Though he has been declared winner of the October 22, 2011 local council election in Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, by the Lagos State Local Government Election Petitions Tribunal, Mr. Babajide Obanikoro, son of Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro, is waiting to resume duty.
In a recent interview, he shares his experience in proving his victory and his political ambition..
How were you able to garner so many votes during the election?
We knew we were up against Action Congress of Nigeria and not the local government chairman. So we worked very hard on our campaigns. We had to strategise because we figured out that it is not popularity that makes you win an election but the structure you put in place. We selected our vice chairman and councillors carefully and we made sure that we campaigned on real issues. We appealed to the residents of Ikoyi-Obalende in the manner they want to be appealed to. If you lose an election, you bow out honourably. When I lost the election for the state assembly, it didn’t take me up to 4pm the next day to call the winner and congratulate him.
What is implication of your victory for the Peoples Democratic Party? Do you think your party would stand a good chance of winning Lagos in 2015?
This victory is a sign that the PDP will take over Lagos in 2015. I’m sure we will perform. That is why ACN is trying everything possible to stop us. They are scared because they know this is the beginning of the end for them. They are the ones always crying foul play at every little thing and under their nose they can’t do the right thing.
When did you start thinking of politics?
I’ve always thought of politics. I started showing interest in politics when I was in JSS1 at Kings College. My friend was our class captain in the first term. I remember taking him on that he was not fit to be the class captain, because the class was always dirty and he could not control the boys. We complained to the class teacher and we had an election and I won. So I was the class captain in the second term in JSS1 until SS3, when we passed out. I was also our dorm captain and I contested for treasurer of the African Students Association, which was the largest students association in the school then, I won. I later contested to be the president and I won. So, I’ve been participating in elections and asking people to vote for me right from childhood. When we got our democracy in 1999, it became obvious that if you going to get involved in governance, you have to either go through the civil service or through politics. Since I had flair for politics and with the kind of father that I have, I went to study political science at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, US. I later went for a Masters in public administration at Pace University, also in the US. I went as far as studying local government administration in Oxford University, London. Politics has been in me from childhood.
To what extent did your father influence your foray into politics?
He influenced it much because growing up, I saw that many of his friends were politicians. So, many people I was interacting with as a child were politicians. That helped to form the idea in my head and I started learning the modalities and my interest improved.
What is your highest ambition in politics?
I look forward to being the president of Nigeria someday. That is where I’m aiming at and I will get there. I think age is on my side. I’m a young man walking in big shoes.