Some residents of FESTAC Town, Lagos State have expressed disappointment over the defeat of Dipo Olorunrinu, representing Amuwo-Odofin Constituency I in the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Olorunrin, the only Peoples Democratic Party member in the Lagos Assembly, lost his re-election bid in the March 9 election to Mojisola Alli-Macaulay of the All Progressives Congress.
Olorunrinu, who was among the eight PDP lawmakers elected into the Lagos Assembly in 2015 general elections, did not defect to the ruling APC when seven of his colleagues did in 2017.
A survey by NAN correspondent on the constituents’ assessment of the first term of the young lawmaker on Saturday revealed that he was admired by the constituents and close to the people.
The residents, who spoke in separate interviews with NAN across different avenues and roads in FECTAC, described Olorunrinu as a man of the people, who had touched their lives.
A resident on 204 Road, Josephine Kanu, described Olorunrinu’s loss at the polls as painful. “I feel so bad that Hon. Dipo Olorunrinu lost the election. He won in many polling stations in FESTAC Town, but I don’t know what happened in Mile 2. Only God will judge.
“He did well for us, he bought cylinders and gas for women on the streets. He paid school fees, bought cows for people. I will miss him when he leaves office. I wish they can repeat the election.”
Also speaking, Pastor Adekanmbi Aderemi, a cleric on same road, corroborated Kanu, saying he had not been voting in the past, but had to vote in the last election because of Olorunrinu.
Aderemi said the lawmaker was very close to the people, adding: “If you go round, you will see what he has done. It is a great loss for us. He tried a lot. We have never experienced what he did for us in the past. Keke Marwa and Okada riders were talking about him. He used to go to mosques and churches and gave people gifts.”
In his view, Umar Malam Umar, a Chief Security Officer of one of the roads in FESTAC Town, said he was not happy about what happened to the lawmaker.
“Olorunrinu used to give food to the residents to break their fast during Ramadan since he got to the assembly. We don’t know what will happen now as another Ramadan is approaching. We will continue to pray for him as we also do during the Ramadan.
“Olorunrinu used to give cows and rams to the residents during Sallah. He gave me a ram for Sallah last year and he is not tribalistic. He is good to the Hausas, Yorubas and Igbos.”
A panel beater at 3rd Ave, FESTAC Town, Kehinde Yisa, commended the lawmaker for providing free buses to convey students to and from schools.
“He discusses with us a lot and shares his experiences with us. He gave us rice, cows and a lots of things. We are not happy that he lost. He used to attend our meetings. He used to invite us to events and gave us food during Ramadan.”
All these were corroborated by a herb seller, who simply gave her name as Mary as well as some commercial motorcycle (Okada) riders who gave their names as Dennis Gadama, Samuel Peter and David Dandi, among others.
According to Dandi, Olorunrinu’s electoral loss is painful to most of them, adding that he has helped a lot of people, including old men and women.
“He has helped to stop people from seizing our okadas. It is painful that Olorunrinu lost the election. Okada people love him because he has done a lot for them.”
A trader, who gave her name as Mama Blessing, eulogised the lawmaker, saying: “Olorunrinu deserves to win the election. He is ‘talk and do’ just like his nickname. He lost because people were discouraged, they did not come out for the election.
“It is so painful. We will never forget him. He didn’t deserve to lose. I have seen others before, but this man worked. He campaigned vigorously and most people are annoyed that he lost the election.”
A car dealer, Akinsola Olagbegi, also said Olorunrinu had been a very good person, adding that people had been saying good things about him.
“They say he is ‘talk and do’. He provides free buses for school children. We will miss him as he lost the election. It is so painful to us.”
Olagbegi added that he was surprised that Olorunrinu took care of the politicians in the PDP and the APC, wondering if such a politician was common in this part of the world.
The story was the same in Agboju Market in the area, where a trader, Omotosho Nurein, a fruit seller, Maryam Fatimon and Kehinde Adeyemi said Olorunrinu was a man of the people.
Gift Popoola, who was making her hair around Agboju Market and a hair dresser, Bolanle Rilwan, among others jointly eulogised the lawmaker, whom they described as a man with a large heart.
However, a tricycle rider at Agboju Market, Babatunde Owonikoko, said the lawmaker was a typical Nigerian politician, who only come around during election period.
In his assessment, Sola Fakorede, the President of FESTAC Town Residents Association, described Olorunrinu as one of the best lawmakers who was passionate about the constituency and constituents
Fakorede said: “I never met him until he started representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency 1 in the state assembly. I didn’t give him a chance, but when he got to the assembly, he performed beyond our expectations. God knows the best despite everything.
“Everybody will miss him. He has a large heart, he is very accessible. He is ready to listen, he attends to all the problems affecting FESTAC Town and other places here. He is a generous giver. He has given scholarship awards to people.
“He does not discriminate on party lines. He should continue his good works, he can still bounce back. Governor Kayode Fayemi was defeated in Ekiti State in 2014, but he bounced back. Olorunrinu can still bounce back, he is still young.”
Fakorede, who said that he met the winner of the election in the constituency, Alli-Macaulay, before and after the election, said Olorunrinu would leave big shoes for her.
He expressed the hope that Alli-Macaulay would do as much or more and promised that they would give her the best support anytime such was needed.