After his father, the late Fuji music icon, Sikiru Ayinde Balogun (Barrister), passed away on December 16, 2010, one of his sons, Samsondeen Balogun, has seen politics as a continuation of his father’s legacy in another front. He now seeks a seat in the House of Representatives come 2019 elections. In an interview with TUNDE BUSARI, the young Balogun bares his mind on Nigeria’s political terrain.
You are a professional doing well with your career. How then did you build interest in politics?
My interest in politics started when I was in Lagos State University (LASU). I was not a member of the Students Union, but very close to most of the executive members of the union. Fighting for the cause of common man has always been my passion. This is in addition to the fact that I wish to impact in the lives of the public like my father did through his music with which he is known and respected globally. So politics is in me.
My experience in my office has given me the conviction that getting close to the masses and solving issues that seem difficult is my way of life. I work in the public service. I have had the opportunity of getting close to the common man who comes to seek advice or solution to one problem or the other. And without sounding immodest, I have been able to do well in that area. So with my experience in public office, I believe it is an added advantage to my political career.
What does politics mean to you against the criticism that it is a dirty game for dirty ones?
If we continue to have the notion that politics is a dirty game and leave it in the hands of those who do not really care about the welfare of the masses, then we are going to be governed by the same unpatriotic elements of the society. We are bound to obey whatever policy or law they put in place. But we need to change the face of politics to make it business unusual and usher in new generation of faithful Nigerians.
Do you have what it takes to be a Nigerian politician?
If you intend to get into politics in Nigeria, you are supposed to put God first and be well prepared for the challenges that come with it. I have been in politics before my father passed on. He initially opposed it, but later gave me the go-ahead because he had to make sure I was going to sustain his legacy. I promised him and I am saying it again that I will not derail from that path. So help me God.
How much do you think your profession would help you in the new terrain?
Being a professional in my own field is an added advantage because of the trainings and developmental programmes about public leadership I have been able to pass through. Apart from that, the conviction I have about good governance, especially, eradicating the suffering of the grass root has been in me all this while. So my professional qualification will help a lot in the running of government affairs.
Why did you choose to return to your root to pursue your aspiration?
My journey into politics was initially to contest in Lagos State, but my dad insisted I should go back to his kinsmen if I must do politics, because he believes he had not done enough for them. So I got the blessing of my father to go back to Ibadan, my roots for politics.
What are the differences you are bringing to the table?
The differences I am bringing into politics are that it is not going to be business as usual. My people will enjoy the true dividend of democracy; it is going to be a round table affair. We discuss every project that needs to be done before embarking on it. I will sponsor bills that will be favourable to the common man on the street. There will be massive empowerment programmes. It is surely going to be people-oriented government.
To what extent is the name of your late musician father, Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister an asset to you?
The main purpose of contesting in the first place is to sustain the good legacy of my late father. Both locally and internationally, he is known to have left a good legacy, a very good name that anyone can be proud of. So, with that alone, I believe with God too, all things are possible.
Is there any support from the palace of the Olubadan of Ibadan?
Yes, the Olubadan gave me his blessing the day I told him about my ambition. He prayed for me and promised to support me.In fact, I have the support of the whole palace because, according to the Olubadan, my father had made Ibadan proud, and backing his son on his quest for political office is just not even enough to compensate Barrister.
Why are you eying the House of Representatives instead of other offices?
The first day I attended my constituency meeting was the day I knew where I was going, and what I was going to contest for. The acceptance was alarming. I was very delighted but got disappointed, when I realised that my people had lacked a lot, in terms of good representative. They were not really enjoying the true dividend of democracy.It was as if they had waited for me to come and rescue them. On that day, they sang and chanted praises because they had seen in me their own son who is battle ready to rescue them. They see in me a true son of Ibadan, someone they can call their own blood and relate freely with. I decided to take the bull by the horn to give them their yearnings by representing them well in the green chamber.
What are the challenges you have faced so far and how do you intend to solve them?
The challenges have not been out of control, like I said before. The moment you decide to go into politics, you should have it in mind that it comes with challenges. So, l tackle them as they come and God has been good to me.
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