Hon. Kolade Victor Akinjo is a member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing the people of Ilaje/Ese-odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State. In this Interview with Israel Fagbemigun, he analyzed Socio-Political and Economic issues, both in Ondo State and Nigeria at large.
News has it that the process of electric power restoration has started in the southern senatorial district of Ondo state after a long period of total blackout. As a frontline player in the process that birthed the development, kindly explain to us on the negotiation process?
The total darkness you see enveloping the southern senatorial district was a challenge we met on ground as at the time we came in. Our first step towards the restoration was to move a mutually harmonised motion, which was fully endorsed. Thanks to the assistance of other colleagues of the PDP extraction from Ondo State. See, the disconnection in the first place was an illegal and criminal one. Along the line, we found it was not about the debt our people are owning. BEDC was only being wicked, selfish and inhuman. It pushed our people into that long darkness, so it could power other areas where it feel more revenue can be gotten.
After the motion, we swung into action. I communicated tens relevant organisations and concerned individuals; and legally since BEDC have no statutory power to disconnect us from the national grid, it was ordered not to only restore us, but to also split the purported debt payment for payment convenience by our people.
Hitherto, their management said it will take them about six months for the restoration, but we vehemently disagreed and insisted that they restore the light under one month. I’m aware that it have resumed restorable work as we speak now. So the glory for the restoration is collective.
The Niger Delta Amnesty Students issued a Press statement recently, where they lamented a total neglect by the federal government. They also said that their scholarships and other entitlements have not been paid for almost a year now. What is your take on this Sir?
The amnesty program was initiated by the PDP-led government of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to restore peace in the volatile Niger Delta region. The programme has yielded tremendous results. So for this to continue, the payment of the scholarships which is as important as they Amnesty Program itself, and must be done as at when due. Diversion of the amnesty funds to payment of contractors should be stopped. The budget of the Amnesty program has been passed and the money released. So I call on my brother, Brigadier Paul Boro to pay the students’ stipends as soon as possible.
The Akeredolu-led government recently signed a deal with Rehoboth foundation, handing over the management of over 600 basic health centres owned by the state to them. What is your opinion on this?
While not condemning privatisation of public utilities, I shall delve a bit into history. Late Pa Ajasin governed this state and he never tried this act of privatisation. All other governors that came after Ajasin never did this too. The social economic right of the citizens and residents of our state is fundamental and non-negotiable. What they inherited from the Olusegun Mimiko government was free medical health care, and it must be sustained. The agreement is totally alien to the system of governance in our state and must be terminated immediately, and if they don’t drop the deal we shall take them to court.
The Supreme Court recently delivered a judgment and upheld the Makarfi leadership of the PDP. What is your view about this and your message to your constituents?
As we all know the place of virile opposition in a democracy can never be quantified. The judgment is a call to service for PDP to rise beyond the narrow confines of individualistic concern to the broader concern of humanity, and work as a strong platform of opposition in promoting and consolidating our growing democracy.
As it is now, it’s obvious APC is a shadow of itself. Delivering on all they promised the people of our nation his now a huge task above their heads. And as we can all see, they are still promising after two years of being in power at the federal level. Therefore, the judgment is about emancipation, because it has rekindled the hope of the common man. And my message to the people is to work towards genuine reconciliation and holistic unity across all boarders of interest.
How do you rate the Akeredolu-led government from inception till date?
While I think it may be too early to start passing judgment at this point, I want to express my reservation concerning some of Akeredolu’s start-up activities. And of particular reference is the act of signing numerous memorandum of understanding (MOU). It is not good enough to run a government on MOU, it is better to run government on the available state resources. When you begin a government by signing MOUs and bequeath 70% of the MOUs to an organisation on contractual agreement, and you don’t even know their purse. That is as good as laying the foundation of the government on speculations. Most especially when these MOUs are signed with organisations with histories of failed projects like NDDC. That means you are expecting miracles. Government should live within its means. I’m also worried about the doctored pay of the civil servant salaries under this government and the obvious hunger in our land. Again, running to six months now, we have not seen anything significant.
How do you compare the APC-led government to that of the PDP?
The buhari-led government came to power with so many promises but unfortunately, the realities of the day shows that it is a government of disaster. It’s nit about me saying it, it’s a general reality everywhere. You can also appraise this yourself. The government have failed the people in all ramifications, they have not even come up with a defined policy of governance in all relevant sectors after two years. For me, every parameter to measure the performance of the APC government at the federal level have proved them to be a failure. They have not done well, and I’m not seeing them being able to do well.
What is your take on the recent heated agitation for Biafra in the South-East?
If what MASSOB and IPOB are agitating for is devolution of power, regional autonomy, democratic stability, and extending the frontiers of power and governance to bring democratic dividends to the masses, then I will support. However, if it is about regional aggrandisement, independence and balkanisation of this country, then i am not in support of it. What I think people should be yearning for is true federalism.
According to the DMO, Nigeria’s debt profile has risen by 17.1 trillion under the APC government. Inflation has also risen to 17%. Do you think that the Buhari-led government has managed our economy well?
The state of the Nigerian economy is not only a sign of insensitivity on the part of APC, but also a clear demonstration of incompetence and ineptitude on their part. The damage done to our economy by APC now is not only going to be felt by this generation but even generations to come. They are practically enslaving our unborn children through their borrowing system. More worrisome is the fact that there are no visible effects of a judicious use of the money borrowed thus far. This government have invested 75 billion Naira in Amnesty and yet the people are crying. The APC government is running on a faulty economic model. To make the matter worse, the man Nigerians voted for is not even available for the job, and the one who is supposed to stand in for him is not given the breathing space to work.