Olakunle ‘Goodu Goodu’ Busari, the Action Democratic Party’s House of Representatives candidate in Ibadan North West/South West Federal constituency is not a neophyte in politics. Over the years, he has been at the background, providing support for those playing at the big table. In this interview with KUNLE GAZALI, he shed light on why he broke his political relationship with Senator Rashidi Ladoja and why he is the best candidate for his constituency in the 16th February election. Excerpts:
Why did you fall out with Senator Rashidi Ladoja, what actually happened?
What happened basically is politics. Senator Ladoja happens to be like my father, because we are kind of related. But you know in politics it is good to be loyal but there is a limit to everything in life, when your loyalty reaches an expansion limit. I have been with Senator Ladoja since 2007 towards the end of his tenure; we were there throughout his travails with President Olusegun Obasanjo before we left for Accord, we came back to PDP, we went to African Democratic Congress and at any point in time I just found myself being denied the party ticket even though I was always in firm control of my constituency. But I didn’t bring in any animosity towards him. It was during the ADC period that I now said even if you are enrolled as an apprentice and you spend like 11 years with your boss, there must be a good time to say good bye, I am not saying good bye for life or good bye to our family relationship, I am saying goodbye to him in politics.
There is a philosophy in life that I believe, if you are in a wrong place everything you do, you always get it wrong. But just look at yourself as a man, it is not a matter of going to your imams or to the pastors to ask for spiritual guidance, one will have to look at it and say if I am getting it wrong for about 11 years, is it not good enough for you to find a new land to plant your destiny?
I think that is what I have done, I just decided that staying with him might not be a good idea any longer, so I decided to move and that was exactly what I did. I felt maybe if I associate myself with people that are not my family members I would be able to get what I have been looking for. That was the reason I joined the Action Democratic Party (ADP).
Joining the ADP, did you have any prior relationship with Otunba Alao Akala or did you just join the party because you feel that is where you can actualize your ambition?
I never thought I was going to ADP. I think my going to ADP was destiny because by that time I was totally fed up, in fact I was thinking I should quit politics, but some leaders in my local government tried to encourage me and they invited me to Otunba Adebayo Alao’s house and when I got there I met some good politicians that actually know me very well and they encouraged me. I met people like Dr. Alimi, Alhaji Adanla, Chief Wale Owu, Akeem Olatunji and many others, they encouraged me to stay in ADP. You know it is a new platform, people were just coming together, so, within two and three weeks everything just flowed naturally and it is something I cannot explain.
Why do you want to go the House of Representatives? What is your mission?
Going to the House of Representatives has always been my ambition from my days in the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria because I used to be the Public Relations Officer of IPMAN for Oyo and Osun States between year 2000 and 2004. During that period, I was privileged to attend a number of public hearings at the National Assembly, most especially everything that has to do with oil and gas and on every occasion, they found my contributions very worthy and I just felt this is a place for me, this is where we can change the rhetoric, this is where we can change so many things. I was coming from the point of view of an oil marketer because I know there are so many things in the oil industry that are wrong as we speak today.
So, my mission in that place will go a long way in improving the economy of the country, improving the oil and gas sector as well as improving the lives of the people of my constituency. There are lot of things I can offer, I have always kept my eyes on the ball, I have always kept my belief in going to the National Assembly first before venturing to any other executive position because I know that is a place I can call the shot, I know the wherewithal to actually make so many amends in our laws as related to oil and gas in Nigeria and the economy in general. So, since that time, my ambition has been to go to the National Assembly, therefore, I am thanking God that today I am a candidate of a strong political party and I pray to God that I will be able to get the nomination of my constituents. I am praying that I win this election so that I can prove a point that yes; I will be a representative that will not be too far away from his people and will be able to make the difference.
The incumbent in your constituency is running for the third time, what are the things he is doing that you feel you can do better?
I actually do not like to criticize my opponent. Obviously, he has done his best but I know in some areas I could do better in terms of lawmaking. It is important for you in life to be above board in terms of experience. I have been a graduate for over 30 years and apart from that I have been into many industries. I have been into construction, quantity surveying, oil and gas to the better part of the period and along the line I have worked with expatriates, I have worked with indigenous companies, I have worked as an entrepreneur, I have run a business for more than 20 years, the business has thrived, it has failed and it has come back again to life.
So, what I am trying to say is that I have a wealthy experience of life and I have always been in this country, it is not as if I am a resident of the United States of America and I want to come back to bring whatever I have learnt from the United States, no, I have been in this country all this while and I know where the shoe pinches. I know my experience from construction to quantity surveying to oil and gas will bring the needed change to the Nigeria’s economy. And apart from that, it is going to bring a lot of succor to the people of my constituency. That is where the difference lies; checking my antecedents you will see that I am a little bit better placed to represent the people of Ibadan South West/North West Federal constituency.
The ‘change’ mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari changed the game plan in the political arena in the2015 election, where it was believed the people were not well sensitized on the voting arrangements. What are you doing personally to ensure that the situation will not re-occur?
You and I know that the rhetoric has changed, in 2015 everybody said they did not want PDP again, it was a matter of Buhari or nobody. So, when people started voting they got carried away and the Buhari tsunami swept all other candidates. However, if you look at what is going on in the country today, my constituency for instance, I can say categorically that a lot of people will tell you that this elections in 2019 is not about political party; rather it is about the candidate, what everybody is looking for is a credible candidate to vote. You will be amazed that this time around in a constituency you will see people voting for the president in one party, a senator in a different party and honourable in another party. So, this time around there is not going to be a tsunami because people are aware now, everybody wants good representation, they want the people they can feel, they want the people they know to go and represent them. You can’t say you are in a big political party and you are not known to your constituents and you feel you will win election like you did in 2015; no, it can never happen again.
Political thuggery in Oyo State at the moment is taking a new dimension, what is your take on this?
It is very disturbing because yesterday the PDP had their rallies around Oke Ado area and my office is situated very close to where they were supposed to have their rallies and I wouldn’t know why all of a sudden we started hearing gun shots. I am an eyewitness; I didn’t know where the gunshots were coming from. Political parties have the right to campaign, they must have gotten the clearance from the police, the DSS and all other security agencies, they have a right to do their rallies, every political party is doing its rally, why must some people come and disrupt other peoples’ rallies? When you are driving round town and you are with convoy of branded vehicles you will be looking round because you are afraid that you could be attacked. This portends great danger to democracy and our politics, politics is not a do or die affair, canvass votes for yourself, tell people what you want to do for them, let your campaign be issue based, don’t attack personalities, you don’t need thugs because they are not going to vote on election day. I don’t know why people will resort to thuggery, it is very dangerous. I just hope the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of DSS and everyone concerned will do the needful to ensure we have peaceful elections in this country. This 2019 election is very important, it is important to the coexistence of this nation. If anybody believes he wants do or die and he must take power by force I hope it will not cause great havoc in the country.
I am appealing to all politicians, campaign to your people, teach them what they need to know and what you want to do for them, let them see in you that you have integrity, let them see in you that you mean what you are saying and so they will determine who they are going to vote for. I wonder what is going to happen on election days, I am just appealing to all our security agencies to buckle up. We keep hearing stories on different platforms of numbers of people killed, vehicles burnt during the campaign of a certain political party, this is not what we want, this is not 1983 for God’s sake, I am just appealing to everybody.
How much have you earmarked for vote-buying during the election?
I thank God because I have never been a public office holder, I’ve never had a chance to contest an election of this manner and again I have never been appointed to any public office, I wonder where I will get the fund or finance to buy votes. And to confirm to you, politics in Nigeria is very expensive, yes, all the money that I’ve been spending came from my friends, family, colleagues and associates, I have records, yes, I have a business but then the kind of money you get from business cannot carry the kind of expenses in politics. So, how much do I have to offer? I was in a place last week for campaign, I told them my programmes, some of them bought into my programmes, they applauded and at the end of the day some younger ones said that I should give them something and I said okay I don’t have much but I can buy you drinks and water. Another one said if I don’t have much then I should come and tar or grade their road and I wonder how or where I am going to get that kind of money to tar a whole street and I told them I don’t have the financial muscle to do that.
The other street I went , I spoke to one of their leaders, I asked him to canvass for me from the youths in the area that I want to come and talk to them, they told him that they don’t want to see me and if I am coming I should be ready to give each of them N 5000 if I want them to vote for me, I am not lying , I swear to God and I told them they should keep their votes, that if it is what God has ordained, nobody can change it. And I mean it, even I don’t have N1000 to buy a vote, you know the number of people that are registered in my constituency and I am sure if 50% of them come out on election day, you know how much it is going to be.
So, I am not buying votes and I want to discourage anybody from buying votes, you don’t need to buy votes if you know genuinely you have something you want to offer to the people and you have integrity. Canvass for votes, use your integrity, use your good name and let them vote for you, so that when they vote for you they will not say you have paid for the votes. I don’t have any money to buy votes.
You left Senator Ladoja that you have worked with for about 11 years, now you in the camp of former Governor Akala, what can you point out as the difference between the two leaders?
That is a difficult question but quite honestly Otunba Christopher Alao Akala is more open when you compare the two, he is more accessible, when he says yes, he means yes and when he says no he means no.
When you were about leaving Senator Ladoja, did you make your intention known to him based on the relationship between you? Did he reach out to you or did you have any form of conversation with him before you left?
Yes, when I made up my mind to leave, I made frantic efforts to see him, to sit down with him and discuss, I can show you records of phone calls and text messages but he didn’t respond and I felt so, so bitter and I left. He later made several attempts to see me, he sent so many emissaries to talk to me but my mind was made up. When they were about leaving for Zenith Labour Party some of the party leaders I don’t want to mention their names came to me, promised I was going to get the ticket for my constituency, but honestly it was not about getting the ticket at that point in time because I felt this is my father and he had rejected me three times, so I don’t need a soothsayer to tell me something is wrong with my relationship with him, I just told myself it is over politically, I need to move on. So, when the opportunity of joining the ADP came, I took it.
Do you have any regret leaving him?
No, I don’t have any regret because I have thought about everything over and over. Why should I have regret? I have been with somebody for 11 years, I have been chasing a particular ticket, always kept my eyes on the ball, it is not as if I am changing from local government chairmanship to House of Representatives, I was particular on the House of Reps because I know what I was going there to do and I could not get it for 11 years and I am with another person for one week and I got the ticket. I pray I am not going to regret it because winning my election will actually make me thank God for taking the decision I took.
Tell us about your background, where you were born and schools you attended?
I was born into the family of Chief S. G. M. Busari of Popoyemoja, Ile Baba Ijaye’s Compound over 50 years ago; I am number 19 and the last born of the family. I attended St. Luke’s Demonstration School, Molete as my primary school. I attended Community Grammar School, Elewura at Challenge, after which I preceded to the Polytechnic, Ibadan. I studied Quantity Surveying and graduated as the overall best student in my set. I am a Chattered Quantity Surveyor. I joined an Italian construction firm; which I joined from Katsina, where I served as a youth corp member. I joined Law Gas Oil Venture and Industries Limited. I left Law Gas and founded my own company, Bopoy Investment Limited. I am into construction and oil & gas. I am married with three children. I am a member of Action Democratic Party (ADP) and a candidate for the House of Representatives in Ibadan North West/South West Federal constituency.