Hon. Dipo Olorunrinu is a chairmanship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Amuwo Odofin Local Aovernment Area of Lagos state.The former lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly was allegedly robbed of his mandate after emerging as the winner of the party’s primaries held on May 29th. Olorunrinu is bent on taking back his mandate which he said was given to him by the people of the local government. In this interview with select journalists, Olorunrinu said his name must be returned by the leaders of the party as the candidate for the forthcoming local government election in the state. OKUNADE ADEKUNLE was there.
You sued your party over a grievance on the local government election primaries, what prompted such action?
The court should not be seen as a place of enmity , the court is a place where you iron out issues. Two wrongs don’t make right, we all have differences in our homes and organisations. Court is a place to seek clarifications of our right.
The State Chairman of the party claimed that your opponent was chosen because of some anomalies in the primary that had to be rectified. What is your take on it?
We all know that the APC is made up of progressive minded and democratic people. I was a lawmaker and I served the state, the country and the people generally. I joined the APC from the PDP two years ago. What he said is an excuse. I am a former lawmaker and I am a member of a great party. If he is giving you that as an excuse, it is not acceptable. I have contributed greatly to the party, I influenced thousands of people into the party and some of them came down to perform an electoral duty. Are you saying that the processes those people went through is wrong? There were evidences and those things were filed at the court. So, those answers are not right, he should tell you what transpired.
I stand as a representative of the party, I didn’t join the party anyhow. Before I go to live in a man’s house, I relate with the landlord to give me the rules and regulations of the house, and how he wants me to live in the house. I met with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the head of the state’s Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi and we spoke at length on different issues. It is quite unfortunate that many people think I am a talkative, but I am not a talkative. I play real politics, I don’t play manipulative politics. I play constructive politics in addition to some level of diplomacy. Our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu knows that we are championing his presidential ambition and he has delegated a lot of people to act on his behalf. I have always admired the party from the opposition. I saw that the APC is a party of progressives. I didn’t just come into the APC because I lost an election and as they say, if you cannot beat them, join them. Of course the member of the Federal House of Representatives from Amuwo-Odofin is from the PDP that will tell you what transpired in the 2019 election in the area. I understood and I decided to move on and they told me to go and prepare to serve.
Everybody knows in my local government that in my area we have a standard system, a structure championing the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. They don’t know the discussion between me and Asiwaju Tinubu who I am championing his cause. We have free bus carrying people for free in the area branded in his name. Of course the party chooses its candidate through different means. I am in the party to consolidate part of what Asiwaju Tinubu projects. So, I went on and I said either way, if it is by election let us do it. They could do it by election or selecting me. The should respect themselves and put my name back there as the winner of the primary.
Do you think the alleged substitution of your name for another person was a gang up against you because of your closeness to Tinubu within the period of two and half years you joined the party?
I won’t use the word “ganging,” it’s a coincidental gang up. They never knew that there are a lot of back ups in politics. For me, the National Leader of the party knows nothing about it. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is somebody that stands by his word. He is someone who does what he says. I don’t see myself as the example of the otherwise. I won’t be the first person Asiwaju would change his word about. So they should go and do the needful.
Some people are of the opinion that you are being pushed by some people in the party to take this step. How will you react to that?
When it comes to people, they have options, everybody can come up with his or her opinion or thoughts. Of course, there are people that will buy idea that comes from everybody. Don’t forget that politics is interest, some people will align their opinion to such things. I am a man that has his own mind. My colleagues know that, party people know that. I am not fighting the party as a whole, no. I remember when I met the National Leader of the party, he told me some things. I will not say all of them, but one of the things he said was that; “stop fighting from outside, come inside and fight.” So, I am like my father, the National Leader of the party. I am in my home, I’m in my family house fighting. It is a good fight.
Do you think the party is happy about this?
Happiness is relative, you can be quietly happy and you can be openly angry. The person in question cannot point out one thing that he has against me. Is it that I have not contributed to the party since I joined it two years ago. Since I joined the party, apart from being a registered member, I am the present Secretary of Lagos State Legislative Forum. The entire former lawmakers from the state are members, and I am their secretary. That tells you the level of my contributions to the party. When you are in a particular organization, a party or a family, you must have people that have issues with your success. So, I am not averse to that. Also, my wife is the present General Secretary of the Council of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO). So, we have contributed a lot. As we move forward, people are happy, people have been converted, they are encouraged. I have been carrying the cross of the party. I am not the first person to go to court as a party member. Our National Leader has always said that power is not served a la carte. He is also a fighter.
The judge reportedly admonished you to go home and settle out of court?
The judge didn’t say that. We make laws and we know all these things. Of course, we would have gone for alternative dispute resolution before we went to court. I met with the state chairman of the party and some others, they called me, but we couldn’t get anywhere. It was a misconception from them. Many of them even said that they didn’t know that I have done so much for the party. You all know what happened in the 2019 general elections, but I didn’t go to court. People were wondering why I didn’t challenge the results at the court, when I was in the PDP. What we are talking about here is the people’s mandate. Where do we put their belief in me. It is not as if people are pushing me.
So, what would you do if the National Leader of the party calls you and ask you to mellow down?
Like I said earlier, the National Leader of the party would not call me to do that because I won’t be the first example of our National Leader not standing by his words. There is nobody in that area that does not know that I carry the cross of the National Leader. Leadership is about diplomacy. As a leader that follows democracy tenets you would support what I’m doing. A lot of our leaders that heard about it are happy. I can tell you a lot of them support my move. They are aware that I am championing the cause of the progressives. Why would a little gang come out to do what they like. They are aware, they saw me collect LASIEC form, they saw me and they jubilated and they said you are about to take over a place that has been giving us issues. You don’t defend your lack of knowledge.
There was a report that there was an agreement or consensus that they will give it to the incumbent Council Chairman, are you aware of this?
As I said earlier, I am equally a stakeholder in the local government. Why would some people come out that they had consensus. Who were the people that made the consensus agreement. To say you have the signature of some people, that is not consensus, it is a scam. When some people said that they signed for the incumbent to continue in office, what is the constitutional value of such people. If there was a consensus how come we had an election. Ori Ade LCDA had a consensus candidate and there was no election there. We had election, we had returning officer and others in Amuwo-Odofin. Why are they contradicting themselves, it means there was an election. This little set of people is inconsequential. They are expected when you have success happening.