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    Economic Amnesty Bill Will Further Promote Corruption – Olulade


    Hon. Segun Olulade, popularly called Eleniyan, represents Epe Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). He is the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on the controversy on restructuring quit notice threat to Igbo youths and other issues of national interests. Excerpts:

    There has been raging debates on the issue of restructuring. What is your take on this?
    We cannot continue to allow a centralisation policy which makes the constituent units of this nation resentful. The idea of centralising revenues, allocation system, whereby you dole out is insulting and it is what I call anti-healthy rivalry. It is against the incentives to make states viable. I am on the side of those who say we must do everything to avoid disintegration. That language, I understand. We cannot continue with a centralisation policy in which states will not be able to control their resources.
    You can’t continue to do certain things repeatedly and you are not getting the desired results, in that case, you need to change tactics and approach. I believe that restructuring is the same thing as true federalism. I am a strong advocate of devolution of powers to the extent that more responsibilities will be given to the states while the Federal Government is vested with few responsibilities. Restructuring and devolution of powers will help to reposition our mindset as we generate new ideas and initiatives that would make our union worthwhile.

    What is your take on the issue of quit notice issued to Igbos in the North by Arewa youths?

    I condemn the call or whatever it is in its entirety. Regardless of whatever the IPOB guys are calling for, such call should not have come from the so-called Arewa youths even though I don’t regard those old fellows as youths. Such a call that the Igbos should vacate the Northern parts of the country should not be allowed to graduate to chaotic situation and ethnic fiasco capable of undermining the unity of Nigeria as a nation. In as much as the people have rights to determine their existence as a recognised right of the United Nations Charter, the way and manner in which IPOB is leading the South East for self-rule agitation is also capable of limiting the grant of such right, particularly if foreseen to be a threat on the entire nation and its existence.
    To me, those calling for secession and those giving quit notice are wrong. IPOB is seen many times carrying out aggressive and violent activities both at home and abroad, we have seen them staging protests; disrupting peace; burning of Nigeria’s national flag even in the UK, issuing illegal stay-at-home order for people living in the South East and South South, printing of illegal Biafra currency and many more.
    If need be for agitation, it must be done within the confine of acceptable norm and procedure. I am sure that unchecked activities of these IPOB guys are beginning to generate corresponding reactions from some youths in the Northern Nigeria, a situation that if not nip in the bud quickly, is capable of engendering total breakdown of law and order as seen in the present scenario.
    However, I would advise the so-called Northern youths to consider the peaceful Igbo community in the North as brothers having co-existed for many years as members of same family. Such ultimatum for the Igbos to leave the North and return is against the constitution and anything that is against the constitution is also against the principle of a united Nigeria as a nation.

    Are you worried that despite the calls for the arrest of the masterminds of the quit threat, none has been arrested?
    I wouldn’t say I am not worried, but I believe the Police know how to do their job. We cannot teach them how to do it, if there is a need to arrest, the police would have done that. But frankly speaking, I expect that those who publicly gave such quit notice should have been invited by the police.

    Some Nigerians are calling for the implementation of the 2014 confab report. Do you think this is the solution we need?

    I would not say much on that because my party, the All Progressives Congress was not part of the so-called Confab, so I see no reason why I should join the call for the implementation of the Confab. All I will say is let us begin to practice of true federalism.

    What is your take on the Economic Amnesty Bill seeking to grant amnesty to looters?

    Majority of those in the National Assembly are becoming ridiculous with the way and manner they are running the affairs of the legislature. How can a person who is supposed to be a lawmaker, come up with a bill seeking amnesty for looters? Such a lawmaker should be recalled by those who sent him to the House to represent them. I am not surprised though, Linus Okorie who proposed the bill is a member of PDP, and we all know what happened in the last administration, which was characterised by enormous corruption.
    It is unfortunate that someone who is to make law could canvass full and complete amnesty for looters of public treasury. I am very sure that the bill will be thrown out at its second reading. If an ordinary person can be jailed for stealing vegetable and small amount of money, then why should we be thinking of amnesty for those who have milked the country dry . This bill if passed will further promote corruption.

    The Senate last week threatened to impeach Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo. What do you make of this?

    Some of those Senators are just there for nothing; they don’t know why they are neither did they know what their responsibilities are. Why will you threaten the Acting President with impeachment just because you want him to remove a man he has so much faith and confidence in? To me, it is just an empty threat. The acting President in person of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has not committed any impeachable offence. Our Senators should tread with caution because Nigerians are getting fed up with the way they are behaving. They are taking the people for a ride and if care is not taken, the people will be forced to react. On the impeachment threat, I don’t see any issue in it, the acting President is a man of competence and he knows the law, so I urge Nigerians to disregard the threat.

    What is your perspective on the face-off between the National Assembly and Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola over the 2017 budget?

    Fashola is entitled to his opinion over any issue. If the Senators decide to cut his budget probably because they felt the money he budgeted for the Lagos Ibadan Expressway project was too much and put that money they removed on another project in that budget, I would have justified what they did. But for them to have moved the money to their own constituency projects, then what they have done is very wrong. When someone cried out that they padded the budget, he was victimized and suspended, has what happened now not shown that the 2017 budget was padded? Like I said in an interview I recently granted to some journalists, Goje goofed with the statement he made on the floor of the Senate that the National Assembly is not Lagos State House of Assembly. Of course, we are better than those of them in the National Assembly. So Danjuma Goje should apologise to us for making such a statement that National Assembly is not Lagos State House of Assembly. He needs to be told that we have never been a rubber stamp Assembly since the inauguration of the first Assembly in 1999. Senator Goje should know that there are only two Assemblies in Nigeria and they are Lagos State House of Assembly and others, even the National Assembly falls under the others. If there is any parliament that has been most proactive in this country, everybody knows that it is the Lagos State House of Assembly.
    So, for Goje to indirectly refer to Lagos Assembly as a rubber-stamp legislature, it is very laughable and unfortunate. Such a statement is very reckless and we are demanding that he tendered an unreserved and public apology. Lagos House of Assembly is the only House that is above common standard of excellence. From 1999 under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Olorunnimbe Mamora till date under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, Our own House of Assembly has never been a rubber-stamp legislature and that is why Lagos State has continue to excel and it is obvious for all to see. It is true that Fashola was once a governor of Lagos State and during his administration, the House was independent. It was under Fashola that the House got financial autonomy. So if Goje and his colleagues in the Senate have any problem with Fashola, they should look for a way to sort it out and not insult the House where the people’s representatives are.

    Are you impressed with the current security in Lagos, especially given the Badoo cult menace?

    Well, we are doing everything to ensure that every Lagosian enjoys the security of lives and property. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is trying his best in the area of security. And like the governor said recently that he doesn’t run the government on the pages of newspapers, that is why he does not make comments in the newspapers. Issue of security should be handled with utmost clandestine. When you begin to disclose your plans on how you intend to secure your state, then you have already exposed yourself. To an extent, I will say I am impressed with the way the Badoo issue is being treated; you will agree with me that the issue of this Bodoo has calmed down in the last few days.

    There are rumours your constituents are asking you to take a shot at the House of Representatives in 2019. How true is that?

    We are not done with what we are doing presently, so we can’t start to talk about 2019. But, if that time comes and my people say that is where they want me to go, then I will have to heed to their call because the voice of the people is the voice of God. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

    The post appeared first on Independent Newspapers .

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