Hon. Rotimi Makinde
A member of the House of Representatives from Ife Federal Constituency area of Osun State, Hon. Rotimi Makinde, spoke to Shola Oyeyipo on sundry issues, including the forthcoming 2014 election in the state. Excerpts:
What do you consider the priority of the House in the new legislative session
The seventh assembly of the House of Representatives, which I am a member, has several tasks geared towards demystifying governance and giving the masses a feel that service delivery at all levels of governance should be without fear or favour. We are definitely going to continue along the path of what we did last year and improve on it in terms of making laws that will better the lots of Nigerians, working with other arms of government to bring the several challenges staring us as a nation to a halt and other legislative duties as bestowed on us by the constitution.
Should Nigerians expect a resounding Petroleum Industry Bill when passed into law?
I happened to be one of the 23-member ad hoc committee that was mandated by the House to peruse the bill and I can assure Nigerians that objectivity, fairness and professionalism are our core values in the various deliberations we’ve had. The petroleum sector is the key driver of our economy and making appropriate, feasible laws for the sector is the desire of the National Assembly.
Governorship election is due in your state, Osun, next year. Do you think Governor Rauf Aregbesola is still as popular as to return for a second term?
First, the basic duty of any responsible government is to provide a peaceful and stable environment for development to thrive and this was the first thing that Aregbesola achieved and for us in Osun State, it is monumental. During the era of the impostors from the PDP, there were serious security concerns in this state; our people were living on the edge, thugs were in every nooks and crannies of the state even our traditional rulers were living in apprehension. That was the pathetic state of security in this state until Aregbesola got his mandate back.
Today, I can tell you authoritatively that one of the safest states in this country as we speak is Osun. Today, people walk freely both in the day and night without harassment, intimidation or fear. Let me give you an insight into what the governor did to keep the state secure aside the usual support for security agencies: the strong bond between the governor and the people of Osun was in the six point integral action plan manifesto which serves as a covenant between the two parties and the most interesting thing is that these action plan are in concrete terms; people can relate with them and right before their eyes unlike in the years of PDP maggots, they are seeing these things come to reality.
Look at the process of generating employment for our teeming youths who were being used as political thugs. Through the innovative thinking of this governor, Osun State Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) has taken these youths off the streets and they are gainfully employed, becoming responsible to their families and the society. This is one of the strategies that restored sanity, communal peace and relief to Osun and I know that my people will never return to the Egypt of PDP, not for anything.
The commitment of this administration to the good people of Osun is very conspicuous and irrespective of what the irrelevant few are saying, the people of Osun from the youngest to the oldest have been able to identify themselves with this administration and its human-centric policies. I can assure you that the Action Congress of Nigeria and its Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola will be returned for a second term in 2014 by God’s grace.
What if the PDP fielded a candidate from the same senatorial district as the Governor- Osun east, don’t you think this might give your party a tough time?
We are not worried at all on whoever they are putting up. You see, the people are wiser and they are aware of how the PDP government for seven and half years wasted and misplaced the resources of the state. The stench of their mismanagement is still thick. Who are they going to field that would cause us sleepless night? PDP is dead and buried in Osun state and the South-west at large.
But many people believe that the Governor cuts a controversial picture. That’s not a plus either?
It is interesting to hear things like these because as one of the privileged close lieutenants to Ogbeni, I can tell you categorically that those putting him under the spotlight of controversy don’t know a thing about him. Ogbeni is running an unusual government, blocking pipes of wastages. He doesn’t listen or act to gossips and mischief makers. He hardly socialises or hangs out. He is so preoccupied with the project called Osun.
You automatically become his friend when you genuinely talk about how to move Osun forward. So, when people see an unusual character leading a government, the next thing is to start calling names- a religious bigot, an extremist, a socialist and so on. He is simply not excited at jamboree and flamboyancy, and Osun is better off for it because that is our style, culture and way of life.
How are you faring as a representative?
In all modesty, I was the first to embark on constituency empowerment, less than 30 days after coming into office and I am happy it has become a culture. In less than 30 days, I distributed tricycles, bikes, driers, grinding machines among others. I have built classrooms for pupils in the schools, obtained GCE forms for students among others. I am presently constructing one health centre in each of my four local governments, two computer centres would be completed within the next 60 days and a project on public toilet scheme is in the pipeline.
On legislative duties, I have sponsored about six motions and co- sponsored many, and my rich experience as an accountant with NNPC for over 20 years has been so valuable in issues relating to oil and gas in the House, not leaving out my exposure as an artist as well. As the deputy chairman of Human Rights committee, I recently represented Nigeria and delivered a speech on the right of minorities at United Nations in Geneva.