Buhari should relinquish power for failing to secure Nigerians, says Oyo Speaker
Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin, Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly in this interview with ROTIMI AGBOLUAJE, wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari has not resigned over his failure to secure Nigerians and expressed optimism that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will return to power in 2023.
… Says state police is inevitable in true federalism
As the youngest Speaker in Nigeria, how will you describe your experience in Oyo State House of Assembly?
It has been eye opening. I wouldn’t trade the experience I gathered for anything else, especially when it comes to public service and efforts to deliver dividend of democracy to the people at the legislative level. This is the beacon of democracy in any government. I am happy and proud to be at the forefront of bringing democracy and its dividend to the people through the legislative arm of government.
In what area have you been supporting the executive arm to ensure that Oyo State is peaceful?
The primary assignment and responsibility of any government is to secure life and property of its people. Without security, development would be hampered, so much that there will be a regression in the state, in terms of commerce and other social activities.
We all know that there are no commercial activities in some areas in the Northern part of the country that have been hardest hit by banditry and terrorism.
But in the South, we have come out with various strategies to curb insecurity. In Oyo State, there was the issue of herders/farmers’ clash, which was rampart when we came into power. However, we are not talking about the problem again, because we were able to put a stop to it.
One may ask how we were able to achieve this? Aside from consistent engagement between the government and the association that governs the herdsmen, as well as the farmers we have been able to come up with a middle ground on how to carry ourselves and behave.
Freedom of movement and association is guaranteed in the Constitution of Nigeria but that is for human beings, it does not extend to animals. We made that point clear. After several stakeholders meeting, we were able to pass a bill in October 2019, meant to control grazing and put an end to the perennial crisis between herdsmen and farmers. It is appalling that when the farmers have waited so long for them to reap the fruit of their labour, some herdsmen come with their cattle overnight and destroy everything. It is unfair and we also know that agricultural sector is the bedrock and should be the foundation of any development. There is no society that can survive without being fed. You can’t think, work and innovate when you are hungry.
Aside from the first case of insecurity that emanated from farmer/herdsmen’s clashes, we passed a bill to establish Western Nigerian Security Network, code named Amotekun corps. This cuts across the six states of the Southwest. We share many things in common. We have a common structure and law to back up its establishment and make it easy for them to assist the conventional security agencies such as Police, Army, Civil Defence and so on. Their initial goal is to complement the efforts of the conventional police. By Nigerian population, it is obvious the total number of Police to secure the society is not enough. So, we need more agencies.
Hence, the six states, the Speakers, as well as the parliament of every state are in agreement when we requested for state policing. The Federal Government and other dissenting voices were not in agreement with this. It is something we can sit down on a round table and talk about how state policing can be effective in solving the problem of insecurity nationwide.
Is there any plan to transform Amotekun to state police?
No plan yet because you cannot do anything that undermines the Constitution itself.
On the other hand, you might be aware that a couple of days ago, I hosted all Speakers of the Federation in Oyo State. Part of our discussions was on the issue that is so germane -state policing. You see what happened in Kaduna with the banditry and I can also assure you even the governor of Kaduna State, according to the meeting we had, is also of the opinion that he would like the idea of state policing. So, the idea of state policing is not just a regional thing. In South-south, they need it to curb kidnapping and oil bunkry. The Southeast also needs it to curb activities of IPOB and all these insecurity challenges going on in the region. In Southwest, we need it to curb farmer/herders’ clashes, kidnapping and banditry. The North too is clamouring for state policing. We can’t run away from it especially in true federalism.
The government has spent so much on purchasing vehicles and security gadgets, are these investments yielding the desired result?
It is tricky to quantify because it is almost intangible. How do you measure security or insecurity? But the yardstick you can use is response time. The response time will be almost impossible if there are no vehicles. So, it’s the very foundation of the security architecture that we are working on. I’m not here to castigate or blame the previous administration for what they failed to do. But it must be stated that if 200 vehicles were bought in the last administration – in the first four years or in the last four years or the whole eight years, we would be somewhere today.
So far, in less than two years of this administration, the government has purchased over 250 vehicles and distributed to various security agencies in the state. You can imagine if we provided 300 to 400 every term or 100 vehicles on an average every year, do you know how far we would have gone now in term of response time?
The state government has increased the IGR, which has made it possible for us to hire more Amotekun corps officers and men. Without an increase in IGR, it will be impossible to do that. I have to be honest with you, what the governor is doing in terms of building a real security architecture in the state is second to none in Nigeria. I have to be sincere with you.
The best form of security for me is to identify the actors among communities. Once you identify the actors, you have to make sure that the relationship between those actors is cordial. Nigeria is a country with diversity – different religions, ethnicity and cultures within the tribes. There is also beauty in diversity. We learn from one another every day.
Apart from learning from one another, you all stand to know that we can also misunderstand one another. When there is misunderstanding, those are the ingredients for insecurity, when one group of people feels like they are being cheated. That is why it is very important for people at the grassroots, royal fathers, security operatives, elders council, youth movements and others, to come together and work for the development of that local government, which will later on translate to the development of the state.
Therefore, the most important way to secure our grassroots or local government is by consistent and constant dialogue within the local government.
What is the prospect of PDP in the 2023 general election?
I am not the kind of person that will deceive myself. You can imagine if you are selected as a leader and you deceive yourself, definitely, you are deceiving everybody that follows you. There is no administration that is perfect but it is possible to assess an administration according to what you can measure. I can say it categorically that since inception of democracy, this administration in Oyo State has been the best. I am not saying this based on feelings or sentiments but based on the numbers, facts and figures that do not lie.
When it comes to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Oyo State was at N1.8billion, at the time of the inception of this government. Now, this government generates between N3.2 and 3.5 billion per month.
You will see that this administration has taken education to the forefront. Without education, forget about development. We hired over 7,000 teachers and I can assure you that for these the examination they wrote to be employed was of high standard. We have people with doctorate, masters and other higher degrees, who applied to the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) for job. What does that say: we have quality people, who have the capacity to impart knowledge to the next generation.
Aside from education, let us go into the agricultural sector. We turned the OYSADEP to OYSADA (Oyo State Agricultural Development Agency). The government has made sure there is a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. Therefore, we have changed our concept to agribusiness. We want to make sure that Oyo State is an agricultural hub not only to Nigeria but Africa.
I give kudos to the governor for working hand in hand with the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina in ensuring that Oyo State too can be a global player with major stakeholders in the agricultural industry. Obviously, the investment that would follow up that relationship will even be a boost to the state.
We can go on with the primary healthcare centers that are being renovated for them to cater for primary health issues. Before now, the secondary hospitals have so much responsibility because there were no primary healthcare centres. That is why you would see everybody running to the secondary healthcare centres when they could have been taken care of at the primary level.
That singular intervention has reduced pressure on the secondary healthcare facilities.
In infrastructure, we are talking about road networking, connecting communities to one another. If you look at other developed countries like America, you will see highway connects different communities together. If you look at Iseyin/ Ibadan road, is like a glass even when it rains, you always see a reflection on it. Look at Oyo/ Iseyin, you will see that the work is moving gradually. If you now look at the federal road, which is Ogbomoso to Oyo, everywhere is eventually going to come together as one big state. As the governor said in his declaration, if it is the will of God and if it is the will of the people we would come back to serve in a better capacity because he is more experienced.
With federal might and access to resources, can your party defeat APC in the 2023 presidential poll?
All power belongs to God Almighty. I am sure that was how former President Goodluck Jonathan felt in 2015 until God showed the direction, He was taking Nigeria to and we followed.
We will do our best. The most important thing I have been saying since the inception of this interview is the issue of security. If a government cannot secure the lives and properties of its people, under normal circumstances that government should relinquish power, so that capable hands can do the job. Later on, they can re-contest and regain power.
Even in their anti-corruption crusade, in the last administration, there were more convicted cases than what the present administration has done. To be honest, I’m very disappointed because I had high expectations. Any corrupt official that declared for APC is free.
But at the right time the truth will come for people to see, who actually lied to them and which party has the capacity to address various challenges facing the country. We have see the best of APC in the last seven years and I am sure, most Nigerians are disappointed.