Kayode Akinmade was Commissioner for Information in Ondo State during the administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko. He has also served as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole. He is the House of Representatives candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency. In this interview by HAKEEM GBADAMOSI, he expressed optimism that the PDP was ready to win the general election.
We are just a few weeks to the election, how do you rate the chances of your party in Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency and the country as a whole?
I can tell you that the chances of PDP are getting brighter by the day and not only in Idanre/Ifedore constituency but in Nigeria as a whole. As you can see the present administration in the country came in with a lot of promises but it is very unfortunate that none of the promises they made has been met. They promised to provide security and we know what is happening around the country right now. In Ondo State, we know what is happening now; kidnapping has become the order of the day, everybody is afraid to go out even during the day. When you look at the rate of unemployment in the country, many people who were gainfully employed in 2015 have lost their jobs because the economy of the country is badly run.
We know the prices of food items before the APC came on board, even the price of petrol has gone astronomically high, the cost of living is very high and Nigeria is ranked the highest among the poverty stricken countries of the world. We have dearth of infrastructure, no Federal Government project or presence. How can we have a representative and there was no single kobo appropriated to the federal constituency in 2016 and 2017, this is unacceptable. What the people of the constituency are saying now is that we don’t want armchair representation that will bring underdevelopment to our area. That’s why the people of Idanre/ Ifedore federal constituency are unanimously rejecting this present regime and they want the government of the PDP which will be able to make life better for them.
What are the things you hope to do differently for the constituency?
If elected, I will provide quality representation and also defend the interests of my people at all time. As a member of the House of Representatives, I will provide quality representation to the people and in the course of doing this, one must be able to defend their interest and stand against injustice. I will also be able to participate at the plenary and the committees to ensure that quality development is brought to bear on my federal constituency. Because of the way we are running this federal system in the country, it is difficult to get a license for a quarry. You have to go to Abuja. We have so many rocks and other mineral resources deposited in this area but unfortunately the people cannot explore these resources because they cannot get the licenses from Abuja. By the grace of God, if I am elected, we will protect the interest of the people living in that area so that their properties and lives will be secured.
The other responsibility of a lawmaker is also to ensure that he contributes to appropriation discussion in the National Assembly. The National Assembly has the right by law to appropriate fund for all the ministries and parastatals of government and in the cause of this, you put into consideration what comes to your federal constituency. I have said this in different fora that what we have presently is unacceptable. Again, as a member of the House of Representatives, one is also to ensure that he participates in oversight functions; this is to ensure that the money allotted to specific projects is not diverted elsewhere.
But don’t you see the APC chairman from your area as an impediment to your election?
I can say I have great respect for the APC chairman in the state but be that as it may, the federal constituency belongs to us and we have a duty to ensure its development and competent representation. What have they done in the last three and half years that will make our people vote for them again? Even when our people mistakenly or erroneously through brainwashing at that period voted for change, their expectation was that they would see positive change. But what they are seeing today has shown them that they made mistakes and they are convinced that these people in government cannot cater to their needs and interests. I also want to stress that in this constituency there is mutual understanding between the two local government areas that constitute this federal constituency. There is a power sharing arrangement in the House of Representatives. The arrangement is that we must rotate it between the two local governments that constitute the federal constituency.
The call for restructuring of the country seems to have taken the centre stage; do you think the country needs to be restructured at this moment?
For Nigeria to move forward there is need for us to sit down and look at some of the things that have hindered our growth and development. One of the things that account for our underdevelopment is this pseudo federal system of government we claim to be operating. When you look at it, you will observe that what we are operating today can best be described as unitary system of government. Look at the nation’s 1999 constitution, it was drafted by the military and foisted on the Nigerian people and till today there has not been any positive effort to re-jig the constitution to meet present realities. A federal state is an arrangement of convenience between the federations, and what constitute a federation are the states and there are certain functions that should be exclusively reserved for the federal government which borders on national security, currency, immigration and some others but on issue of education, what is the major concern of the Federal Government? Agriculture is principally domiciled in the local government areas, and communities that states preside over. Each state has its own comparative advantage in terms of agriculture because there are some areas that are good in the planting of cocoa, some areas in the planting of yam, cotton, cassava, groundnut and we must take comparative advantage of all these.
What do you see as solution to the myriads of security challenges the country is facing right now?
The major solution to the security challenges we are having now is for us to evolve a new strategy of addressing security issues in the country. The new strategy must involve new technology that helps other country to curb crimes and other criminalities. A situation where the security agencies are not properly equipped to perform their obligations, these security men are not angels and we should not expect them to be everywhere but if they are equipped with modern equipment that will assist them to combat crime, it will go a long way in reducing the rate of crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery that we are experiencing now in our society. So there is need to domesticate our security, and more importantly we must also as much as possible remove nepotism, favouritism in our security architecture. It is therefore important to also motivate and provide technology that can assist the immigration authority to do their job effectively because our internal security mechanism must be reviewed to be able to meet these present security challenges.
How do you see the endorsement of the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar by Yoruba leaders influencing the election in the South West?
I am strongly of the opinion that the leadership of the Yoruba has taken the right decision and more importantly when you look at the calibre of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, I think Nigerians deserve a leader who has a listening ear, a leader who has managed institutions and a leader who has contributed to the development of humanity. There is no country in the world that does not have its own challenges but in a situation where the president believes every citizen is corrupt and always talks about Nigerians being corrupt anywhere he goes as if all Nigerians fall into that category, it’s unfortunate. We want a president who will be able to address the issue of corruption and find lasting solution to it. We abhor corruption in all ramifications; we have heard cases of corrupt officials in this government but what has happened to them? We have the case of a governor who was seen collecting bribe in dollars, what happened to him? There’s the Maina case, the former SGF, and many others what have we taken out of them? We want a government that will be able to fight corruption and improve our economy and give Nigerians a sense of belonging. The only government that can do it for Nigeria is the PDP government led by Abubakar Atiku.