Over the years, he built a flourishing business in agriculture and other sectors, thereby creating jobs for the teeming youths of his community and lifting many lives out of abject poverty. Olaide Akinremi who represents Ibadan North Constituency in the House of Representatives, tells Tosin Clegg about his life of philanthropy, politics, love for tourism and many more
My agenda for my constituency
I’m in the 9th National Assembly to represent Ibadan North Constituency and the good people of Oyo State to the best of my ability. I want to make good laws, sponsor bills and move motions that will improve the lives of average Nigerians and also make Nigeria a better place for all. In fact, my major focus is human capital development, ensuring financial independence and individual sustainability of my people especially the young.
Why I decided to join politics
I joined politics because of my passion and desire to make my immediate environment a better place. As an entrepreneur, I do what I can to improve my environment and people’s lives but I felt that going into politics I will be able to do a lot more. Being a politician for me, is to help a lot more people than I do as an entrepreneur. I don’t think politics would have stopped me from being an entrepreneur and it wouldn’t have slowed or stopped my interest in agriculture.
Oyo has a huge youth population
The fact that a lot of youths are unemployed bothers me a lot. As a young man growing up in Ibadan, I had great hopes and aspirations. At a point, I had to seek greener pastures to achieve this because the environment wasn’t quite favorable for this. My passion for the youths is to do all I can to create an enabling environment for each and every hardworking young person to thrive and maximise their potentials without having to seek greener pastures abroad. Nigeria is blessed with a lot of brilliant and talented people that only need a little push and they will excel at their chosen endeavour.
Plans for post-COVID-19
I will be connecting more with my constituents and meeting their needs through finding the right solutions. I intend to do this by creating a feedback system and as much as I can have engagements with as many people as possible. I understand that a lot of people are out of jobs and some businesses have crashed so I will do my best to facilitate employment for as many as possible and also expand our support and intervention for MSMEs.
Our huge tourism potential
It’s from Bowers Tower to UI Zoo, Agodi Gardens, Old Oyo National Park, Suspended Lake in Ado Awaye and the numerous festivals. I think the challenge is that we haven’t marketed ourselves well enough and also some investments need to be channelled to the sector from both government and private sectors. I will do the best I can to see if we can develop a tourist map for Oyo State with the support of the relevant ministries and agencies. I am also working on getting a few individuals and corporate organisations to invest in the tourism sector.
Entertainment sector provides a lot of jobs
As someone passionate about developing human capacity, I intend to support the entertainment sector in any way I can. I will have regular meetings with stakeholders and we shall together see how we can form better support for the sector. As a legislator, I will look at bills that will protect intellectual properties and also help promote the industry. I will also support value-adding initiatives and events in any way I can. I think Oyo State has abundant talented people who just need a little push to get a breakthrough and this is another area I will do my best to focus on in the coming years.
Roles in my constituency
I am currently the House Vice Chairman on Science and Technology Committee. I am going to use the position to see how we can partner with these institutions to promote STEM – Science Technology Engineer and Maths among young people. The idea is to develop their skills beyond what they are taught in classrooms so that when they graduate they can actually create employment for themselves and/or become very employable. In those days, a lot of the graduates of polytechnics were so good they ended up in oil and telecoms companies. So we want to bring back that old glory. The University of Ibadan, UCH and College of Medicine are all firsts and produced outstanding graduates for so many years. So why shouldn’t they be able to compete favorably globally?
Outside of STEM, we will have other training and empowerment programmes targeted specifically at the undergraduates to help prepare them for the real world. Of course, we will not neglect sports and entertainment.
Like I said earlier, we intend to create a system that allows for direct feedback from the constituents so that I can be abreast of their needs and concerns. I will also after COVID-19 restrictions are over, kick off a monthly town hall meeting with constituents and also meet various groups and associations. As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised if you hear a knock on your door and it’s me. Everything I do for my constituents will be needs-based and to make lives better.
I condemn rape and police brutality
These terrible acts have led to the loss of lives of innocent people especially young girls and women. It has left a lot of survivors in emotional and psychological trauma. As a lawmaker, I will strongly advocate for the amendment of existing rape and sexual offences law for stricter punishment at the National Assembly. My foundation will also collaborate with NGOs and other relevant organisations in advocacy and campaign against rape, sexual assault, drug abuse and police brutality. Also, I will work with relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book and also ensure they discharge their duties without harassing or putting lives of our young men and women at risk. I’m representing the interest of my people at the National Assembly.
In this space of time, I have contributed to lawmaking as well as facilitated several benefits to my constituents. While my focus has majorly been on human capital development, ensuring financial independence and individual sustainability of my people in the process, I have also facilitated series of other benefits and capital projects, some of which are in the pipeline. So far, we have worked on The Out of School Children Bill, motions for Provision of Coronavirus Emergency Fund for Nigerian Universities and Tertiary Institutions, House Committee responsibility which includes working assiduously alongside other members of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in the management and distribution of relief items.
On education, through the Prince Akinremi Foundation (PAF), I organised tutorials for over 6,000 WASSCE and UTME students among others. On health, I championed Lassa fever and Coronavirus sensitisation with distribution of relief materials to constituents with over 5,000 families reached with food reliefs and over 15,000 nose masks distributed. As earlier stated, my goal is to ensure the financial emancipation of my constituents, however, capital projects are currently being facilitated, with a health centre construction in process at Agbaje Ijokodo. Also, work is currently ongoing at two other constituency projects I met on resumption of office, at UCH and Òkè Apon respectively, while more of such are still to come.
Culture and Tradition
I try to infuse my culture and tradition in my dressing without losing the essence of being a youthful person so I decided to adopt wearing the abeti aja cap. You will usually find me wearing a complete Yoruba attire with my abeti aja cap. Sometimes the young person in me goes casual but most importantly, I dress for comfort.
I have very little time to myself
When I do have that free time I try to get as much rest as I can so that I can stay refreshed. I spend part of my relaxation time to research new ideas and how to better improve myself as a person, I also engage in some sport when I can.