.
There is also the talk of an anointed candidate in Ambode, what is your take on that?
I have always tried not to discuss personal issues about individual aspirants because we still belong to the same party. Anybody can go out to say that he has been anointed as a political strategy. If people come out to say we are in support of this person, it is legal because you are only expressing the law of preference which you have the right to do. It is not possible to have anointed about four people for the same seat. The only solution is to go for primaries and if one person wins then it becomes the duty of the others to support him.***In as much as you don’t discuss individual personalities, you have a way of insinuating that politicians are better than technocrats, is this a direct attack?
That is an issue because somehow they have misled people into believing you are better off being a technocrat than a politician. If you are ashamed to be called a politician then don’t go into politics. At the same time, we have professional politicians who are still technocrats and can give good and quality accounts of themselves. Most people become famous because of their political position not because of their area of specialization. If we don’t start to correct that impression they will just condemn all politicians.
Is there a possibility that you could ever cross carpet to another party if you don’t get what you seek from APC?
Why do you have such passion for APC? My drive towards internal democracy goes beyond my person and that is the feeling of majority of the party members. We must make sure there is a correction within the party and whatever correction we want to make must be within the party as well. I won’t runaway to another party. Instead, I would remain in the party and if there is an abnormality, we must correct it because it is for us to make sure that we start to imbibe internal democracy so that when we leave, it will have been entrenched in the system