Businessman, Leota Lene Leota, is stepping into the world of politics.
Announcing his candidacy for the Palauli Sisifo seat for the upcoming General Elections in March, the 54-year-old is a man on a mission.
He says he wants to help the poor and provide for the people of his constituency.
“I waited for a good time and I believe this is the right time,” he told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
Leota is running against the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Agafili Patisela, and a host of other candidates.
Although he has yet to announce which party he would represent, Leota said he is likely to run as a Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) independent.
Looking at the past, Leota said he has been approached several times to run.
“I didn’t agree to it because I didn’t think it was the right time,” he said. “I also had a number of things I was occupied with.”
But this year, he feels he is ready. And he is confident about his chances.
His mission involves catering for the needs of the people in the village. He said there are many things that could be done to improve the lives of his constituents – especially in his village of Siutu.
Water is one area he is looking at. He is also looking at improving access roads, seawalls and improving the district hospital.
He is also concerned about the village youth, especially the ones who are unemployed. He wants to encourage them to get jobs and finish school.
“Parents can afford the school fees from Year 1 to Year 8. The same goes for colleges. But when they enter University level, there is a gap there that most parents cannot afford.”
Leota said this gap defeats the purpose of putting students through primary and secondary school because it means they finish school prematurely.
“I want to ensure that young people reach their full potential in education,” he said. “That means getting a qualification and finding a job. That’s what education is all about.”
Asked about the support from the village and the constituency, Leota said: “So far so good.” He admitted that running in the general election is not easy as all candidates believe they can win.
Leota is married to Claire Leota and he has all her support.
“I support him, but somebody has to run the business,” she said.
Leota, who owns the Siva Afi company, said the support from his wife, his family and people close to him is very important.
“I made it very clear, I run and she runs the business,” he said.
“We do this for love, not for money.”
Leota also paid tribute to the work done by the incumbent Member of Parliament for his constituency and vowed to continue it should he win.