In an interview with Hon. Ola Animashaun, PDP candidate for the House of Representatives in Ikorodu Federal Constituency, the former lagos State House of Assembly member bears his minds on his party’s agenda for Lagos State and why he should be voted for as representative of Ikorodu at the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly among others with Kunle Adelabu, Publisher/Reporter-in-Chief and Azeez Sulaimon of The Impact Newspaper. Excerpts:
Impact: Once again, congratulations on your emergence as PDP candidate for the forthcoming Federal House of Representatives election. Recently, your party structure succeeded in bringing all the candidates and stakeholders together in Lagos State to resolve some situations that seem to be dividing the party. What does that portends regarding the forthcoming general elections?
Hon. Animashaun: It portends the end of APC in Lagos state and that shows that we are very serious and we are going into the elections as one big family because there is a ground swell of support out there from the general public in Lagos State. They want change and from the perspective of the change the APC is preaching, that change must start from Lagos State. They have had 16years of APC dominated government and they have benefitted much from it. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that they have not done anything but the people are not satisfied because as at today there are no schools, most of the roads are bad, no health care facilities and so many things like that and you know there is a popular slogan that “Eko o ni baje”, I think it’s more appropriate for people probably in Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikeja, Surulere and maybe some parts of Yaba but nobody in Oreta for example or Isawo, Owutu will tell you “Eko o ni baje” they would rather say “Eko o ni baje ju bayi lo” or “ a n wa eni to ma ba wa tunse ni”.
Impact: And you see your party as a party to bring about the desire change?
Hon. Animashaun: Yes, we are the party to do it because we have a very humble person and genuine gentleman Jimi Agbaje and by the grace of God, he is going to emerge as the governor of Lagos State come 2015 and the policy and everything is already on ground and we are going to hit the ground running come May 29. We are going to return the government back to the people. It is no longer going to be a government of a close circle of people with everything just revolving around and within them. We are returning the government back to the people. We are going to an era where public servants and people will be proud to put their children in public schools, we are going to bring health facilities very close to the people. Can you believe that there are so many communities now in Ikorodu with rapid development that have no healthcare centres, they have no public schools, they don’t have anything. They are doing everything on their own and then you ask what it is the essence of government that cannot provide these things for the people because those are not the responsibilities of the federal government, they are the responsibilities of the state government and in that aspect, APC has failed Lagosians woefully.
Impact: As a very close associate of Jimi Agbaje, why do you think that Jimi Agbaje’s candidature should be people’s preference?
Hon. Animashaun: I think it is the simplicity about the man. Its like we are going to have another Lateef Jakande who worked for the people because Agbaje believe in leaving good legacy. He is a kind of governor who will not treat government as commercial business because government is not a business, rather, it is about taking care of the people. It is about collecting from people who have in form of taxes and using it for the development of the society. That woman selling pepper on the road has no business sending her children to private school. It is because the government has failed them and these are some of the things that we are going to rectify. Jimi Agbaje’s government and PDP government in Lagos State is going to be about the people and about returning the government back to the people.
Impact: Recently, against all odds you emerged as PDP’s candidate for Ikorodu federal constituency. What is the implication of this considering the fact APC’s candidate is also on ground?
Hon. Animashaun: Well, the implication is that the APC now have something to be scared of because I can tell you when it comes to the house representative things in Ikorodu, I am the man on the ground. I am the man who lives among the people and the one who the people know and can identify with. They know where I reside, where my office is and they have not forgotten that I was in the Lagos House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003 and I fought their battles. They know that when they vote for me, I am not going to run away to either Lekki, Victoria Island or whatever. I am going to remain in Ikorodu here just like I did when I was in the House of Assembly and that the essence of having a representative goes beyond having a Constituency office because that doesn’t localize you within the community and if you don’t live among the people there is no way you can represent them effectively. Other candidates do not have that kind of quality and that is the edge I have over all of them. I am a grassroots person.
Impact: Sir, since you are a PDP person, how do you intend to facilitate Federal government projects for the betterment of Ikorodu?
Hon. Animashaun: There are so many Federal government’s agencies intervening in different facet of development in other states, but none in Lagos State House because of the for Lagos State government’s politics. Years back, it took the intervention of Senator Ogunlewe’s intervention for Federal government to built blocks of classrooms at Methodist Primary School, Igbogbo. Most of the time, State government frustrate federal government’s projects in Lagos State. Ironically, the biggest projects of the state government are achieved because of federal government intervention like reconstruction of Ikorodu-Mile 12 Road and Iganmu-Orile-Badagry Expressway reconstruction. We want a government in Lagos State that will cooperate with the federal government and bring development.
Impact: What is/are your message(s) to the people towards next general elections?
Hon. Animashaun: My message to the people is that of change. APC’s clamour for change must start in Lagos State so that our people can have better alternative. There is no doubt that APC would put us on our toes when we eventually constitute government in Lagos State and that will bring the best out of us.