How experience in first political contest in Ogun fired up my passion, by Akinrinde

0
413
Advertisement

Florence Funlola Akinrinde, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) House of Representatives candidate for Ifo, Ewekoro Federal Constituency of Ogun State in the recently concluded National Assembly election, opened up in this interview with OBA MICHAEL SOYEBO about her first time experience in political contest and plans for the future. Excerpts:

Can you share with us your experience as a first time contestant in the just concluded 2023 general election?

My  experience as a first time contestant in the just concluded election was fantastic. I will describe it as amazing because the level of acceptance by a lot of people, especially the women and the youth; so, the whole experience was awesome; it was an amazing experience; I was not expecting such an amazing experience across my constituency, even across border generally in Ogun State not only my constituency, but especially my constituency, the acceptance was fantastic; it was amazing. The women were really excited to see their fellow woman coming out as their candidate which has not happened in a very long time especially to the House of the Representatives which was the position I contested for. So, the women were so excited. Their excitement actually encouraged me to push further; anywhere I get to, the women are excited; they want to associate with FFA, just to make themselves known  to let me know that am not alone in the race.

Yes, the youth too, maybe because of my age and the fact that I was able to have familiarised myself with them (the youth) they see me as one of them which I know I am; so, generally, the experience was awesome; I received this welcome that really amazed me and which actually helped in making the whole journey a very interesting one and I feel very fulfilled because my people accepted me; they are not ashamed of me despite the way the election actually went; it was an awesome experience for me.

Though I won’t say that there wasn’t some few challenges being a first timer (Of course, there will be) because the opponent has edge over me, that is by being on ground for some time but now I have to make myself known to the people, I have to sell myself to them to let them know who FFA is; my mission, my objective, the reason why I wanted to represent them, that was why I took a lot of time to sell myself across my constituency just to familiarise with me and let them know who I am.

So, apart from that few challenges of probably of them getting to know me, there should be bond; definitely there should be a bond between me and the electorate and my community people; my constituency people and all that took me a lot of time, they have to know who this person is. So, apart from that challenge, every other experience was really awesome and encouraging.

How would you rate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) in terms of general conduct of the election? What’s your verdict on the polls?

Well, how I will rate the performance of the INEC in terms of the candidate of the election, well the truth is that I will rate it fair not excellent, not good enough but a bit fair because I was on ground; I must tell you it wasn’t fantastic experience at all with the INEC.

A lot of things went wrong like in most of my area which I consider to be my stronghold ,we couldn’t get the material on time, I remember in my own polling unit, I got to my polling booth around past 1pm, as at that time people were not voting, what happened they said there was no ink, that was actually surprising, and I was like you mean people could not cast their vote, this is almost1pm or almost past 1 pm because there is no ink, and at the point, i was there for some time, it did not seem there is going to be any positive change of the ink coming, so I had to approach one of the INEC  staff and introduced myself to them and let them know that, see am this person, and am here to cast my vote and my people and every other person here are not voting because there is no ink, and they were like ‘ehnn kinikan’ they are bringing it and you know after some time, after when I went to approached him and let him know who I am, so like about 10 minutes, the ink showed up surprisingly from nowhere, so that shows that there is a lot of inadequacy and a lot of things that were not right, I must tell you about the conduct of the INEC and that wasn’t the only place. In other places too, where I believe also my stronghold.The material didn’t get there; the BVAS didn’t get there up to about 3 or 4 or 5 pm in the evening and you know I kept calling the INEC officers and they were like it’s okay and what we are going to do is that, whenever the material get here, they will start voting till whatever time they were able to finish voting, and I was like common, you expect people leave their house like 9 am to go and cast their vote and they will be there till 4 or 5 pm waiting for voting materials? So, this is not adding up; is not making any sense at all. So, that just a few among the so many terrible experiences we had on that day.

I remember there was even other places the drivers were not moving; they were not bringing the materias to the polling units because there were issues and I kept calling the INEC and I was on my phone trying to know what the problem was because we were getting the report; we had a situation room and we were getting report from there that we don’t have polling materials here in this place the drivers were not moving, they don’t want transfer, they want cash, at the end of the day it’s not cash anymore, it’s transfer, you know  honestly the experience was not good enough; it was terrible. So, I don’t know what their challenges were to make things to be that way; well I believe that there are lots of things that did not go right that day, and don’t even let me start talking about how I feel about the INEC conduct because it’s not a good one at all. It’s not a good experience; it’s not encouraging I must say. It’s absolutely bad. That’s what I would say about that, but it’s okay, we’ve done the election, it’s over; it’s past, we’ve learnt a lot of lessons; I personally learnt a lesson from that and for the ballot papers, some of my areas, the ballot papers were taken away; sorry; I mean the ballot box was taken away; there was a kind of chaos that you have taken the ballot box and after some time, came back. This hppened before me, and I was like what is happening? So, that was all the experiences among other terrible experiences and I remember there was even another place that the ballot papers for House of Reps wasn’t available at all, and when they asked them why the ballot papers for Reps were not available, they said it’s an error bla bla and all that. Then in another place again, they said the House of Reps ballot paper was just few; they brought a few for House of Reps, that of the presidential and Senatorial were enough. In another place where they had to give a presidential candidate my vote and his vote was given to me when they were collating the results. I have all these evidences right here. So, if you ask me what I feel about the conduct, how I will rate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission that is the INEC, I will just tell you it’s not a good performance; it wasn’t encouraging; they need to do more; they need to do better, the BVAS that’s another story, don’t even let us go there so we don’t start bringing up things that already fading away, that is my experience; it was terrible.

Going forward, what would be your suggestions on how to get it right with our elections in the future?

How to get it right with our elections in the future is very simple, I think the INEC needs to work harder, they need to put things in place better than this, probably the preparation should start earlier. I don’t know when but the preparation should start earlier. If the new Electoral Law says we are going with the BVAS, the results are supposed to be transmitted instantly how it is stated because this time around there will be a lot of inadequacy, imagine the driver that was conveying the polling materials, is not moving, how can such a sensitive situation and the driver not moving, that means there was no proper arrangements or probably it was just one of these gimmicks to frustrate the stronghold of opponents, probably they were working for one candidate maybe from one party but there is something wrong somewhere. So, all this should be looked into and proper attention should be paid to matters like that.

To have a better election, they just have to look into the inadequacies and shortcomings, the flows, like making proper arrangements for electoral materials to get to where they should be at the right time and the issue of the snatched of the ballot box, there should be follow up, I mean there should be independent bodies to monitor the elections; I didn’t see anyone (am sorry ), I was in my constituency during all the elections (the House of Representatives and governorship, assembly election) I did not notice the presence of anybody that was there to investigate the election or to monitor the elections. That’s not right; we should have external body to monitor the elections, so from there we learn from our mistakes and things will be put right because if you don’t do something differently; if you continue to do something in the same way, you keep getting the same results. So If you ask me, there was no proper monitoring, arrangements were not properly made ahead of the election, or probably arrangements were made but some people just decided to intentionally frustrate the process, and there should be awareness. You see, awareness shouldn’t be by the candidate alone, the INEC itself should create an awareness especially in the rural areas on how people to cast their votes, like in the rural area there were lots of void votes that were not properly cast. It shows that our people in rural areas do not have knowledge of how to vote; so this should come from the INEC to try and create a lot of awareness to teach our people in rural areas how to cast their votes; all these are very important In an election. 

Then I think we’ve not reached that stage in Nigeria, where you can’t cast your vote until you get to the polling unit; we should be able to sit in the comfort of our homes through the system and cast our vote; you know it’s achievable; If the developed countries are able to achieve it, we should be able to achieve it. We can achieve it. I think the problem is transparency; there are lots of things to hide in this part of the world, that’s why we don’t want to get it right, but I believe we can get it right, then the people in the diaspora should be able to cast their vote too and results transmitted immediately. The uploading should be something that should be automatic; it should be transparent enough for us to know; so by the time we are done with the election, people should be able to view the results at the polling unit. The collation centre, that’s the worst part of an election; let me tell you the truth, is the worst part of election, you know we have people there and you can imagine somewhere in my collation center, at the end of the day, it was getting late in the night; we had to use torch light; you know people had to use torch light from their phones to even give the person that was doing the collation light. It was terrible.

Let’s talk about your performance in the election; how did you react to the outcome of the election results in your federal constituency?

Well, my performance coming out for the first time as a first timer being a candidate that is just getting used to the people, and trying to acquaint with them gradually, I think I did very well, we did very well as a party; I as a candidate I think am proud of my performance; it’s something that is encouraging, it encouraged me; I know I can do better next time, despite the fact that you won’t forget the fact that I was actually facing an incumbent who was already there for eight years and being in the system for 20 years. He has been on ground and he had the power of incumbency; of course, you can’t rule that out, it’s not a bad one even though we expected it to be better than that but due to a lot of things that went wrong even within the party, outside the party so many things went wrong, I don’t want to believe that I came 3rd, that not the results. Let me say there are lots of inadequacies and because of that, it’s was quite unfortunate but am proud of my party, am proud of myself, we gave them a run, so far within the Ewekoro constituency, I made a lot of impact within that short period of time, and some people were actually finding it difficult to believe that this a first timer; they were even saying ‘no’ she must have been on ground for a very long time, probably she was at the background; yes, for them to think like that, they are right because of the outcome and because of how I was selected and the way everybody got to know FFA within that period. It’s actually someone can easily believe ‘no’ she must have been on ground, but no; it was hard work; we worked day in and day out, tirelessly, and we really hit it out there.

I remember me and my team actually went to every nook and corner of Ifo/Ewekoro, you understand; so for there to be such an acceptance within this short period of time, you should know that it took a lot of hard work.So, the performance, I will say yes, we did fantasticaly well; we did very well; the party did well. As a candidate, I put in my best and of course, we saw the results of the hard work that came out from that.

Would you say the result wasn’t favourable because you contested on the platform of the African Democratic Congress?

Yes, we are reacting to the results, well I did my best, I pulled in my best; there is no regrets, even there were lots of inadequacies even within the party, don’t forget that I mentioned that we had some shortcomings within the party and unfortunately that actually gave my opponent an edge in that area; then looking at this,of course, we can’t rule the fact that It wasn’t free and fair one. Of course, it wasn’t free and fair one, so reacting to the results now,, I will say yes we did our best but unfortunately it went the way it went but it wasn’t a bad try.

What’s the major lesson you’ve learnt in your participation in the Nigerian political space?

If I would say the results wasn’t favourable because I contested under the African Democratic party called (ADC) no, it’s far from it, the ADC is a known party especially in Ogun State; it has nothing to do with the outcome.

ADC is a well known party and it’s been accepted already by our people, even though it’s not the most two (2) popular parties in Nigeria today but it’s not doing badly at all. So, I don’t think it’s due to the fact that I contested under ADC, there is nothing wrong contesting under the ADC, there are no regrets just like I said earlier, the ADC wasn’t a factor, while going into the election at all, that is far from it.

In the course of this contest, did you have any regret?

The lessons I have learnt in participating in Nigerian politics, I will say it’s a mixed bag. Of course, in a situation like this, you will learn the good and the bad lessons, I won’t call it bad. Well, this not my first time in politics, don’t let us mistake that, even though this is the first time am contesting as a candidate but have been in politics for some time. Years back, I was in AD back in Abuja. So, I have always been in politics, but I had a break due to some personal reasons, and before coming back again fully. So, the lesson so far is how to be more tolerant; have learnt to never give up.I also learnt that hard work pays, and have also learnt to tolerate people, and to understand that you don’t trust anyone in politics, and  there is no friends or enemies in politics, so you just have to be on top of your game.

For the fact that people are close to you, and they are pledging their loyalty every now and then, that doesn’t mean they can’t sell you out at dying minutes. So, anything can happen in Nigerian politics overnight, anything can happen; so you expect anything. A lot of lessons have been leaned honestly.

Like I said, it’s not a wasted effort, it’s something I would do over and over again, it’s something that I actually thank God I was able to give it a try and then just like I kept saying, the acceptance from my people was amazing and this is one of the drives that keep me going. So, there are lots of lessons, trust no one, anything can happen anytime, you know those that you think are for you, maybe the one against you.

So politically what’s next for you?

If I have any regrets, no regrets whatsoever; the experience was amazing, even though I didn’t come out as a winner, a lot of lives were touched. I thank God I was able to reach out to as many people as I can positively. I was able to make impact. We did a lot during the campaign period, and we are not stopping; it continues.

We are able to touch the lives of some widows, some orphans, the women in general; we are able to give people the opportunity in life, that’s one thing that makes me so fulfilled because the major reason why am a politician in the first place, is to be able to touch lives especially in the rural areas, especially in the communities. When this is your dream and you see yourself actualising it, no matter what, you don’t have any regret. 

The relationship have already been established between me and my people; it will continue. We are not putting a stop to it, just like I kept saying. We look forward to doing more for the widows, for the orphans, for children, for the youth especially. I have a fantastic relationship with the youth of Ifo/Ewekoro and now even extending it to around Ogun State. I would continue to keep that fire burning. We will continue to reach out to as many people as we can and affect as many lives as possible and doing our best to create more positive impact in the rural area.

Politically what next, I think I have already mentioned it. We will look forward to continuation; continuation in terms of reaching out to people in my constituency in the rural areas, in the community, contributing my own quota as well, contributing my beats.

On my top agenda list are the women, the children, the widows, the youth of my constituencies and across borders even within Ogun State. So, the FFA continues, we have a lot of groups across Ifo/Ewekoro, and recently I have accepted few other responsibilities.

As a big player in the real estate sector of the economy; can you assess the growth or otherwise of the sector?

If I have to assess real estate business in Nigeria; it is not doing badly. The real estate business in Nigeria is growing very fast for the fact that people are beginning to know the importance of investing in real estate; in properties; so I would say that it’s not a bad one at all, the progress in the real estate business or the real estate so far in Nigeria.

We are begining to have smart phones, people are begining to know the importance of investing and subscribing to good properties and I would still want to encourage more people to start investing more in real estate; it’s not doing badly at all; we are progressing, more awareness are beginning to come up in properties in as much that we are able to invest our money in the right properties,you are sure that you won’t regrets it.

The important thing is to know where to invest your money; make sure you are investing in the right place, in the right company, the right organisation, within few years, you will start reaping the dividends of your investment in properties. Its not doing badly. We are getting there gradually.

Do you have plans to invest in your home state of Ogun considering your passion for your people and your recent involvement in Ogun politics?

The project at hand, we have few, you know I sell the top much properties directly from the source actually,so if have anyone that, I did mostly with the investors,you know with the developers, that really have the project,that really have plans for the project on ground building estate in a very large acres of land and all that,so we have a lot across Lagos, talking about,from the scratch talking about buying directly from the source like,you know because if you are a big time developers,you will always wants to buy the raw materials,what I mean by the raw materials now is that you want to buy primarily like directly from the source,you wouldn’t want to buy a properties that someone has bought and that he is reselling  ,that will be high for you as a developer because the cost of the properties would be high but if you are buying it raw directly from the source either you are buying from the government or you are buying from the community or the secular,you understand.

So, for the developers now ,that is the best for them ,both to the raw market,you develop your self and in the every aspect like by perfecting your papers and done ,and developing the place is actually better,so we are getting into that getting the raw one for the developers and for those that are not developers,I want to buy for there personally use,that is on ground as well,we have few projects already, even in Abuja,am sure you know my first address was Abuja,I have quite few of the raw ones there,we are trying to bring also some few estate where we can build and sell to people,we have few at some good areas in Abuja,we have In epe area, where we have the airport,where we can get a land there at a reasonable price.

I have in Lagos, funny enough,I have up to 10 thousand square meters of land in central of eko where you can put up some ,we have like ,it’s all over, within the Abeokuta as well,I have a project already that is springing up,we have to put up some apartment where we have people to subscribe from the beginning where we build, we can subscribe and start paying gradually, once you subscribe , you will start paying gradually until the apartment is finished,you can have your thing,it’s all yours within a very short period of time,both areas ( GRA )here in Abeokuta,we have that as well .

So now, basically am running between Abuja, Lagos and Abeokuta,and aside developers, even if you want to get some things for personal use,we have that as well,so it’s depends on what you want,you want to just buy from us build or you want us to build for you, whatever it is that you want,we are at your service,so all this are actually on ground at the moment for subscribers.

Would consider moving to one of the two major political parties to actualize political aspirations?

I also have a fantastic resort which is off for sale,in a very good location in ajah,I have a land by the sea side,that you can buy and give elecuted something to have there.

The resort is also a top class resort i can rate it up to five star to fantastic resort,you can buy,we can even manage for you if you are buying the resort from us,you want to run it ,we can help you set it up,we can set the whole business for you and it’s keeps going,it’s a fantastic one,you will see the side resort that are available that you will love to subscribe and I must say we’ve been in the business for some time and my experience they say is the best teacher.

Dealing with us in properties is something anyone can’t regrets because don’t compromise standard,we always makes sure our end result is for our subscribers are happy,do that is one of our top priority, good customer service and customer satisfaction.

What’s your take on women’s participation in politics? Would you encourage more women to throw their hats into the ring come next election cylce?

Of course, I have plans to invest in Ogun, just like I mentioned earlier on,we have a project already in Abeokuta, so am looking to have a project within Ifo/Ewekoro,what will want to do is put up for the widow first,you know we are actually gathering widows at the  moment,and we’re looking for sponsors,we are looking for people to come and associates with us while we help out to our people.

Like recently, during my campaign I ran into a widow, her husband was killed during one of the election period and she was homeless,she doesn’t have where to stay with the children, she was living in a church somewhere in ewekoro.

You know,I have to personally get a house for her ,so she can move out of the church environment with the child and I give her an accomodations for her and give her something to start her petty trading,she would be able to feel that because seeing that woman that day,she was already like her health was already on line,it wasn’t a pleasant site at all,so that talks to my head that this widow need a place to put there head,we have a whole lot of them,so am thinking of,we are putting up a project very soon  by the grace of God where they will going to build houses for widows and anybody that is interested can subscribe maybe from Nigeria or outside the country if you want to help a widow,you can help subscribe for which is convenient for you in this locus houses and probably maybe your widows might help one of widow in one of the houses there,so this are some few projects are putting up on my constituencies by the grace of God in Ifo/Ewekoro.

Then I actually talk about putting up a vocational center where we can be training our youth skills program where they can go into a vocational center and learn a trade of their choice and handwork they can be doing,so something like that we are actually looking at to put up a building to solicite for assistance to people to come and help and subscribe,if you decide to help,it’s will be very transparent that people will see it and if you are helping one child in a vocational center,if you are paying for the because it’s definitely going to be free,you say you are helping and it has to be helped all the way and those are part of the project am bringing to my people,I want to start from my constituencies by the grace of God probably we will extend to every other party  of the state and for business that’s for politics where I want to come in to assist my people and as for business wise just like I said very soon we will be coming up with a luxurious apartment within Abeokuta where people can subscribe to apartment and buy and start paying and once it’s done,they will be paying gradually,and once it’s done, They will be giving their keys,so that’s all the plans we already have on ground in Ogun State.

Show lessdone

On Sun, Apr 16, 2023 at 4:54 PM Agomuo Zebulon agomuozebulon@yahoo.com wrote:

How experience in first political contest in Ogun fired up my passion, by Akinrinde

Florence Funlola Akinrinde, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) House of Representatives candidate for Ifo, Ewekoro Federal Constituency of Ogun State in the recently concluded National Assembly election, opened up in this interview with OBA MICHAEL SOYEBO about her first time experience in political contest and plans for the future. Excerpts:

Can you share with us your experience as a first time contestant in the just concluded 2023 general election?

My  experience as a first time contestant in the just concluded election was fantastic. I will describe it as amazing because the level of acceptance by a lot of people, especially the women and the youth; so, the whole experience was awesome; it was an amazing experience; I was not expecting such an amazing experience across my constituency, even across border generally in Ogun State not only my constituency, but especially my constituency, the acceptance was fantastic; it was amazing. The women were really excited to see their fellow woman coming out as their candidate which has not happened in a very long time especially to the House of the Representatives which was the position I contested for. So, the women were so excited. Their excitement actually encouraged me to push further; anywhere I get to, the women are excited; they want to associate with FFA, just to make themselves known  to let me know that am not alone in the race.

Yes, the youth too, maybe because of my age and the fact that I was able to have familiarised myself with them (the youth) they see me as one of them which I know I am; so, generally, the experience was awesome; I received this welcome that really amazed me and which actually helped in making the whole journey a very interesting one and I feel very fulfilled because my people accepted me; they are not ashamed of me despite the way the election actually went; it was an awesome experience for me.

Though I won’t say that there wasn’t some few challenges being a first timer (Of course, there will be) because the opponent has edge over me, that is by being on ground for some time but now I have to make myself known to the people, I have to sell myself to them to let them know who FFA is; my mission, my objective, the reason why I wanted to represent them, that was why I took a lot of time to sell myself across my constituency just to familiarise with me and let them know who I am.

So, apart from that few challenges of probably of them getting to know me, there should be bond; definitely there should be a bond between me and the electorate and my community people; my constituency people and all that took me a lot of time, they have to know who this person is. So, apart from that challenge, every other experience was really awesome and encouraging.

How would you rate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) in terms of general conduct of the election? What’s your verdict on the polls?

Well, how I will rate the performance of the INEC in terms of the candidate of the election, well the truth is that I will rate it fair not excellent, not good enough but a bit fair because I was on ground; I must tell you it wasn’t fantastic experience at all with the INEC.

A lot of things went wrong like in most of my area which I consider to be my stronghold ,we couldn’t get the material on time, I remember in my own polling unit, I got to my polling booth around past 1pm, as at that time people were not voting, what happened they said there was no ink, that was actually surprising, and I was like you mean people could not cast their vote, this is almost1pm or almost past 1 pm because there is no ink, and at the point, i was there for some time, it did not seem there is going to be any positive change of the ink coming, so I had to approach one of the INEC  staff and introduced myself to them and let them know that, see am this person, and am here to cast my vote and my people and every other person here are not voting because there is no ink, and they were like ‘ehnn kinikan’ they are bringing it and you know after some time, after when I went to approached him and let him know who I am, so like about 10 minutes, the ink showed up surprisingly from nowhere, so that shows that there is a lot of inadequacy and a lot of things that were not right, I must tell you about the conduct of the INEC and that wasn’t the only place. In other places too, where I believe also my stronghold.The material didn’t get there; the BVAS didn’t get there up to about 3 or 4 or 5 pm in the evening and you know I kept calling the INEC officers and they were like it’s okay and what we are going to do is that, whenever the material get here, they will start voting till whatever time they were able to finish voting, and I was like common, you expect people leave their house like 9 am to go and cast their vote and they will be there till 4 or 5 pm waiting for voting materials? So, this is not adding up; is not making any sense at all. So, that just a few among the so many terrible experiences we had on that day.

I remember there was even other places the drivers were not moving; they were not bringing the materias to the polling units because there were issues and I kept calling the INEC and I was on my phone trying to know what the problem was because we were getting the report; we had a situation room and we were getting report from there that we don’t have polling materials here in this place the drivers were not moving, they don’t want transfer, they want cash, at the end of the day it’s not cash anymore, it’s transfer, you know  honestly the experience was not good enough; it was terrible. So, I don’t know what their challenges were to make things to be that way; well I believe that there are lots of things that did not go right that day, and don’t even let me start talking about how I feel about the INEC conduct because it’s not a good one at all. It’s not a good experience; it’s not encouraging I must say. It’s absolutely bad. That’s what I would say about that, but it’s okay, we’ve done the election, it’s over; it’s past, we’ve learnt a lot of lessons; I personally learnt a lesson from that and for the ballot papers, some of my areas, the ballot papers were taken away; sorry; I mean the ballot box was taken away; there was a kind of chaos that you have taken the ballot box and after some time, came back. This hppened before me, and I was like what is happening? So, that was all the experiences among other terrible experiences and I remember there was even another place that the ballot papers for House of Reps wasn’t available at all, and when they asked them why the ballot papers for Reps were not available, they said it’s an error bla bla and all that. Then in another place again, they said the House of Reps ballot paper was just few; they brought a few for House of Reps, that of the presidential and Senatorial were enough. In another place where they had to give a presidential candidate my vote and his vote was given to me when they were collating the results. I have all these evidences right here. So, if you ask me what I feel about the conduct, how I will rate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission that is the INEC, I will just tell you it’s not a good performance; it wasn’t encouraging; they need to do more; they need to do better, the BVAS that’s another story, don’t even let us go there so we don’t start bringing up things that already fading away, that is my experience; it was terrible.

Going forward, what would be your suggestions on how to get it right with our elections in the future?

How to get it right with our elections in the future is very simple, I think the INEC needs to work harder, they need to put things in place better than this, probably the preparation should start earlier. I don’t know when but the preparation should start earlier. If the new Electoral Law says we are going with the BVAS, the results are supposed to be transmitted instantly how it is stated because this time around there will be a lot of inadequacy, imagine the driver that was conveying the polling materials, is not moving, how can such a sensitive situation and the driver not moving, that means there was no proper arrangements or probably it was just one of these gimmicks to frustrate the stronghold of opponents, probably they were working for one candidate maybe from one party but there is something wrong somewhere. So, all this should be looked into and proper attention should be paid to matters like that.

To have a better election, they just have to look into the inadequacies and shortcomings, the flows, like making proper arrangements for electoral materials to get to where they should be at the right time and the issue of the snatched of the ballot box, there should be follow up, I mean there should be independent bodies to monitor the elections; I didn’t see anyone (am sorry ), I was in my constituency during all the elections (the House of Representatives and governorship, assembly election) I did not notice the presence of anybody that was there to investigate the election or to monitor the elections. That’s not right; we should have external body to monitor the elections, so from there we learn from our mistakes and things will be put right because if you don’t do something differently; if you continue to do something in the same way, you keep getting the same results. So If you ask me, there was no proper monitoring, arrangements were not properly made ahead of the election, or probably arrangements were made but some people just decided to intentionally frustrate the process, and there should be awareness. You see, awareness shouldn’t be by the candidate alone, the INEC itself should create an awareness especially in the rural areas on how people to cast their votes, like in the rural area there were lots of void votes that were not properly cast. It shows that our people in rural areas do not have knowledge of how to vote; so this should come from the INEC to try and create a lot of awareness to teach our people in rural areas how to cast their votes; all these are very important In an election. 

Then I think we’ve not reached that stage in Nigeria, where you can’t cast your vote until you get to the polling unit; we should be able to sit in the comfort of our homes through the system and cast our vote; you know it’s achievable; If the developed countries are able to achieve it, we should be able to achieve it. We can achieve it. I think the problem is transparency; there are lots of things to hide in this part of the world, that’s why we don’t want to get it right, but I believe we can get it right, then the people in the diaspora should be able to cast their vote too and results transmitted immediately. The uploading should be something that should be automatic; it should be transparent enough for us to know; so by the time we are done with the election, people should be able to view the results at the polling unit. The collation centre, that’s the worst part of an election; let me tell you the truth, is the worst part of election, you know we have people there and you can imagine somewhere in my collation center, at the end of the day, it was getting late in the night; we had to use torch light; you know people had to use torch light from their phones to even give the person that was doing the collation light. It was terrible.

Let’s talk about your performance in the election; how did you react to the outcome of the election results in your federal constituency?

Well, my performance coming out for the first time as a first timer being a candidate that is just getting used to the people, and trying to acquaint with them gradually, I think I did very well, we did very well as a party; I as a candidate I think am proud of my performance; it’s something that is encouraging, it encouraged me; I know I can do better next time, despite the fact that you won’t forget the fact that I was actually facing an incumbent who was already there for eight years and being in the system for 20 years. He has been on ground and he had the power of incumbency; of course, you can’t rule that out, it’s not a bad one even though we expected it to be better than that but due to a lot of things that went wrong even within the party, outside the party so many things went wrong, I don’t want to believe that I came 3rd, that not the results. Let me say there are lots of inadequacies and because of that, it’s was quite unfortunate but am proud of my party, am proud of myself, we gave them a run, so far within the Ewekoro constituency, I made a lot of impact within that short period of time, and some people were actually finding it difficult to believe that this a first timer; they were even saying ‘no’ she must have been on ground for a very long time, probably she was at the background; yes, for them to think like that, they are right because of the outcome and because of how I was selected and the way everybody got to know FFA within that period. It’s actually someone can easily believe ‘no’ she must have been on ground, but no; it was hard work; we worked day in and day out, tirelessly, and we really hit it out there.

I remember me and my team actually went to every nook and corner of Ifo/Ewekoro, you understand; so for there to be such an acceptance within this short period of time, you should know that it took a lot of hard work.So, the performance, I will say yes, we did fantasticaly well; we did very well; the party did well. As a candidate, I put in my best and of course, we saw the results of the hard work that came out from that.

Would you say the result wasn’t favourable because you contested on the platform of the African Democratic Congress?

Yes, we are reacting to the results, well I did my best, I pulled in my best; there is no regrets, even there were lots of inadequacies even within the party, don’t forget that I mentioned that we had some shortcomings within the party and unfortunately that actually gave my opponent an edge in that area; then looking at this,of course, we can’t rule the fact that It wasn’t free and fair one. Of course, it wasn’t free and fair one, so reacting to the results now,, I will say yes we did our best but unfortunately it went the way it went but it wasn’t a bad try.

What’s the major lesson you’ve learnt in your participation in the Nigerian political space?

If I would say the results wasn’t favourable because I contested under the African Democratic party called (ADC) no, it’s far from it, the ADC is a known party especially in Ogun State; it has nothing to do with the outcome.

ADC is a well known party and it’s been accepted already by our people, even though it’s not the most two (2) popular parties in Nigeria today but it’s not doing badly at all. So, I don’t think it’s due to the fact that I contested under ADC, there is nothing wrong contesting under the ADC, there are no regrets just like I said earlier, the ADC wasn’t a factor, while going into the election at all, that is far from it.

In the course of this contest, did you have any regret?

The lessons I have learnt in participating in Nigerian politics, I will say it’s a mixed bag. Of course, in a situation like this, you will learn the good and the bad lessons, I won’t call it bad. Well, this not my first time in politics, don’t let us mistake that, even though this is the first time am contesting as a candidate but have been in politics for some time. Years back, I was in AD back in Abuja. So, I have always been in politics, but I had a break due to some personal reasons, and before coming back again fully. So, the lesson so far is how to be more tolerant; have learnt to never give up.I also learnt that hard work pays, and have also learnt to tolerate people, and to understand that you don’t trust anyone in politics, and  there is no friends or enemies in politics, so you just have to be on top of your game.

For the fact that people are close to you, and they are pledging their loyalty every now and then, that doesn’t mean they can’t sell you out at dying minutes. So, anything can happen in Nigerian politics overnight, anything can happen; so you expect anything. A lot of lessons have been leaned honestly.

Like I said, it’s not a wasted effort, it’s something I would do over and over again, it’s something that I actually thank God I was able to give it a try and then just like I kept saying, the acceptance from my people was amazing and this is one of the drives that keep me going. So, there are lots of lessons, trust no one, anything can happen anytime, you know those that you think are for you, maybe the one against you.

So politically what’s next for you?

If I have any regrets, no regrets whatsoever; the experience was amazing, even though I didn’t come out as a winner, a lot of lives were touched. I thank God I was able to reach out to as many people as I can positively. I was able to make impact. We did a lot during the campaign period, and we are not stopping; it continues.

We are able to touch the lives of some widows, some orphans, the women in general; we are able to give people the opportunity in life, that’s one thing that makes me so fulfilled because the major reason why am a politician in the first place, is to be able to touch lives especially in the rural areas, especially in the communities. When this is your dream and you see yourself actualising it, no matter what, you don’t have any regret. 

The relationship have already been established between me and my people; it will continue. We are not putting a stop to it, just like I kept saying. We look forward to doing more for the widows, for the orphans, for children, for the youth especially. I have a fantastic relationship with the youth of Ifo/Ewekoro and now even extending it to around Ogun State. I would continue to keep that fire burning. We will continue to reach out to as many people as we can and affect as many lives as possible and doing our best to create more positive impact in the rural area.

Politically what next, I think I have already mentioned it. We will look forward to continuation; continuation in terms of reaching out to people in my constituency in the rural areas, in the community, contributing my own quota as well, contributing my beats.

On my top agenda list are the women, the children, the widows, the youth of my constituencies and across borders even within Ogun State. So, the FFA continues, we have a lot of groups across Ifo/Ewekoro, and recently I have accepted few other responsibilities.

As a big player in the real estate sector of the economy; can you assess the growth or otherwise of the sector?

If I have to assess real estate business in Nigeria; it is not doing badly. The real estate business in Nigeria is growing very fast for the fact that people are beginning to know the importance of investing in real estate; in properties; so I would say that it’s not a bad one at all, the progress in the real estate business or the real estate so far in Nigeria.

We are begining to have smart phones, people are begining to know the importance of investing and subscribing to good properties and I would still want to encourage more people to start investing more in real estate; it’s not doing badly at all; we are progressing, more awareness are beginning to come up in properties in as much that we are able to invest our money in the right properties,you are sure that you won’t regrets it.

The important thing is to know where to invest your money; make sure you are investing in the right place, in the right company, the right organisation, within few years, you will start reaping the dividends of your investment in properties. Its not doing badly. We are getting there gradually.

Do you have plans to invest in your home state of Ogun considering your passion for your people and your recent involvement in Ogun politics?

The project at hand, we have few, you know I sell the top much properties directly from the source actually,so if have anyone that, I did mostly with the investors,you know with the developers, that really have the project,that really have plans for the project on ground building estate in a very large acres of land and all that,so we have a lot across Lagos, talking about,from the scratch talking about buying directly from the source like,you know because if you are a big time developers,you will always wants to buy the raw materials,what I mean by the raw materials now is that you want to buy primarily like directly from the source,you wouldn’t want to buy a properties that someone has bought and that he is reselling  ,that will be high for you as a developer because the cost of the properties would be high but if you are buying it raw directly from the source either you are buying from the government or you are buying from the community or the secular,you understand.

So, for the developers now ,that is the best for them ,both to the raw market,you develop your self and in the every aspect like by perfecting your papers and done ,and developing the place is actually better,so we are getting into that getting the raw one for the developers and for those that are not developers,I want to buy for there personally use,that is on ground as well,we have few projects already, even in Abuja,am sure you know my first address was Abuja,I have quite few of the raw ones there,we are trying to bring also some few estate where we can build and sell to people,we have few at some good areas in Abuja,we have In epe area, where we have the airport,where we can get a land there at a reasonable price.

I have in Lagos, funny enough,I have up to 10 thousand square meters of land in central of eko where you can put up some ,we have like ,it’s all over, within the Abeokuta as well,I have a project already that is springing up,we have to put up some apartment where we have people to subscribe from the beginning where we build, we can subscribe and start paying gradually, once you subscribe , you will start paying gradually until the apartment is finished,you can have your thing,it’s all yours within a very short period of time,both areas ( GRA )here in Abeokuta,we have that as well .

So now, basically am running between Abuja, Lagos and Abeokuta,and aside developers, even if you want to get some things for personal use,we have that as well,so it’s depends on what you want,you want to just buy from us build or you want us to build for you, whatever it is that you want,we are at your service,so all this are actually on ground at the moment for subscribers.

Would consider moving to one of the two major political parties to actualize political aspirations?

I also have a fantastic resort which is off for sale,in a very good location in ajah,I have a land by the sea side,that you can buy and give elecuted something to have there.

The resort is also a top class resort i can rate it up to five star to fantastic resort,you can buy,we can even manage for you if you are buying the resort from us,you want to run it ,we can help you set it up,we can set the whole business for you and it’s keeps going,it’s a fantastic one,you will see the side resort that are available that you will love to subscribe and I must say we’ve been in the business for some time and my experience they say is the best teacher.

Dealing with us in properties is something anyone can’t regrets because don’t compromise standard,we always makes sure our end result is for our subscribers are happy,do that is one of our top priority, good customer service and customer satisfaction.

What’s your take on women’s participation in politics? Would you encourage more women to throw their hats into the ring come next election cylce?

Of course, I have plans to invest in Ogun, just like I mentioned earlier on,we have a project already in Abeokuta, so am looking to have a project within Ifo/Ewekoro,what will want to do is put up for the widow first,you know we are actually gathering widows at the  moment,and we’re looking for sponsors,we are looking for people to come and associates with us while we help out to our people.

Like recently, during my campaign I ran into a widow, her husband was killed during one of the election period and she was homeless,she doesn’t have where to stay with the children, she was living in a church somewhere in ewekoro.

You know,I have to personally get a house for her ,so she can move out of the church environment with the child and I give her an accomodations for her and give her something to start her petty trading,she would be able to feel that because seeing that woman that day,she was already like her health was already on line,it wasn’t a pleasant site at all,so that talks to my head that this widow need a place to put there head,we have a whole lot of them,so am thinking of,we are putting up a project very soon  by the grace of God where they will going to build houses for widows and anybody that is interested can subscribe maybe from Nigeria or outside the country if you want to help a widow,you can help subscribe for which is convenient for you in this locus houses and probably maybe your widows might help one of widow in one of the houses there,so this are some few projects are putting up on my constituencies by the grace of God in Ifo/Ewekoro.

Then I actually talk about putting up a vocational center where we can be training our youth skills program where they can go into a vocational center and learn a trade of their choice and handwork they can be doing,so something like that we are actually looking at to put up a building to solicite for assistance to people to come and help and subscribe,if you decide to help,it’s will be very transparent that people will see it and if you are helping one child in a vocational center,if you are paying for the because it’s definitely going to be free,you say you are helping and it has to be helped all the way and those are part of the project am bringing to my people,I want to start from my constituencies by the grace of God probably we will extend to every other party  of the state and for business that’s for politics where I want to come in to assist my people and as for business wise just like I said very soon we will be coming up with a luxurious apartment within Abeokuta where people can subscribe to apartment and buy and start paying and once it’s done,they will be paying gradually,and once it’s done, They will be giving their keys, so that’s all the plans we already have on ground in Ogun State.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here