Prince Idris Balogun (popularly called “Oluomo) is a politician, businessman and Prince of Isheri-Olofin in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
An aspirant for the 2023 House of Representatives seat for Alimosho constituency, he is also passionate about the push for the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to run for the presidential seat in 2023.
As a businessman who is doing well for himself, what is your business with politics?
Like you rightly observed, I am a businessman and have been in business for more than 25 years, but there are many reasons that influenced my decision to join politics. I saw how things were going in our environment, in our community, in Lagos State and even across the country.
Like they say, if you can’t beat them, you have to join them. You cannot continue lamenting about the situation. I am a philanthropist, I have the interest of my people at heart and the need to always come to their aid is my major concern.
That is the major reason I decided to come into politics, because it will give me a good opportunity to be fully involved in the welfare of my people, which I have been doing with my personal resources.
I believe that when I am able to get into office I will be able to use government resources to assist them.
And since I joined politics I have been doing my best; and so far I have been using my resources to address some of the needs of my people without support from anyone.
My aspiration is about the interest of Alimosho. My people are my focus. That is why I want to be a Member of the House of Representatives.
How will you describe your relationship with your people that you seek to represent?
I don’t have issues with anybody. I am the son of the Oba here, the Oba Isheri Olofin; and I have a good relationship with my people.
Although there was an issue about land and it has to do with a law, but when the time comes I am sure the government will address the issue. It is nothing about me with the people, no.
There was a word made popular during the last election in Kwara State, “Otoge,” and here you are leading a team that is also saying, “Otoge Alimosho,” who is that power broker in Alimosho that needs to be changed?
We have some powerful people in Alimosho, who are self acclaimed leaders. One of the self-acclaimed leaders is Alhaji Abdulahi Enilolobo and the way he is running the affairs of the party is very wrong.
For example, when it is election season, he is involved in serious imposition of candidates on the people, not minding their quality. He imposes dull people on brilliant people.
He imposes people who are only interested in their self interest on those of us whom everybody knows are philanthropists, looking after the welfare of the people.
He does not want us to reign, oppressing our stars. That is why we have come out to say enough is enough; that is “Otoge.” And I, Prince Balogun, I am the Ambassador of “Otoge” in the whole of Alimosho.
But Eninolobo is believed to be standing in for Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (the Minister for Internal Affairs), if you are so opposed to him, is that not to say you are opposed to Aregbe’s leadership?
Yes, Eninolobo is a product of Aregbe, he cannot deny that, because he used to tell us then that he only knows Aregbe, that he does not know Asiwaju (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu).
Aregbe is their own symbol, their own mentor, that they only know him and he will always caution us not to go to Asiwaju directly, that anybody that goes to Asiwaju directly is an enemy of Alimosho politics.
If they see you always going to Asiwaju’s house or even if you go to the Governor behind them, they consider you their enemy.
There was a day he saw me at the Governor’s office, he came to me and said, “Oluomo, let me take you to the Governor.” Meanwhile, I already knew the Governor.
Yet he said he wanted to take me to the Governor. Is it now that you will take me to the Governor when I am already here. But it’s because they don’t want me to be there.
Afterwards, they went to the Governor and blocked that area, that nobody should go to the Governor from Alimosho unless they come through them. Why will you do that?
This is a democracy, we have to have freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom to contest for any position you desire.
When I decided to contest for House of Reps, I went to him to tell him, but he said: “Oluomo, that is not my plan for you, what I plan for you is not up to that, I am planning state for you, not that level.”
Is he the one that will determine my fate and my future or my destiny? How long can we be doing that, under this suppression, oppression and imposition of candidates?
That is why I am coming out for the House of Representatives, and I am standing out for the liberation of my people, to regain their freedom from under these self-acclaimed leaders, like Eninolobo and the G18.
Your position seems to be pitching you against the Aregbesola group, do you have enough support from the Tinubu group to enable you to overcome?
What we are selling in Alimosho is party come 2023. We believe in Tinubu, our National Leader, we believe in him for President come 2023, that is what we are selling, and Mudashiru Obasa (Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly) for Senate in Lagos West, because we believe in them, that they can do it better than those doing it presently.
We believe that Tinubu will do better than Buhari, we believe Obasa will do better than Yayi, Olamilekan. Yayi is what I describe as an “Olympic Senator.”
After using you, he will come after two years to deceive the people, people fought for him, people who followed him day and night, people that branded their vehicles for him, people that spent their personal money.
Yayi will not even pick their calls again. If there is need in the community and you write to him, he will not even respond, he will just ask that you go and see one of his aides or the other, deceiving the people.
2023 is still a long time away, coming into the race two years before the election, do you think you can sustain the steam and keep the momentum between now and then?
Well, everything is in the hands of God and my race is a mission that God is involved in and I believe God will help me, it is not by my power, my trust is in God and I believe seriously in God.
I believe that the time is still far, but it’s not really far when you come to politics. If I don’t come out early like this, these people, who are posing as self-acclaimed leaders, they will bring another candidate that is not popular like us, that is not as well known, they will endorse such a person to block my way.
That is why I came out early to advertise myself, so that the people of Alimosho will know what I have for them, they will know my ability in handling the position.
For somebody who is not yet in a position who is spending his personal money in the interest of the people, giving out food, cars, helping the less privileged according to his capacity within the constituency, will certainly do better if he is in government.
So, I believe coming out early is not a barrier, this is a divine project, no stopping, no going back, no distraction. I am focused, I am resolute, the train cannot be stopped.
What is it that you believe that you can do when in office that the person currently holding the position is not doing?
The person presently occupying the position is doing virtually nothing, I have a lot of things I want to do for my people. Like in the area of education, we visited some schools in our area some days ago to know the challenge they are facing there.
One of the schools we visited is named after our national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu. It has been operating for over eight years. And for more than four years, he has been calling on our people for help.
And we were there to see what they were going through. The man is organising the school like free education and I saw the various challenges that they face there.
This is a school that charges N20,000 as school fees for the secondary school per annum, not per term and N15,000 per annum in primary schools.
I was wondering how he is coping, yet no one was willing to help him, despite answering Bola Ahmed Tinubu Foundation.
I have a lot of plans for my people, like in education, in agriculture. I have a lot of land in Lagos and Ogun that I can share to the youths for farming, with a farm settlement with a hostel.
I have plans for a free school bus for our children. I have plans for regular health intervention for my people, among many other things. Like in the area of health, many people are facing challenges; people are dying as a result of mild health challenges, from the old to the young.
I am not happy about that. You can also be assured of quality empowerment for our youths, widows, widowers and the less privileged, we will let them know our mission, carry them along, consult with them on a regular basis, so they will know what is happening.
We will always call constituency stakeholders meetings to keep them abreast of development and as much as I can, I will meet their needs.