By Chukwudi Nweje
Otunba Kehinde Oloyede-Almaroof, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Lagos State is chairperson of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government. He spoke with reporters recently on a wide range of issues, including the 2023 general election, and expressed confidence that the party will win at the Federal and State levels. He also shared his experiences in Oshodi/Isolo.
The stage for the 2023 general election is set as all political parties have elected their presidential candidates and nominated their running-mates; what in your view are the issues that will decide that election?
Nigerians are now becoming well informed, and as such, the ballot will not follow the old ways. The competences of the respective candidates, their capacity and experience, the voting strength of the candidate’s home base, where his vice presidential candidate hails from, and the popularity and viability of the candidate’s structure in the six geographical zone of Nigeria will decide the 2023 presidential election.
Your party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for instance honoured its 2014 agreement and ceded its presidential ticket to Southern Nigeria. What impact do you think this will have on the voting pattern?
The APC has demonstrated clearly that it is committed to foster the unity of the country and build national cohesion. Electing a presidential candidate from the South will have tremendous effect on not just the presidential election, but the entire electioneering process in 2023 because the APC has demonstrated transparency, that it is trustworthy and that it has respect for our diversity as a nation.
You speak of respect for the country’s diversity, but your party elected a Muslim from the South and picked another Muslim, former Borno State Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, as the vice presidential candidate; where is the respect for our diversity in that arrangement, what happened to the Christians, what will Shettima bring to the table?
Senator Shettima is a thorough bred politician, and a grassroots mobiliser. He was governor for two terms, and his family has deep political history in the state. He is very articulate and cerebral and did well to provide infrastructure despite the Boko Haram insurgency that was at its peak during his tenure. The way he managed the needs of those displaced by the insurgency also showed his care for humanity; he has cordial relationship with the incumbent governor, and his political influence spreads the entire North East and beyond. Based on these qualities, I can tell you that Shettima’s selection as running mate to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a big asset, 2023 will be a sure victory for the APC.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is also from the North East, do you think the APC stand a chance there?
What you need to win an election is strategic planning and execution. The presidential candidate of the APC is among the most discussed persons on every political platform. This shows his acceptability. The PDP will try, but it cannot win the next election. Nigerians rejected the PDP in 2015 because it mismanaged the affairs of the country; 2023 will not be different. The APC has taken bold steps to revamp the country’s economy, and this has endeared it to the people. We have the structures; Nigerians accept the APC, and the goodwill of the people is with the party.
Mr. Olajide Adediran, governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos is pulling crowds, do you think he poses serious challenge to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term?
The PDP is not a popular party in Lagos State, APC had always defeated the PDP, and we will defeat them again in 2023. The emergence of Adediran as PDP candidate will make it easier for the APC to win the election, because he has no political experience. Comparatively, Gov Sanwo-Olu is an enthusiastic leader and a performer. His giant strides will speak for him at the poll. His prudence in managing the state resources is a plus for him, I am certain that the appreciative people of Lagos will re-elect Gov Sanwo-Olu for a second term.
You have been Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area for the past year now, what are your achievements so far?
My commitment to move Oshodi/Isolo forward is not in doubt, and I am committed to revamping the infrastructural deficit in the local government. So far, I have rehabilitated 24 roads, including Liverpool Road. We are rehabilitating roads and executing other programmes to build the Oshodi-Isolo of our dream, and to fulfil our campaign promises to the people. We have also delivered 12 water boreholes across all wards in the local government, and I have empowered over 500 youths within the community, to mention a few.
What other areas are you looking at?
We will embark on more programmes that will ease the suffering of our people. This is our promise, and we will not rest until we deliver on our promises, we will not sit idle and watch the people suffer.
What are the antecedents that prepared you for your present political career?
I was born into Al-Maroof dynasty in Oshodi; my mother was the former Iya Oloja General of Oshodi land, so this background gave me first hand grassroots political experience of community service. With this background, I started early as a licensed Property Developer and Consultant in Oshodi and Lagos State in general; without being in government office, I brought Chinese investors to Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, which transformed Oshodi market to what it is today. The passion to do more service to humanity motivated me to go into politics. I see politics as an avenue to serve the people and achieve my dream of having a functioning society and a robust economy for Oshodi.