Hon. Ramotallahi Akinola-Hassan represents the people of Amuwo-Odofin Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly. Her area covers Kirikiri, Agboju, Amuwo, satellite, Ijegun, Barracks, Ibeshe, Imore, Ilase, Ologun, Ilado, and others. The seasoned politician inherited politics from her father, the late Alhaji Yinus Adis Akinola and she has been contributing her quota to the development of her area and the state since she got to the Assembly in 2011.
The woman, who said it is God that would decide her next move, speaks on many issues in this interview with Oladipupo Awojobi.
What development projects have you been able to bring to your constituency?
In 2011, I gave two communities 100 slates to roof their town halls, I gave four generating sets to some communities. I facilitated six transformers into my constituency and the renovation of three schools. The one in Ilase has been completed and the other ones too are being completed. On my 30 days in office, I gave free GCE Forms, on my six months in office, I gave 100 GCE Forms, I gave 116 JAMB forms to them also. I give financial assistance to the people regularly and I give N50,000 to Oriade Sisters every month. I give the party LGAs N50,000 every month. I distributed exercise books to primary schools in my constituency. During festive periods, I give out items.
How has it been as a female lawmaker, people feel the job is for men, especially as a married woman?
Politics is a very good game, my father was a politician, and I stepped into his shoes, I have not found it stressful, the only problem is the demand of the people from you. They believe legislators are like council chairmen and that they use bags to pick money. We are legislators, we don’t give out contracts, the little money we give is from our salaries and imprest. My family loves my work, I sweep my room, I go to the market, I don’t send anybody, I wash my husband’s clothings and take care of my little boy. I don’t allow my job to disturb my family and my family does not disturb my job. I don’t do late night meetings. I have never done till day break meeting since I got to the House, I only did it once. When my father was alive, he did not do late night meetings. Any meeting he wanted to do, he did it at day time.
Do you see a woman becoming governor or president of Nigeria soon?
I wish it happens, there was a time we went to Kigali, Rwanda, a woman was their prime minister, you know women are mothers, we know how it feels to bear children. There is no way a woman will be there that she would not perform, some people say women are wicked and all that, it depends on the way you are brought up by your family. What a man can do, a woman can do better.
Have you ever had any experience that shook you?
I have had big challenges, I am facing one now. During the campaign period, I told them I am not promising anybody anything, and that I would only do what God helps me to do, and that I won’t do beyond my capacity. Some people would come and say ‘you promised me a car,’ where will I get money to buy a car for someone? I am not a council chairman that gets allocation every month. They will tell you ‘my wife had a baby, we are doing burial, my child got admission,’ and all that. The challenges are much.
Have you done empowerment programme for your people?
I remember 2010, the former deputy governor of Lagos State did an empowerment programme in my area, she bought sewing machines, dryers, grinding machines for the people in Oriade area. As she was giving them, people were selling them at cheap prices, so, how do you expect me to buy something of N10,000 or N15,000 and people sell it for N4,000. What I have in mind is that I am giving out forms to people who want to learn soap making and all that, I will sponsor the trainings, after that, we will assist them to start producing.
Are you fulfilled having won election into the state house of assembly?
I didn’t want to come here actually, I just wanted to keep my fathers’ name going, he was Chief Yinus Adisa Akinola aka Double Chief, I wanted to get an appointment into the government. My father was a very loyal man in UPN, AD, AC and CAN before his death.
What is your opinion about the national conference organized by the Federal Government?
I have to agree with what my party says, I am here through the party, so as a loyal party member I support them, so we are not in support of the conference.
The 2015 election is approaching, do you see the election being free and fair and what is your opinion about electronic voting?
Everything depends on God, He knows all, you may say you are going to Jamaica and God says you are not going anywhere. Nobody can hold water or air in the hand, APC is a peace loving party and we expect a free and fair election. Electronic voting would be manipulated since they would use computer. I remember in the 80s, our leaders would tell us to watch their hands, and we formed large queues. They should allow the normal thing of queuing and thumb-printing. All the same, I don’t have trust in the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega. President Goodluck Jonathan is visiting states in the country, this is what he has not done all these while, now he went to Badagry, he went with Musiliu Obanikoro and others. It is only God that can intervene in the affairs of Nigeria. In Abeokuta, Ogun State they did not have modern bridges until now, they are also using traffic light now. A lot of roads have been tarred by Governor Ibikunle Amosun, they are copying what Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu started as Lagos Governor then, which is what the current Governor of Lagos, Babatunde Raji Fashola is doing, the same thing is being done by Governors of APC states. PDP has nothing to offer than to promote corruption, they are looking for $20 Billion, it is the money President Jonathan is spending all about, giving Obas and the rest. This is the money that belongs to all of us, they are being spent by individuals.
What is your view on the issue of Boko Haram and the security problem in Nigeria?
What I know is that members of Boko Haram are not from Nigeria, they are from Niger, Mali and Cameroun. They are being supported by people in power, when an armed robber is coming into a house; he has an informant in there. If they should kill everybody, who will the government rule over, is it dead bodies? When we went to Kigali in Rwanda, I couldn’t sleep for days, when I saw the way people were being killed.
Are you now saying that our borders are bad?
Yes, they are porous, now in Lagos, we are doing residential registration, later we will know the real residents of the state. They had wanted to come here, but they were stopped at Berger Junction. Registration is good for the whole country. In London, when you get to the airport, they would ask you for your residential permit and as a visitor, they would ask for your international passport and visa. There is a form they are going to give you and you will state how many days you will spend there.
What is your advice to the Federal Government on the killings by Boko Haram?
President Goodluck Jonathan should do something about it, the government should deplore soldiers and mobile policemen to the borders. May be they are even sponsoring the sect members.
Have you done enough to deserve a second term?
Everything lies on God, He has the final say, when there is life, there is hope. You may say this is your plan for tomorrow; it is God that would decide.
Who are your godfathers and mothers?
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Hon. Muiz Banire, Cardinal James Odumbaku, Alhaji Sanni, Prince Rabiu Oluwa, Baba Ajakaiye, Senator Remi Tinubu, Deputy Governor of Lagos, Orelope Adefulire, former deputy governor, Adebisi Sarah Sosan, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. (Hon.) Adeyemi Sabit Ikuforiji and many others.
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