Hon. Joseph Iranola Akinlaja, Member representing Ondo West and East Federal Constituency at the hallowed Green Chamber of National Assembly recently had an exclusive chat with Daramola Bolaji, Osungbemiro Bankole and Adegunloye Kayode of EkimogunMirror.com.
In the interview, Honourable Akinlaja dwelled on some fundamental issues; his performance as a member House Representatives, the present state of the nation’s economy and his advice on the way forward, his assessment of the present APC led Federal Government, the benefits of voting Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) in the November 26th election amongst other issues.
What should the people of your Constituency expect during your second tenure as MHR?
Well you already know that am not the first and by God’s grace I won’t be the last but I have tried my best possible to impact positively in my constituency Ondo East and West in my first term in office from 2011 to 2016, now am in the 2nd term. The first term I did a lot of projects. I decided to lighten up rural communities, if you get to Bolorunduro, Oboto, Lomitoto you see solar power. The general hospital in Ondo town, I put the solar power very close to the mortuary so that Ghosts won’t come and frighten the people (He joked). The place used to be very dark at nights and when I got there I felt it’s not nice because people sleep there with their patients and relatives, they shouldn’t be bitten by snakes so I put the solar power there.
Then I also repaired some schools in some areas that their schools are dilapidated. In Bagbe area I constructed solar power boreholes and also repaired some schools even at Erinketa here in Ondo. While I was young we used to fetch water at a stream called Okuudu now they drink clean water. At some point I also organised skill acquisition for the people both young and old. They make tie and die and so on. I didn’t stop at that, I gave them 80,000 naira each and they had the training and I also empowered them.
So anywhere in the constituency both in the rural and urban I have tried to impact their lives. My people should even expect more during this new terms as we have loads of project to keep improving lives.
Which Bill have you drafted or sponsored as a MHR?
The work of bill takes a lot of process and I can assure you that I have drafted the bill on social security, although those who are conservative are opposing the bill but in my mind I believe if there’s money set aside for the unemployed and the Old, there would be less money to steal. And it would centralize the implementation of the local govt. If your local government did not give you the money you know that the family will not rest, so we need to imbibe leadership discipline and aam glad am a part of these.
As the Chairman House Committee on Downstream Oil Sector, What can Ondo State benefit?
Well have used my position recently to call all the stakeholders to meet on bitumen, those who utilizes bitumen, how they source it. Those who produce bitumen and I also used the opportunity to tell them to tar sand with bitumen in the Southern Senatorial District of our state. We are working on the bill and that’s why we are calling for true federalism in Nigeria where states would be able to exploit the mineral resources in their states to develop the state and give a part to the federal for the betterment of the country. So I am using my position as the chairman committee on downstream to call people and to see how we can develop the tar sands.
I also work with my colleagues representing Ilaje/Ese odo, Irele/Okitipupa and Odigbo/Ile-oluji/Okeigbo Federal Constituencies to see what we can do to improve our take in NDDC.
What is your verdict on Buhari’s Administration and the CHANGE mantra?
Yes things have changed negatively, people are in pain, we are only trying to use pain to treat another pain. This is not the type of change that people deserve, they deserve change positively. It also shows that Buhari was looking for leadership but was not prepared. Mimiko struggled for a while to become the governor of this state and when he eventually became the governor he worked for the state, building the economic growth of the state. The transformation in Ondo state is unprecedented so to me what Buhari is doing now is vengeance. He specializes in vengeance and the economy is reduced to the background. I can only hope that Nigeria would get better.
What role can the NASS play to cushion the effect of the present economic recession?
We are going to meet to ensure that this budget is implemented and implemented fully because the money we have is enough to fund the budget for this year. Then we will also rush them to quickly submit the budget for next year, so that before December we would conclude work on it and then from January implementation should start.
It is sad that in Nigeria budget are signed in May when the rain is about to start and you can’t do construction work in the rain so if we approve the budget earlier by December and signed in January, we would have the dry season to construct roads. We should be doing things at the time that is necessary not doing things at wrong times.
What do the people of your constituency tend to gain by voting PDP in the November Guber Poll?
Well I would say my appeal to my constituency is to continue to support PDP, it is a party to which His Excellency Dr. Olusegun Mimiko believes in and we have always supported him in this constituency. What we stand to gain is continuity. The Medical village, the University of Medical Sciences, we see what Akungba used to be but today Akungba is a big town because of the University. So the continuity of this good work is what people will benefit from.