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Senator Ganiyu Solomon represents Lagos West senatorial district of Lagos State on the platform of All Progressives Congress. In this interview with Anayo Okolie, Solomon, a governorship aspirant in the state ahead of the 2015 general elections, speaks on the race and other national issues. Excerpts:
What is your view on the issue of zoning, particularly as it relates to the choice of the next governor of Lagos State?
I think the party leadership, on several occasions, has come out to say they would work on merit and would also leave the choice of candidates to the internal democracy mechanism within the party. But that is not to say that anybody would be sidelined. We will leave the choice of the candidate to the party mechanism. The part would look for credible candidates that will be able to execute the programmes of the party, which are masses-oriented. That has always been our concern. We don’t have any plans about that for now.
There are speculations that the party has narrowed its search to Lagos East Sensational District. What is your take on this?
You said there are speculations. Why don’t we wait till a definite pronouncement is made on that? You will appreciate the nature of the policy of the state and the nature of the state as well; by past incidents where an individual contests for certain position in a constituency and from the next position moves to another constituency. You can say that it is fluid; that will not happen in a situation where there is a rigid position on zoning. You will agree with me that it happened several times.
Even though you have not officially declared the intention of contesting for the governorship of Lagos State, many people see you as a potential governorship candidate. Do you nurse a governorship ambition ahead of 2015?
I have always been nursing. The passion for that position is still there. It’s still burning. It is a passion for service; not for anything nor governorship for the sake of being a governor, but the passion for service, which I have been nursing all this while. Also, I will not fail to remind people that tend to forget that I have been in this race since 2005/2006. So, it’s still there.
But if you do not emerge the flag bearer of your party, will you support the party’s choice of candidate for the election?
I don’t have any doubt about emerging, with all sense of humility. First, I will submit myself to the process that is democratic, that will ensure that the will of the participants, political class is respected. If that is it, I don’t have any fears about my emergence. However, when there is a credible primary election there won’t be any question about supporting the candidate or not; it becomes automatic that whoever emerges the party’s candidate should be supported. It’s just natural, once the process is transparent, free and fair.
APC is gaining points at the federal legislature as well as the level of the states. But do you think the party can sustain the evolution to the point of emergency as the majority party at the National Assembly?
The kind of change we are witnessing now is not peripheral; it’s something that is very deep. I mean a situation, where you have the governors moving in mass to join a particular party. Even before then, you have parties sacrificing their identity, coming together to form one formidable party. Then, we now have governors from the ruling party joining the same party. It is something that signifies a change in the air and change coming into the political landscape. It has reached a point where we don’t think whether it is sustainable again. It is a change that has come. If you go by the last act in the National Assembly, where 37 members on one single day defected to join the APC, I mean, what else do you have to say? What we are saying now happened within the spate of six months. In terms of individual party, the APC has greater number than the PDP. That shows the kind of thing to be expected. It’s not splash in the pan. No, it’s something that is going to be enduring because it is well thought out and the situation in the country calls for it. Basically, I think it is the response to the cries of the masses that the APC is waxing stronger by the day.
The PDP has vowed to take over Lagos State from the ruling party in 2015. How would you react to that?
I have been hearing that during every election, precisely four times now. I think they need to come up with a different strategy. Perhaps, if they want to turn that into a slogan they should come up with another, because during every election they promise to win the election and that have been rejected four times by Lagosians. The PDP strength is at the centre and, unfortunately, there is nothing to write home about the party in the centre.
What is the position of the National Assembly’s appeal against the ruling of the Abuja Federal High Court on the federal legislature’s takeover of the functions of the Rivers Assembly? Is there a valid stay of execution in place, because the Assembly is reported to be getting ready to resume its functions?
It’s on appeal but that is a judicial pronouncement. It’s taking the case to a logical conclusion. If you are taken to court and you feel your position is right you appeal the judgement, which I think is what we have done. It’s still the normal process and it shows our democracy is at work. It’s a plus to democracy so that at the end of the day it will be a settled matter that would serve as a reference to related cases in future. The reason is that we are a growing democracy there are issues that will arise. We should be very clear as those issues arise so that at the end of the day when someone seeks judicial intervention and it is proven to logical conclusion, then it is settled; we will now have something to refer to in future if such things occur. It’s all good, the judgement is good, the appeal is good; democracy at work