Babasola Babatomiwa Philip is an aspirant under the African Democratic Congress vying for the ticket to represent Ikorodu Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives. In this interview with Efosa Taiwo, he speaks of his campaign thus far and plans for the Ikorodu people.
Can you let us in on your political career for those who are unfamiliar with you?
My gallant comrade and my ever ready Ikorodu people, and the whole of Nigerians, my name is Babasola Babatomiwa Philip.
Actually, I don’t think I have a political background. It is only one of my uncles that has been in politics before, and now he is late. But I do tell people that an average Nigerian is a politician based on all of our experiences which have made us to be analysts of politics and economic activities.
So I will say based on that, I am a politician. And I am an aspirant under our great party: African Democratic Congress (ADC), aspiring for the post of Federal House of Representative, Ikorodu Constituency, Lagos.
What informed your aspiration?
Actually, what inspired me I will say is what is making everyone sad and angry, what has made us not to have free voice on our streets, what has made the common man not to live a normal life.
Actually it is all about the bad governance, the mismanagement of public funds, inadequate infrastructures, mismanagement and inadequate funding of our education and health services and so on.
All these put together have made us to form a kind of opinion as an individual, a collective people to want to change the narrative of government. To want to create a kind of Nigeria that will be better for Nigerians. The whole dream started 2020. I have always had the dream of becoming a political officeholder way back when I was younger, even in school. But it came into being when in the year 2020 when had a lot of issues.
The EndSARS issues, the insecurity issues, so I was part of the youth that mobilized every youth out on the street. We came together to form an online movement trying to encourage ourselves, trying to educate youths that it is not about violence, it is not about the protest, but educating ourselves and channeling our grievances into politics, taking what belongs to us, our rights, and creating the kind of Nigeria that we want through politics.
That was when it all started. In the year 2020, we traveled from state to state, doing things around. There was a time we wanted to create our own party, but we could not get through, but at the end of the day, it was last year that we agreed for ADC. I was part of the Youths Coalition team that was having meetings with political parties, and we eventually settled with ADC, and that was last year September, October. And now, we need and we are believing God with every of our comrades, people, parents to back us up to make sure we succeed. It is not just the calling for just one but the voice of the people, masses, youths, the voice of Nigeria and the voice of Africa.
There is a saying that if Nigeria gets better, the whole of Nigeria will get better for it. So that is the narrative we are changing. And with ADC, and the kind of manifesto and ideology it carries, it is just in line with what the youth movement carries and we believe come 2023 the narrative will change, based on the plans on ground and the movement on ground.
But then, you are coming from a party not considered a major party, what do you make of your chances at the polls?
Once again it is never about the party. We know what we want. The common man knows what he wants. I said it earlier that we wanted to register our own party but it didn’t go through. We never wanted anything to do with APC or PDP or the common ones, because what they have done is the narrative which we want to change.
If we need to do that, we need to go through a new platform, a kind of platform that has not got their name stained, so when the victory comes, it will make it louder. Look at the insecurity, everywhere, the killings everywhere, in far Borno, Yobe, Jos. Look at what is happening in the East – all these things boil down to the negligence of the old leaders, the unscrupulous ones. It is alarming.
In the land of plenty, there is so much suffering. I just believe this is the right time for we to have our hands on deck to change the narrative. If we get it wrong this time, I am telling you we might not get it right again. We are suffering, people are tired, look at the cost of food, it is difficult for people to feed.
People are losing their jobs, businesses are going down, the rate of inflation is going high. Every part of the sector is suffering. Look at the cost of fuel, everything is just going high. People are just tired everywhere. We are all scared what will happen the next minute, the next month and the next year.
This is the time which we believe a new party with a new platform, majority being youths needs to come out and make their voice heard, and take up what is rightfully ours. It is not about the popular parties but about doing the right thing this time.
But I am curious: you are aspiring for the federal and this is your first mainstream ambition or inroad into politics, don’t you think this is aiming too high?
(Smiles) I had to smile before I could talk about this. It is not about you are aspiring too high or aiming too much. It is about the structure we have on ground. We believe that the most powerful arm of government we have is the legislature.
They are the people that make laws, pass bills, they vote in bills, they are just the lawmakers in layman language. If we have more of our comrades, more of our people in this legislative arm, then the changes will start from there.
In the House of Representatives, the House of Assembly, the Senate, if we have more of our people, more of our comrades in that arm of government, we would be able to checkmate the kind of bills that will be made into laws.
What are the bills the people of Ikorodu should be expecting from you if elected?
The people of Ikorodu should expect bills on empowering active youths, women and men to encourage self-employment, which in turn creates job opportunities; government credit facilities to support the growth of SMEs; common man’s interest of freedom of living a normal life; addressing insecurity issues to protect and protect the lives of our people, agriculture and farming among youths, healthcare services and centres, making them equipped and well managed; educational system that is well structured, maintained and financed; constituency projects via empowering the people through training and equipping them with modern tools; and I would also periodically give account of my stewardship to my constituency.
To what extent has your campaign gotten to?
We have been working majorly for the party to be known. The entire Ikorodu has 19 wards. We have been moving from wards to wards. We have covered 9 wards now.
The reason for this is to ensure we win the primaries to become the flagbearer of the party come 2023. It is really key to be familiar with the people at the ward level, making our agenda known, making our faces known, have meetings with them, have interactions, attend their meetings – that is the number one thing.
The next step is the one which the party has given to us as intending legislators which is to get to know the people in our constituency. We have visited some CDAs, and all of them are very wonderful, and they have accepted us and given us their recommendation and endorsements. We have gotten letters from them.
We have visited some artisans associations, trade unions, religious organizations, getting recommendations and support. Everyone based on what is happening in the society and coupled that we are youths, we are receiving a warm welcome, and it has been awesome to me.
You are running as a youth, how has that been so far and how has the reception from other youths been towards your campaign?
To me, running as a youth is giving us a vibrant zeal to move on. The zeal is there, youths, everywhere they are welcoming us. And majority of people we met in those associations that we have gone to visit, they are all youths and they are all telling us they are ready to work with us.
Those are the things we have been getting, and it has been overwhelming and awesome. And with these open hands we have been getting, I believe God is going to crown our efforts with success. Thank you very much.