FirstMonie! Yaba to Yobe

FirstMonie! Yaba to Yobe
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Hon. Mutiu Kunle Okunola was the former Organizing Secretary of Lagos State People Democratic Party, (PDP) and the flag bearer of the PDP in the House of Representative, Ikeja constituency during the 2019 general elections. MKO as he is fondly called is now the visioner and founder of the Tinubu 2023 Not Negotiable, (TNN), a movement for the actualization of Yoruba agenda in the 2023 presidential election bid of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In this exclusive interview with SHABA GBENGA, the grass root politician bares all on why he left the PDP after the general elections, the power play within the party, why he is ready to empty his accounts on TNN’s movement and much more...

Who is MKO that most people don’t know?
My name is Hon Mutiu Kunle Okunola alias MKO. I actually replicate Moshood Kashimawo Olakunle Abiola’s philanthropist achievements. I put my name together so as to fit in to his name because I want to emulate his act of kindness. I am from a polygamous home. I attended Obafemi Awolowo University and graduated in 1997. I did my NYSC in Akwa Ibom with ASCON; from there, I got a contract staff with ELF. I am a family man with five children. An indigene of Oyo State and Ibadan to be specific, but I’m born in Yisa street in Agege, Lagos State so, I’ve naturalized to be a Lagosian.
What were you doing before venturing into politics and when have you been in politics?
I am a businessman and today I’m an employer of labour of over 200 workers in different areas of employment in Nigeria. I have set up my business for the past 20 years. I’m into Waste Management, Hotelier, Farming and other petty trading that you will be surprised that I am into.
I am a grass-rooter, I touch people’s lives daily even without being in government. So, this is one of my achievements, having set up a business, sustaining it, paying salaries as at when due despite the terrible economy that we have in the country, it’s a kind of a test litmus for me towards going into politics.
Since I joined politics, I’ve not served nor benefitted from any government finances or resources before but, my personal businesses have been sustaining me.
My father is the Balogun of Adinni Onilegeere, Agege, Lagos. He was the first to lead people to Bashorun MKO Abiola for assistant for the building of the Central Mosque in Onilegeere that is still standing till today.
My father is a politician and a much known one within Ikeja hemisphere. He started when Ikeja encompasses Agege and Alimosho. I took after my father and copied the politics of non-bitterness. Life is all about getting better and I believed you should be in politics so as to better other people’s lives because it is the only calling that can touch people’s lives and that is what politics is all about.
Who is a good politician?
A good politician as the word entails should be a care giver. A selfless human being who will always strive to improve a situation he or she met by adding goals, progress and success. You can’t be good if your life is not transformed from what it was in previous years. He must also be trustworthy.
People have been clamoring that the Legislative arm of government in Nigeria should be made a part time job. Do you share the same sentiment?
In an unemployed society like Nigeria, you cannot keep everybody more unemployed. Nigerians are always misplacing the benefits of all activities. All we needed are responsive Legislators. Government has no business being stingy. The more money is out the more people has a lot to do. And the more they keep money, the more they kill the populace. So, to me keeping more people jobless by allowing the legislative arm of government to be made a part time job is not of any good advice.
It is a commonwealth but, we should just ensure that responsible people who have been tested and trusted, someone who is not going there for his first car or first house, someone who is family man, who has showcased himself in one societal developmental activity before should be entrusted with our mandates. They having money to spend on good things are not bad but, diverting such money for their personal use is evil. Some of them use their jumbo pay to finance Boko Haram and that act is evil.
Our constitution, most especially the one late General Sani Abacha gave to us is not a constitution, it is long overdue so, part time job cannot do such reviews, such thorough job. All we need just like I’ve said is to elect responsive sets of Legislators who will use their funds for developmental activities in our society. The issue with Nigeria is that the Federal Government has no developmental programmes that they pumping money into, no social activities for the aged or the selfless people on the street, the adopted, people with challenges and so on.
People in government are not up to eighteen thousand and they are leading over two hundred million people. How can these sets of people manage their resources to accommodate 200 million people if they are on part time?
The solution is; If I am opportune to be in government today, I will multiply every income by 100 per cent or better still 1,000 per cent because the more you multiply income of your citizen, the more the benefits and the resources you get as a government.

When you left PDP for APC earlier this year, was there any rancor between you and the hierarchies of your former party?
Actually, when I left PDP for APC, I was a candidate who won that election (Ikeja Federal Constituency) under PDP but, my mandate was not defended. It was like when you engaged people to do some things for you and they failed in doing it, definitely you will not put your trust in such person again. So, that act gave me the reason to review my membership of the PDP. I was a prominent member of PDP and have risen to the position of a State Officer. I spent my personal resources to renovate the party’s secretariat and to assist every teeming member of the party. You remember that in Lagos State, we are never in government so, you could understand how members of the political party will need assistance so, I have always been the one to support in one way or the other.
So, haven’t worked so hard for the party and contested for the State Chairmanship position of the party and it was given to Salvador basically because they said he is an indigene and that I’m not from Lagos State.
I took it in good faith and accepted the position of the Organizing Secretary in other to work with him and assist him. So, I embarked on the re-engineering of the party until the election time when I resigned to contest for the House of Representative in Ikeja Constituency. The activities of the last election showed that PDP has no capable hands and you won’t blame them because in a country where there is hunger, people won’t be able to reason well.
It will be very difficult for PDP to rule Lagos with the kind of people on ground and the hunger in the nation because, they won’t be able to take a decision that can lead them to victory. So, I saw APC as a party that can complement my own capacity and effort so that I don’t waste time. Good governance is not about party, it is about helping your people and whenever you can get that dividend of democracy that is where a good leader should go.
Having climaxed at that 2019 and I’ve seen that PDP has no material to defend an election even if they win, then what is the point wasting more time. Besides I’m not trained or raised to be a spoiler and since the narrative of politics in Nigeria is about to change to the Southerners, I have to play along under a peaceful environment where everybody will be okay. I am not a selfish politician who only thinks about his personal gain, I need to align with the people who have the capacity to win than for me to be playing dirty politics. So, it is very imperative for me to join the winning team because the narrative is changing in 2023 and I know that the power is coming down South if we get serious and work together to achieve it.
When you left PDP was there any move from the party to pacify and make peace with you?
There is no leader in Lagos PDP. No cardinal or centre leader so, nobody actually found it important to reach out. They are all to themselves, the party is like a sheep without direction, no purpose, no goal. Meanwhile in APC, I had an opportunity to speak with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He called me to come back to the party because he is a thinking leader and I am happy because he has done well for Lagos; all I have to do is to team up with them and develop the state because in Lagos, there is no way PDP can win. I can say it anywhere so, it is better for us to practice one party state and that is why I centered the TNN project ‘Tinubu 20123 Not Negotiable’ to actualize this dream. I said this because I’ve done my own research and I’ve found out that South-South and South East have not contributed much to APC so, they cannot tell us that they want to take presidency, this leaves South West as the only region that can contest for presidency and in South West, the only person that has the political muscle and the finance is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
When I was in PDP, Chief Olabode George came out to contest for the National Chairmanship position of the party, he was a leader who was too old for that position, if he had allowed the younger ones to come out maybe other regions would have supported but, the young ones felt that if they supported him, he would be bossing them around. In fact, Ayodele Fayose was the first person with that kind of opinion so, they worked against him underground because of that and also because he has no financial muscle that was why they used Uche Secondus from a region that does not merit or deserved it and he won. We are not going to allow that politics to play out in South West, we are not going to allow such fate to befall us again, we are going to work together under TNN so as to actualize our aim.
People might be saying tinubu too is old but, you can only support a younger candidate who has the experience and the financial capability to contest for an election in Nigeria otherwise we will wish it away to the Northerners again.
Today, if Tinubu declared his intention to run for the office of the president, I will encourage and support him and he will surely get the ticket.
What actually informed your decision to launch TNN?
It’s about my vision. It is a Yoruba agenda that I’m actually craving for. Yoruba agenda is for power to come to south west in 2023. It’s a vision I’ve seen that Tinubu is the only one man standing since 1999, even Obasanjo tried to break him but he refused to be broken. He will be a real democratic president not like a military democratic president like Obasanjo but, a real one like MKO Abiola that we never had because, I see the replica of MKO in Tinubu.
Tinubu is a philanthropist, he builds leaders, reaches out to people, gives freewill to operate so, that is the kind of a leader that can develop Nigeria. We have seen that no military man can assist us in this nation again so, we need a civilian who can help us bridge cooperation in this nation and he is the only one that can win in both the South and the Northern parts of the country.
Mischievous people are trying to use the Yorubas against themselves by calling Tinubu a corrupt politician. The Northerners are so intelligent because they support anyone they want to win but, it seems Yorubas are cursed. We all witnessed all what Tinubu did in his 8 years as the governor of Lagos and if we allowed him to do the same thing in Nigeria, we would all be better off.
So, we are not going to do trial and error with any candidate in 2023 and we are not going to miss our chances. This is a message to the Afenifere’s and the Yorubas at large, the South-South, North and the East that we should join hands to support this man who has transformed Lagos State to what it is today.
The vision is from God and that’s the main reason why I joined APC, to push the agenda of Tinubu’s ambition of 2023 for Yoruba nation and for the Southerners at large.
How are you planning to preach TNN mandate to other states and regions in the country?
Politics is local. Firstly my target will be within the South West in the first year of our launching. By the time we are able to convince the South Westerners the importance of allowing Tinubu to rule and they embraced all the facts that will be laid down for them to see then, we will now move into South-South, South East and to the Northern region because we still have four more years to go. TNN will be doing a lot of activities after we might have appointed our coordinators and we shall surely start from Lagos State with about 20 Local Governments then, we would have coordinators in other Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) before we now move into other states. We have already created links on social media for people to join from all States of the federation.
What is your impression about Sanwo-Olu becoming governor of Lagos State as against Jimi Agbaje that that your former party positioned?
Actually Sanwo-Olu will not deviate from what Fashola did. You could understand that Fashola really transformed Lagos, but he was only able to achieve such under the guidance of Tinubu because, if he was the one responsible for all the great things he did in Lagos during his tenure, he would have done well as a minister who has three ministries. He didn’t do well as a minister because he was no longer under the tutelage of Tinubu, if he had allowed him to come in and give him some briefing maybe he would have done better. But because of bad politics in the North, they have made him to think that he can do it all alone. So, Sanwo-Olu has a lot of reasons to do well and also learn from Ambode’s saga because he has seen from the success of Fashola so, he is going to do well as you can see his moves from the first day he assumed office. His is going to be a listening governor and I’m impressed because everywhere he go, he will always mention his Deputy Hamzat. He will always use ‘we’, that makes their work a collective effort.


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