Former Deputy Gov Warns Political Office Holders Against Alienating Electorate

Wale Jagun

-Charges them on dignity, honour

Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, KJW, former Deputy Governor, Lagos State, has warned political office holders not to alienate themselves from the people that voted them into the office, rather, he enjoined them to always listen to them.

He also enjoined them to be dignified and person of high integrity by conducts.

Ogunleye, who served as Finance Commissioner during the administration of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, gave the charge at the award dinner organized by the Supervisors and Special Advisers, Ikorodu Division Forum’s (LSSIKDF), Ikorodu branch, recently.

The chieftain of the APC, who is the apex leader of the party in Ikorodu, took a swipe at the council functionaries at the manner of their request, while also stating that political office holders these days are distancing themselves from the people.

“The way we are doing it today (council administration) is different from the way we used to do it. We did not run away from the people. I know that circumstances are different today. Things were not so bad at that time but we kept our integrity, lived within our means and we gave what we could afford without running into troubles’, Prince Ogunleye said.

“I have contested elections and during the time, I managed myself and did not go beyond the budget. You will still suffer after election, especially if you don’t win, if you don’t go beyond your budget, the only thing is that keeping within it will not devastate you.

“We went through a system that people are still talking about it today. They are even passing wrong information that we did not respect certain leaders which wasn’t so.

“We all saw what Jakande did. You could go to Jakande’s house by 11pm and you will see him and discuss. If you phone him, he will be willing to discuss with you. But today, it is different. You will phone and phone without any response”, the elder statesman lamented.

“They are more or less alienating the electorates that put them in office. They are directly or indirectly telling us that it is their own thing, that we should allow them to do it their own way.

“At that time, the electorates always confided in us. They would tell us that the opposition has come with some money, we will just ask them to take the money because we know that they won’t vote for them. That was the situation then, but today, it is different’’, Prince Ogunleye recalled.

While congratulating the council functionaries, Prince Ogunleye also warned any aspiring public office holder to have vision and mission to pursue before going for political office.

“You must have a vision and mission to achieve if you are going into a public office. That should be the first”, he said.

“When I was going into politics, I didn’t plan to be the leader, I just wanted to be part of them to make changes not only in Ikorodu, Lagos and Nigeria, but if possible, in the whole world. I also wanted to remain in the industry and be part of those who will be encouraging to what is right. That was my plan.

“So, when I was seeing some disappointments, it didn’t bother me.

“When you are in the office, you should plan for the time you are going to be away from there. You have to”, he charged.

“When I was a Commissioner, I used to send my driver and orderlies away and I will drive myself, waiting for the time when I would leave the office and I would be on my own. So, I didn’t feel so big and be afraid to go out”, he said.

The old political warhorse, who was also the State Party Chairman of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), also shared other experiences with his audience.

“One day, l was driving to Ilupeju, Alhaji Gafaar was with me and a policeman stopped us and I stopped. He asked what did I have in my car and I answered nothing, and asked again what did I have in the booth and I said money and asked to see it, but I turned him down, adding that the money is mine. I later told him that I was taking the money to Jakande’s house about two kilometres away”, the former Deputy Governor recalled.

“I told him that before l would allow him to count, he had to prove to me that the money was stolen and I was the one who had stolen it, and he had to provide a warrant.

“He later asked for the vehicle’s particulars and l told him that there was none and he exclaimed, ‘what?’ After a while, I told the officer to read what was on the windscreen of my vehicle which was LSMF (Lagos State Ministry of Finance), and added that he was talking to the Commissioner for Finance, Lagos State, and he shouted, Sir!”, the political leader said with smile.

He also revealed how civil servants asked him to go with his official car, while some of his colleagues in the sacked administration were stripped of theirs.

“The day Marwa sacked us and the civil servants told me that I should take the car away and that they would come around to collect it. I know some of us that they collected their cars immediately from them”, he said.

“If you are in office, don’t feel too big towards others, it is a temporary position. The moment you go in there and you feel that it is an exalted position, you will prepare yourself, but if you go there and behaved that it is exempted position, when you leave, you will be on your own”, the political leader warned.

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