Oluremi Tinubu is the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for this Saturday’s Senatorial election running for Lagos Central Senatorial District which she hopes to clinch for the second time having won the seat in the 2011 elections. In this interview shortly after the Stakeholders’ Meeting organized by the Lagos State Chapter of The Independent Electoral Commission INEC on Wednesday March 25th, She bares her mind on INEC’s state of preparedness and also what she hopes to accomplish if given the opportunity to serve her constituency for the second consecutive time among other issues.
EA: How would you rate INEC’s preparedness for the coming election?
To me I think they are well prepared, very well prepared. But you see, the point is despite the preparation, we want to see what will become the reality. So to me with what they’ve done and what they’ve put in place, they are ready at least in Lagos. I don’t know about other parts but our Resident Electoral Commissioner looks ready and we are yet to match his words with action. So we want to see that happen.
But the question I would have loved to ask some of the security agents that are there is my concern for one of my constituent. We had a recent Town Hall meeting and this has to do with the Okada riders that were being harassed and their ‘Okada‘ taken over and their PVC and you ask them to bring N15,000 of which I told them that their PVC is supposed to be at home. But what I’m going to say to everyone is this: Keep your PVCs in a safe place so that you will have the right to vote. But so far so good, we are thinking that we shall have a good election.
EA: What about the presence of armed security officials in Lagos?
We are not intimidated. They are making sure there is peace because we have a lot of hoodlums around, so we don’t know who is who, because if they are not there, this state will be taken over by hoodlums. We saw what happened with the OPC group and we don’t know where they came from. So we don’t really know. We are all in the hands of God. I believe the soldiers on ground are only trying to maintain order, we haven’t seen them intimidate anybody. They were just showing those who are hoodlums that they are on ground. So I believe that the soldiers on ground, the policemen and all the security agents are for the people and I believe they should do the good job that they are assigned to do.
EA: What is your advice to Lagosians to ensure a free and fair election?
Well for Lagosians we have already shown the model in Osun State. We are going to sit; we are going to watch our votes being counted. We are going to be peaceful; we are going to be orderly. Any discrepancy doesn’t belong to our party. Our party is a peace loving party, we are just going to sit, and we are not going to be intimidated because we know we are going to win.
EA: What is your advice to women?
My advice to women is this: Don’t wait for a man to recognize you. Go out there, work for your community. It starts from there. And I think if they know that you are a voice in your community they will respect you, people will say it’s because I’m married to Asiwaju. But Asiwaju is a very busy man. People are just being mischievous. If you go to my constituency, you will realize that people are happy.
My leaders are happy because I’m there with them and I’m working. People should go there and work with their people. Even today as I was looking at the display of women that the President has given appointments to, the question is what are they doing to empower other women? Nothing. I’ve never seen them even from their salary to give back and say let me empower other women. I’ve never seen them do that but I’ve seen women that I have empowered. I’ve empowered widows, I’ve empowered petty traders, and I’ve done youth empowerment programmes. Those are the ways that women can come out and their works will speak for them.
EA: Evaluation of your first tenure?
You see one thing is, it’s not about evaluating myself. To me I’ve not done enough. When you keep stroking yourself, then you don’t want to do anything else but when you keep challenging yourself that this is not enough, you tend to do more.
I proposed three bills, two of them have gone far and were supposed to come back for the third reading to be passed into law but some way or the other, it became political . I’m pleased with what I have done but I still believe I can do more. But I will do more if we have majority in the senate.
EA: And what are we looking at if you come back for the second time?
Like I told them I spent all my salary on my constituent and somebody asked if I am going to give double and I said that is if my salary becomes double. I can’t work for eight years and I cannot even pay house rent there. Don’t you see it’s pathetic?
EA:So we are expecting more bills from you…?
By the grace of God. You see one of the laws that I was trying to propose was trying to delete a law that to me is almost obsolete and that is the law that I believe that we can look into which has to do with labour and the employment of women into certain positions and professions that says that the approval of a minister is needed before a woman can be recommended and I think that should be repealed and expunged.
And one would have expected that to have been passed into law because there are a number of clauses in that same law that even when we brought it back for second reading and were considering it, we were told that we should take it back and make sure that we delete more and for some reasons, they didn’t bring it back and that was supposed to be in my committee and that was because then my Chairman was PDP but now he is APC.