OLUMIDE Osoba, a graduate of the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics is
the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for the forthcoming House of Representatives elections to represent Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda Federal Constituency of Ogun State.
In this interview with Kolade Larewaju, the son of the former Governor of the state; Chief Olusegun Osoba said it was President Goodluck Jonathan that won the presidential election and not his party; the Peoples Democratic Party . He said Ogun has been turned into a village under Governor Olugbenga Daniel’s watch. Excerpts:
Who is Olumide Osoba?
Olumide Osoba is the son of Aremo Olusegun Osoba. I was born in 1977 and I had my early education in Lagos in Surulere before I proceeded to my secondary school in the University of Lagos; International School. After completing my secondary education, I got admission into the University of Lagos where I studied Accounting and got a Bsc after which I proceeded to do the National Youth service at the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas.
I then went to UK after my youth service to study Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems at the London School of Economics and Political Science where I got my MSc.
What motivated you into joining politics and how did you join?
I have been watching politics as early as 1991 when I was opportune to spend time with political leaders like the governors in the Third Republic and I used to admire the way they administered their states and how they had meetings and came to conclusions in a very cordial and peaceful atmosphere. It was very interesting to me and in 1999 that kind of environment existed until 2003, when things went upside down and politics became very dirty in Nigeria. So I felt it would be nice to try and make a difference; practice it the way it should be without hatred and bitterness.
Some people claim that you were imposed on them by your father?
They should go to my constituency and do a thorough check, then their minds would be changed. People like to just talk without facts. You need to investigate and know what is going on, not just talk for the sake of talking.
But some said you were imposed as against one of the sons of Abiola. What actually happened?
What happened was that the gentleman in question was desperate to go to the House of Representatives and out of his desperation; he consulted ACN in Lagos State and felt that it was his birthright to get the Ikeja Federal Constituency seat. When ACN Lagos told him that it was not his birthright, he decided to come to Ogun State and tried to go through the backdoor to put his name in the register of members and the people refused to budge. He is not a registered party member in Ogun State. Nothing more to it.
You mean he is not a member of the party?
He is up till now not a registered member of ACN in Ogun State.
Why do you choose the legislature and not an executive position?
People need to start from somewhere; I felt the representation we have been having, even if they are educated enough and exposed enough, I am not sure they are as sincere as they should be. We need sincere people in the House. People that know that their job is to fight for the rights of the people; pass laws that would be beneficial to the people and if we do not have that; then we have a problem. Since 2003, the legislative arm has merged, more or less with the executive at the federal level.
We don’t have a legislature that actually questions the executive or anything even when the Presidency is doing something not beneficial to the people. The check and balance has not existed in the last eight years.
And you think you can make the difference?
I think we can make the difference. I think in 2011, the new House of Representatives would be up to the task. I believe a lot of credible and sincere people are actually going to be there. It is not a one man’s job. It is a collective thing and I think it would even go beyond being partisan. Be it ACN, CPC and PDP, the House must come together and move Nigeria forward. It is not about party now; it about all of us.
Coming from a Constituency with three Local Government Areas, what are the things you think they lack and want to put in place?
In Ogun state, we have not even had a situation where the legislative arm had to work with the executive. It has been a one man government in the state as far back as 2003. First, we need a situation where everybody will work in harmony. If that is the situation as I believe it would be, then we the federal legislators will join the state government in improving the state. The state has been turned to a village, because it is a village that you don’t have water, electricity or good roads. Virtually all the towns in Ogun State don’t have good roads and potable water. We need to first concentrate on water which is a source of life. There is no one who does not need water.
What do you say to the idea of some federal constituencies having three local government areas and some having one?
I have always wondered about what is going on. Basically, the project allowance, and I am sure that is why you asked that question. I find it very disturbing that a local government is most likely given the same amount of constituency projects as another constituency of three local governments.
It is lopsided and ridiculous. If we are really sincere about development in this country, we need to review a lot of things so that it won’t make other legislators look as if they are not doing anything. Because if you give the same amount you give to a federal constituency which has one local government to another constituency with three local governments, the man with three local governments would be made to look stupid, which is very unfair
What other aspects do you think should be reviewed?
We need to review the security situation in the country. There are a lot of communities without any form of security for them. For example, in Ofada; one of the wards in my local government of Obafemi Owode, a lot of communities have sprung up in the last eight years and some of them do not even have a police post. I believe anywhere there are more than 8,000 to 10,000 people living, they should have police presence. Those people are crying out for protection, security of property and lives. They are being besieged by armed robbers. Ofada ward should even be a local government.
A police station in Ibafo is serving three communities. The population of Ofada is over 50,000. They registered 37,000 voters and if you look at the trend of voters registration, Nigeria registered 73 and we claim we are 150 million. Let’s say where you registered 37,000 you multiply it by two; so you are saying about 75000 people live in that area and they don’t have more than two police stations
Are you satisfied with the conduct of the elections so far?
The conduct, I would like to speak about after the elections. The elections, lets thank God has been better than the previous one. That is the most important thing. But I believe we can do better and I believe we will get it perfectly right in 2015. However, no one should be fooled, these elections have not been perfect and not near perfect.
The PDP won the last election as against the previous one in which your party won all the senatorial seats. What happened?
PDP did not win, Jonathan won.
How do you mean?
It is simple. Jonathan realizing what had become of PDP came out to advertise himself and personality. He did not advertise his party. All his campaign was to advertise himself. He wanted people to relate with him, so I guess people got his message and related with only Jonathan. Jonathan won the election, PDP did not win. An individual was voted for, not the party.
Are you now saying that in the next round, individuals will be voted for and not party?
It is a very interesting situation because the noise about ACN picking candidates through its own internal democracy, the party was smart enough to pick people they know are credible individuals. Using that and the party’s popularity, it is a win-win situation. You have credible candidates that people like and would vote for. The person is in a party they love. It is double victory.
So ACN is home and dry?