The electorate in Kwara State have initiated processes to recall a member of the National Assembly and another member of the state’s house of assembly in moves that observers say are party of a strategy with the 2019 elections in mind, writes Hammed Shittu
As the next general election draws nearer, electorate are reviewing the performance of those they elected to represent them at both the National Assembly and states’ houses of assembly.
Voters want to know whether these people deserve to go back and represent their various constituencies. The stock-taking has also afforded these stakeholders to measure the performance of their representatives in the delivery of dividends of democracy to their constituents and their involvement in the day to day legislative functions especially their contributions to debates at the floor of the house.
Informed electorate are initiating processes to recall those they believed have not done well. They are not just waiting for the next election.
In Kwara State, some stakeholders within the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) recently initiated a recall process against two prominent members of the party. One is a member of the National Assembly while the other is a member of the Kwara State House of Assembly. Those who initiated the process alleged that these elected lawmakers have not adequately represented them.
One of such members of the APC currently facing recall is the senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District at the Senate, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim. Ibrahim is the chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and other Financial Institutions. The second elected representative also being recalled is a member of the state’s house of assembly representing Essa/Shawo/Igbodun state constituency of Offa Local Government Council, Hassan Oyeleke. Oyeleke is the House Leader of the state’s house of assembly.
In a petition the Kwara South Youths Forum submitted to both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Assembly, the group accused Ibrahim of under representation at the upper legislative chambers. The petitioner demanded he should therefore be recalled with immediate effect. The group also said that Ibrahim should not be allowed to seek re-election.
The petition, dated 13th November, 2017, was received by INEC on 14th Nov. 2017 and by the National Assembly on 17th Nov. 2017. It was titled “Notification of our Dissatisfaction with the Representation being Provided by senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District in the National Assembly in person of Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim”.
However, political pundits in the state believe that the decision to recall Ibrahim from the National Asembly might not be unconnected with the alleged interest of the incumbent governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed to seek election into the Senate after the completion of his two terms of eight years as governor.
Share, in Ifelodun Local Government Council of the state where the governors comes from is under Kwara South Senatorial District which Ibrahim currently represents at the National Assembly.
Although, Ibrahim is yet to declare interest in seeking re-election, his body language showed that he is interested in seeking a second term in 2019. He also believed that he has done well to merit a second term.
But, those seeking his recall thought otherwise. While addressing a press conference at Ijagbo in Oyun Local Government Area of the state recently, Kwara South Youths Forum said that the senator had not performed well enough to qualify him for a second term.
The spokesperson of the forum , Mr. John Adegboye alleged that, Ibrahim was no more fit to be at the National Assembly because of his alleged inability to represent the senatorial district very well.
Adegboye alleged that, “Its nothing but a violation of our human and democratic rights. Let it be made clear, that we are in the 21st century. The current system of representation we are experiencing under Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is archaic, demeaning, dehumanizing and also unacceptable. We are no longer under the pre-colonial dispensation where there is indirect rule.
“In almost three years, where are the federal projects Ibrahim attracted to Kwara South? where are the federal appointments credited to his efforts? Although, there are few he will wish to show, but when the numbers is compared against those of Kwara Central you will realize that our senator has handed over our birth right to his boss”
“This is why Ibrahim continue to dismiss our elders and insult our common patrimony by telling them that he must first consult with his boss.
“We are appalled by the fact that a man whom we unanimously elected as a senator to represent us in the 8th Assembly has now openly declared that he has a ‘boss’ other than we the good people of Kwara South, that he takes directives from us.
“It is therefore under this circus that the good people of the Kwara South today decide to intimate the generality of Nigerians about our intention to recall him.”
However, the Kwara State branch of the National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS) disagreed with the forum and passed a vote of confidence on the senator.
Speaking with reporters in Ajase-Ipo, Irepodun Local Government Area, the state chair of NANS, Comrade Abdulkadir Aliyu said the senator is a man of the people and father of Nigerian students in the constituency.
Aliyu added that the senator’s leadership qualities and open door policy had endeared him to the students.
He cited the construction of a relaxation centre for University of Ilorin students, students empowerment scheme, renovation of Offa Township Hall, free SSCE and JAMB registration among other laudable projects put in place by the senator.
He also said the senator sponsored students programmes, offered scholarships and free vocational training to deserving students.
“Without iota of doubt, we are convinced that his leadership deserves a great applause,” he added.
In his reaction, former transition implementation chair, Irepodun Local Government, Kashim Adekanye described the planned recall as a cheap talk.
Adekanye added that “anybody can decide to say what he likes. I am aware the senator has brought another developmental project to this constituency. And in our party the All Progressives Congress we have our leaders that we follow.
“All of us, the followers of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki are united under that banner. My general advice is for both parties to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences if any.”
Also, leaders of APC in the senatorial district led by the zonal chairman, Alhaji Jimoh Balogun have thrown their weight behind the senator saying that, Ibrahim had done well and he is fit to return to the Senate come 2019.
At a press conference in Ajase-Ipo, Balogun alongside the seven local government chairmen of APC that make up the senatorial district, came down hard on the proponents of the recall. He also described the petitioner as faceless.
He said: “Senator Ibrahim, both in public and private life has been receiving accolades as expected of a true democrat and representative of the people of Kwara South Senatorial District.
“Apart from this, Ibrahim has been consulting with the APC leaders in the senatorial district from time to time a loyal member of the APC, and has committed to meeting the yearning and aspirations of the people.”
Some stakeholders in Essa/Shawo/Igbodun state constituency of Offa in Offa Local Government Area of the state are also demanding the recall of the lawmaker representing the constituency in the state house of assembly, Hassan Oyeleke accusing him of not adequately representing them.
The decision to recall Oyeleke may not be unconnected with his ambition to represent the people of Offa/Oyun/ Ifelodun Federal Constituency at the National Assembly in 2019. For obvious reasons, the current lawmaker representing the constituency, Tope Olaniyonu is against that move.
A statement signed by Mufutau Adeyemo and Alhaji Dauda Azeez and made available to journalists in Ilorin those seeking to recall the lawmaker said he had not adequately represented the area in the state assembly.
The people, who said that the house leader had not initiated or supported any motion to effect delivery of his campaign promises to his constituents, added that he had not influenced a single constituency project since his first tenure in office in 2011 till date.
They however admitted that Oyeleke embarked on empowerment programme in 2012 and distributed exercise books worth N350,000 to students of the area in 2017, but alleged that he had not done any activity on agriculture, health, job creation or supported any motion in favour of the area.
The people of Eesa/Shawo/Igbodun state constituency also said that the activities of the lawmaker during the last local government elections had caused party discord, disharmony and disunity among members of the APC and the electorate.
Oyeleke however denied all the allegations saying that his tenure in the state house of assembly has brought a new lease of life to the people of his constituency.
He said he had contributed a lot to debates at the house which he said had added values to the people of Offa community.
Oyeleke said he had given out scholarship to member of his constituency in primary, secondary and post secondary schools and the law school. He also argued that the executive was in charge of project implementation in various parts of the state.
APC leaders in Essa /Shawo /Igbodun state constituency of Offa have also risen in support of the lawmaker. They said he had done well.
The spokesperson of the constituency, Chief John Ogundiran said: ”Oyeleke is committed to scaling all heights, fathom all depths and traverse all horizons to ensure the people of the constituency enjoy the dividends of democracy and cannot be distracted by the antics of the anti-democracy in the constituency.”
Ogundiran spoke at a press conference jointly addressed with the chairman of Offa Local Government Council, Alhaji Lateef Gbadamosi, the APC chairman in the local government, Alhaji Azeez Aro and some councilors in the local government council.
According to him, he tenure of Oyeleke in the house of assembly has brought a new lease of life to the people of the constituency especially in the area of roads construction, water supply, provision of transformers, security and scholarship to the students of the constituency among others.
Voters want to know whether the people they elected deserve to go back and represent them again.