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INTERVIEW: Youth Participation In Governance Is A Failed Project With The Current Political System We Run In Nigeria ------Moyo Ogunlewe.

Barr. Moyosore Ogunlewe.

The “Not Too Young To Run” clamour for youths to come out, participate in politics and contest for elective positions has gathered enough momentum across the country amongst not only young people who are said to be the leaders of tomorrow, but also amongst even the political class who believe the space should be left for youths to take over the running of the country politically.

But before now, there are youths who had participated immensely in creating an even atmosphere for others and one of those is Moyosore Ogunlewe, son of former senator of the Federal Republic of Nigerian and former Minister of Works under the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe.

In this interview, Moyo spoke to us freely about everything without reservations, especially his huge desire to represent his constituents, the people of Kosofe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Very intelligent young man Moyo is, free spirited and a good role model to youths, especially some of them who are nursing some political ambitions at various levels.

Our INTERVIEW WITH Moyo Ogunlewe is here presented for your reading pleasure!

Q: In 2015, you contested to represent Kosofe Constituency 1 for the Lagos State House of Assembly but lost to the incumbent, Hon. Bayo Oshinowo, who is one of the longest serving Assembly members.
Why did you not win that election?

Thanks Precious for having me.
As we all know, I lost that election with 87 votes after votes were counted by the both parties, the APC and the PDP and we found out that there were lots of irregularities at the pools especially at three pooling units in Ifako-Soluyi, pooling boot 060 to be precise and if I could remember very well, we had ballot papers from Amuwo Odofin stuffed into ballot boxes and with that, the election was rigged against me at the pooling unit.

When we were doing the checking of ballot boxes at the election petition tribunal, we discovered that some of the ballot papers were cut-off to show you clearly that ballot papers were stuffed into the ballot boxes to win election in favour of the APC and in that kind of situation, it was very evident that we will lose but I thank God for where we are today.

Q: What propelled you to seek for an elective position in the first place?

First of all, I had my own policies, programmes and things I wanted to go do in the House of Assembly for my people in Kosofe Constituency 1 because I found out that we had not had good representation in the constituency and I had the intentions to go show my people how representation should work in this part of the world.

Q: Is it really the duty of the legislative aim of government or a legislator representing a particular constituency either at state or federal levels to embark on capital projects for their people?

Well Precious, I’m sure you are enlightened enough to know that there is what is called, “CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS” which are allocated for in the budgets of constituencies yearly and in these kind of things, there are particular times where as a legislator, you are expected to bring up programmes and ideas or push forth challenges facing your constituency that need state’s attention to be put in the budget for appropriation by the executive and provisions are made for them to carry their constituencies along by organizing things like Town-Hall Meetings to gather information on what the people want and how best to represent them before the budget is conclusively planned and these are the things a representative of the people is expected to do to alleviate the standard of the people.

Q: What would you have done differently as a legislator?

It is very difficult for me to say what I was going to bring to the table in 2015 because my opponents will read this and by so doing, steal my ideas for the development of the constituency and would use such against me now or in the nearest future.

How to win election Precious is, keep the real deal with yourself pending if I am running again or not, because if I real out my programmes and policies for my people and my opponents does them before the next election, that is, if I am running, then I am finished politically. When the period of elections comes, I will campaign, that’s how to win an election.

If I am going to run in 2019, then I will make known my programmes, but to come out publicly to tell you what I would have brought to the table in 2015 against the APC’s candidate, NO WAY sir.

Q: Are you contesting in 2019?

Leave that question for now Precious.
It is expedient that I remain silent on the issue of 2019 for now. If I will contest, you will be amongst the very first to know, even though there are calls from my constituents to declare my intention or desire to run, but for now, I am still looking at the terrain, coupled with a lot of the political intrigues going on in my political party. I’m just seating and watching.

Q: In Kosofe Constituency 1, there is just the APC and the PDP as the most dominant political parties holding sway there. Do you think that your party, the Peoples Democratic Party can win an election in that constituency?

I personally will defeat the APC in Kosofe Constituency 1in any election. If you ask any APC person in Kosofe who their worst or greatest nightmare is, they’ll tell you it’s Moyo Ogunlewe. I campaigned well during the elections in 2015. I moved round, I don’t seat in my house waiting for one agent or whoever to go canvass for votes for me, I go preach my gospel myself and they hear me and they know that I would have retired them politically if the system was made free and fair.
I go round, seat with people, sometimes eat with them and talk with them, feel their pulse and by so doing, I’m able to read in between lines to know exactly how they feel and what it is they really want from us.

I’m just the only problem the APC in my constituency has, I know it, as well as they do know, but I’m just watching to see the direction the space would go to know exactly what to do next.

Q: What is your take on the clamour for youths to participate in politics? Is the Nigerian political system ready to accept young people for a change of the system?

I have been waiting for this question for ages and right now, between now and June, I would be launching a book on “Youth Participation In Politics”, MY OWN EXPERIENCE, that’s the title of the book. I laugh when I hear our youths say they wanna get involved in politics, yes, its good to get involved in politics, but what it takes away from you is far more than what it brings.

For instance, you don’t expect someone who has a 9am to 5pm job to play politics in Nigeria while he still has his or her job, especially when the system is not built that way. I can tell you for free that a ward meeting in my party holds let’s say for 5pm, you work on the Island with a closing time of same 5pm, how would you participate fully in politic in this kind of system? These are things that affect Nigerian youths in politics that they’ve not really sat down to look through to see how we can solve the problem.

The problem is our political parties. If the youths themselves can come together and form a political party that puts into consideration, some of their yearnings, especially having our meetings even on social media, on whatsaap, I don’t need to come for ward meetings and drive back to my house late at night in the name of participating in politics, then, we would make head-ways.

But guess what, majority of those in participatory politics in Nigeria today are artisans, entrepreneurs, people who own their own businesses, people that are around and available and politics in Nigeria is about availability and has little or nothing to do with your ten degrees and money. You must be available to be visible in politics. The ward Chairman, Woman Leader, Secretary, Youth Leader would have to know you and can relate with you when the need arises and not playing politics in Diaspora. You have to be available and part of the system.

The “Not Too Young To Run” proposal is a bill I doubt if it’s going to work in this country of ours. I met a 69 years old man sometime back and I asked him why they don’t want to leave the political scene for we the youths and the man was like, we were the ones that fought for democracy, can you imagine a 69 years old man still waxing in the euphoria of fighting for the democracy we enjoy today at this time and age? So, the question is, where are we going to? That aside, the youths, how many of us have our Permanent Voters Cards (PVC)? They just go around, shout on Social Media, no, get your PVC, once you get your PVC, then the older ones would be scared of us, but when we do not have the only instrument for making the change we deserve, all we do is shout NOT-TOO-YOUNG-TO-RUN, how many of the youths have PVC’s? I can tell you Precious that majority of us, do not and not even willing to have, infact, I am sure that about 90% of us the youths don’t have PVC’’s and that is where the problem starts.

Q: How do we as youths get there, because looking at you, are a role model amongst young people who wish to either join politics or be successful in life?

There is the need for Nigerian Youths to be serious about life, and the older ones know that we are not serious about life, which is what they are using against us. They know that on election day, all the youths need is money and they will either go playing football or they will be in a beer parlor drinking or give them cards that are not theirs to go and vote, so, we have a lot of problems and until the younger generation sat down and think, we can never win an election in Nigeria.

I look at the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and I marvel. I like his zeal, it would have been better for a 40, 45 year old to become president of Nigeria, but it is far beyond that and I’m sure he knows because it is a lot of work to win election to be president as a youth, one, two, your sanity, everything it takes away from you, thirdly, Sowore, youths, youths, how many of our youths have PVC’s? That’s what we need to look into. Once we can get that right, then the sky is the limit.

Q: Your father, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe is a veteran politician in Nigeria. Has he in any way influenced your decision to go into politics or your ever-green ambition to win an elective position starting in Lagos?

I must commend my dad, because he’s been in the game of politics before I was born and as you can see, he has contributed his quota and as he is retiring gradually now, though still very active in the Nigerian politics, I can only try to wear his very big political shoe.

On the issue of him influencing my political decisions, NO, but guess what, the way Nigerian politics is played, you either have a father in politics or you have a god-father.

That’s how it works and I will not say that he has not been, one way or the other, part of my political decisions but when I was doing my proper electioneering, he wasn’t available because he warned me not to get involved in politics, but I did not listen. I didn’t listen to him because I wanted and still want to bring some of the changes my constituency needed, I tried my best, but God knows the best.

Q: Aside contesting to represent Kosofe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, wouldn’t you do something else? Must it be politics for you?

I am a professional in my field, a Lawyer by training and practice; aside working with a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, I have my Law firm which I run. I am not a full-time politician as it were, I practice law and then, I play politics.

Q: If not House of Assembly, what other positions would you go for?

I will make a lot of impact if I represent my people in the House of Assembly, trust me Precious, if I wasn’t rigged out of that election in 2015, my impact as a legislator in Lagos from Kosofe would have been felt immensely within 6 months of being sworn in.

As a Lawyer, my joy would be to push bills and proposals that would impact the people and that is where my desire to go to the House of Assembly is founded on.

Q: Do Nigerian Youths have a future in the political system as its being ran and in Nigeria as a whole?

That’s what I’m saying, we don’t vote. Most of us youths don’t vote, we just make noise, that’s the problem.

Ones we start voting now, those holding this nation to ransom will fade away.

Q: How are you making sure that youth and other eligible voters in your constituency get their PVC’s, which is the instrument for effecting the change we are all clamoring for?

I have and still trying my best. I have reached out to them through all the Social Media platforms available to me, I have reached out to them through friends, but let us not forget that one of the major problems facing us as youths is money politics. When there is nothing to put in their pockets, they feel they are not obliged to either vote or get the Voters Cards, but some of them don’t even know that there are other uses for the cards aside voting, like ID Card and several other things.

There is therefore the need to properly educate ourselves more and more or we change the pattern of registration.

What we have here is made in such a cumbersome way that one gets very tired trying to get registered to get a voters card, which is not supposed to be so at this time and era.

In other climes, the US, UK, you don’t even need to leave your house, all you need is fill your form online and the card will be registered and brought to your house. Here, it is different. Very difficult.

How can a worker who works between 9 and 5pm be made to go repeatedly to the registration centre and at the end of the day, you would not be registered. It’s crazy here I must confess, but, doable and I encourage every youth out there to try to register because that is the only instrument we have to cause change to happen come 2019 across Nigeria.

Q. Who is your political role model?

Oh, that? I like Obafemi Awolowo. That’s someone I would align myself with politically. I love his policies in education then which made most of our parents go to school. That’s one of the things I would love to replicate if given the opportunity to represent my people.

Thanks Moyo for speaking with us!

Thank you Precious. I appreciate this opportunity.

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