Hon. Dipo Olorunrinu was a member of the Lagos state House of Assembly between 2015-2019 under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He later defected to the APC after the 2019 elections. Olorunrinu also contested the local government primaries of the party in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government in 2021 along with the incumbent Council Chairman. In this MEDIA CHAT with select journalists in Lagos, the grassroots politician, who has since dragged the APC to court over the way his mandate was allegedly given to the incumbent chairman of the LG, speaks on why he wants his mandate back and the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Tinubu. WESTERNPOST Correspondent, OKUNADE ADEKUNLE was there.
What is the latest about your candidature issue in the July 2021 local government election in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State?
First of all, I am Hon. Oladipupo Olorunrinu, a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, who represented Amuwo Odofin Constituency 1 from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, something happened in the general elections, and it was not that I lost the election, but like I said if you cannot beat them, you join them, we are in Nigeria. Moving forward, I joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) and I had to contest the council chairmanship more like a compensation. I did and of course, with the support of our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Of course, I won the primaries democratically, people voted for me. That was why we went to court, we have been in court since the last six months, it’s quite unfortunate that the case is still on, even when accelerated trial was granted. But good enough, we are in trial at the moment, that’s the good news. A lot of people thought we want to settle out of court. My democratic right was infringed upon twice now. That was in 2019 and 2021. I would not toy with the people’s mandate, so I had to seek the audience of the court. At the moment, we have been asked to give evidence and we will be back in court on January 27, 2022.
The case got to court in July 2021 and it was supposed to be accelerated, why you are still in court now?
Well, I don’t know what your question is focusing on, is it the judiciary or me.
….We just felt that the matter ought to have been sorted before now….
That was what the people have been agitating for on our judiciary. Fortunately, like I said, we are still in court. I don’t know if you are talking about the people in government. May be you want to know why the case is being delayed or you suspect a kind of people trying to influence it
May be you have a charge for the judiciary or something, when it comes to a matter like this…
I wouldn’t want to question the personality of the judge, may be we can question the judiciary at large. Like I said, it is about the judiciary generally. Once acceleration is granted the matter ought to have been dealt with quickly. But, as I said, I wouldn’t say that the judge has not been pressured, but as a politician and from my experience I know how some of these things work. But the judge, based on her personality and her level of integrity, I don’t see her giving in to some of these things. She is a mother and she has a pedigree. I want to believe that with her level of experience, she would do what is right. Based on her personal integrity, the right thing would be done and the case is too sensitive to be thrown aside. The only unfortunate thing is probably because it is being delayed, even when the case has been granted accelerated hearing. It’s quite unfortunate.
So far, has the leadership of the APC in the state reached out to you?
Don’t forget that we don’t have a structured leaders yet as a party in the state, we still have an executive leaving the office and they are yet to handover to a new one. People just want to use me to settle scores or score goals. My case is totally different, I am an aggrieved person. People are equally aggrieved on my behalf, we are talking about people’s rights. You can’t just tell people not to go to court. I just had to go to court, that is what will make people like myself happy. I have to do it even if a few set of people have problem with that. It happened in 2019, I didn’t go to court. Why is it happening to me again in 2021, no. I’m a stakeholder in this state and I know my onions. I have spent a lot of my personal earnings on the party. I worked in the government as an opposition, so what’s my gain in the party. What have I gained. I have gained nothing and the party took something from me. They took my victory in 2019 and they are repeating it in 2021. I am fighting for myself and the people that stood for me. I am also using this opportunity to call on our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who just made his intention known to President Muhammadu Buhari to contest for the position of the president of Nigeria to remember that we his children at home are aggrieved over some issues. It is worrisome, appaling, so painful and we are calling on him to see to it. Like I said, he knows about it and I wouldn’t want him to keep looking. I want him to do something about it.
Have you been contacted by the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Valentine Buraimoh that the party gave the ticket to eventually?
Well, I have never been contacted by him, he doesn’t have the political confidence to do that. He has that mindset that it is the party. Even if it is the party, it has to be by consensus. You don’t just treat people like that as if they don’t have feelings. So, it’s a very sensitive and painful issue. It’s not just something that he would send some people to me. It’s not as if anybody wants to use it to malign the party, the party has come to stay. Like I said, there are always some few bad eggs, there is a new chairman of the party now. My case was part of the reason the former chairman was removed, not the main reason anyway. He just manipulated the whole thing and removed my name from the list.
There was rumour that you wanted to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with Lagos4Lagos Group of the APC, would you want to clear the air on this?
I was the only member of the PDP in the Lagos State House of Assembly for four years. That rumour came up because, when my issue came up, the enemies, including the former state chairman of the party, Mr. Tunde Balogun instigated them to suspend me, it’s quite unfortunate. They felt that I had the temerity to take the party to court, so they felt I should be suspended from my ward. Don’t forget that Jandor is from my division, he ran towards me and said why should I be suspended after mobilizing so many people into the party. For Jandor, it was an addition, of course, everybody is playing politics. You don’t expect me to drive someone who wants to rescue me away. Everybody has his own agitation and Jandor has his own agitation. He was in the APC then, he is now in the PDP. I was in the PDP and I was a stakeholder there, I am equally a stakeholder in the APC. Yes, he had a press conference, where I was present, and my enemies tried to use that to blackmail me. I don’t dwell on blackmail, but you should expect that in politics, especially from people who know how to lie. Just because they have access to our leader, they go to him to lie. But we don’t know how to lie, that is why they call me “talk and do.” We say it the way it is.
Would you ever drop this aspiration if they give you any alternative?
I don’t shy away from any commensurate alternative presented by the party. I am a party man and I have invested alot in the party to be considered for a seasonable elective position to serve our people. Even, our people who believe in ‘Talk and Do’ will further appreciate the party and sustain their commitment to the realisation of the vision of our National Leader.
I could still remember vividly that when I went to the APC, I didn’t wait for anybody to come to me, I went to our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. I didn’t have any agreement with anybody in the party, I had an agreement with our National Leader and I know he is a man that fulfill promises and never breach agreement. Like I said, I want to use this opportunity to call on him to intervene in the matter, though I know he is aware. You know he has started his presidential campaign now, and we started earlier. Immediately I was told, we were the first set of people that started the campaign in 2019, even when people were not sure. That is why I said I have gained nothing and I want to gain. You put your money where your heart is. I have put a lot of my resources in the party. When you serve people, you should also gain. I agree that I am philanthropist, but I also want to gain. I am not stupid.
Recently, the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared his intention to run for President in 2023, and you are one of the few people who started his support group in 2019, what would be your charge to Nigerians and to Asiwaju Tinubu himself?
Politics is not played on the social media. People would definitely say what they want to say because talk is cheap. But, give it to him, he said it that nothing stops a kingmaker from becoming a king. When you hear such statement, that tells you that he wants to get the job done. He felt that rather than supporting people, he should do it himself, and you might tie it to ambition, but he is not desperate. If you look at him his personality is that he wants that actual change and he wants to get the job done by himself not by proxy. He has been sending people, and asking them to do it. What is he looking for that he doesn’t have. What he is looking for is that there are some lacunas in that change that he wants to get done himself. He has asked people to do it, they did it to a large extent, but it has not led to that actual change. If you look at him, you will see the consistency of the power that he has been able to sustain. You wonder why he wants to do it himself, he has sent people to do it before, but he knows that this is not what he wanted them to actualise 100%. He wants to get it done. I want to answer people that are saying that he should go and sit down and that he is too old. The best legacy he needs in life is this. You can influence somebody into office and he might do something else. Whereas you that put him there would be questioned and it’s like your fingers have been burnt. If he has helped people to get there, we should give him a chance to do those things he wants those people to do.