A former Lagos lawmaker and chairmanship hopeful in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government in the last election, Hon. Dipo Olorunrinu has said that his alleged suspension by the ward exco of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area was a ‘practical joke’.
Speaking with journalists in an interview on Tuesday in Ikeja, Olorunrinu said that he regarded the news of his suspension as a joke, saying that he wondered what could have caused the purported suspension.
Olorunrinu, who revealed that he was yet to be given a suspension letter by his party, said that he would continue to put his ears on the ground on the matter.
The former lawmaker stated that there were allegations that he engaged in anti-party activities and that he took the party to court, but that the whole issues were the handiwork of his enemies.
“I wonder, who were the people behind this. Looking at the allegations, people know that I mobilised people into the APC and they know that I would always want the APC to win any election.
“The court that I went to would have been a wasted effort if I wanted the PDP or any other party to win. But I have the mandate of the people.
“What they said is a watery allegation. You are dealing with people that usually make up stories probably because they think they have power, but all powers belong to God,” he said.
Olorunrinu pointed out that it was obvious that the issue was a fallout of his decision to take the party to court, and that some people had challenged him over his hard stance and had asked him why he didn’t agree with the decision of the party to return the incumbent chairman of the local government.
“But why should I succumb to something that was given to me by the people. Why don’t they ask the so-called out-going chairman to succumb. I watch him got into office. I was in office in 2015 as a lawmaker, he got into office in 2017 and we all knew how he got in then.
“He has not done anything substantial since then. The entire Amuwo Odofin is in shambles looking at the road network and other key areas.
“He does not have administrational relationship which is why we have so much problem in the area. I was able to bring in a lot of people into the party, I know some people in high hierarchy in the party who don’t want people that know their onions to be in power.
“Knowing your onion doesn’t mean you are not loyal or obedient. Knowing your onions should not create any fear. It does not mean that the person would not succumb to the rules of the party, it just means that the person is more educated to do the right thing,” he said.
The ex-lawmaker emphasised that he was born in Amuwo-Odofin area, where he said he also went to school there.
He however, said that the incumbent chairman of the local government was not born in the area and that he never attended school in the community.
He stressed that he had been identifying with the people of the area from his days in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that he aligned himself with the APC since he joined the party.
According to him, the party did not rule out anyone’s right to take the party to court, and that some people even took the chairman of the national caretaker committee of the party to court some weeks ago.
“It just tells you that we have a process and we celebrate democratic process in the party. The man on the street knows what I am doing, even ordinary bicycle man or traders know me.
“It is even farther than the party now, the people in Amuwo-Odofin don’t want him. I got there, joined the party and I believe that the good people in the party should be able to realize this.
“You can see the apathy in the last local government election, where over 60,000 people registered in the area and the people that came out to vote were less than 7,000 or so.
“The APC had about 5,000 votes and the PDP had a little above 2,000 votes. If you put that together it is just a little above 7,000.
“That was the vote only I had in 2019 and the APC still gave me 200 margin to win the election. So, the people have lost confidence in the process. I don’t play party politics, I play community politics. We were able to sell the party to them and they believed in what we told them,” he said.
Reacting to the way his name was changed by the party before the general elections, Olorunrinu said that he met with the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu before he joined the party and that he was assured that he could contest for the local government Chairmanship seat, adding that those who substituted his name with that of the incumbent chairman after the primaries should rectify their lies.
On his relationship with Lagos4Lagos group in the APC, he said that the group consists of progressive minded people in the party and that caucusses are allowed in any political setting.
“People just say malicious things to get what they want. So, a leader should be dynamic in taking decisions.
“Lagos4Lagos is APC, their exco has been accredited at the national level. They saw a credible person like me and they said they have to stand by me and that I could not just be suspended like that having worked for the party.
“They know what I did. They said no, “we will not allow you to mess this guy up.” They came out to fight for me.
“Lagos4Lagos is a group or caucus. Caucusses are encouraged in party politics. They are highly progressive, and they are serious minded people.
“They just said “we knew how this man fought for the party and registered a lot of people.” So, you have to come out to hug anyone that appreciates you,” he said.
Olorunrinu declared that despite all that had happened, he would keep mobilising and encouraging people.
He said that politics is a win- win thing, and that there is a saying that if you cannot beat them you join them.
According to him, he joined the APC because he is progressive minded, saying that Nigeria is a country, where people needed to consolidate and do the best for the country, saying that he will keep preaching and sentising the people.
While promising to be part of the forthcoming Local Government Congresses of the party, Olorunrinu said that he would work for a credible candidate because it is a progressive local government with many elites, and that the people of the local government are exposed.