Bobo Omotayo, writer, PR practitioner and political aspirant was recently on the Rubbin’ Minds TV show. Here he talks about his political ambition and how to play the “dirty game” fairly. Excerpts:
You also find people doing almost anything to get elected which worried me a bit because it seemed a little like a do or die affair.
Q. Please kindly introduce yourself and what you do.
My name is Bobo Omotayo. I am a PR practitioner and also an author. I work with R&B PR. We specialize in corporate communication.
Q. You are also involved in Nigerian politics?
Yes, I got involved in Nigerian politics about twi years ago. I ran for a seat for Ijebu Ode constituency in the state House of Assembly in the last elections in Ogun State.
Q. What inspired you to go into politics?
Well, politics has always been around me and so it’s nothing new. I am pretty familiar with the system and out of the three arms of government i.e. legislative, judiciary and executive. I have always seen myself as best suited for the legislative arm of government and eventually I went after it.
I am active member of the PDP and I have no problem in remaining an active member
Q. Since you have been involved in the system for a while, what is your view about Nigerian politics?
Nigerian politics is pretty much what it is. There is a lot of development that needs to be done. I think we are lacking great leadership but it’s something we can talk about over and over again but I think it is time to act essentially. So I am going to encourage as many young people as possible who have an idea. Do not be discouraged about what you think Nigerian politics about. If you have the passion, there are different ways in which you can participate.
Like in my case, when I decided to run for a position, I was rather too focused on where I was going to get the funds from, where I was going to get the endorsements from etc. but in some weird miraculous way, things worked in my support. Nigerian politics, I am not so concerned about the past, I am more concerned about the future because I am looking forward.
Q. Since you tried running for a political office, with that experience, what plans are in the works?
I do not want to reveal much about my plans because a true politician shouldn’t. I am keeping my cards close to my chest. However, what I would say is I am active member of the PDP and I have no problem in remaining an active member. I am also keen on how Alhaji Bamaga Atuku plans to move the party forward.
Q. Apart from the problem of finance, what other challenges do young people face when trying to get involved actively and have their voices heard based on your experience?
The biggest challenge for me which I quickly realized was that it was not so much about ideas any more. It was pretty much about who could play the game best in terms of who knew the right person to get ahead, who knew the right people to align themselves with. You also find people doing almost anything to get elected which worried me a bit because it seemed a little like a do or die affair.
Q. What is your take about politics not being a full-time job? Like having a career, serve your term and go back to your business?
I got to understand when people say go and establish yourself in a business or get a career. I completely support telling young people to go build a career and you and come back to politics which is not a problem. So you’ll serve your people a lot better if you have an established career. Politics is about managing people and resources as well. If you ran a business for a couple of years before you get involved in politics it will do you good.
Q. What is your take about the recent comments on social networks about selection of the PDP youth leader?
Personally, I am convinced about the ethos of the party. When you are in party or an organization, you are not expected to check all the boxes about the policies you find. Like take the US for instance, I am sure there are some democrats who are unhappy and probably feel they are more conservative on some ideals. They believe that they are more republican than democrats and that goes the other way too.
I think the key is to align yourself with a party that you think is closest to what you stand for. It doesn’t hurt. If you do not like it, you can drop your membership.
Q. Even if you do not have the ambition for a political office, do you get involved in politics?
Absolutely, you must not only go into politics because you want to gain something; I think that is wrong. I think when you join a party you are better informed as to which candidate to select and also what to look out for in a candidate when it comes to voting. We are voting on the finished products. By the time the public sees the candidates, they have been coated, polished, photoshopped and moulded into the best way that they feel the public will receive them.
Getting involved in the grass root level and understanding what it takes to be leaders at that level is key. All the debates we see on TV and all are not the real interest; the real stuff lies when the contenders go to various wards and local governments etc. That is where you see the energy, passion and people slugging it out. Talking about their manifestoes concerning issues of vocational training, unemployment, education etc. That is the point you can feel the heat and the real ideas coming out.
Thank you so much for talking to us.
You are welcome.