By Vanessa Obioha
The All Progressives Congress’ (APC) senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oluremi Tinubu has expressed doubts that there will be cordial relationship between the executive and parliamentary, after the change in senate leadership. The defection of the Senate President Bukola Saraki to the opposition party, People’s Democratic Party few months ago ousted control of National Assembly from the ruling party.
She said any effort to do such will be built on blackmail.
“The president will try but it is going to be more like blackmail and politics is like blackmail. I don’t see the president yielding to blackmail and I don’t think Nigerians need that kind of leader. I pray the president remains focused and steer the ship of state to a safe landing. We’ve enjoyed the executive and parliamentary parley in the seventh assembly, but you can see I spoke against that because those were the ones who brought in the Jonathan administration into the rot that we inherited. Anything he says was just rubber stamped. We don’t want that.”
Making her stance known during a media briefing to announce her campaign, Tinubu said that the president has certainly learnt from the issue that not everyone has his good intention at heart even if he embraced all.
Rolling out her plans for her constituency, the senator said she will continue to represent women effectively in the senate and ensure that bills supporting gender inclusion and equity are passed into law. Other initiatives she will introduce include the Work Experience Programme which is an effective approach to build confidence and promoting self-esteem in individuals who have never worked in a formal setting.
She also remarked on the ongoing debate over minimum wage between the federal government and the Nigeria Labour Congress.
“I’m in support of people being taken care of. Leadership is about sacrifice. We believe that the president supports minimum wage too. If all the big executives can cut down on their allowances. We can fix it. Lagos doesn’t have such problems. Through my Work Experience Programme, I’m going to pay more than the minimum wage. I want to change one life at a time.”
Tinubu, while fielding questions from the press elaborated on the tussle that took place when she raised the motion of Special Economic Assistance for Lagos State.
“When I introduced the Special Economic Assistance, my colleagues twisted it and took it out of context. Special Economic Assistance came from the fact that we felt Lagos state gives a lot to the federal government through taxes and VAT.
So Special Economic Assistance is requesting that even if it is one percent of the money that is taken into the federation account from Lagos state to be given back to Lagos state. We are talking about Apapa gridlock, a lot of infrastructural damage that we are experiencing in the state. These monies are supposed to be used to augment most of the projects in the state, be it the health sector, education, or roads and that is what we are asking for. And that money, the percentage will be decided by the National Assembly, and then the state assembly will now enforce the appropriation for state use. It is not money that is just coming in for the governors to use at will. But my colleagues took it out of context, maybe because of the mood of the senate. I have never seen such hatred for a bill before in my life. It brought about a very heated argument in the senate. And when I started talking to them individually,they were even telling me to bring it back but I said no,that someone else can take it up because since 2011, I have been advocating for it. I don’t think there is nothing in life that I have done and shown such animosity. Lagos still need it, I’m going to push for it.”
She also commended the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote for taking up the responsibility of fixing the Apapa roads to curb the gridlock affecting the area.
“The motion was supported by all the senate members. It was really very sensitive and important to us. The resolution is part of what we are experiencing even if it took so much time. But it really called for a lot of attention, everyone was there. Even if we raised a motion, it doesn’t mean that the federal government is not attending to it. It’s not everything that is same because some can be political. The fact that the opposition has taken over senate shows you that motions could be political. But that of the gridlock I can tell you that Dangote is quite a credible man. He has the money to do it and what will stop him from doing it, I’m quite excited about the move.”
Declaring that her campaign this time is taking a different direction, the senator who is bidding for a third term said she will continue to represent the Lagos Central Senatorial District with all her might and to the best of her ability.