Dr. Olusegun Oshinkolu, a banker-turned politician, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State. In this interview with ADEWUMI ADEMIJU, he speaks about his party’s primary elections and the suit instituted by former Governor Segun Oni against the Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi
What informed your decision to go into politics?
I have been in politics for over a decade. What really happened was that after being satisfied with the success I have recorded in the corporate world, I don’t feel too challenged anymore. So, I discover I need to get involved in public service and I thought I had better come to the grassroots to see how it is done. For the past 12 years, I have been involved in the grassroots politics. So far I am satisfied with my relationship with people at the communities.
How has it been on the field politically?
It has been a tough terrain. It is in politics that I learnt two in addition to two cannot be four. This is extremely different from what I knew, and where I come from. I have garnered a lot of experience even to be accepted at the grassroots.
You are contesting for Ekiti North Senatorial District on the platform the All Progressives Congress (APC). How do you see the array of aspirants against you and do you think you can get enough support within the party to get your party’s ticket?
This is a democratic setting. Considering other contestants, if the leaders thought I have done what it deserved to win the ticket, because the leaders too cannot be seen to doing things that are not right. With what we have on ground now, APC has said it is either consensus or direct primary and where they cannot reach consensus, they should go for direct primary.
In Ekiti Central Senatorial District, they have reached consensus. Ekiti South has also reached a consensus but in the North, we have not been able to reach consensus because we have new entrants like myself in the race. We also have former senators who want to return; so that is why we have decided to all go to the field to allow electorates to decide in a free and fair credible primary election.
What stands you out among other aspirants?
The fact that I have been very consistent. Consistency in the sense that despite losses primaries at different dispensations, I still remain constant and stable in the party. During the first primary, I was disqualified on the Election Day and nobody gave me the reason for the disqualification. Secondly, when I contested with sitting senators, I did well; I lost with 100 votes and I learnt that something still went wrong. This is the third time, I hope we would block all those gaps and obstacles this time around.
Our people are also sympathetic to my efforts because despite the fact that I don’t have a political position, I still do a lot for people at the grassroots and that is why people talk and relate freely with me. I do what I can afford for the people and that attitude fetched the sympathy for me.
What should people of Ekiti North Senatorial District expect from you if eventually you become a senator?
I have a nine-point agenda. The key part of the agenda is Women Empowerment. Women are the ones that do a lot of hardwork but they are not recognised for it. They are the ones that train their children and they are petty traders. Women are priority in my agenda.
We are also going to look at health, education, consumer right. We don’t know our right, what to get and what we ought to get from the government. Those are the areas we are going to look at. Ensuring proper federation is also key in the agenda.
Politically, how connected are you with the APC leaders at the national level?
Yes, leaders will have their favourites but I am not sure, I am any leader’s favourite. Normally politicians don’t like challenging their status quo, which I do; probably that is the reason my aspiration has been taking long. People push you to the wall sometimes but when they later find out you are a principle person, they don’t like it.
What is your reaction on the court case instituted by former Governor Segun Oni against the eligibility of the Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to take part in the last Ekiti State governorship election?
I worked for Engr. Segun Oni during the governorship primary election but once a candidate emerged, we should all rally round the candidate. I am not in support of this Segun Oni’s court case. He is a well-respected leader in the party; somebody I really admired. But it is really bad that the same Segun Oni that congratulated Fayemi after the election now turned back to challenge his eligibility. He should be punished for that; you cannot take your party to court and expect to go scot-free. My advice to Segun Oni is to withdraw the court case or else disciplinary action should be taken against him.
Finance is very crucial in Nigeria election. How prepared are you for the senatorial election, considering the trend in Nigeria’s politics where money is crucial factors in winning election? Unfortunately in Nigeria, for any election you need a very deep pocket. With the little I have I will reach out. People are somehow poor and the money goes a long way for them. You cannot do election without money.
What message do you have for your party in Ekiti State?
My advice goes to the APC leaders in Ekiti North Senatorial district. Since we are not able to reach consensus, the direct primary election should be allowed to be credible, free and fair.
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