Kayode Oladele: Focused on Quality Representation

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People

Human rights lawyer and former member of the House of Representatives, Kayode Oladele is on the march again. His antecedent speaks volumes. He is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to represent Yewa North/Imeko Afon Federal Constituency of Ogun State. Oladele had previously served the constituents in 8th National Assembly on the same platform without blemish. However, he lost the seat in the 2019 general elections due to a “No-Retreat, No-Surrender” scenario that split the APC into two. Now, Oladele wants to take back the seat and continue his good work

One of the banes of the Nigerian legislature is the high turnover of members at each turn of the election, making it difficult for the sustenance of institutional memory needed to enhance speed and efficiency in the law-making process. Therefore, giving Oladele another opportunity will not only ensure effective representation but also make a huge difference in terms of vast experience and good focus.        

For the record, Oladele was one of those who made the House of Representatives in the last National Assembly thick through the sponsorship of a number of bills bordering on matters of public interest. One of the major highlights of his legislative activities in the National Assembly was the sponsorship of Public Holiday Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which gave legal backing to June 12 as Democracy Day.  

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in June 2018 declared the date as the new Democracy Day celebration to replace May 29, which marks the official handing over from military to a civilian administration in 1999. To give the declaration legal backing, Public Holiday Act( Amendment) Bill, 2019 was co-sponsored by Oladele and Edward Pwajok from Plateau State.

Beyond the normal call of duty, there is a strong reason Oladele holds June 12 very dear to his heart.

Oladele was part of the pro-democracy groups that championed the sustained campaign for the enthronement of the present democratic rule after the annulment of the 12 June presidential election which was adjudged by both the local and international community to be the freest and most credible election in the history of Nigeria and won by MKO Abiola. As a young activist then, he was involved in the effort towards the revalidation of the historic election, occupying the front role in the entire pro-democracy struggle spearheaded by NADECO at the risk of his life.

According to the Wikipedia  page on Kayode Oladele , “as a consequence of his involvement in pro-democracy activities in Nigeria, the administration of Ibrahim Babangida put Oladele under security watch and sometimes prevented him from traveling out of Nigeria. The same actions were repeated by General Sani Abacha as he was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS). As a consequence of his involvement in pro-democracy activities, the administration of Ibrahim Babangida put Oladele under security watch and sometimes prevented him from traveling out of Nigeria. The same actions were repeated by Abacha as he was arrested and his international passport routinely seized”. 

Like most notable crusaders, activism in him dates back to his school days at Ile-Ife, Osun State. He had this story to tell: “It was my encounter with Femi Falana that truly ignited the activism in me. I was then a student of Oyo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS), Ile-Ife. And Falana had come to the school to form a branch of the Movement for Students Awareness, a socialist students’ movement. I was the first student he met at the school gate and he found a willing tool in me. Not only did I provide a platform for the formation of MOSA at OSCAS, the movement became a strong vehicle for students’ activism on campus.

“With the help of Falana, I was introduced to the Alliance of Progressive Students at Obafemi Awolowo University, then the University of Ife, where I met people like Lanre Arogundade, who later became the National Association of Nigerian Students President; Segun Sango; Bunmi Oyewole, now Justice of the Court of Appeal; Wole Iyamu, and a host of other student activists.

“At that time, OSCAS used to be run like a satellite campus of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife). With the help of these people, I ran for the Secretary-General of OSCAS Students’ Union and won. I also became a member of NANS Senate and a member of the Progressive Youth Movement. When I left OSCAS, I moved to the University of Lagos where I met other student activists like Kayode Fayemi, now Ekiti State Governor, Tokunbo Afikuyomi (who later became a Senator), Morenike Ransome- Kuti,  Dayo Onabajo, Rasak Ojikutu,  Abubakar Momoh, the late Bala Mohammed, Niyi Akinsiju, Sola Ayebola of AIT and a host of other student activists.

“We ran some of the very strong socialist movements on campus at the time and the students union was in our tight control. Throughout this period, Falana was always behind, providing leadership and support from the chambers of Alao Aka-Bashorun.  While I was a student at the University of Lagos, I was also appointed as the International Coordinator of  “Free Fela International”  by the duo of  late  Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and Femi Falana to coordinate the international campaigns for the release of Fela when  he was  jailed by the then  Buhari/Idiagbon regime on allegations of currency trafficking even though, there  were reports that the judge who sentenced Fela later apologized to him. Incidentally, it was also a period that set the stage for pro-democracy and human rights activism in Nigeria.”

It, therefore, goes without saying that President Buhari’s decision to declare June 12 as Democracy Day merely completes the circle of the struggle to give the late MKO and his family a befitting honour they deserve. And so, he took it upon him to do the legislative aspect of it by sponsoring the bill to give it legal backing. “Many people had thought that the President’s declaration alone was sufficient but we had to amend the law in order to prevent mischief-makers from changing the policy in future and as I said, no one in the 8th Assembly had that responsibility than me. In fact, the former Speaker (Yakubu Dogara) would always naturally refer anything on June 12 to me and no member had ever questioned his decision on that,” he added.

Apart from all this, Oladele also has several other bills to his credit while the tenure of the 8th National Assembly lasted. These included the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (alteration) Bill, 2016, to change Egbado North Local Government Area and Egbado South Local Government Area to Yewa North Local Government Area and Yewa South Local Government Area; City Technical University, Yaba Lagos, Bill, 2016; Special Crimes Court Bill, 2017; Whistle Blower Protection Bill, 2017; Nigeria Financial Intelligence Centre Bill, 2017; Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017; Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Establishment Bill, 2017; Terrorism Prevention Act and the Chartered Institute of Forensic and investigation Auditors of Nigeria Establishment Bill, 2018.   

As the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, he sponsored the EFCC (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Proceed of Crimes Bill, 2016. Oladele was also a member of other Standing Committees, including the Committees on Justice, Healthcare Service, Human Rights, Rules and Business, and Agricultural Institutions.

He also served on several panels and ad-hoc committees, including the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness which investigated the violation of public trust in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in 2018 and the Presidential Ad-Hoc Committee on the Autonomy of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to ensure the restoration of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit’s membership of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units and Nigeria’s membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to boost the country’s capacity to deploy global Financial Intelligence in the fight against corruption in 2017.

In fulfillment of his desire to immortalize MKO Abiola, the Public Holiday Amendment Act which he sponsored was signed into law by President Buhari on June 11, 2019. Ditto the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act was also signed into law by President Buhari, setting up a central body for processing intelligence related to financial transactions in Nigeria.

While the Proceeds of Crimes Bill, 2017, which made comprehensive provisions for the confiscation, forfeiture, and management of properties derived from unlawful activities was passed by the National Assembly in May 2019, President Buhari declined assent to the Bill. He subsequently forwarded an Executive Bill on the Proceeds of Crime which seeks, among others, to address the problem of lack of transparency and accountability associated with the management of recovered funds by anti-corruption agencies in the country to the Nineth National Assembly for necessary legislative work and passage.

In all this, he combined his active role as the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes with the membership of Committees on Justice, Human Rights, Rules and Business, Environment, Healthcare Services, and Agricultural Institutions.

Oladele was a practicing lawyer in Nigeria and the United States of America before his election into the Nigerian parliament. Prior to that, he was Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).  

Charity, they say, begins at home. Oladele remains a critical stakeholder in Ogun State politics. In recognition of his crucial role in the politics of the state, on February 20, 2021, he was appointed by Governor Dapo Abiodun as the Chairman of a 20-member Peace-Building Committee. The Committee was inaugurated to determine the root cause of the incessant deadly clashes between the farmers and herders in Ogun West Senatorial District of the State, proffer lasting solutions and ensure that peace and harmony continue to reign in the area and the State.

To reclaim his lost seat for the Yewa North/Imeko-Afon Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in the 2023 National Assembly election, Oladele would be slugging it out with other aspirants. There is optimism among his teeming supporters that the forthcoming election would be seamless for him in view of his impressive performance in the previous assignments. In so far as the account of stewardship is concerned, Oladele has earned the trust of the people of his constituency. Political pundits believe that this human rights lawyer deserve another chance in the Green Chamber. They also believe that he would do more when he gets there as a ranking member of the House of Representatives. Attachments area