For over 30 years now, Alhaji Muheeb Babatunde Olaoluwa has lived among the good people of Somolu. The politician who likes to describe himself as a gentleman, has also been involved in Somolu local politics for many years. Presently, he is aspiring to become a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2019, to represent Somolu constituency.
Before now, he was a member of the State Universal Education Board for (9) nine and a half years with a solid record. According to him, the board recorded landmark achievement in education and related areas. Through education, they met the standards and the yearnings of their people and he thinks he has a record that cannot be equaled easily. So, he believes his enviable legacy from past services will be replicated when he eventually gets to the House of Assembly. He speaks on his life, his plans and aspiration.
Q: for the purpose of this interview could you let us into your academic life and background?
A: I am a dual professional. I am an accountant, I have a Higher National Diploma, HND in accountancy. I also have a post graduate diploma in financial management, both from the Yaba College of Technology and University of Uyo, respectively. I have another degree in educational management, a first-class degree in educational management from First university of Education in Nigeria,Tai Solarin University Education Ijebu ode ogun state. I am currently on the verge of completing my masters in educational administration and planning at the university of Lagos. I am also a fellow of the Certified Institute of Administrators of England and Wales and an associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
Q: Why are you contesting for the House of Assembly?
A: Basically, I love service. Serving my people and coming from a humble background led to my exposure into so many areas of life. I want you to know that I lost my parents at a very early age, my father died January 14 1974 and my mother equally left this earth on January 14,1979. So, I became a full orphan at a very young age and I was never known to be close to my siblings or even to the extended family, so I had to fend for myself. This gave me confidence and early start. I got a lot from Somolu and I intend to give back. I want to build human capital in Somolu Local Government, particularly in my constituency. And if given the opportunity, I will surpass their expectation. These are some of the factors that inspired me to serve my people and I will not relent until victory is sure.
Q: Are you not afraid of the incumbent?
A: How can I be afraid of the incumbent? I have been practicing politics since 1983 before the incumbent. In fact, let me put it on record that the incumbent benefitted from my support when he came to seek my support and assistance in becoming the house of assembly member, during his first term. And he has been there, by the time he will be competing in 2109, he would have spent 12 solid years. He has shown how he represents our people and he has equally tried in his own way. He took it to a certain level but I believe I have the capability, the ability, the experience, coupled with my background from both public and private sectors. I believe I can do better than he is currently doing and that is why I have tagged my own aspect of representation “taking representation to the next level in Somolu local constituency one.”
Q: What would be your first assignment if you finally get to the House of Assembly?
A: My first assignment will be to enact laws that will assist my programmes. I intend very soon, before the primary, to present my manifesto to the people and to every part of shomolu community so they can look into it. This is to enable them know that am the most qualified among those seeking to contest for that office.
Q: You did refer to your manifesto, many politicians in the House hadly talk about their manifesto, what they are interested in is getting power and when they get there, they are lost. Could you let us into few of your manifesto?
A: Well, for my manifesto, I have areas of interests, one of them being education. I intend to catch our people young so that we will be organizing programmes in the areas of quiz competition and debate competition for our young ones in both primary and secondary schools. The way we intend to go about this will be quite different from the way it has always been done. We intend to carry it out in every ward, the eight wards that make up our Somolu constituency One, so that everyone in the street can see the talents that we have in Somolu. We will tap into these talents and those of them that come out as best contestants will be on personal scholarship from me. Beyond that, we intend to begin to go to schools to mentor our children, I will invite accomplished individuals both from within the country and outside to come and talk to our children in schools as a mentoring effort to assist them and to let them know that they can be whatever they want to be. Their families and the society will benefit if they focus on their education rather than getting involved in activities that will mar their future and compromise them, that is one aspect of it.
Another aspect of our educational programme is, we have so many young graduates that are unemployed. We recognize the fact that they lack job opportunities, so we intent to teach the children and pay them some stipends while they were still waiting to gain employment. This way, we would have engaged two sets of people:
1) the unemployed and
2) our children who ordinarily be on the street and getting involved in cultism and all other vices. These are part of the programme on education. There is another one that I call Shomolu Co-operative Programme, which would involve tailoring and fashion designing, shoe making, barbing and related activities. We are trying to secure a building where we can fully established industries where professionals can directly impact knowledge on our children. We are already talking with fellow Nigerians, one of them resident Thailand, Sola Benson, he has a masters degree in shoe-making and leather activities.
He is in the category of those who make expensive shoes and sell at competitive prices across the world. So, we are trying to involve him because when we discussed, he told me Nigeria has the best of leathers and that if they are properly processed, it will meet international standards. We are trying to engage him, to bring him back home and buy the necessary equipment that will engage our children to learn this vocation which is a potential foreign exchange earner. Aside that, hair dressing and barbing saloon will also take prominence in this arrangemen. This scheme will naturally engage our children who ordinarily may be roaming the streets, we will teach them the act of hairdressing, both male and female hairdressing and barbing saloon and take advantage of the business to reach out to some institutions to engender patronage through their activities.
We have Yaba College of Technonology,Yaba around us, we have University of Lagos around us and the Federal College of Education Technical,Akoka is within our environment. A lot of opportunities could come from this environment if we add quality and standard to what we do. And by the time we create this standard, they will have no choice than to give patronage and giving patronage will mean we will have enough attention all the year round because we are going to do it by a co-operative arrangement. In no time, we will begin to distribute dividends to people by the end of the year, and they will subsequently invest it into other areas of benefits.
Q: Where do you intend to get the source of fund, remember you have no vote from anywhere as an honorable of Lagos State House of Assembly, so where is the fund coming from?
A: Yes. Don’t forget I told you I am an accountant; there is specifically no fund as am not yet a member of the House of Assembly but be mindful that there are constituency projects where money is voted for in millions. We have discovered from experience that most of these are items distributed as constituency projects and referred to as empowerment. We will make co-operative arrangement and invest it in our final capital and used it to develop our people. And beyond that, you know what power can give to people, when you are in power, you can approach different authorities or layers of people, both nationally and internationally. So, we intend to reach out to people, within Nigeria and outside Nigeria, corporate organizations, foundations and all the rest of them. When they see what we have done, they will necessarily support us. I am presently working with different teams internationally and most of them are Nigerians. Do not forget, most of them are even in Nigeria as expatriates, they are in their own father land as expatriates. I spoke to so many of them, they are willing to assist, they are willing to expose us to the international community and international foundations that can assist our people, but you need the authority of the office, you need the government authority, you need to be a part of government to be able to do this so that they can take you seriously. Our governments generally in Nigeria do not take people who are not part of them seriously on any issue but once you are there, you will use the authority, the paraphernalia of office to bring about all of these to the benefit of our people. Again, let me emphasize that ICT programme is key to us. I am already in touch with one global brand. We must remember that software development is a big business internationally. We have our children that are in schools, both graduates and none graduates as well as the secondary schools, including those in the primary school. I told you we want to catch them young.
Soon, our team will present our manifesto so you can have full details of what we have in stock for my constituency.
If I am elected and by the grace of God, I know that my constituents will support me to become a member of the House of Assembly in 2019, I will change their lives.
Q: What is your advice to the people of Somolu Constituency?
A: My advice to my people is that there are so many people that have signified interest, those who have programmes and those who do not have programmes. I would want to appeal to them to look at our programmes and decide properly. We have their interest at heart, we are the ones who have their future at heart and the future of our children at heart. As I said earlier, I am also going to develop the entertainment industry. Everybody is not going to be educated, not everybody would be a graduate, there are some that have talents, there are some that have talents in music and related skills. I intend to support all of them, using the office as leverage. I therefore wish to use this opportunity to appeal to our people in Somolu to consider Babatunde Olaoluwa. I urge them to tap from his experience, his benevolence, his humility and also his connections both nationally and internationally. I must let you know also that I am a member of the Nigerian-German Association. I intend to use all my connections to better the lot of our people. For now, I will still keep some of my programmes in the cooler to wait until I present the entire programme to all the stakeholders in Somolu.