Thursday, June 7, 2012
-Lagos Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Adeyemi Sabit Ikuforiji in this interview with selected newsmen at the newly completed chamber of the House said the Lagos State Government is ahead of the Federal Government as the state cannot afford to fail the people whose expectations are so high, AYODELE SAMUEL was there Can you compare the achievements of Lagos State with that of the Federal Government within the last one year? Honestly that is one topic I don’t want to dwell on because we are living in two different worlds, but I can understand, the Federal Government has larger room to mess up and get away with it, Lagos is rather compact, we know ourselves, what you can do and get away with at the federal level, be it executive or legislative, you cannot get away with such here. How many times have you seen the president aside seeing him on the television and how many times have you been in close proximity with the Governor of Lagos State, not on the television, but physically? How many times have you met with the Senate President or Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives this year and how many times have you had the opportunity of getting close to or touching the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly. So these are things that when you are talking about performances, if we don’t do it here, don’t forget this is the home of 60 to 70 percent of professionals in Nigeria. This is the home of the Nigerian media, the home of the cream of the Nigerian society. Everybody centres his or her attention on Lagos. So, I don’t think a reasonable person, who is saddled with responsibility in Lagos has any escape route, where do you go? The media are here watching you, your people are there watching you, from here to Epe area takes an hour, that is the extreme side of the state, from here to Badagry, the same thing, it is the other extreme side of the state, so you don’t have more than 5 or 10 minutes of judging. We cannot compare the two, we all know that the Federal Government is slumbering and they are snoring, so somebody needs to wake them up. Our nascent democracy is now 13 years old, would you say your expectations have been met so far Honestly, I am a very ambitious person, I tend to be optimistic all the time, but I must confess , the Federal Government in particular should have done a lot more to win the confidence of Nigerians, to make Nigerians really feel happy or for the democratic dispensation to be better. I don’t’ know what the problem is over there, but even simple things that a mere fool can get done is not being done, to construct roads, to maintain the existing roads are some of the simplest things to do when the money is there and the money has always been there for the Federal Government. I wouldn’t understand why Shagamu-Benin Road remains death trap till today, Lagos-Ibadan Road is nothing to write home about, from here to Abuja is like going from one end of the world to the other, it shouldn’t be so, to construct roads, what does it take, it doesn’t take nuclear engineering, it doesn’t call for super money to do that. Anybody, any fool can call on construction companies to construct roads and I think with the size of the Federal budget, Nigeria should be awash with roads, not even advanced means of transportation, but roads, anybody can construct it, it is only here that I see that we are not able to do anything. If we cannot construct roads, why are we talking about energy? Look at the trillions of naira that had been spent on energy and we still don’t have light. Sir, the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero said that if state police is established, it will lead to disintegration I think he is thinking mechanically, he is just being technical about it. Many people forget that the string that binds Nigerian nationality together to make Nigeria a nation is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, I think it is the work of God, it has nothing to do with our ability to come together, live together or love one another. Love does not even exist amongst us, even in our homes, if you go to your father’s home and you look deep, you will know that love is not there. Some of your uncles, aunties, cousins and so on are not even happy about your progress. People are no more their brother’s keepers. This country has nothing to do with any ethnic group or anything and when you look at it like I often say, yes the scripture told us that God loves the Israelites, what I have observed, I know that the Israelites may be the children of God, Nigerians are the first born’s children, first born sons and daughters of God. If you look at what we do and get away with, even smaller and thinner nations don’t get through a quarter of those things before they go into blazes, but over here, we just get away with it. If God does not love us, how come with former president Umar Yar’Adua’s death, and the fact that a part does not want the then vice-president, Goodluck Jonathan to act, we did not disintegrate, the fact that when the then president was sick, the president could not act, who are the ones who shouted, are you telling me the Bayelsans are the ones who got President Goodluck Jonathan to power, what is their voting power? Don’t forget, at the last minutes, we know those who spoke and the nation shook and came to its senses, just one front page in The Punch Newspaper and others, and people said ‘oh these people said this,’ the whole thing changed. Though we all know that the election was not free or fair, one thing we all know, rigging may have taken place somehow, it was true that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan got more votes across the nation than any other candidate at that election. Even here in Lagos, he won the election, even if they rigged to put additional votes, we all know who Lagosians are, if his votes were only 200,000, there was no way they could write over one million votes and get away with it in Lagos, he definitely won, Lagosians voted for him, so it was across the nation, what does that tell you? I mean that same election could have led to civil war, but from across the divide, people didn’t care, they just said, let him do it and they gave it to him, now whether he is now doing it well or not is another thing, we know that some people had strong feelings against his candidature, we could have run into problems. But God loves Nigeria more than He loves any other nation. What is your advice to Nigerians at this critical period? I think we need to be more godly, I am not talking of going to church or mosque, I am talking of being godly from within, being honest with ourselves, being loving, brotherly, above all, each and everyone of us owes this nation a duty of being a good citizen, a good people. You don’t hide behind any from of shield and do evil and tell the world that you are born again. To build Nigeria and to make it a dream nation of our founding fathers, each of us owes this nation a duty of being a good citizen, when I say a good citizen, I mean a real good citizen, don’t cover me, when you know I am doing something that can harm the nation, the state or others, don’t say because he is your friend or brother you want to cover him. People who are doing evil here and there are known to all of us, they are not masquerades. They are humans, they are men and women like you and I, how come they get away with it easily. Why are we not asking questions from our so-called leaders, our elected representatives, elected officials, why are we not demanding what we supposed to demand from them, each and everyone of us wants to take just for himself or his family, forgetting the larger society. So, if you can get from Mr. Speaker for yourself, you don’t care if he doesn’t do what he ought to do for the rest of the society, you just get away with your own and that’s all, with that attitude, we will get nowhere. If we all resolve to be good citizens, it would be better, yes we are humans, we can make our mistakes, we can commit sin, God even allows us to, but He will forgive us when we ask for it. The building of a nation is not the job of one man, when you say president is not doing this, the governor is not doing this, the speaker is not doing this, but even you, your own job, how much do you do it to ensure you are doing the very best for the nation. It is for everyone of us to resolve to be a better person. That was what Honourable Rotimi Olowo was trying to say on the floor of the House that there should be a global change and we will be known as global change agents, when things are done from your own end, it affects the entire world and the whole world will change for the better.