By Brown Chimezie
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Mr Seun Odofin is the Special Adviser on Administration to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. In this interview, the House of Representatives aspirant, Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency in Osun state, spoke on his preparation for the position, what he has in stock for people of his constituency and other issues.
You want to represent Oriade/Obokun federal constituency in Osun State; what are your dreams for your constituents?
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To say that I am already in the race is an understatement. The truth is that I am fully prepared and equipped for the assignment ordained for me to bring the people of my constituency out of the place of squalor and poverty and bring them to the land that flows with milk and honey – men, women, young and old. In any given task, preparation is the key to success.
I want to agree with the Biblical saying that God makes, and installs leaders. No leader emerges without the divine knowledge of our creator. Be that as it may, ambitions grow with each passing day and we as humans are likely to tilt towards being relatively ambitious. It is never a criminal thing to be ambitious but, it is a criminal thing if you want to actualize your ambitions in a criminal way.
I am quite confident that my political pedigree is ever there to justify my intention and ambition. Having served as the Senior Legislative aide to Femi Gbajabiamila since 2003 and rose to the apex of my career as the Special Adviser on Administration, I had been directly involved in governance and I had been versed with the problems of my kinsmen. As a legislative aide in the federal republic of Nigeria, I have all it takes to take Oriade Obokun federal Constituency to the promise land.
The experience is there for me to wriggle through all odds such that, I may likely be triumphant at the end of the day. We need total empowerment in the constituency. If youths are empowered, you will discover all problems are 75 percent solved. Since youths are restless, get them reasonable jobs and a pay that can actually take them home.
If allowed to serve, education shall definitely be one of my cardinal programmes. I will encourage qualitative education with discipline while there would be improvement on the network of roads. I will also not close my eyes to the health sector. Doctor, nurses and other seasoned medical personnel would be recruited to ease all medical challenges. Hospitals are not enough here. It is a suicidal thing for any serious leader to neglect health.
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Agriculturally, farmers in the constituency shall be glad in the sense that, mechanized farming shall be intensified with loans which shall be closely monitored to get auspicious results. Once hunger is out of human problems, any other thing is clearly secondary.
Let me also add that, rural integration programmes shall not be neglected. I will ensure we open up the rural areas and make sure that, they have a sense of belonging in the constituency. They are not doomed not to enjoy good things of life ranging from education, good roads, provision of pipe borne water, rural electrification scheme, good shelter and what have you.
By divine arrangement, God has fully prepared me for this task in question through various platforms. The records are all over the constituency with various empowerment programmes and infrastructural provision in support of youth employment and capacity building for men and women of my community. In other words, the mission is to apply various platforms within my reach to liberate my constituents from the poverty status presently being encountered.
Do you think it will be easy displacing the incumbent member representing your constituency and how do you intend to go about this?
Thanks for your question. I’m ready if my party nominates me. It is going to be very easy like ABC because one with God is a Majority. Simply, my Confidence is in the Lord who has made the Heaven and the Earth and the collective will of the people of Obokun/Ijesha Federal constituency. Our confidence is not in chariots or any gods. Democracy is about the goodwill and trust of the people. Currently, the people in my constituency are distraught. They are tired of empty promises, youth unemployment and infrastructural decayed community. We are going to engage a true people-oriented democracy.
We will do it differently this time around. It is said that if you know the truth, the truth shall make you free. The moment to free the people of Obokun/Ijesha is here. You should also note that spirituall, the battle is already won. My name is David. You will remember the story of David and how he defeated the Goliath with all his demonic gadgets. At the end of the story, David, an inconsequential personality defeated him. The same will be the story here. How to go about it is to engage the confidence I have in the lord with the goodwill of the people. So, already we are favoured of the lord to make this happen in the constituency even without being in the House of Assembly yet. Therefore, we have the victory already by God’s grace.
The political tide is becoming more tense, and rather too competitive. The survival of the fittest seems to be the slogan now. What are your chances with these pressing trends?
Politics is not for animals but for man. And where we do not have stiff competitions, we cannot at all go for the best. I love competitions. Even if we are a million contenders for the post of the House of Representatives, the better it is for the masses to choose the most competent out of us all. I am confident my chances are at the brightest. No matter how inclement the political weather is, I will surely become triumphant. My instincts are telling me I will emerge as the party’s candidate at the end of the day. Posterity will not be fair on me if I pull out.
You sound very confident. Can we be intimated with your plans and programmes for your people?
All things being equal and with God by my side, I have that solid intention to improve the lives of our people at the grassroots. It is high time we made people understand that democracy is not just sitting down in the office, collecting allocations and expending such lousily on pepper soup and drinks. No!, there should be accountability at all levels. Developmental projects must be rapid. Illiteracy has to go. I have the midas touches of turning things around. I will frown at corrupt practices and by the time I finish my term, my people would be left with two options; to pray for me or to curse me.
I have previously done so much for the community without being an official House of Representatives member. It is therefore obvious without saying that there will be enhanced facilitation of more projects to the community using the mega networks that have been built over the years in Education, Agriculture, Employment generation, sustainable economic and youth development.
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Things like these are easier said than done but to actualise all these lofty programmes of yours creditably well, what hitches do you envisage and how do you intend overcoming them?
I am not an angel but my mind keeps telling me that, if my people give me their votes, hopefully, I will score 90 percent going by performances. I quite understand the Nigerian factor syndrome. Even a boy of 19 years old has elements of being corrupt. Every Nigerian seems to be stylishly corrupt. That notwithstanding, this is not to say that there are no Nigerians with conscience. I stand to disagree. At my level here, there is going to be another rebirth and orientation. We will work hand in hand. Those that will work with me must have the fear of God in them.
Also, I believe that every problem or challenges are meant to be solved. Every problem has its own solution. We will not run from any challenge. God’s wisdom and collective wisdom of the people will see us through when such a challenge confronts us.
As somebody eyeing the position, what are your expectations from the people in the constituency and how do you intend meeting their needs?
Firstly, I will expect their joint participation in every project that concern the community. No project will be facilitated to the community without their input. Secondly, active constituency office will be established throughout the local government with uniform representation from the wards as officials. Not only that, town hall meetings will be organized regularly on issues concerning the constituency. The people will own the decision making process undertaken in the Constituency. ICT and social media channels will be applied as a means of interfacing and communication. Finally, I will expect the sustenance of their trust and goodwill built as a result of collective responsibility.
What are the steps to be taken to actualise these lofty programmes and how credible are they?
Making the business of representation a truly people-oriented programme unlike before when people are not carried along. No project will be executed in the community without the input of the people. Also there will be various channels of information dissemination through deployment of social media, emails, and so on. I will apply my wealth of experience to attract both local and international connection built over the years.
The summary of the job of Representation essentially involves representation, law making and oversight, which I have been strategically positioned to give back to my community, will be executed with creativity and best practice. It is knowing what to do and doing it that is known as revelation and thereby empowering and liberating the people of my community.
You are speaking as if you know about lawmaking administration, can you enlighten us on the rudiments of the House of Representatives?
I really thank you for this particular question. To the best of my knowledge, apart from local governments which are the closest, House of representatives positions are closer to the ordinary man on the streets. The dividends of democracy will therefore be copiously felt by them.
Nigeria’s system of democracy is a presidential system of government after that of United States of America- USA. In a presidential system of government, there is usually a bicameral legislature, which is divided into the House of Representatives (Green Chamber) and the Senate (RED Chamber). The House of Representatives has 360 members while the Senate has109 members. The members of each chamber are drawn from the federal constituencies of each state and local government area councils.
Being the Legislative arm of government apart from the Executive and the Judiciary, it is the most crucial and a mark of democracy which is defined as the government of the people for the people and by the people.
The main functions of the Legislature in the House of Representatives therefore as in the senate are: Law Making, Representation, Oversight functions over Ministry departments and Agencies- MDAs. and Budget making/preparation.
Having been strategically positioned with required capacity and exposure for many years back, it is easy for me to mingle with other legislators to bring in the dividends of democracy back to my community through right networking and influence to alleviate the suffering of the people of my community regardless of party affiliation.
Everybody knows that I have the rare privilege of working with one of the finest lawmakers in the country. Therefore, efficiency and diligence come to me by default.
What do you want to tell voters as we approach 2023 general elections?
Democratically speaking now, I would urge my people to vote as their vision and conscience direct. They can be influenced but should be convinced on what they would do. Sentiments apart, I want to use this medium to let them know that as I step into the race, a change is made. Your love is in my mind and I feel for you. Voting for me will make a clear cut difference in your lives in the constituency. Just try me and you will see wonders of great magnitude.