13th April, 2011
Chief Rasak Adebayo, Baale of Omituntun Ajani kingdom, Akowonjo, Lagos State, speaks with UFFORTH SHALOM on the ongoing election, Fasholaâ€™s second term bid and other sundry issues
Your name was missing on the voter register, what was the reason?
Yes, they claimed my name was not on the list. It is not for me to know what was responsible for it, but I want to state that I was the first person to register on this street. As the Baale ofÂ Omituntun Ajani kingdom, Akowonjo, I lead by example for others to emulate. I did not mind my age and position, but came out to register. Unfortunately, my name was not found. I want to be believe that before Saturdayâ€™s election, the necessary things might have been done. As you can see, I am with my voterâ€™s card. I have told them to do something about it because I must cast my vote on Saturday.
Donâ€™t you think that Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC boss, has failed in his assignment?
We must not see it that way. The work he is assigned to do is not that simple. This is what I want Nigerians in general and Lagosians in particular to know. It is a very complex task. Despite the omissions and mix up of names of voters, one thing we have noticed is that the election has been very peaceful and timely. We have not had cases of snatching of ballot boxes, maiming and thuggery during this election. I think Jega has done well and should be commended thus far.
Do you see the presidential election taking place as scheduled?
I am an optimist, I believe in everything positive. Oga Jega says Saturday is fixed for the presidential election and so, I believe him. Every lover of good things should believe him and work towards that date. We must pray for him to succeed and for the election to take place. God is strongly on our side.
What role did you play during and after the registration exercise?
As stated earlier, I was the first person to register on this street and that speaks volumes. It shows that I lead by example. I personally summoned my chiefs to support Jega in any way possible by mobilising their subjects and other inhabitants of this area. I visited some families in the area to appeal to them to register and vote, as their vote is their power. During the registration exercise, I provided table water and other items for the INEC staff. If I have more, I would do more for the people.
As a traditional ruler, you are not expected to play partisan politics. Do you belong to any political party?
You have just said it. We are not involved in partisan politics but that is not to say we donâ€™t have candidates that we like and by extension, their party. The only thing is that we should not be seen campaigning for a particular party as fathers and custodians of culture and custom. Having said that, let me tell you that Governor Raji FasholaÂ of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is my son. I appreciate his efforts in taking Lagos State to the next level. You will agree with me that this man has performed creditably well with the support of Asiwaju Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State. I do not belong to the ACN, but for Fashola, the party will have my vote. Engr. Akande of the Labour Party (LP) is another spectacular individual. Although he is not of ACN, he is a very committed individual who can transform any community if given the opportunity. So, we can vote for any candidate, but cannot declare our support for any party.
But Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Raji Fashola are said to have abandoned Alimosho Local Government in their scheme of work, is this not worrisome?
I would rather speak on Governor Fashola. He has promised to commit his second term to the development of Alimosho LGA as a whole if returned to office. As an elderly man, do you want me to believe that Fashola would be lying and deceiving me and other Obas? But let me quickly say that if he goes back on his promises, God is there to judge him. But I trust God that he will not fail the people of Alimosho again. This is where winners in any election is decided. We are also optimistic that his running mate, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who is a daughter of the local government area would be there to remind him of his promises to her people.
Between Governor Raji Fashola of ACN and Dr. Ade Dosunmu of the PDP, who do you think will win?
Let the electorate decide. They have the power to vote in any candidate and can as well vote out any one they believe to be a failure. So, let them decide.
You said Governor Fashola would have your vote come 26 April, that means you trust in his leadership and ability to take Lagos State to greater heights?
Yes, he is a learned and disciplined man.
That means he will win?
There have been cases of bomb blasts in the Northern part of the country, is this a good omen for the nation at this crucial time?
Certainly not. I want to appeal to those involved in this dastardly act to call it a day and allow peace to reign in this nation. Unlike in the past, Nigeria has become highly cosmopolitan. There is no state in Nigeria that a good percentage of people from other states are not represented. They should stop it because the shedding of innocent blood has its repercussions.