We Have Not Performed Well In The House Of Reps – Jimoh | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Have Not Performed Well In The House Of Reps – Jimoh

Abdulraheem Jimoh
Posted: May 1, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Honourable Abdulraheem Olajide Jimoh popularly called J.J, currently represents Lagos  Mainland Federal  Constituency in the  House  of  Representatives. An astute politician, he was a two- time member of the Lagos State House of  Assembly from 1999- 2007 as well as the  Executive Chairman, Yaba Local Council  Development Area (LCDA) from 2008 – 2014. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the state of the nation, experience in the Green chamber and other sundry issues Excerpts:

It is almost a year since you were elected by the people of Lagos Mainland to represent them in the House of Reps. How has been the experience so far?

To begin, I give thanks to Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth for the gift of life and the privilege he has given me to serve my people. I also want to extend my gratitude to the leadership of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the good people of Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency for finding me worthy as a capable person to be their representative at the House of Reps. They have been very supportive. I have served them in the past and I am happy today that I am still serving.  I promise to continue to serve them to the best of my ability, with sincerity and competence in order to ensure that they get quality and adequate representation at all times. Legislative experience is not new to me. On my experience so far in the House of Reps, I am not new in the system of legislative business.  Having served in the Lagos State House of Assembly for 8 years, I can confidently say that I know the rudiments of legislature and lawmaking. From June 2015 when I was inaugurated as a member of the House of Reps, I have held stakeholders and empowerment meetings with my people three times consecutively.  I am looking forward to have another briefing where I will present my scorecard to the people by June 2016, which will mark my one year in office. In terms, of representation, I can say that I have represented them well.  So far, I have sponsored two bills.  I have also contributed my quota in terms of motions and resolutions. I have participated actively in the activities of the House and I have series of motions that has been passed into resolutions by the House of Reps, courtesy of my collaboration with others. But I want to say that as a House, we have not done well in the last one year. By this I mean that a lot of people are expecting change to have happened in the legislative arm of government. The only way this change can come about is by collaboration and cooperation with the executive arm of government so that the dividends of democracy will be manifest to the electorates. I am promising Nigerians that in the coming weeks, things will change for the better.

You said the House of Reps has performed below expectation in the last one year. Do you think this as a result of the leadership tussle that emerged following the emergence of Yakubu Dogara as Speaker?

That is not what I mean. When I say that we have not done well as a House, there are so many things that we should have done by now; like a quick review of the constitution. There are many grey areas that need to be reviewed. A lot of Nigerians have been expecting that to happen in the last few years. If by now we have not started, I don’t know when we are going to start. Very soon, we will be warming up for another transition; either from one government to another or from the same government to itself. I was expecting that since we have unveiled the legislative plans of our government, especially in the National Assembly, one would have expected that after six months, we would have achieved a lot. But as far as I am concerned, we are still crawling.

How have you benefited from the experience of ranking members in the House?

Like I said earlier, the act of legislating is nothing strange to me having been a member of the Lagos state House of Assembly from 1999- 2007. From my contributions so far in the House of Reps, some people may find it hard to believe that I am a first-timer in the green chamber. God has blessed me with ability to learn very quickly and adapt well to any situation I find myself. I also take exquisite delight in working with others so that we can achieve a common goal. So, my experience with the ranking members of the House has been a fantastic one and I hope it will continue to grow in the days ahead.

Looking at the state of the nation, it is almost a year since President Buhari was sworn –in but there are complaints in some quarters that he is finding it difficult to deliver the change promised. What is your perspective on this?

There are many mistakes that we always make as Nigerians. One of such is that we tend to forget that this nation has been wrecked and brought on her knees by the immediate past administration. One can liken the Nigerian situation to that of a collapsed building. If someone comes around to reconstruct that building, definitely, he has to lay a good foundation and this will take time. I believe that what President Buhari is doing now is trying to rebuild Nigeria by putting a solid foundation in place. All over the world, any country that fails to provide adequate security for its citizens cannot be called a nation. Security of lives and property is the cardinal responsibility of any serious government. This country has been battered by the activities of Boko Haram. Now, Mr. President has been addressing this challenge by waging a relentless war against Boko Haram insurgents and we are achieving results in that area. Now that peace is returning, especially in the troubled North –east region, I believe we should commend him to do more. In the area of corruption, the president has also declared a total war on this hydra-headed monster, which has been the bane of progress and development of this country. During his electioneering campaign, he talked about waging a total war against corruption, stabilising the economy, tackling insecurity and other key issues. Amongst those things mentioned, I believe that he has achieved 50 percent of that now. So, by the time the issue of corruption is addressed thoroughly, peace is restored throughout the country, then the economy will change for the better and every other thing will follow. On the issue of poor power supply, I am glad that a state of emergency has been declared in that sector. It is also heartwarming that the president has appointed competent hands to work with him and I believe that very soon, Nigerians will be glad they voted for this change.

But what is your take on the foreign trips of the president, which some critics have described as too frequent?


Is it the frequency of the trips that should bother these ones or the productivity? I think what should be of paramount importance to Nigerians is what we stand to benefit from those trips. Some people are just criticising without reasoning. A government that has just come in to repair the image of Nigeria in the international community and to improve our economy will have to embark on these foreign trips. I think we should give kudos to this man.  Unlike before, the image of Nigeria has greatly improved in the international community. Before, when you travel and they hear that you are from Nigeria, they will begin to suspect you as a fraudster or terrorist. But now, if you travel out of this country and you present your Nigerian passport, people look at you with admiration and they say things like ‘you now have a good president’. Those in Nigeria may not really understand the import of the president’s foreign trips but Nigerians living abroad do.  Through the president’s foreign trips, Nigeria that was almost a pariah nation is now being recognised as a country of serious-minded people. These are productive trips in the interest of the country. At least, we see the pictures of what transpired on those trips. They are not leisure trips. You see the president holding meetings with world leaders. He also travels with his ministers so that they can get ideas on how to improve in their assignments. So, those criticising the president on his foreign trips are not sincere. We need constructive criticisms that will help the president move this country forward not these type of criticisms.

Just as Nigeria is getting out of the Boko Haram crisis, we are faced with the attacks of Fulani herdsmen. How do you think this challenge can be addressed?

I am happy that the president addressed the National Executive Council meeting last Wednesday and he has promised that he will take decisive action on the issue of these Fulani herdsmen. Inasmuch as I condemn the killings, I wouldn’t want to make comments that will be derogatory to any tribe or section of the country.  I will suggest that we look inward and tackle all these issues headlong, be it Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, Biafra agitation or Boko Haram. Nigerians should be able to walk about without fear and sleep with their two eyes closed at nights. Be that as it may, I want to implore the relevant agencies to fish out and bring to justice whoever is behind these barbaric killings, be it in Enugu, Agatu or other places. As Nigerians, we should endeavour to be our brother’s keepers, tolerate one another and fear God in all we do.

Are you satisfied with the governance of Lagos State under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode?

In fact, the governor has performed creditably well. If I am to assess him now, I will score him 97.9 percent in terms of service delivery to Lagosians. Just name any sector that the governor has not touched. He has touched virtually every sector in the state. He is a very pragmatic and proactive governor who concentrates on his job without making noise about it.  In terms of IGR, he has improved it drastically. Also, in the area of security, he has performed well. Just look at the approach he took when the three female students were abducted in Ikorodu. Also, look at the proactive manner with which he handled the Mile 12 market crisis, something that could have led to national crisis. In the area of road construction, the facts are there. Federal roads are being repaired, street lights are everywhere, especially in dark places which are crime prone areas. At nights, Lagos is looking like advanced countries like Dubai or London. If you show some people the picture of Lagos at night, they won’t believe that it is Lagos because it looks like New York.

When he first came in, there was upsurge in crime rate in the state and this is because some notorious elements want to test him to see if they can give his government a bad name. But now, they have retreated having seen that Ambode is a no-nonsense governor who will not joke with the security of lives and properties of Lagosians.  The governor has said though he hails from Epe, he will not be the governor of Epe but governor of the whole of Lagos. I believe that Lagosians have not seen anything yet. If he can do all this less than a year after his inauguration, just imagine what he will do in the next three years. I am glad I campaigned for him and I give thanks to God for giving us a man like Ambode. We also give thanks to the national leader of our great party, the enigmatic and charismatic Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for that vision; for believing in Ambode as the right man to continue from where he (Tinubu) and (Babatunde) Fashola stopped. I am glad the governor is consolidating on those achievements.

The local governments’ election in Lagos is coming up soon, What qualities do you think electorates should look for in their leaders. Also, do you see the opposition PDP as a threat?

I want Lagosians, especially the good people of Yaba Local Council Development Area (LCDA) where I was a two-time council chairman to elect competent hands as their administrators. Such leaders must be God-fearing and people of integrity that will be willing to offer selfless service to the people. I am not surprised that PDP said they will capture all the 57 local governments in the state. They are synonymous with capturing. They have been making that threat since 1999, yet they have not been able to capture not even a single local government.  The reality is that people don’t like them due to their failed promises. Look at the recent election in FCT. All the local councils, were won by APC and one by APGA. What stops PDP from winning just one? Yet, they have been in control of the councils since 1999. They keep talking about capturing states and local governments. When they were in the helm of affairs as the ruling party in Nigeria, what stopped them from capturing Boko Haram? I see their words as empty threats which Lagosians should ignore. Any student will tell you that he will score A1 in Mathematics or English. It is normal. It is until the result is out that you now see that his boast is just empty.