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‘Ajimobi Has Been Unfair To My Father’

Dapo Lam-Adesina is the member representing Ibadan North East/South Federal Constituency in Oyo State. The son of the late Governor Lam Adesina spoke to The Nation on how Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has been dismantling the political structure of his late father. He also explains his next political moves, among other sundry issues. Excerpts

What have you been doing at the lower chamber of the National Assembly for three years?

First and foremost, you know the primary function of lawmakers is to raise motions and sponsor bills. As I speak with you, I have about three bills that I sponsored and ten motions.

Some of them include a bill on estimated bills and excessive charges by DISCOs; there is also one on the abandoned prison at Olude, Ibadan and another on delay in issuance of drivers’ license by the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC).

There is also one on the bad portions of Ibadan-Ile Ife express roads, leading to Ibadan airport. On bills, I have the fire admission bill and trustees’ investment bills, among others.

Then, we engage in community developments via constituency projects and empowerment schemes. It would interest you to know that I am the first legislator in this dispensation to invite Tracka to inspect some of the constituency projects imputed into the budget from 2015-date.

There is the belief out there that many lawmakers are idle just eager to collect allowances and constituency projects. Why is it different with you?

I know my election was made possible by the people and I cannot afford to fail them. It is too early in my political career to start letting people down. They gave me all their support and I promised a lot of things that I must fulfill.

It is important as a young politician to do whatever you tell your people you will do. So, I know I will still need them in the future for my career. So, I cannot afford to start disappointing them.

Many dismiss you as a lucky chap who rode on the wings of his late father’s popularity to public office. What is your reaction to them?

Well, thank God my father was not an armed robber or an assassin. If he was one, people would have been using that to deal with me now. I believe there is nothing wrong from benefitting from the good works of one’s parent.

The onus is on me to safeguard that name and take it to the next level so that my children and the society at large can benefit from it in years to come.

It is not a bad thing for a father to leave a good legacy and good name. It is in fact a good thing. But one must ensure the legacy goes on and that is the sense of responsibility that I feel.

In Oyo State, many disciples and followers of the late Lam Adesina have left the All Progressives Congress (APC). In fact, all the real Lamites have left for the ADC.  Are you aware?

Of course I am.

Why did they leave?

They left because they have been a lot of impunity in the APC and the governor has not treated them well. They have been a lot of victimisation since 2011.

The governor has been trying to dismantle the structure left behind by the Great Lam. People have been trying to manage the situation for the past seven and half years. But they got to the point where they knew they had to leave.

They thought it will change but it got worse. In terms of appointment, the governor has been trying to remove anybody that is a Lamist. At the beginning, he was trying to balance to make it not look obvious. But immediately after he won the second term, it has been getting worse and worse.

At some points, I had to meet him to complain that these people should be given appointments so that it does not look like they have worked in vain. At some points, some people accused me of betraying them because of my loyalty to the governor and that I couldn’t help them to get their entitlements.

So, you are not in good terms with the governor?

I am not fighting with him but I am not impressed with the way he dealt with my father’s people. I am not impressed with how he had handled the party in the state. I am not impressed with so many things about him.

Are you impressed with how he has governed the state?

Well, this is not the time to talk about that. We will speak about that at the right time. He is still in charge. When he leaves, we would be able to talk about how he governed the state. But I am not impressed with how he dealt with our people. He has not been fair to us.

So, when are you leaving the APC too?

I am consulting and will round off in the next few weeks. Obviously, all our people have left and you cannot remain in a party when your people have left.

The problem became aggravated after the state congress. You cannot have people who did not collect and submit nomination forms elected as party executives. It is unheard of.

Our people collected forms from the bank, returned them and couldn’t contest as against those who didn’t collect the forms. It is impunity of the highest order. When you do that to people, you are telling them to leave, which they have done.

But how can the Unity Forum, to which you belong, stand when those of you there are strange bedfellow?

But you realised that most of the people in the forum have moved to the ADC. Are we still strange bedfellows? If all of them have moved to a particular party, it means they are a force to reckon with.

It’s rather ironic to find Lamites and Ladoja as well as his disciples working together. Does that feel strange?

In politics, there is no permanent friend or foe. That is what has played out. When the Late Lam was going around campaigning for Ajimobi even while he was extremely ill, do you remember the governor went ahead to form an alliance with Ladoja after he won?

That was because he realised he needed Ladoja then. It was against the wish of Late Lam. Well, that is the good thing about politics. Today, we realise we need to work together with Ladoja too and we are in the same party and path.

The same Alao-Akala that a lot of people fought because of Ajimobi is now working together with the governor. So, it is like a chess game. Politics is always like that. No permanent foe or friend.

Are you going back to the House of Representatives come 2019?

Very soon, you will hear from me. But I need to let people know I am not a desperate politician. In the next few weeks, you will hear from me because I am still consulting. There are so many people I have to consult to come to a decision.

The Late Lam Adesina has children, surrogate kids, political associates and what have you that I have to consult to know what next to do. As soon as I am done, you will certainly hear from me.

How is it trying to fill the shoes left behind by your late father?

I cannot fill his shoes. I am just trying to do my bit to make sure I sustain the good name and goodwill of the man who did so much for his people.

Credit: The Nation

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