Despite having 26 of 32 seats, we won’t rubber stamp executive request — Oyo lawmaker
Honourable Femi Okedoyin represents Saki-West constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly. In this interview with OLAMIDE ENIOLA, he spoke on the difference the Ninth Assembly would make in the state, among other issues.
OUT of the 32 seats in the Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is occupying 26. What do you have to say to the fear arising from certain quarters that, with this majority, the Ninth Assembly will be rubber stamping Governor Seyi Makinde’s decisions, even when they are not favourable to the state?
It is a good thing to have this massive majority. I don’t think we have had this before in the political history of the state. And you need to examine the calibre of men in the legislature of the state this time around, we are mostly youths with vibrant minds.
Again, hardly will you find an illiterate among us; we are all graduates. People of this calibre can’t be expected to constitute a rubber stamping-legislature. You need to know the deliberations we had on the floor of the house right from our first sitting. Our decisions and motions are people-oriented. We have even summoned the Ministry of Works to supply us with information about abandoned and uncompleted projects in the state for necessary actions. The people of the state can be assured that this house will represent their interest well. More so, Governor Seyi Makinde has a great mind so much that his policies will not be anti-people. He will not also usurp the legislative arm.
In what way will this administration be different from the past administrations in Oyo State?
On my own part, I won’t be an unapproachable representative. As I have said, my mandate is to make myself accessible to the people who voted for me. Generally, I want to believe that an end has come to the secret running of the state affairs in Oyo State. By this, I mean that decisions will not be taken for people in ‘our sitting room’. Stakeholders will be consulted on what people’s needs are, and actions will be taken based on whatever we agree on. Developmental projects for constituency will be sited to benefit the masses, not privileged individuals.
This is the government of the people. For instance, if you go round now, you will discover that civil servants have been paid their June salary on Tuesday, when the month has not even ended. Workers will get their wages as and when due. This wasn’t so in the past administration. Tuition fee has been abolished in our primary and secondary schools. This wasn’t so in the past administration, and we should still expect more of these positives in the state.
Would you like to talk about your contest and emergence in the last election?
To God be the glory. I had the dream that I could contest and win in any election, and I did. My emergence came through the mutual understanding among four political parties that formed a coalition: the PDP, the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and some members of the Action Democratic Party (ADP). That coalition gave me a smooth ride to victory in the election. Apart from my training in Local Government Studies which has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to mobilise at the grassroots level, the individuals under these parties sacrificed their ambitions for me, and I am grateful to them. Since I emerged, we have been working together, and we will continue to work together in subsequent projects we have to execute.
Now that you have emerged, what should the people of Oyo State, in general, and Saki-West constituency expect from you as their representative?
Well, the major responsibility for me is Saki-West, and I want to tell the people of Saki-West to expect quality and impactful representation from me. They should expect me to perform in the areas of representation, oversight and law-making which are basic functions of a legislator.
Part of quality representation is what I have started about two weeks ago when there was flood in Saki. This flood came as a result of the abandoned double-lane road construction project in the town by the past administration. I was there, took some photographs and brought the report to the floor of the House for necessary actions to be taken. And of course, actions are being taken to address the incident. Very soon, people of Saki-West will receive members of the House of Assembly, coming to inspect what is going on in the area. Part of this representation also is that their voice will be heard. What I mean by oversight is that I will ensure that any project approved by the executive arm of government does not turn into an abandoned project.
When it comes to law-making, we are working to ensure that appropriate laws are made and that the process of making them is transparent. I am also working on empowering people from my constituency financially. I am working on securing loans with a minimum interest rates for business in the area. I think part of what will be the duty for this administration is regulating the interest rates financial institutions in the state charge on loans people obtain. Growing up in Saki, I am aware it is a commercial centre where people love doing business. Because of this, the people will surely need loan with moderate interest rate, which will really assist people and not turn into a burden for them. I will extend my constituency project to the market women too. The whole constituency should also expect a cordial relationship between them and me. The complaint of the town during the past administration was that the representative was always absent. It will not be so in my time.
Very soon, a constituency office will be opened in Saki, where people can go and lodge their complaints and have them attended to appropriately. I see the work of representation as a lawyer-client relationship where the representative is the lawyer and the electorate the clients. If you have a case as a client and you do not have a lawyer, who will defend you in the court of law?