Hon. Nomiye Raphael Oloye is a member of the House of Representatives representing Ilaje/Ese-odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State. In this interview with BABA YUSUF, the lawmaker bares his mind on the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State and posits that the governor deserves a second term.
Can Nigerians still have faith in probes going by the latest controversy trailing the pension, capital market and fuel subsidy probes?
I think anytime, any day, Nigerians should always have confidence in the National Assembly. You have just mentioned about 3 probe panels that were set up but there are other probes that we have been conducting here in the House and even in the senate and most of them have been very helpful to this nation. The fact that we have issues with some of these probes or investigative panels does not mean that the National Assembly will still not continue to do what it is expected to do. Definitely, our priority here is to carry out oversight functions, to make laws and to effectively represent our people and we will continue to do that.
However in the House of Reps, we have 360 members and you cannot rule out that there may be some few among us that may want to look out for their own selfish interests rather than interests of the nation. In the Bible, out of the 12 disciples of Jesus, there was a Judas, though I am not castigating anyone because presently investigation is going on, but I am just telling you that among this number of people that we have here, there could be some few people who may have their own selfish interests.
But in the House as a whole we have been voted to serve our people, to make laws that will better the economy of this nation and for this nation to be peaceful and to be able to compete with any other nation in the world and that we will continue to do. We still have men of integrity who any time and any day will do exactly what the people elected them to do.
As the 7th Assembly clocks one year in office, what can you cite as the achievements of the House and you own personal scorecard?
I think so far, so good. In spite of some ups and downs, this 7th National Assembly has recorded tremendous achievements in terms of the number of bills passed. I believe we have even surpassed the record of the previous Assemblies. And the oversight functions which happens to be one of the most important functions of the legislature has been effectively conducted by us and I want to tell you that with the way we are going, if we continue at this pace, this 7th Assembly will make a lot of difference from the previous Assemblies. Also, if you look at the role played by the House of Reps during the fuel subsidy removal crisis, you can see that we helped this nation a lot. It was as a result of the intervention of the House of Reps that saved the day as you can recall that we had to cut short our recess to convene here on a Sunday which is the first of its kind in the history of the National Assembly. This goes to show that we have the interests of Nigeria and Nigerians at heart. Definitely, I want to tell you that this one year is a year of achievement and there is still room for improvement. And on our own we are still going to sit down and assess the period and see where we have done well and areas where we have not lived up to expectation so that we can improve upon them.
As for my own personal scorecard, you will observe that representation in the National Assembly depends on the way you look at it. Firstly it is as a result of what you discuss on behalf of your people and your inputs in the national budget to assist your area and your inputs in the oversight functions to attract the interest of the federal government in the area your represent. In this regard I believe I have performed tremendously and I want to state that in the next legislative year, definitely, we are going to improve a lot.
Do you support the creation of more states in the impending constitutional amendment?
I am in full support of state creation. This country is very large and Ondo State in particular is also very big to the extent that you will find out that it is bigger than some 2 states put together. I am from the riverine area of Ondo State and the riverine areas alone are bigger than Bayelsa State put together. So, if you are talking of a situation where there should be fairness and equity, then definitely there is a need for the creation of more states out of Ondo state and I am also aware that some states are in a similar position like Ondo state. So, I am in support of the creation of more states.
Do you support more autonomy for local governments?
I have always been a supporter of more autonomy for local governments even on the floor of the House when the issue came up for debate. Under the constitution which we operate, the local governments are supposed to be the third tier of government after the federal and state governments. As it is right now, it is like there is no third tier of government in this country because even the local government chairman is answerable to not just to the governor but to the commissioner of local governments and chieftaincy affairs of a state which is not supposed to be the case. So, there must be autonomy for local governments that is when we can even say we are practicing true federalism.
We have only been talking of true federalism as regards state and federal governments without taking into consideration how the third tier of government is being run. The local governments are supposed to be closer to the people, for instance, it will be difficult for the majority of the people in the riverine areas to come and see the state governor in Akure but they don’t need any transport to go to the local government and see the chairman. That is why we need to hold local governments in very high esteem and they need autonomy so as to truly serve the purpose for which they were created.
As one of staunchest supporters of His Excellency, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, what advice do you have for his supporters as the governorship elections draw nearer?
I will only ask all the supporters and admirers of Governor Mimiko to remain committed and steadfast as we don’t have anything to fear; thank God that Iroko is doing very well. I was watching an AIT programme recently where the Governor was shown distributing taxi cabs to every major city in Ondo State and coaster buses to convey students to their various schools free of charge. These are things that have not been seen in any part of Africa before. The man, Dr Mimiko, is a Godsent to Ondo State and may be because we have passed through so many tough times in Ondo State that God has decided to give us Dr Mimiko at this point in time. So, he is doing very well and that will surely manifest in the election results. Nigerians are getting wiser now, gone are the days when you would want to entice people with money and you think they will vote against their conscience, they won’t do it.
The Ondo people have seen that Dr Mimiko is performing and they are conscious that if given a second chance, he will still do more. So, they will vote for him for a second time. So, I will call upon our people to beware of those that are coming under the pretext of a Yoruba or Southwest integration agenda that has nothing to do with development. What the people need is progress and development irrespective of the party concerned; in fact, democracy will not be complete if everybody decides to be in one party alone. Definitely, Dr Mimiko is doing well and I will urge all our people to rally round him because one good term deserves another.