Nigeria should work with other countries to tackle insecurity —Olawale
Chairman, House Committee on Home Affairs, eighth Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Abdulsobur Olawale, was relected for a second term of office. He speaks with SEGUN KASALI on the pervading insecurity in the country and setting agenda for the ninth Assembly in the state, among other issues.
Recently, the Federal Government ordered importation of some arms and ammunition from Slovakia in a bid to combat terrorism and all forms of social vices in the country. Do you think this is a good move considering that this has been the usual practice, even killings still linger?
I would say it is the right move in the right direction. And I know that there is no time that one cannot buy arms and ammunition, considering that government is a continuum. There is no time one cannot buy arms and ammunition when it comes to the security of a nation. I would first of all disabuse your mind that buying arms and ammunition is not effective, especially when you are talking of this present dispensation. It was not effective during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan and other previous tenures because it was established that the monies were siphoned. The case of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigerian government can be cited when you are referring to this. You and I know that the money meant for securing the nation found itself in the hands of different political stalwarts. But, the present administration desires to secure the nation. This was borne out of the fact that the insurgencies are just too many now and to have an effective control of the nation, the government has gone all out to procure more arms and ammunition. As you can see, the security chiefs are equally up to the task too.
What other solutions can you suggest to keep the spate of killings in the country at bay?
It is a global phenomenon; it is not limited to Nigeria alone. All what I can advise the Federal Government to do is that it should reach out to international bodies. We have heard of ISIS and other terrorist groups. We need to have a synergy with other nations. I admit that our borders are porous but if there is a constant, conscious and effective way of curbing these security lapses, it will reduce the spate of killings in the country. All what the country should do is to work in tandem with nearby countries. It is evidently clear that the terrorists come in through Niger, Chad and nearby countries. So, the government needs to have a working relationship with those countries.
To the best of my knowledge, international agencies have really tried to help us. There was a time the USA was ready to assist us but who knows what happened then. I just believe that there should be a collaborative effort on the part of Nigeria with other countries because it is not a task Nigeria can do alone.
Different personalities have ruled Lagos State from 1999 to date. What do you think the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration should do to continue to sustain the level of development in the state?
First of all, I would let you know that Senator Bola Tinubu has laid a foundation for any incoming government to build upon. You should realise that when he laid the foundation, Babatunde Fashola actualised it and you can see that the outgoing government consolidated on it. It has been a remarkable achievement and progress because there is a template laid over the years by Tinubu. They have been building on this template and it has been really working for the people. So, I am sure that the new government will not derail. It will be a kind of progress and consolidation on the good things other leaders have done. We are lucky in Lagos State to have all the governors we have gotten for years and they have really been trying. So, I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Governor Sanwo-Olu will perform wonderfully well too.
There are insinuations that the speaker of the eighth House of Assembly intervened on behalf of virtually all members who were having issues in their various constituencies to ensure their re-election. How true is this?
Yes, of course. I know that Honourable Mudashiru Obasa’s leadership role has always been in place. He played an advisory role to leaders of various constituencies. He played a kind of intermediary role. He admits the fact that this post is not meant for a particular person. It is a post that many people are jostling for. He believes that he has been having a co-working relationship with this particular team and we have been supporting him. So, he believed that the best way to pay back is to intervene on our behalf. He did that before the elections. Personally, I enjoy from that intervention and I will not deny that. That is not to say he bankrolled the election. All he did was to let them know that these people are doing their best. It is a good team and it would not be bad if you can return them. Mind you, not all of us were returned because some leaders acceded to the fact that these people have tried and there is nothing bad if the person they are working with can really stand for them too and it really worked.
You will agree with me that the eighth Assembly was not perfect. What do you think can be done to enhance the legislative business of the ninth Assembly?
Well, I would say that the ninth Assembly should be proactive in its legislative duty. Our pro-activeness in the eighth Assembly made us to have some bills that were impactful on the people. For instance, the bill on kidnapping. We deemed to have it when kidnapping started in Ikorodu, Epe and we can say that we have put the social vice at bay now. Sometime there was the problem of succession in the Lagos State University (LASU). Before now, they used to run two tenures of four-year term each but this has made it a problem to appoint a new vice chancellor. So, what we did was to give them one term. So, the pro-activeness should be replicated in the ninth Assembly. We should be proactive. We should introduce new bills and we should have the progress of Lagos State at heart. The cohesiveness will be the fourth idea that I will suggest: that there should be continuity, just as the Speaker has been able to bring us together.
What would you say your committee has achieved in the eighth Assembly?
Alhamdulilah, I chaired the Committee on Home Affairs that is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry sees to the preparation as well as ensuring that both the Christians and the Muslims pilgrimage are well organised and coordinated. We have been doing this successfully. I am proud to say that the committee really had a good oversight function on the job because, every year, we usually monitor the activities of the pilgrims. We could say that the successful operations that have been occurring over the years and which made us to be the first among other states really showed that my committee has really performed very well.
What were the challenges you went through before the election?
I would say that the three years before the election was a remarkable one: remarkable in the sense that I know that a day will come when I will give account of my past stewardship. So, I have been working towards that time and this made me to be available to my constituents and I can say that they have really benefitted from me. It has been at the back of my mind that there would be a time I would return to them to seek their votes. And when it eventually happened, I gave glory to God that I triumphed because I knew it is a journey that would end in one particular day. So, I have been working towards that day.
As you make a return to the state legislative house, what are your plans for your constituents?
I will say that I will consolidate on the good things that I have been doing for them. We are talking about the next Level. Without forgetting the past, the next level will usher in good things. For instance, I want to introduce free bus service to my constituents. The bus will be meant for students and pupils. So, we are starting with two buses. By the special grace of God, we will increase them as time goes by.
Meanwhile, we will continue with the make-up and the gele wiwe that we do for them. You see this is a programme that is very laudable and people have really embraced it because, as we are doing, we could see that people really love it. This is because we empower them after the training programme by buying the make-up kits. So, hundreds of them are doing well in the market.