Rt Hon Femi Bamisile Former Speaker Ekiti State House Of Assembly, Current House Of Rep Member Ekiti South Federal Constituency2 Spent The Democracy Day Public Holiday In Ekiti.
A Chance Encounter Witnessed Him Inspecting A Building Under Renovation At The Ajilosun Area Of Ado Ekiti, The State Capital. He Was To Confirm The Building As His New Office Site.
In His Usual Friendly Manner, He Gladly Agreed To Share Insight Into His Activities At The National Assembly, His Perception About Party Politic As Concerns APC In Ekiti, National Matters Particularly The Widely Expected Reduction In Governance Cost.
Below Is The Excerpt Of The Interview Session With The Honorable Member
Honourable AKA BAFEM as we know you sir, today is a special day in the annals of Nigeria’s history. Today is the democracy day, it is also significant sir that you are a law maker in Abuja but we are conducting this interview in Ekiti sir, that sends two messages to me and I would save those two questions for the interview but , first of all sir as a federal legislator what is the significance of June 12 to our democracy sir?
THE INTERVIEWEE (Hon. BAFEM) : Thank you very much Borisade, for me if you look at it you just need to be thankful to the person of our very able president Muhammadu Buhari for deeming it fit, for christening this day the 12th of June as our democracy day. It has a lot of significance to it I think that was the day that the first most credible election was conducted and been won by someone in this country before several other elections ever came to be and it wasn’t that there has never been an election before that there was, but mind my words “The most credible acceptable election ever conducted in this country” to any individual in person of the deceased MKO Abiola, so we had cried severally, we had asked for his significance, we had asked for this particular day and that is why I think we need to be thankful to the man who made history in person of the present day president of the country he proved that irrespective of what anybody says he is totally detribalized. He proved it by this particular action a lot of people read different meanings to it but for me the decision has been taken and it has gone but we have to continually celebrate this day in honour of Moshood Abiola and most importantly for us all that are left behind because, there will be a day too that we all will leave the face of earth but before we do, there are histories that are left behind us to make the day, that day that Nigeria knows as our democracy day.
THE INTERVIEWER : That is quite insightful sir, thank you for that little bit of reflection on our democratic practices. We are in Ekiti, you are in Ekiti sir with us today, it goes to show that you are constantly in touch with your base that I am particularly happy, that you are here to spend this public holiday with us in Ekiti it sends a strong signal sir. Now president Muhammadu Buhari had a national broadcast this morning I think strongly coming out in his message was the issue of downsizing Ministries… downsizing government so to say sir, what is your take on that linking it with the national assembly and the Judiciary, I think where I am heading to now is: one, there was an executive bill that hasn’t been gazetted yet, It has implications for the three arms of government that is one; now the president coming out again to clamour, this is a popular demand on the streets for reduction in size of governance, generally sir would you kindly just give us your perspective of how you see the idea of reducing the cost of governance and if you are in support of it, how would you suggest the federal government that is, the executive go about it.
THE INTERVIEWEE (Hon. BAFEM): Thank you so much, you had let me in on something that I didn’t even know took place today, as you see you joined me on the road when you saw me drive into my house, it clearly tells you that I have been on a journey. Unfortunately this morning…(Sic) I said you have let me in on something I didn’t even know, I didn’t even know that the president had an airtime with Nigerians today but good a thing that you are asking me this question so I am gonna be speaking without knowing what the president said and I want my words to be speaking for how have said it, don’t forget I have served at the state arm of government before as a legislator, here I served as a member of house of assembly and equally at the highest peak of the legislature as the speaker of the House of Assembly and i want to make it so clear my views about what questions you did ask me, it is highly imperative that Nigeria downsizes, highly imperative! Nigeria has the most expensive democracy in the world and we are not the first democracy in the world, where we have brought our democracy from is still for a lot of academics to figure this out, at a point in time it was a parliamentary system of government now back into full fledged federal system of government but as we speak are we really applying what the United States federal system is about? No! So application of governance in Nigeria is absolutely different, it is too financially engulfing, extremely so and when the president sit back, and that is why I personally enjoyed the person of Gen Muhammadu Buhari.(Sic) A lot of people are saying why are we allowing for septuagenarians to lead this country am saying that this might just be the last phase of an old folk leading us in this country and he could be the last man who would put the precedent that would actually tailor it to where it should be in Nigeria, it is crystal clear that Mr president is not looking for wealth, it is crystal clear that the man is not looking to buy houses, it crystal clear is not that he is not looking to send his children to universities no more because I believe he has grand children now so those problems are no more the border of the president. What he should and would be looking at is for the good of this country, so when you talk about downsizing we have said this times without number our ministries if we look at it the way it is Nigeria has about almost fourth two (42) ministers, one wonders how this is applicable to good governance. A lot of people would hold me hard on this but, the truth most be spoken. On the issue of the presidential order, (ORDER 10) I have spoken about this even on the floor of national assembly. The president made it clear because people has been yarning, it is something that it is a demand of the electorate in the country I am almost certain that 85% to 90% of the people in the country would be asking for what is called an “Open Government” whereby every body is independent as simply defined in democracy and governance looking at giving autonomy to the local governments, giving autonomy to the Judiciary, giving autonomy to the Legislature and that is the only way these arms of government would functions. There is no state in Nigeria my brother that Governors don’t stifle Local Governments and we all understand why all these things happen, the funding but the issue comes down to light let from first year every money goes to it’s different arms, probably then the executive will have a bit of respect for the legislature, probably then because if you find out in most instances… (Sic) I am sorry to give this example a state in Nigeria, there were two states in Nigeria about almost five, six months back if not over a year ago that the governor…(sic) elections were conducted into the legislative arm of government and they were not sworn in. it happened in Bauchi state, it happen in Edo state, as we speak the brought the case to the national assembly, we dealt with them and we ask them to go do swearing in because as the Legislature that is the arm of government that is by law, by the constitution is even stronger than the Executive arms of government because that is the only arm of government that can remove the Executive, the Executive cannot remove a legislator because he is elected, the laws enshrined in the constitution allows for the legislative arm of government to actually a check on the executive. So these are the things that we are talking about we need to allow for these things to happen we would really want to have a thorough democracy and true federalism.
THE INTERVIWER : Thank you on that note sir, lets come back home now sir, a couple of weeks back running into about a month there about there was news all over Ekiti you amongst other member of the National Assembly, you were magnanimous enough to have taken care of people across certain local governments even outside you jurisdiction or your constituency so to say, because you touched Ijero sir, people appreciated, the government initiative is also well appreciated. Can our people expect additional support? Cognizance of the fact that lock down has been eased but for businesses that has been shutdown to start off it is going to be a struggle for them sir. Can your constituency still look to you for support?
THE INTERVIEWEE (HON. BAFEM): Without a shadow of doubt my brother, I have made known to a lot of people when this started it is not a business of a local government neither is it a business of a nation, it is a world issue. The problem of the pandemic is not limited to Ekiti, my federal constituency or anywhere it is wherever you can be of help to people you all need to learn at this point that we will lean on each other for survival it is not a business that can be done by an individual and that is where I credit the likes of our governor, Governor Kayode Fayemi, the manner at which he has held forth in Ekiti State, one: majorly reducing the pandemic from spreading further than it did. Ekiti is one of the very few states in the country, so he should be applauded and most importantly for all the law makers the way they came back and assisted their people in various local governments, federal consistuencies with senatorial districts in my case don’t forget I had gone outside of my federal constituency because of the reason, I did contest for the last election to run for governor and I have a seemingly very strong followership all over the 16 local governments so if I had limited myself to my federal constituency I am almost certain that the word that I gave to my people when we said we were all going to benefit together would have gone to vain so, it was an opportunity again to reach at them variously as they were, like you likely said we were in Ijero, we were everywhere allover presently even to Aramoko and all others, we sent to them and in some places I was physically present when I was available and for me as a person the process continues because, nobody knows the end of the pandemic. The remedy to the ailment has not been found yet a lot of people are just gainsaying moving from one point to the other looking at Chloroquine and all that. A steady remedy has not been given to this pandemic so as we speak we would constantly as people who has opportunity to be in offices as we are, continue to extend those favours back to our constituencies. I feel for a lot of people in the country that we lived today a lot people in this country are menial workers, fi they don’t go out on a daily bases they can’t get their earnings and we have been on lock down for too long and it crippled their own economy likewise the country’s. I listened to a governor that told us that his IGR was about almost 1.8billion on monthly bases but now it is as low as 400million. Imagine, what Ekiti IGR would be as we speak and the request that people are putting on government on what government is meant to give back to the people so for us who are elected in various areas I know that the government Ekiti has actually slashed salaries of political appointees and they are all co-operative of this particular gesture and this is gonna be on going, my plead to them too is to see it as a joint venture to take humanity unto the next level because like I said, God forbid if anything happens this is something that can wipe millions of people away but as we say we thank God for the governor and the manner at which he is handling it and to your question we can be sure not even when called upon, I know I stopped over at my local government, slept there and I have done another palliative even up to as I speak and this will continue till when this pandemic seizes.
THE INTERVIEWER : This is my last question and I will give you the options Sir, I can decide not to feature this question it could be a little bit controversial, this is party politics there is a litigation against the current, Hon. BAFEM interrupts “ I found out days ago” should I speak about that Sir?
BAFEM: Oh why not!
THE INTERVIEWER: What is your take on the court case?
HONORABLE BAFEM: For me this is an issue I found out about 48hours ago I wasn’t really unto it at all and the moment I was told there was a ground litigation against the party regarding the process of emergence of EXCOS members within the state local government, senetorial districts and all over it became something of a border to me and these are the issues that boils within the party and actually eats into the fabrics of the party and destroys the party and now that I am home I still met and I have the opportunity to be with the governor two days ago he was at the national assembly to speak about infectious disease and on the bill, we had a chit chat for about a minute and I said I wanted to have a discussion with him and that was the issue I really wanted to discuss with him about. It is important that he uses his position has the executive governor of the state to call all party faithfuls this is the point that we need to actually get ourselves back on the top. I am saying to you I have been in opposition at a point in time before when I say in opposition: PDP, I know what destroyed the party, internal wrangling takes a sizeable percentage of party dysfunctionality within a state even at the national but if we seemingly remove the toga of how big we seem to be and call everybody to a stakeholders meeting these issues as we speak would be resolved. For those who actually went to court and for those who are in the takeoff… There are insinuation by people but for me I don’t jump out there until I know facts about what am discussing but what I know is whoever most have taken the case to court must be an Ekiti person must be a member of this political party. You understand? When it is about time we will sit together as people and things that are actually resulting in war matters will come on discussion table and I think these things will be let off. I don’t want us to take as those are them, we can excuse them. These are difficult times and in politics it is about humans you don’t tell anybody he his worthy you don’t tell someone doesn’t have the clout just put someone up and say what can he do, such things as been put together can cause a lot of crises so like I said I don’t know the depth of it I will get to the governor and I will have a discussion with him because, as I am now I am still a small stakeholder within the state.
THE INTERVIEWER : My Honourable sir, it has been insightful, you have educated our audience I have to say thank you.
AUDIENCE :My right Honourable sir as the Chairman of Committee of house on FERMA we recall that you visited Ureje bridge some times last year but it is unfortunate that the bridge finally gave in this morning, we wanted to go to Ikole we have to turn back when we meet you, what is FERMA doing about that bridge being a federal road
THE INTERVIEWEE (Hon. BAFEM) : Let me use this opportunity quickly to open up about the issue of FERMA, we thank God that we are where we are as chairman house committee on FERMA and I have said severally our audience in Ekiti state on the issue of Ureje bridge that if it is within our Proview a lot would have been done. the same time I came to look at Ureje bridge is the same time I look at Erio the cut away road, if you look at Erio now Erio has been fixed I went into action because Erio is a natural federal road that is under FERMA but the issue that we are having with Ureje bridge when I came to see at that point in time I knew it was a federal road but discrepancy of whether it is under FERMA or federal ministry of works on getting to Abuja when I spoke to the MD Rafindadi he made it crystal clear to me that a contract has been issued on that federal road, running from before you get into Afe Babalola University, into the Ado Ejigbo roundabout, a contract has been issued, given to someone about 2018 but unfortunately, I don’t think the company they gave the contract to has the capacity to do that road, and Baba Afe Babalola got involved in this particular issue too, he called Rafindadi, Rafindadi flew from Abuja met Baba Afe Babalola, Baba Afe hosted him for about 2 days here in Ekiti on that particular road but what we will be able to do now which will interest the people of Ekiti, I know we would try to avoid this chaos. On my way from Omuo today ordinarily I would have come through Ilu Moba to come through that road, but I was timely informed by my people that I dare not come on that road, that the road has finally given in this morning or yesterday night, and we were trying to avoid that bit as it may I said it categorically with my findings on that road that it is not just the bridge problem alone, but that there is an ecological problem there too, and as God would have it I double as a member of the Ecological Committee as we speak and I have gone heavily on making sure that the ecological problem of that road is resolved, but you see the bureaucracy of government is not something you put in today you get tomorrow but what we’ve been able to do now that I found out because, the moment I found that the road has given in I called Rafindadi immediately that the same thing you did in Erio would be done in Ureje not withstanding that the road is under federal ministry of works because, Fashola would lay claims to the road Rafindadi as MD of FERMA too laying claims to the road and Fashola been the mother ministry over our agency FERMA would tell them to get up it is their road. Now at the problem that we’ve gotten it is Crystal clear and I want to say to you that even the governor himself has weighed in on this particular matter, I spoke with him about almost two weeks ago when he came to Abuja, no, we spoke on the phone and I made it clear that I have spoken with Rafindadi, coupled with the fact that we have our former Commissioner, Hon. Kolawole as the executive director of Finance, so we have two eyes from Ekiti in FERMA as we speak it is a blessing for us in this four years. The governor has spoken to Rafindadi on the matter, and now that the road has cut off they don’t have a choice, they need to get here as soon as possible. So far the members and the people of Ekiti I want them to just be reserved on this matter, it is a way that is equally important to me as a person, that is the only route except I have to go additional 30 minutes to get to my house in Omuo so, by the grace of God, this road as we speak will be dealt with and done adequately.
INTERVIEWER: Right Honorable, thank you very much for the time sir, twenty-five minutes of fire. Thank you sir.