Senator Oluremi Tinubu represents Lagos Central in the Senate. In this interview with JOHN SILAS, she speaks on the outcome of the All Progressives Congress (APC) state congresses in Lagos, stressing the need for the incoming executive to leverage on the legacies of the outgoing state executive led by Chief Henry Ajomale.
What is your reaction to the outcome of the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State?
It was beautiful and we thank God that we had good weather. That will tell you that everything is by the grace of God. And you can see that everybody was happy and we are celebrating the peaceful conduct of the exercise. I think the outcome was satisfactory to everybody. Everybody is happy at the event as party members used the opportunity to reacquaint themselves as they were happy to see one another. Leaders of the have shown us the way to go and we are ready to go.
What is your take on the parallel state congress organised by some APC chieftains at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, where another set of executives also emerged?
Those ones didn’t know what they were doing as far as I am concerned. We were at APC secretariat and those who are relevant in the party were there, so who led the parallel congress? That would be the question. The party leaders were at the party’s secretariat Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was there. The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly was also there. I was equally there as well as many other party leaders.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to unite all warring factions in the party. Do you see him making a headway given the wrangling in the party?
The point is that even God that created us gave us the ability to choose. This is a democracy to start with and when you have a leader that people cannot even question his decision; you then have dictatorship. But in a democracy, people are free to express themselves as long as that expression is not violent.
You are free to express yourselves and at the end of the day, the best man will win. So, whatever is going on, people are just expressing themselves the way they want. They saw other states doing that but Lagos State has always being the model of what true democracy should be. And that is what we are exercising. Anybody that is outside of that is just burning a strange fire.
You are a very formidable member of APC but some of your supporters complain that they don’t see you everyday…
I am glad you say you don’t see me everyday. I tell people that Alagemo le mi. Alagemo in Yoruba is a special masquerade; it only comes out once in a while. If I don’t have anything to say I don’t come out; I don’t want to be seen. If I have work to do and I want you all to come, I invite you to come. You know in my first term, I did press parleys that none of my colleagues did. That is the way we play politics. It is not every time you want to talk. So, when you have something to say; very important and cogent things that you want your constituents to share, you come out as you represent them.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki recently raised an alarm that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, wants to frame him up in a murder case that happened in Kwara State. How would you react to that?
He raised an alarm. So, how do you want me to speak on somebody raising an alarm?
What would you say about that as a member of the Senate?
There is a decision taken on the floor of the Senate and I am part of it. So, until we finish that is when I will have something to say. As it is now, politics is very interesting and very dicey and that is why we should mind the toes that we step upon. And those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones.
You said I am not everywhere; it is because you don’t have to have a say in every matter. Don’t say because somebody has a say, most people would like to be like Asiwaju. Asiwaju is a very thoughtful person. He is a thoughtful person and he is not a child in this business. So, whatever that is going on for you, it has to take its course. But as politicians we should be careful and tread carefully.
What is your advice to the newly elected state executives of the APC in Lagos State?
To us, we pray for them and we thank God that our outgoing chairman, Otunba Henry Ajomale, has shown them the way to follow. The new leadership should learn from the old leadership. You will remember when people were saying that President Muhammadu Buhari is too old. Thank God that we can see that in Malaysia, a 93-year-old was elected. The people said they want him as their president. So, you can see that age is never a problem. Even United States still went back to a 70-year-old. So, we are not saying that young people should not come on board but they should have experience.
What people don’t really understand is that when you take leadership at very young age, you have a lot of fights to do because you want to continue to stay on top. So, it is best for you to have the preparation stage before you take the centre stage and begin to grow. That is why they said God would take us higher. So you don’t go higher and then down. When you are too young and make mistakes; who is going to wait for you to correct yourself? So, being in position, especially in government is a very dicey thing and you really have to be equipped to do that.
You can see that it took me some time to come out and say I want to run Senate. When I decided to run, I know it was not a child’s play; that you have to give it all you can and you will continue to be of service. You don’t need a position to be of service to your people. So, being of service to my people is my number one priority and to represent them well.