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“Why I Deserve APC ticket to Contest LSHA Seat In 2023” – Barrister Femi Martins – Naijanewsdirect

Barrister Femi Martins, popularly referred to as BFM, is a legal practitioner of note, a political activist and core Lagosian. The popular Martins Street in Lagos Island was named after his family. As a bona fide member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos state, BFM is the subsisting Legal Officer of the Mushin LG Chapter of the party. BFM has remarkably thrown his hat into the political ring to contest for a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA) in the forthcoming general elections. He intends to represent Mushin Constituency 2 in the vibrant hallowed chamber of Lagos state. In this exclusive telephone interview with the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Naija News Direct, ‘TUNDE OGUNMOLA, Barrister Femi Martins shed some light on his desirous ambition and why he stands at a plum position of clinching his party’s ticket ahead of other aspirants. Excerpt:



Some aggrieved Lagosians have come out to say that core indigenes of Lagos are often being marginalized in the composition of government in the state, hence they approached a court to table their grievances. What’s your take on this?

I believe everybody has a right to sue and anybody can be sued. It depends on the perspective you are taking your matter to court. I am a Lagosian, I believe anyone by birth or association or by being a Nigerian that resides in Lagos has equal right to be a Lagosian. Historically, we Lagosians are from Brazil, Senegal, Portugal etc, therefore, we can see that Lagos like America is a settlement for foreigners or travellers; we have core indigenes, they also have a right not to be deprived. I think their own issue is that “you cannot overlook us by bringing an outsiders to run our state without giving us any consideration.” If that had been the case, I aligned with that. For instance, I am not married to a Lagosian or Yoruba woman, therefore, would you say my heritage has gone? My wife is not a Lagosian, she even speaks Yoruba Language more than I do at times. So I cannot deprive her of her right to Lagos, after all, she does everything here in Lagos. She paid taxes here, so she is a Lagosian by marriage to me. By and large, I believe there is a purpose for us to unite to make Lagos a great place. If we want to say who and who are Lagosians, then we need to tell those who had made Lagos what it is today like the Dangotes of this world and others who have heavily invested their hard-earned money in Lagos to pull out and let’s see what will remain in Lagos. I strongly believe we can all live together and we have been living together, but it’s just the manipulation of certain politicians that want to make Lagos looks like what they want it to look like.



Of course you’re not a greenhorn in politics. Can you tell us your antecedents in politics?

It’s a long journey. I stumbled into politics in 1978. My late father had reported me to my first ever political father, Dr Tunji Braithwaite and at the church early that morning, Dr Braithwaite didn’t wait for the service to end. He called me out from the church while the service was ongoing and said to me, “Femi your Dad reported you to me”, mind you my mother’s family grew up with Dr Tunji Braithwaite family in Isale Eko. Hence, it was like an uncle talking to a nephew. He told me what my father said and I replied him that my father also does what I do not like too. He was surprised that at that very young age I could say that. At that point he said wow! you’re like me. And the relationship started from there and I met the president of this country in Dr Tunji Braithwaite’s house long before he became the president of this country. I also met other strong and serious politicians through Dr Braithwaite. What’s most important is his psychological belief, thoughts and relationship with me to nurture me to right way I can never forget.



In what way or ways have you contributed to the All Progressives Congress (APC)?

I joined APC within the first week it was registered as a political party and I contested under the platform in 2014 for Lagos State House of Assembly Mushin Constituency 2 but lost to the incumbent, Hon. AbduSobur Olawale Olayiwola. In the spirit of sportsmanship I felicitated with him and campaigned for him vigorously. I could recalled he was fond of handing over the microphone to me to speak, I do not know his reason for that though. I have never disrespected him or any other leader. I was in the appeal committee for the chairmanship and councillorship elections for Mushin and I worked with the likes of the respected former deputy governor of Lagos state, Otunba Femi Pedro. I could recalled that at the end of the exercise, Otunba Femi Pedro made a remark about me that, “Femi Martins, the People’s lawyer, if I had my way, I will clear everyone in Mushin and Odi-Olowo…” That’s sufficient for me because I was able to fight for the cause of people that were deprived of clearance in one way or the other. Aside that, I have been called upon time and again to go on a mission to visit party members that have issues in police stations, this happened a lot in election periods and other than election time with the name of the party and I gave them services pro bono.



Aside your legalistic contributions, in what other ways have your impacts been felt in the community you seek to represent in the Lagos Assembly?

I don’t really like to publicise whatever I do for people because I believe that whatever your right hand does, your left hand shouldn’t know. In my own little ways, I have assisted people financially on various issues they have and I am still assisting them. But I believe I don’t have to be saying that. It’s only those people that feel they are empty that need publicity for things that are basic that do that. They even often do as some people in government. You can imagine people saying they bought GCE forms for students, and they’re proudly advertising that. The Vice Chairman of APC in Mushin, Mr Soji Adeleye popularly called SOJ can be asked, I have been buying GCE forms through him for students for years. A young lady walked up to me recently, she greeted me passionately and said “thank you Sir, you bought my GCE and JAMB forms for me years back.” She’s a graduate now.



You belong to a political group within the APC known as ‘Soko’ in Mushin, which is under the leadership of Mr. Seye Oladejo, the Publicity Secretary of APC in Lagos state. There exists other groups in Mushin political landscape. How have you been able to build bridges across board?

If you ask for who BFM is in Mushin, you will simply be told that BFM is a friend to all and enemy to none. I have been able to see through these issues of groups and caucuses because I had worked in conglomerate before now. I had worked in the Nigerian Breweries and places where politics is rife, their politics is pecuniary interest based where people are fighting over money and positions and I know the politics therein that it is not a do or die. Nobody wants to die, everybody wants to do and if everybody wants to do, why can’t we do together. In doing, somebody has to say although I belong to this place yet I am your brother, I am your sister so let’s work together. Because I belong to a caucus doesn’t mean I am not an APC member. It is clearly about our community and our larger society, not about our groups.



Given the complexity and strong competiveness in Mushin politics, what are your chances of picking the APC ticket to contest in the general elections?

I have worked for the party. I have had supports for working for the party. I still have that great support base now. Also, there are issues within the party which are normal, there will always be issues. I am prepared to work with all members of our party. I have been working with members of our party way back even before this dispensation. In my office, I hosted various groups and interests, everywhere I go I do not look at where are you from, I look at you that you are from my constituency. This is our chances, we have build our structures. Structured are human beings even within the leaders, there’s no leader in Mushin today that have not said to me that, “you are a great guy, you have worked assiduously for the party.” So if you accept that fact of leaders, why can’t you reciprocate that gesture. And for the followers, they see me as a subtle symbol of revolution. Subtle revolution in the sense that we also need to be listened to. This is the time when we have to change the narrative. People have been there, they have done their best, but allow some other people to bring in their ideas. It’s simple, that’s what we’re saying. On that premise we based our own trajectory. And we’re saying, if we are going for primaries that’s most welcome. That’s what we want. We’re democrats with the belief that we’re going to win the primaries. Even if we do not win, we will accept the outcome so far it is free and fair. We believe God doesn’t reward laziness, He rewards those that have worked.

Tunde Ogunmola
Tunde Ogunmola
'Tunde Ogunmola Executive Editor/CEO (OBAT CONNECTS CONCEPTS) Publishers of Naija News Direct) Tel: 08055102893, 08126439182 (WhatsApp)

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