I want to be Lagos governor, not Senate president – Solomon

You need to tell me what is wrong with me that makes me unsuitable for that position for a second time

The Minority Whip of the Senate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, says his eyes is firmly set on ruling Lagos State beginning from 2015. Solomon, in this interview, said he is not interested in being the president of the Senate as some have been insinuating. Excerpts:

As a sitting senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, would you not mind being offered a return to the Senate and possibly Senate presidency rather than running for the governorship?
Senate President, no. I don’t want. My aspiration is to become the governor. You have a passion, you have what you want to do. It is not about what someone wants you to do. Don’t give me what I don’t want.

How do you intend to overcome the perceived gimmicks that plays out in your party prior to primaries? What you are going to do if the leadership of the party says you should step down for another aspirant?
It is not possible because I know how we got to where we are. If in 2007, you said: ‘You can’t go now, let’s allow this person, you will have the opportunity next time.’ You want to call me now, so what are you going to tell me? That I have to wait again? You put my life on hold? You cannot. You need to tell me what is wrong with me that makes me unsuitable for that position for a second time. And what makes that person so suitable that I need to sacrifice myself again? No! We start from where we stopped. It looked like eight years was long. So now you need to call me and let me know or we go to the primaries. And in primaries, you are not under any obligation to start to placate anybody. You open your eyes, you collect your form. But the primary must be free and fair. You don’t conduct a kangaroo primary. Just like what was done in 2007, allocating votes, saying somebody scored this and that. I just laughed it off after I’d seen my name in the fourth position with others. So let it be free, fair and everybody knows their lot.

The man who has been anointed allegedly by your party is reputed to be an academic guru. What is your reaction to this?
If you want to sell a person forcibly as they are doing, that’s their approach. They put him in your face every time and now. Okay, he is a career civil servant. If I had been a civil servant, I’m not sure if I will be his contemporary. I will rather be his senior. In my own chosen field, I’ve proven myself. So you assess me from my chosen field. You also assess him on his chosen field because he’s been a career civil servant. At a point in time, I chose to be a politician-public servant. If now you want to assess our capability in any other way, that will be a thing that cannot be arranged. We are talking of administration, because at the end of the day, governance is about administration and we cannot now say there is a correlation between your academic pursuit and administration. It hasn’t been proven that the more degrees you have, the better administrator you are. So everything they have been brandishing is absolute nonsense. It cannot stand in any context. We know for sure that Babatunde Raji Fashola didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge. He attended University of Benin. So if we say that BRF performed, it’s not about the accumulated degrees. Unless you say Asiwaju (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) didn’t perform or he says so himself and then he needs somebody to perform better than him because I don’t know whether Asiwaju has a second degree. He has a first degree like BRF. None afterwards. We will go further. I’m not sure that Alhaji L.K. Jakande has a degree and right now Lagos history cannot be complete without mentioning Alhaji Jakande. If the information given is right, Baba Obafemi Awolowo acquired most of his degrees in Nigeria and no one is yet to beat his record from those mentioned above because he had lots of his firsts in Nigeria that cuts across all sectors.