The Caretaker Organising Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State and the party’s leader in Alimosho Federal Constituency, Abdullahi Enilobo, in this first part of a no-holds-barred interview, sheds light on the face off between him and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mubashiru Obasa.
He also clarified some of the allegations made against him by some dissenting elements within the part.
Allegation of being a vulcanizer
It did not even start from the vulcaniser issue, it started before then. The vulcanizer issue may be the tenth or fifteenth episode. They started with the allegation that before you become anything in Alimosho Enny will collect N30m or N35m for you to become council chairman. The JAC of the local governments in his domain is decided by him on how to spend it. They said I put my girlfriends in positions. A lot of things were said before it came to the issue of vulcanizer.
The vulcanizer issue looks too petty. But firstly, you must appreciate the vulcanizers because if care is not taken you will be made to look down on them as if they are criminals. It’s a profession that must be commended. As small as it is, without them you can’t move. If anything happens to your tyre and you could not find them when they are needed.
They said my mother is a tenant, what is wrong in being a tenant? If you look at it, you will see that that one is too petty as well. Being a tenant, is it a crime? Who among us here has never been a tenant? So, looking at them, they are just childish, petty and trying to tag a dog with a bad name in order to hang it. They have lost all reasonable things to say about me.
Those things they write in the media give me joy and I will tell you why. Were there to be any atom of fact in what they are saying I would have been affected, saying haaa, these people have got me! There was a response to why they called me a vulcanizer and my mother a tenant. One of the boys that was being used by the external forces to truncate and create problem in Alimosho, you all know him, Ejigbadero, the name itself has a meaning to all Nigerians, tell me who your parents are and I can predict the kind of person you are. In those days in Africa when you want to get married you will go and find out who my parents were we will find out who your parents were to know the kind of attitude in the families. How can a person who joined us in 2015 be boasting that were it not to be him we wouldn’t have been enjoying the success that we have now. I know you are all blessed, we have conducted more than 10 elections before Ejigbadero joined us in 2015, go and check the records. How can someone who came to enjoy our success, who met us with success now lay claims to that success? He said were it not to be him we would have lost Alimosho. I am responding to him and to his background that during his eight day naming ceremony that his father went to assassinate someone at Raji Oba. In responding to that, they were trying to look for something about my parents. Two things are fundamental there. His person was attacked to be a landgrabber. His parents were also mentioned. In response to that, he said I was a vulcanizer. How does the kind of person you are relate to my being a vulcanizer? The second one, your father was an assassin, how does that relate to my mother being a tenant?
You see, in terms of dignity we are far from each other. In terms of the game you are just like a primary five pupil. We all know it before you can complete your elementary school no matter how good you are you would have spent nothing less than four or five years in your primary school. He joined us 2015. How can you be boasting to be a leader or what he is claiming to be? Were we to go by that he ought to have completed his primary education, that’s the truth. For you to have risen to where you are today now, we know what you have gone through. Life is all about process.
On probability of Ejigbadero being in politics before joining APC in 2015?
I am not in the know of that. All I know is that he joined us in 2015. When he came,Joke Orelope denied him, claiming that she knew him very well, that he was a hooligan. Joke Orelope, I am saying this to the public! Joke Orelope denied him from coming into the party. Even those who embraced him at Alimosho were suspended. It was a member of the G18 and I that said why, this is a democracy. When he comes to us we will be able to influence him. He, as an individual, cannot influence our attitude. We should be able to influence his attitude, therefore he cannot come in and make us to be what he is rather than us changing his attitude. And politics is a game of number. For so many reasons, we lifted the suspension given to the Ward chairmen and lifted his own ban. So, that’s all I know about him. So, he joined us in 2015, and you cannot join us in 2015 and lay claims that were it not for you we cannot win election, that’s what he is saying.
On Ejigbadero’s alleged claim to have contested election before?
We are in Alimosho so I won’t want to argue the way he does. I will be very careful. How do I mean? I don’t know of him being in politics before 2015 and those who contested against us are either in PDP or other parties. We would have seen your posters now. At no time in Alimosho did we ever see his posters.
Ejigbadero a force to reckon with, why APC promoted him within the short period he joined the party?
I will also be careful in responding to that as well. I want to be very moderate and not to offend any institution. The institution we made him to head. We made him the head of the Fine Boys. It was against all odds. I personally ensured that he became the head of the institution. I won’t deny that. Not for any reason but I Just did that then ignorantly. I was seeing him as a different person with a level head. But to have claimed that he is a force to reckon with does not make sense. I mentioned it initially that we have had series of elections before he came into the party in 2015, we had not lost any! How can he be a force? In his Ward before he joined us what was the result, not to talk of the local government. What impact has he made in terms of electoral value when he joined us in 2015 to now claim that it was when he joined us that our fortunes changed drastically? Anybody in his house corridor can just lay a claim.
I have been in the party since 1999. I had elections how many times? You yourself can calculate it. We have not lost any election. We embrace anyone. Let anybody come now, be it one, two or more, we will welcome them. That’s how politics should be. We did that to many people. Shodimu, who is a politician that we all attest to, when he came we did the same thing to him. When he left it made no difference. Shodimu and Ejigbadero in politics is just 90 to 10. If Shodimu could join us and he left, even when he was in our place it made no difference, the difference he made was too inconsequential, so when he left it didn’t make any difference. That’s Shodimu who is even a politician! I promoted him (Ejigbadero) not for any reason but just because he was young, and I like young chaps. Within the institution that he represents I felt he should be a bit more cultured and more organized. So, that’s the singular reason why I chose him. All the six local governments fought me to a standstill over the decision.
On allegation of disenfranchising Orelope and Oduntan supporters from new membership registration?
(Inaudible….That what I did to Ambode during that time, that I will do to Sanwo-Olu. That I called him he did not pick my call. For your information I still spoke to Sanwo Olu last week. I called him and we spoke. And what I discussed with him he gave me positive response, so there no basis that.
On allegation of denying them registration, honestly it’s just a means to get cheap publicity or popularity. Why will I ask those that are not even up to 10% not to register? They have their aim of doing all that. It’s just to get the attention of the leader up there to come and handcuff me. They should play the game like politicians. They will be registered. We will register everybody.
Let me correct one impression. That Orelope, Oduntan groups, let me tell you, in Alimosho we are one. Oduntan was an House of Assembly member. We have the leadership in Alimosho. It was the leadership that chose her. Most of them, when they aspire and they are unable to achieve their intention, they fall out and start looking for other sources with the external. They wouldn’t have done this on their own. They are too small. They know they are not and they can’t on their own. That is why they are looking for all means outside Alimosho to support them.
Politics is a game of number. In terms of rating, in terms of measuring, I swear to Almighty God, they are not up to 10%! Why are we going to deprive them of registering? Why are they crying before the D-Day? How can you judge me for what I have not said or done? Why are you pre-empting? What they are claiming, no any reasonable person will give them attention. They will just discard it. You are looking at me now I cannot judge what is inside you. Inside me I can say this guy looking at me is saying rubbish I don’t agree with it but because you didn’t say it out I can’t substantiate it. If you say any rubbish thing that cannot be substantiated honestly speaking you must be seen as a gutter person. You must not be taken serious. They know themselves that they are not up to us in all political ramifications; structure, in terms of number! If they’re sure of themselves they wouldn’t have go to the social media doing all the blackmailing.
I have been accused of challenging Asiwaju, preferring Rauf Aregbesola against Asiwaju! No any reason. It’s just to create problem between me and Asiwaju, who is our principal. He said I granted an interview, I am granting an interview now. This thing could be used against me if such had been granted. What they needed to do was put in on this thing (pointing to recorders on the table) and play it for everybody to hear. We challenged them to do that they couldn’t find that. They said I discussed with my political friends, I say name them, they couldn’t name anybody. They came up yesterday again that I said what we did to Ambode we will repeat it to Sanwo-Olu. I did not even mobilise kobo for Sanwo-Olu for your information. No shishi was mobilised by me for Sanwo-Olu. They claimed that it was in the G18 that such statement was made. The members of the G18 are here. Not 10, not 15, not 20, they should mention the names.
They’ve done everything possible on earth to create problem between me and God. Firstly, I am a Muslim. The one they wrote last week was that I have a shrine in my room. You know what that means as a Muslim, you have, between me and God, created a conflict. They said I have a shrine, that when people come to my house they swear. They mentioned Asiwaju, that I was placing Rauf to be the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That’s against Asiwaju. Now they mentioned Sanwo Olu. The next you don’t know. Don’t be surprised, they may tell you that these people that came here are senseless people. They keep on saying things they can’t substantiate.
The Media should help us. Before you people fly any information, you must ensure that they are things that have substance, that people could back. The cheapest thing to do on earth is to make false allegation on someone. For me, making an allegation is not a problem. It should become a problem if you can substantiate it. It should not be a problem if I can’t substantiate it. It should not be a big deal. This has always been the normal issue during election time. The council election is less than six months. That’s what they know how to do but what we know how to do is to mobilise to ensure we have the majority on our side. To them, they must go in character assassination. They must start framing and crucifying us. Lying against us on what we will see and be shocked that what’s the meaning of this!
The concluding part to be published later.