Hon. Ipoola Omisore, who is representing Ifako Ijaiye Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly is not happy with the Nigerian political class.
Speaking about Nigeria’s 53rd Independence Anniversary, Omisore, who is the Chairman, Committee on House Services, said that Nigeria has nothing to celebrate and that something must be done urgently to prevent the military from taking over power in the nation.
The elderly politician spoke extensively on burning issues in this interview he granted us recently.
The independence anniversary of Nigeria is at the corner, do you think we have anything to celebrate after 53 years of being a nation?
Well, to me, we have nothing to celebrate, infact we are not likely to celebrate because if we are to celebrate, there would have been elaborate plans, but our president has been very busy fighting known and unknown enemies in the name of second term. What Nigeria needs at this period of independence are prayers, we really need to pray because 2015 is an ominous year. Former colonial master of Nigeria, Lord Frederick Lugard said that in 100 years, the arrangement may no longer be there and the United States of America predicted that by 2015 Nigeria would no longer be a federation and our leaders are working towards making those predictions reality.
Rather than celebrating, all Nigerians, not government alone, should set aside the Friday and Sunday next to it or before it for special prayers for this nation because we the political class are leading Nigeria to the brink.
Our president has not been able to do anything for the past three months just because he wants to get his party’s endorsement not even that of Nigerians. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is in disarray, we have surrendered government to new godfathers. I have not seen a situation, where the President of a nation would stand behind somebody who would be reading an address like he did, when the BOT Chairman of the party, Chief Tony Anenih was reading an address to the press, he was behind him. It shows that he has lost control, the Northerners are determined to get that presidency or there will be no Nigeria, I don’t how you can wine and dine in that process. The immediate past Chairman of PDP, Baraje is the Chairman of a new PDP, so there is problem in this country. We in the opposition are waiting in the wings to take over and election year is approaching, I want to say that sincerely we need to pray because 2015 may signal the end of this country.
Don’t you think that the opposition has kept the people in suspense as they have not produced or presented an alternative presidential aspirant or candidate?
I believe that our party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) may not allow anybody to stampede us into rushing to pick a candidate. Three different heads (parties) are meeting together and it is going to take time to select somebody, we cannot rush into it or else, we will run into trouble. Consultation is the order of the day, we don’t need to rush, the cardinal point or programme of the party has been listed, the number one on it is fighting corruption, that would signal to you, who is likely to be our candidate, but whenever we pronounce it, Nigerians would be happy. We really need to think and search for a better leader, election is two years away, so we should not be rushed, infact more people are coming in and politicians don’t like that you conclude everything before they come in, so we will do that at the appropriate time.
Can we then say that the political class has failed to deliver?
Have we ever delivered, we have failed, there is no gainsaying, we have failed, but there is no replacement. The alternative is military and it is not a good alternative. What we got wrong is that we are slow learners, we have read history of democracy in the United Kingdom over 600 years, we have read about the United States of America, but we have refused to learn, we don’t need to go through what they went through, can we afford another 600 years. I believe in prayers, but every nation gets the leadership they deserve, in some nations, you can’t rig elections there, they will go to the streets and they will not go home until they get their results. After the annulment of June 12 1993 election, which was presumably won by Chief M.K.O Abiola, we came out, had it been we were dogged, it won’t happen, but Nigerians have never been dogged. I was on a programme in Britain on a radio station and I was giving credit to Lagos State and a Nigerian called me that it is just one out of 36, it is not a pass mark, I said Akwa Ibom State is also trying, he said that is 2/36, he said is that good. So, I was sober on hearing that, even the performance of Lagos is not better than that of Atlanta City in America, a city in the US would do better. So, where are we going?
President Jonathan is asking for assistance to fight terrorism, what do you say to that?
It is not just terrorism, I read his speech, he was telling President Barack Obama of the United States of America that if he wanted to fix the world, he has to fix Africa, he has to fix Nigeria, I think what we lack is will power and the President is not strong, if you are not bold, you can’t lead Nigeria, if you are indecisive, you cannot rule Nigeria. Somebody say he banned Boko Haram and he is talking to them secretly, he said he has removed Governor Rotimi Amaechi from the PDP and after sometime, he said he can come back. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo will never say something and go back, for every step President Jonathan takes, he takes two backwards. I saw on the television yesterday, where Asari Dokubo is now a football tournament chief patron because money has come, he is now a personality in Abuja, a common criminal is now protecting pipelines and earning billions of naira, don’t they have pipelines in other countries. The leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasehun is lobbying to get his own, Otunba Gani Adams will soon get, very soon, I too will lead some people in Ilesha, Osun State, when a nation loses direction, it is the leadership, the President should be told in plain language that he cannot do it.
There was gross voters’ apathy in the local government election in Cross Rivers State, what does it signal to our democracy?
Was there any election, the election that was not announced, if care is not taken, the military will take over, if people don’t believe in ballot box, then there would be problem. Look at what happened in Jigawa State whereby despite the fact that INEC confirmed that the names of ACN, CPC and ANPP have been removed, they still put the names on ballot papers. Now, PDP scored 20,000 in a bye-election, APC scored 19,000, CPC scored 6,000, ANPP scored too, how could you confuse people to vote wrongly. People are not interested and if they are frustrated, anything can happen, we have to pray, call election in Lagos State today, how many people will go out to vote. They know that their vote might not count, if the ballot does not count, you are calling for anarchy. People don’t even know that October 1 is coming, you put 44 elders together for election and you put dead bodies there. Obasanjo has told Jonathan in confidence, but the man would not listen, Lamido is his choice, but he has lost control of the party. Obasanjo should just leave politics and become our own Nelson Mandela of South Africa. If he can be our Mandela, he would have been able to lead this country, he is a great man, but once he is partisan, he would not enjoy the grace God has given him.
We Will Not Indulge Any Erring Ministry or Agency
-Lagos Lawmakers, Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla
Lagos State Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are currently going through the annual ritual of defending their expenditure before the state House of Assembly.
As revealed by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts Committee (State), Hon. Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla (BYA), the MDAs are now more careful with what they do and their records as they know that their books would be scrutinized.
BYA, who spoke during the exercise, said that the committee would not cover any lapses and that whatever happens after the whole exercise, the entire members of LSHA has to debate the reports of the committee before the House would pass its resolution on annual exercise.
What have you found out from inspecting the books of the MDAs in the ongoing assessment?
This is an oversight function of the legislator on the parastatals, ministries and the MDAs in the state so that we can check whether the tax payers’ money is being spent judiciously on all what they are meant for in the budget. What we found out is that there are little lapses in their balance sheet of some of the MDAs as they did not do the retiring of the vouchers as at when due, which they later did. But we have been telling them that the proper retirement has to be done because the financial rules regulations demand that all invoices and receipts must be attached to the vouchers before the payment is done. We are very happy that there has been much improvement from the Auditor General’s Report of 2011, the dos and don’ts that we told them, they have complied completely. So, Lagos State is working, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola is working.
You said that you corrected them in the past, has there been occasions, where you sanction any MDA to serve as a deterrent to others?
We believe that there should be no one to be sanctioned based they have been doing what we told them after the Auditor General Report of 2011. They are making sure that they retire all the necessary documents that should be attached to the papers, if we find anyone wanting, we will surely report to the Lagos State House of Assembly because everything we do in the committee level has to be taken to the floor of the House, we have to lay the report and everything would be debated on the floor of the House before the conclusion, which will now become the resolution of the House.
Sir, beyond what you do here, do you inspect the projects that ought to be on ground as specified by the MDAs because it is always easy to present reports?
We go out for inspection of some of the projects, but the first stage is to look at the books, look at the figure, then after that, we can now go for proper inspection of various projects and items bought. But, we have to pick them at random because Lagos State is a big place, if you bring six or seven items, we may just pick three of them. We meet the contractors and see the job they have done based on the money they have done an do checks and balances on the money collected and the jobs done.
What are the challenges of doing the job?
It is stressful because we normally see between 12 and 14 MDAs everyday and it is a lot of job apart from that, the legislature job requires that you look at the Auditor General’s Report page by page, check the appendix. I won’t say it is challenging because that is what we are paid to do.
So, how would you describe the performances of the MDAs generally in the last few years?
I would say it is fair because it is better than that of 2011 and they are improving day by day. They now know that there is somebody in the Assembly that would look at their books and works, so they are more careful.
What do you do when you discover discrepancies in the documents?
We are a committee, we will write reports, then the report would be presented to the House and it would be debated and a resolution would be passed. The House has the supreme power on what to do, our own is to prepare the reports and recommend to the House.
How many MDAs have you attended to so far?
Let us say about 99 and we are still expecting more.
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