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‘I believe in quality representation’, -Lagos Assembly aspirant for Kosofe constituency 2, Abiodun Salami

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The death of Hon. Tunde Braimoh few weeks back created a vacuum in the Lagos State House of Assembly.
 
As the race to fill his position as the representative of Kosofe Constituency 2 is getting hot, one man that believes he has the capacity to occupy the office is Hon. Abiodun Musiliu Salami.
 
 
Salami, the current Assistant Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, has actually paid his dues having been in politics for 35 years.
 
The aspirant recently had an interactive session with journalists on his aspiration.
 
GIDINEWS’ Joshua Timi was there.
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We will like to meet you and why do you want to be a lawmaker to represent the people of Kosofe Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly?
My name is Hon. Abiodun Musiliu Salami, currently I am the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State. On my educational background, I was born into the family of Alhaji Salia Agbaje Salami. My father hailed from Ijebu Ilese in Ogun State and my mother hailed from Epe in Lagos State. I went to school in Lagos. I went to Ladylak Primary School, Yaba and also  in Bariga.
 
 
 
 
I later went to Ansar Ud Deen Primary School, Falolu, Surulere, Lagos, when we used to have morning and afternoon sessions. I further went to Methodist Boys High School for my HSC then for preparation for the university. From there, I moved to the  Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba in Lagos State, where I did pure Mass Communication.
 
 
 
I later proceeded to the Polytechnic, Ibadan for my Higher National Diploma. I had been trying to make ends meet in life since then. I have been part of practical politics for 35 years. I went to politics early in life. My father used to be an active politician then. He might not have got the name like others.
 
 
 
I know the rudiments of politics through my father. I have always seen politics as service. What onr should do is to do his best at all times.
 
 
 
On my political antecedent, I was elected as the Assistant Secretary of the then Shomolu Local Government, when Ikosi Isheri, Kosofe, and Agboyi Ketu were under Somolu Local Government. I was elected as the Assistant Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Somolu Local Government. The records are there and before you do that you have to be a delegate and I contested as a delegate and won.
 
 
Among the delegates, I was elected as the Assistant Secretary. In 1996, I contested as a councillor with the largest polling booth at that time, then we had 139 polling booths. We used to be called Ward F2. I won the councillorship with landslide victory and with my activities I was elected as the Supervisory Councillor for Agric, Rural and Social Development that same year because we used to practice parliamentary system then, that was during the UNCP era. We were contesting for some other positions then. Later, I became the Personal Assistant to the then Minister of State For Finance, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye.
 
 
I am a modest person, I don’t look for money desperately. I was privileged to have been elected as the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos State. It is not that I could not be the substantive Publicity Secretary of the Party, but it is about zoning and the position that was given to our area is the Assistant Publicity Secretary.
 
 
I was elected to the position in 2014 and I have been there since then till date.
 
 
I have always been a loyal party man and whatever decision that is made I abide by it. The current Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Seye Oladejo is doing well and I support him. I will continue to support him to succeed. I want to commend my former boss, Engineer Joe Igbokwe, who gave me all the opportunities to work and this gentleman too is doing well. I pray that God will make him to succeed.
 
 
Why are you in the race now?
The late Hon. Tunde Braimoh was very eloquent, and sagacious, and he was a lawyer did his best for the people. He was my friend for well over 30 years. Nobody ever thought he would die, I never expected he would die, when he did. When he was coming out to contest as a member of the state house of assembly in 2015, I was there, the same thing happened in 2019, I was there for him.
 
Nobody ever thought he would die, but God knows the best. I am not happy with his death and I pray that God will be with his family. Whatever Hon. Tunde Braimoh was doing well for the people, I was part of it. He is somebody that never settled for anything less than quality representation. That was his watchword. The way you represent your people matters. You can see that my people are here today, even when I didn’t tell them I would meet the press today.
 
The moment you allow people have access to you then you will go far. What they see when they go about you don’t see it. I have not left my house since morning, what you see on the way I didn’t see it. I am not a super human, and I am not different from you. A responsible politician should be accessible to his people, you should feel what they feel.
 
You should identify with them. Anything you are doing should be for the people, and you should be selfless. Public office is about being selfless. I am still living in a rented apartment despite serving with the former Minister of State For Finance.
 
We are not taught to siphon public funds, I am a contented person. One thing that is very paramount to me is quality representation. When you are closer to the people what matters is for you to identify with them. My own is to get the job done. Things like infrastructure development is not my job, but you can facilitate it and make things work in your area.
 
You must know what your people want. I have been in Ketu since 1976. So, I know  everything about Ketu. If somebody says I am a Ketu man, it is true. I know everywhere up to Somolu, and I know what my people want. I know how to go about it having got the legislative experience, executive experience and party experience. I can move mountain with this.
 
What are the qualities that you think stand you out that can give you an edge over other candidates?
Without being immodest, I am always a bad example of being egoistic. What matters is what you can do, what do people know you of. I have been an outstanding and a different person. I have always been an activist. I have this background. In my days at NIJ, I was the Assistant Secretary of the Student Union. I am always active anywhere I am, I have been involved in Community Development Association (CDA), it is not just about politics. You have to go through the process, and the experience i have garnered gave me the edge and people would respect you for who you are.
 
I will be able to lobby, legislature is about lobbying or else you will not get anything. You must mix with people, you must lobby to get things done because you are not the only person. What stands me out is that I am a clean person. I am not saying others are not fantastic, but I am more fantastic and more super than them because I mix easily. I am not a proud person.
 
We know you are a party man that is involved in publicity for the party, what is your relationship with the people at the grassroots?
 
I told you I have contested elections before and those elections have to do with the grassroots. I was staying in a face me and face you house before I packed into this apartment. I am a free person and I am proud to be like that. In my youthful age, I was a fantastic footballer and I thought I was going to be a professional footballer.
 
I was even known in the state and I have always been a grassroots person. If I should bring my HSC Certificate, the Principal wrote “He mixes freely with his mates, we expect him to do well in life.” I am quoting him verbatim. It has always been in me to mix with people. I have always been a grassroots person. So, winning an election is not a problem for me based on my antecedents. I have always been here among my people. Even when I was in Abuja, I always come to Ketu every weekend in those days that we used to go through night and day buses before we started going through airplane. I give thanks to God who has been helping me.
 
What assurance are you giving that when you get to office, you would not be elusive. Also, in the Assembly, there has been so many caucuses and rancour amongst the legislators, how are you going to correct these when you get there?
Like I said, going to the Assembly is a different ball game. When you are in the Assembly of about 40 people, you have to really understand the setting. In journalism, there is what we call house style. You must understand the politics of the House or else you would have problem. That will make you to stand out, when you understand the intrigues there. I am not too old and not too young so this will help me. My experience in the legislature will help me and I know how to manage issues. Several things would come around and the ability to manage it will help you. Even your posters would be destroyed by the people if you are not good to them. Nigerians would appreciate it if you are good.
 
They appreciate good people no matter what happens. It is easy to operate in the House if you know your onions. Even whatever that is not good you can only correct it if you know the system. You cannot correct it if you don’t know the system. This is something that is inborn, this is something that has been in me. When the principal wrote about me, I was still in my 20s. You don’t mix, when you don’t feel the pulse of the people. I appreciate the word ’empathy.’
 
I was never born with a silver spoon. I struggled a lot, and I am still struggling, I want legit money, legitimate things and I want to be myself.
 
What are the things that you will correct about the performances of your predecessor when you get there?
I am not going to correct anything about his performances, I will just improve on what he has done. I saw the late Hon. Tunde Braimoh as somebody I value, someone I cherish, I respect his native intelligence. It is not about education alone, your native intelligence matters to me. The one that is in you is always there. That is what I respect in the late Hon. Tunde Braimoh, forget about being handsome, being rich or being a lawyer. He is a man, who knew where he was going and he was very accessible. He was my kind of person, I don’t just follow people blindly. It is about the totality of the assembly, it is not about Tunde Braimoh. In the past, Lagos State House of Assembly used to be a model to the entire nation.
 
I would ensure that there is absolute unity in the House, I would not encourage division based on my antecedent as a party man. You should see yourself as the image maker of the system and the party generally. I would always encourage the House to be united.
 
On my constituency, I have never been far from them, the kabiyesi, the okada riders, the market women, people in the motor parks and others. Go and ask everybody about me, they know who I am and I am not ready to destroy the name and I would not encourage my children to destroy it. The only legacy I am giving my children is education and morals. Also, I will encourage sporting activities as a footballer myself, a big time footballer. I will encourage football and other sporting activities.
 
We lost it when we stop focusing on sports. Those days when we had sporting events, things were okay. Nowadays, you see our youths roaming about and the talents are there. We should encourage sports, which is what I cherish about the present Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu. An idle mind is the devils workshop, when you have something doing you would not commit crime. In those days, we used to play football and we were being engaged and employed. I will encourage sports because I don’t want idleness. The youths would go to school and participate in sports.
 
I will also encourage the CDAs to relate more with me. Some of them want employment, the more you are accessible to them, the more you would get things done easily for your people. My antecedents show who I am. When I was working with the minister, I know how many people I facilitated employment for. How do we go about it, we had a format, the minister drafted papers and I draft too, he would sign and he would put his career at stake to sign for you.
 
We get people employed into the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Customs and other paratstatals under the Ministry of Finance.
 
 
There is news going round that you have stepped down from the race, what is your reaction to this?
Those that are peddling such rumour must be afraid of me. How could they imagine that somebody like me stepped down, step down for who and why? That is not to say that we don’t have system. It is about the leadership, they give directives on how the process would go, it could be through consensus, direct or indirect primary. If they want to go for consensus, I don’t see anything wrong in that, I have always been a party man.
 
If the leaders say that it is direct election, no problem and if it is general primary and somebody wins, no problem. But, when we have not gone midway, how can I step down? I am still very much in the race, I would be going to the LGA now and I would meet the laders to submit my application.
 
Why should I step down for anybody having suffered and laboured for the party, no, there must be reason if anything would happen. All of us are still in the race, we have not picked anybody. We have not exhausted the process, nobody can say anybody has stepped down not to talk of Abiodun Salami, the candidate to be by the grace of God.
 
What advice do you have for other contestants who might see this as a do or die affair?
My advice to aspirants is that we should see this as game, you lose some, you win some. We should ensure that we do this thing with decorum. We should respect ourselves, we should respect the party. The moment you start doing the contrary, you give those of us who are the image makers of the party problem and it is not fair, it is not good, it is not responsible. This party was not formed by you, you don’t have to say it must be you at all cost. It cannot be you all times.
 
If you are contesting an election, you are an aspirant, the moment you win the primary election you are a candidate and once you win the election, you become a statesman. You bring everybody on board and forget about party. I am still an aspirant, if I become the candidate by the grace of God, I would represent the party. If I win the election, what will concern me will be Kosofe Constituency 2. I want to advise my colleagues not to see this as a do or die affair because that would be irresponsible of them. We should see ourselves as one family, APC is one family.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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POLITICS

“Our target is 3.5m votes for Sanwo-olu” -Sunday Ajayi

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By BOLA AKINMODIRO

It was an impressive outing, as Party faithful and Supporters trooped out in their hundreds to support the official kickoff of campaigns for a second term in office of Babajide Sanwo-olu, the incumbent governor of Lagos state.

Foremost grassroots mobilizer/ Chairman for Greater Tomorrow Lagos State, Hon. Prince Sunday Ajayi, urged all ethnic nationalities resident in Lagos State to come out en mass during the 2023 general elections to give their votes to Governor Babajide Sonwo Olu in terms of what he has done in Lagos State and in terms of what he would do if given the opportunity.

Hon. Ajayi who was impressed for the large turn out of youth during the flag off campaign seized the occasion to call on every youth in the 3, 000 Units / 245 Wards in the State to come out during the elections and cast their votes for Governor Sonwo Olu based on his outstanding track record in Lagos State.

In his word: ” Our target is to have 3 Million votes in Lagos State. Today, we mobilised majority of the youth and they wear our T. Shirt and Face Cap. We urge every Lagosian to come out and vote Governor Sonwo Olu for a second term”

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POLITICS

Mammoth crowd as Sanwo-olu kicks off campaign for 2nd term in office

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By BOLA AKINMODIRO

The Mobolaji Johnson Arena (Old Onikan Stadium), Onikan, Lagos, in the early hours on Saturday, was beseiged by residents and supporters of All Progressives Congress, APC, for the official campaign kick off for the re-election bid of Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat in 2023 guber polls.

As of 9am , the stadium was filled to capacity as more crowd from the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, gathered inside and outside of the Arena.

Armed security personnel, private security outfits as well as emergency responders were seen stationed at strategic areas to ensure protection of lives and properties of residents.

Vehicular movement has been restricted around the area as residents continued to throng the arena.

Prominent personalities at the event included: wife of the state Governor, Dr. Ibjioke Sanwo-Olu, wife of the deputy Governor, Remi Hamzat, former Deputy Governor, and Lagos West Senatorial candidate, Dr. Idiat Adebule, Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, and Lagos Central Senatorial candidate, Wasiu Eshilokun, members of the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC, of the APC Lagos, State Executive Council members, members of the state House of Assembly, APC chieftains, market women and men, different solidarity groups, party supporters among others.

The supporters were seen chanting solidarity songs in praise of Sanwo-Olu and APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shettima.

Various musicians are on ground entertaining guests and participants at the event.

Earlier, Lagos State Government has released traffic advisory, through, a statement by the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, announcing restriction of motorists between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout.

Oladeinde, advised motorists who intend to make use of Island Club road by Police Headquarters Zone 2, Onikan to make use of the following alternative routes;

Motorists from Victoria Island are urged to make use of Ozumba Mbadiwe road to Five Cowries Bridge (Falomo Bridge) to Alfred Rewane road to Osborne road to connect their desired destinations.

He also urged motoring public moving from Bonny Camp to access CMS/ Marina Bridge after Independence Bridge (Mekunwen Bridge) and loop it down towards Cathedral Church to link Lagos Island through Odunlami Street and connect their desired destinations, or use Force road beside Muson Centre to J.K Randle road Avenue (Race Course) to Water Board to old Broad Street to continue their journeys.

Alternatively, Oladeinde also said Motorists moving from King George V road to Awolowo road/JK Randle Avenue through Onikan Roundabout should make use of Turton Street to Lewis Street to Sandgrouse and proceed on their journeys, or use Moloney Street to Obalende and proceed to their desired destinations.

The Commissioner further advise motoring public moving from Awolowo road, Ikoyi to Onikan to make use of Falomo Roundabout to access Alfred Rewane road to Osborne road through Simpson to Sandgrouse and connect their desired destinations, or from Simpson interchange to Obalende to Moloney Street and proceed on their journeys.

He added that Motorists moving from JK Randle Avenue (Race Course) to Water Board can make use of either Old Defence road or Ganiyu Smith road to link Igbosere, Sandgrouse to connect Simpson Street and Third Mainland Bridge through Simpson Interchange for their desired destinations.

The commissioner further enjoined party members and others attending the gubernatorial campaign to make use of the Third Mainland Bridge and descend at Onikan exit to access designated car park or Alfred Rewane road through Falomo to Awolowo road to access the car park, or make use of Outer Marina through Force road to access the parking space.

He mentioned that the designated Free Car Park include; Multi-Layer Car Park on King George V road, TBS Oval Car Park, Old Defense Headquarters Parking Lot and other Parking Lots as directed by Officials.

Oladeinde said that in order to cushion the inconvenience and reduce travel time, Security and Traffic Management Personnel will be deployed to all the strategic junctions and intersections to ensure safety and security of all road users as well as free flow of traffic within the perimeter of the campaign venue and alternative routes.

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Lagosians host Tinubu as he promises massive youth development

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by Bola Akinmodiro

The Lagos city that hosted the first All Progressives Congress (APC) convention after the party was formed in 2014 – became a beehive of political carnival on Saturday. 

A mammoth crowd thronged the main bowl of the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, as the ruling party returned to the city for its inaugural 2023 presidential rally in the Southwest region.

Clad in various shades of APC-branded vests, caps and Ankara brocade, a mass of the party’s supporters, who filled the 24,000-capacity stadium to the brim, defied the searing heat from the sun to receive the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima, members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) team. 

At 12:45, Tinubu’s motorcade made a grand entry into the venue, moving the crowd into a spontaneous excitement. The APC presidential candidate arrived in company of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and members of Progressive Governors’ Forum led by their chairman, Gov. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.

The huge turnout at the rally again confirmed Tinubu’s popularity at his political base. The APC presidential candidate hails from Lagos and was a two-term Governor of the State.

Sanwo-Olu opened the floor with his short remarks, thanking Tinubu for laying the foundation for the physical and socio-economic growth being witnessed in Lagos since 1999.

The Governor, who described the APC presidential standard bearer as “architect of modern Lagos”, said Tinubu’s vision, character and tenacity stood him out among presidential contenders, urging Lagosians to elect the candidate with unprecedented number of votes at the polls.

Sanwo-Olu said: “Tinubu is the builder of the modern Lagos we are all enjoying today. For implementing his vision through character and tenacity, and pushing his ideas to what we can physically see, our candidate is the best choice for the president.

“Aside being a visionary leader, Tinubu has also been an advocate of unity and a figure who has stood firm in support of national cohesion. We are all witnesses to all outstanding achievements to his name. His reputation stands tall among his peers And he is the right man for the job.”

Tinubu took to the podium to share message of “Renewed Hope” with the mass of young people at the rally. He said his administration’s priorities would focus on improving human capital development and harnessing energy of the youth through job creation to accelerate economic growth. 

His capacity to lead the country, the APC presidential candidate said is not in doubt, noting that Lagos’ growth trajectory from a State in deficit to one of the six largest economies in Africa best demonstrated his ability to drive the needed change to put the country on the path of prosperity. 

When elected, Tinubu said he would do his best to change the country’s fortunes, but noted the task would not be easy at the start. 

He said: “I stand before you all with a solemn promise that when we are elected next year, we will continue and build on the progressive path laid forth by our party since 2015. We have clear agenda for the future of the country and with your support, we will work to achieve a better future for you and your family.

“Nobody will be forgotten when we roll out our development plans. We have great plans for our youths in education and employment. You will not be forgotten. Economic growth is one of our biggest priorities. We will do our best to solve the contemporary challenges facing us, but it will not be easy at the start.”

Tinubu, again, took a swipe at Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, calling on the electorate to use their votes to retire him finally. The APC presidential candidate said PDP spent 15 years of excuses and forgot the mandate given them to better the lives of Nigerian in the era of boom. 

Under the PDP, Tinubu said major infrastructure projects were left to rot with no plan for their rehabilitation, including Lagos-Badagry Highway.

“Rejecting Atiku with your votes and retiring him will be the final step to take in burying PDP for life,” Tinubu said.

The APC National Leader passed a vote of confidence on Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, saying the Governor had become symbol of good governance.

Tinubu said PDP would repeat another outing of failure in Lagos gubernatorial election, stressing that the opposition party did not have enough strength to stop Sanwo-Olu’s re-election 

PCC Director-General and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, described Tinubu as a “consummate manager of people and resources” with capacity to change difficult situation. 

Lalong said Tinubu’s greatest success as former Lagos governor was his ability to groom brilliant successors that expanded his ideas to the next level. 

Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said Tinubu’s winning the party presidential ticket took him out as the most investigated politician the Fourth Republic.

Despite series of wild allegations being bandied against Tinubu, the Speaker said none had been proven to be true. The APC presidential candidate, Gbajabiamila said, would win the election with convincing margins.

He said: “This is not the main rally for Lagos. We are energising the base with this large turnout witnessed here today. When the main campaign is held, it will be the double of the crowd we see here today.”

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