My Most Challenging Period In Lagos Assembly – Kolawole Taiwo, Most Experienced Lawmaker Ever In Lagos History

Serving his fourth term of four years each in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Kolawole Musbau Taiwo, is the most lawmaker ever in the history of the state. In this interview with crew, Taiwo, now Deputy Speaker of the Assembly speaks on his most challenging period in the Assembly, the reason behind the formation of the mega party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and other sundry national and local issues. Excerpts:

hktLet us start with the issue of the formation of the All Progressives Congress  (APC). What can you say about the controversy surrounding the registration of the party?

I don’t think there is any controversy about the formation of APC. Our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has always told us that ‘power is not serve a-la-carte’ that is, you struggle for power, nobody gives you power easily.

The ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) know that their time is up and they know that the only way to stop us is to stop us from registering the APC but we all know that their devilish act cannot go unchecked.

Do you think that the PDP are scared of what the APC will achieve?

Of course they are because they know they are not doing anything. But we are determine to stop them this time around, you can continue to fool people for long but you can’t fool them forever, so the time is up for PDP.

This is our time as a nation and if we miss it we will put ourselves in trouble. Nigeria is the centre of Africa’s economic activities and if we don’t put our house in order, if we don’t put in place a government that’s forward looking, if we don’t install a  government that can prove to the international world that it is ready to provide the available infrastructure that can stand any development then we lose it again.

We lost it the first time when Gen. Babangida annulled the June 12 Presidential Election. That was when the whole world suddenly realise that there is population in Africa which means there is expansive market for their products. That was when markets in Europe and America suddenly became saturated.
Then the whole world realise that Nigeria is the destination but we lost it; we lost because we were not organised and then we passed the advantage to South Africa. Their economy to grow and they show how much they have developed with the way they hosted the 2010 World Cup.

Yes Nigeria now practices democracy but investors are afraid to come to a country where the government cannot provide basic infrastructure: a government that cannot guarantee electricity 24hrs; a government that cannot boost of good roads; government that cannot do anything positive rather than to siphone money; a government that cannot provide security; a government that cannot provide employment, by now we are suppose have an emergency on unemployment; there are several youths who have graduated but have no jobs and if you have a government that is not interested in that rather than to share money now has a formidable opposition in the Progressives who have the desire of turning the country around positively, of course such government and party will be very scared.

They will do everything to stop us but they have realised that we are better organised, wiser and better than them. So we are registering our party and there is nothing they can do about it. We are having APC and that signals the end of their reign.

Many believe that APC is just a marriage of convenience among strange bedfellows; what is your reaction to this?

People should appreciate what are our leaders are doing. We have a common problem and they have come together to proffer solution.  The most important thing is how to get these people out of power and all hands must be on deck to achieve this.

These people are the enemies of the common man: they hijack power to steal money; enjoy themselves and take delight in installing unpopular people in power. They have no ideology except to visit hardship on the people.

With the way people are supporting APC, I’m convince that we are on the right path. The kind of decisions taken by our leaders have shown that they have the love of the people at heart.

They have been united in their decisions: they chose symbols acceptable to all, they agreed on slogans acceptable to all. They are progressives and APC is a union of progressives; selfless people who want the better for the people always. These are no strange bedfellows but people of like minds with the burning desire of emancipating the people.

The PDP is in crisis and there have been serious cases of insecurity in the country. What does this portend for Nigeria in view of the fact that there has been a US report which says the country will break up in 2015?

I want to tell you authoritatively that it is only APC that can salvage the country. You see is only APC that can savage Nigeria. Those in the ruling party don’t have the interest of the country. It was because of their selfishness that the crisis continues to grow in the country. If not they should not have allowed Dr Goodluck Jonathan to contest the last presidential election.

We all know that there is an unwritten rule that power should rotate between the North and the South and it is the turn of the North. Then suddenly the northern president died and the Vice President completed the tenure. What should have happened was that a northerner should have been brought in to complete the North’s slot and Jonathan can continue as Vice President if he likes.

But because they don’t have organisation and because of their greediness and selfishness, they allowed Jonathan to contest now they have created crisis for the country.

That is why our leaders decided to come together and form APC to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of the greedy people of the PDP.

If you look at the group in APC, you will found out that majority of them were in the then Socialist Democratic Party (SDP), the progressives. We are getting it right now and the last time this was done was during the SDP days. So my brother, with APC, Nigeria will get it right.

Talking about security, recently a Boko Haram hideout was discovered in Lagos.  What does this portend for the people of the state?

It is rather unfortunate. It is high time Lagosians need to be very vigilant now. If you look at the whole nation, you will see that is only south-west that is peaceful and it is because of the development going on in the region.

But of course our detractors will want to destabilise the region and they will succeed if we allow them.

It is left to our people to be vigilant and report any strange movement, any strange thing that we see, we must stop them from carrying out their evil plans.

Your party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) recently set up a reconciliatory committee to look at activities of party members at the local level, is there any crisis in the party?

No! There is no crisis. What is politics? Politics is about managing government and people because when you have an association there is no way you will not have complexities but you ability to manage them, to resolve them will make the association strong. There is nothing wrong with our party, there is nothing wrong with our government but there is no way one person will not offend another especially at the grassroots level. Our party is just being proactive in calling everybody together and resolve any disagreement that may lead to crisis in future. This is what we are doing, nipping the crisis in the bud.

But there are several complains against most local governments and local council development areas (LCDAs) in the state; how does the Assembly control the activities of the local councils?

We have  standing committees that take care of that. We have two standing committees that look at the affairs of the local governments. Whenever there are complains we direct them to the committees. At times we set up ad-hoc committees to look at special cases, so we have been exercising our oversight functions over the local councils and the result has been high degree of accountability all through.

You are the most experienced lawmaker in the history of Lagos state, what can you say was your most challenging period in the House?

I remember in 2003 when we lost the speakership position to another group, it was a most challenging period. Some colleagues and I were supporting (Adeyemi) Ikuforiji but (Jokotola) Pelumi eventually won.

So you supported Ikuforiji at the very beginning?

Yes, from the beginning, Ikuforiji has been our own candidate but we lost. It was a most trying and challenging period for me. Being relegated from an influential member of the House to a nobody within a week interval. It was indeed very challenging then. However God saw us through at the end of the day and the rest is now history and we have every cause to show appreciation to God for His mercies always.

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