Rt. Hon. Adekunle Taiwo Oluomo is a two-term member of the Ogun State House of Assembly and is currently the Deputy Speaker. He bares his mind to LEADERSHIP in this interview about issues in the state and the nation in general. OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU brings the excerpts:
There is a rumour of legislature and executive fracas in Ogun State, is it true and how has the relationship between the legislature and the executive been?
We are now in politically perilous times, so such rumour is not strange. The relationship between the executive and the legislature in Ogun State has always been a cordial one. In fact, we recently held the annual executive-legislative parley, which is a normal meeting between the legislators from the state to the National Assembly levels and the governor, and the state, it is a normal meeting.
There are insinuations that Ogun State governor, Senator IbikunleAmosun wants to return to the Senate after his tenure and also, don’t you think the issue of who succeeds him is creating problem within the Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
Number one, the governor has the right to go back to the Senate or aspire to go to the Senate, if he so desires. Though he has not formally informed anybody about this, as I am hearing it for the first time. However, what’s wrong if he says he wants to go back to the Senate? At worst, the party will choose between him and anyone else who may be interested in the senatorial ticket for his senatorial district.
Secondly, I don’t see any problem in choosing Amosun’s successor in Ogun State. Our party remains one united family in Ogun State and we are fully in control of our party in the state. We are not having any problem. APC in Ogun State is one and we know ourselves. We know those who ran away before and have come back to enjoy with us and we know those who are on the ground. There is no problem. Worst case scenario, we’ll hold a congress to select who our gubernatorial candidate will be, if consensus is not working.
How would you assess the performance of this administration so far in the Gateway State?
The Amosun-led administration is the best administration in the life time of Ogun State, since the state was created over 40 years ago and this is not contestable. Yoruba people will say “arunojuni, kisearunimu” (it is discernable in the eyes). In the political history of Ogun State, this is the best.
Maybe another governor will come tomorrow and do more than Amosun in the state, but to date, in the life time of Ogun State in over 40 years now, no governor has done what Amosun has done, and I am saying this with all sense of honesty.
At the centre, many Nigerians have been complaining that the APC administration led by President MuhammaduBuhari has not fulfilled its electoral promises to them. How would you assess the government at the centre?
One thing I have come to realise is that we Nigerians naturally, are hardly patient. We want the change promised us to work like magic, but it is never like that. However, I am happy to say that the change is now becoming like magic now, because people can now see that the situation of things is changing gradually.
There is a lot of changes in the way we used to do things before. So it is a gradual thing. The government has succeeded to a large extent, if not for the recent herdsmen/farmers’ clashes that came up. The government has succeeded in stabilising the economy on a daily basis, it has achieved some measure of success in the security of lives and property of Nigerians. There are indices that point to the improvement in the economy and the security situation in the country and peace in the country.
The only problem is that there is no cheap money again and corruption is fighting back and we should expect that, particularly this year 2018. In fact, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has come out openly in one of its platforms on the internet that they want to use the social media to fight PMB, so one is not surprised to see cooked up stories, videos and lot of things. But the truth of the matter is that this country is growing. We are developing and our country is advancing but corruption is fighting back and it is for us to fight it to a standstill. We are gradually getting out of the woods and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Looking at the President’s health status, officially in the last two years, do you think it is advisable for the president to re-contest in 2019?
Why shouldn’t he? Sickness is a temporary thing in the life of human beings. It is not a permanent one. Anyone can fall sick, and when he or she takes care of him/herself and returns healthy, he or she would be back to their normal self; so it is neither here nor there.
What stops him from going ahead?
He is the incumbent President, if he likes he can. To the glory of God, in the last few months, Mr. President has become very healthy at least he can perform all his functions.
If people say he should re-contest and he feel likes recontesting, there is nothing wrong with that, at least, he has the right to contest and rule for two terms, if Nigerians decide to give him their mandate for a second term. So what stops him from doing that? If he is contesting, I will support him, because Nigeria needs consistency. Look at the economy of the country, look at the agricultural sector, the country is speeding up gradually. If you see the revolution that has happened in the agricultural sector, you will know we are heading to where we should be. The first thing for a nation is for you to be able to feed yourself. Apart from security of life and property, the next is for you to be able to feed yourself. We need to stop the importation of rice, but we are growing wheat, we are growing rice locally.
But former President OlusegunObasanjo has advised President Buhari not to recontest in 2019?
That is an issue between two elders. We, their children should not get involved in whatever transpired between the two leaders. That is how we were brought up, never to interfere when elders are talking.
Recently, over 70 people were killed in Benue and Taraba states in clashes between herdsmen and farmers. What do you think are the causes of clashes all over the country and what is the way out?
What I will say is that we need to put more measure in place to ensure the protection of life and property of Nigerians. It is not in doubt that some people are behind these attacks. I don’t think they are the normal conventional Fulani people that we know that do those things. There are Fulani’s in our various communities. People go to Kwara to buy cows for ceremonies, there are Fulani’s there, these people are not so bad as that and there are so many of them living among us. I am of the opinion that all these clashes happening now are happening because of the coming elections.
Secondly, when we dislodge Boko Haram, we should anticipate some attacks in some areas, like criminal elements entering a village, kill people and destroy their family and go back. For example, if an armed robber enters a house of a millionaire and did not remove a pin, but kills the millionaire, do you call that armed robbery? That is assassination. So this thing we are calling herdsmen is something else.
How true is it, the rumour going round that the relationship between the Ogun governor and National leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not cordial?
As a man who belongs to the lower level of the party, I don’t think the rumour is true. What I know is that Senator Amosun sees Senator Tinubu as his benefactor. Surely, in any political setting, there would be differences, but to say that they are fighting? There is nothing like that. Governor Amosun has said it so many times that there’s no way he would ever fight AsiwajuTinubu.
Your school bus project, where students were provided free transportation to and from school, is a laudable project. How have you been able to sustain this?
I started it in October 2011, and to the glory of God, the buses are still running. I started with the small buses, but now I have big buses.
Apart from this, in what other areas have you been able to touch the lives of your constituents?
I think my constituents are in the best position to answer that question. However, I can make bold to say that there is hardly any area in life that I have not touched; scholarships for students in higher institution, free health service, including surgeries, empowerment opportunities, among others.