Lagos lawmaker, who is representing Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency 1 in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Dayo Saka Fafunmi, has lent his voice to those of others calling for a decisive action against the members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
Fafunmi, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local) insisted that the killing of about 40 students at the Federal Government College, Bini Yabi, Yobe State was unfortunate, adding that we are wasting the lives of the nation’s future leaders.
He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to wake up to his responsibility in providing security for the people. He also described the suspension of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as unconstitutional.
The lawmaker, who declared that he is interested in going to the assembly for the third term in 2015, said that he has been taking dividends of democracy to his people through people-oriented projects.
How would you describe the attack on students in Buni Yadi, Yobe and Adamawa by Boko Haram members and how can their activities be curbed by the government?
The insurgence of Boko Haram in the north eastern part of Nigeria that led to the death of 40 students should be condemned in its entirety, and totally. I don’t know why President Goodluck Jonathan has not come out to address the nation on this. We are a country of about 160 million people, life is so precious that he should be concerned, even if a life is lost, not as a result of the actions or inactions of that person, the government should come out and condemn it and provide succour to the families of the bereaved. I have not seen anywhere in the world, where over 40 people would be killed at once and the president would not address the nation. It is in Nigeria that human lives do not have meaning. The activities of Boko Haram need to be addressed with an uncommon approach. It has been established that most of the Boko Haram members do not live in Nigeria, what are the soldiers doing? Are President Goodluck Jonathan and his Special Adviser on Security saying they cannot block our borders? Even decentralizing policing is another method; allow local governments to have their police system with men, who are local people. Policing should not be left in the hands of the Federal Government alone. It still boils down to the call of state police and local council police. The council police might not carry ammunitions, but they should have communication gadgets, then they can give information to the right quarters at the right time. Book Haram members do not use metaphysical powers, they are not magicians. It is not carrying out operations on the land alone, what stops the government from having air force base close in that area so that they can attack them on the air. How many soldiers are there in the affected states, if you allow indigenes and the indigents form the area to police the areas, you would have faithful and trusted allies. Police should not be thrown open such that anybody could just join the force. He should be referred to his roots like his local leader.
Let me use Lagos as an example, your community would have a ‘Baale,’ (local leader) or someone that can attest to your character in your community, so whoever wants to join the police would be investigated. But because we don’t gather such information, foreigners join the forces. If you comb the Nigerian armed forces and the police, you would see foreigners there and this is the worst thing that can happen to any nation in terms of security. If the president is ready to embrace change, and attack the issue of Boko Haram with all the seriousness it deserves, it would be okay. It is a national calamity, there was a time the president could not go to the Eagles Square in Abuja for a Independence Anniversary parade; it is that bad. I want to join others who have condemned the killings of the students; the president should see himself as the father of the nation. He should see the children that lost their lives as members of his own family and feel the pains and empathize with the family and see how painful it is so that he could take a step that would curb the menace of Boko Haram activities in Nigeria.
Governor Kasshim Shettima of Borno State said that Boko Haram members are better armed and more motivated than the Nigerian Army, do you agree with him?
How can Boko Haram be more sophisticated than a nation, are they larger than the nation. If it is beyond us, let us seek external assistance, let us seek support from Britain since we were once their colony and we will get to the roots of this. I don’t see why Boko Haram would be richer than Nigeria as a nation, it is unheard of. I can’t fathom any reason where a set of people would be richer than a nation except the nation is not ready to address the issue. It is like a litmus test for him, if he cannot address the state of insecurity in the country, I don’t know what could happen.
We have just started our Centenary Celebration of this country; do we have anything to celebrate?
I would say the timing is wrong, Nigeria should be in a pensive mood, we should be mourning the loss of over 40 lives, who knows if one of these children would be the one to turn around the situation of Nigeria. To be in a Federal Government College is not an easy task, he must be an intelligent child to be admitted, for them to be killed all in the name of fighting the government is wrong. It might even be a ploy for them to send people away from school since Boko Haram means western education is bad. As they are killing and maiming innocent children, what future is there for the country? If anything affects a part, it becomes the problem of the whole country. President Jonathan should not see it as Yobe, Borno or Adamawa State problem alone, he should see it as a problem of the nation that requires urgent action. One of the issues I have with the president was when he said if he decided to remove the military from Borno State that the Governor would not be there the next day, I think this is wrong, he should see it as a national problem. He should support the Governor regardless of the party, even if it is a party that is totally against his party. He swore to uphold the sovereignty of the nation, which include Yobe State. If he now wants to bring political belief into this, it is not good.
The Governor of the CBN, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was recently suspended by President Jonathan, is the suspension worth it?
Ever since the President came on board, he has been talking about fighting corruption, but it appears he is talking from the two sides of his mouth. If you are fighting corruption, you are expected to protect the whistle blower not to fire him. This is a man that has adequate information on the amount of crude oil that was exported and he informed the senate and the entire Nigerians that the returns on crude oil exportation are short of $20 Billion. If this money that we are talking about is in our economy, is it not enough to solve our power problem as a nation, if that alone is solved, don’t you think the whole Nigeria would be celebrating him as a president irrespective of his political affiliation or party. We should leave politics out of this, the moment you are in the office; your interest should be about governance. The suspension of the Governor of the CBN is wrong because of the CBN act. He ought to seek the support of the 2/3 of the senate to do that, but it would be difficult for Mr. President to get 2/3 of the present senate and he now decided to suspend Lamido, who had just three months to retire, he has the power not to renew his mandate, why not let him complete his tenure and allow him to go away. He knew what he saw and he decided not to keep quiet because he believes in change and change is imminent whether we like it or not. For over 53 years, we have not been able to solve our basic problems as a nation such as electricity, provision of food, and shelter, we have not solved any of these. This man, by virtue of his office, saw the rot in the system and he felt like blowing the whistle and you are sending him away. Are you now fighting or aiding corruption, it is a way of silencing any other person, who would have spoken out like that in the future. Such office like that of the Governor of the CBN enjoys some level of immunity, which is why the president does not have power to remove him. He is holding money for the entire nation, the president should not see him as his own banker, he is the banker of the whole nation. That is where the federation account is kept and the money in the federation account does not belong to Mr. President, but to all Nigerians. He has access to 52.8%, which is outrageous considering what they are doing. If the president allows the next person to just take over without proposing a replacement for Sanusi, no one would have castigated him, we probably would have said he acted within the confines of his power, but he has acted in excess of his power, which is wrong. Suspension of Sanusi and substation with another person is removal; he does not have such power. The National Assembly should do the needful by not approving the replacement until Sanusi’s tenure expires. If the president is bent on removing him at all cost, he should allow the senate to do their job if he could get 2/3 of the senate.
Can you summarize your stewardship in the Assembly and are you fulfilled as a lawmaker?
Almost all lawmakers would have one or two challenges, in my constituency, I have been able to touch some lives, I have touched the young minds such as those in primary and secondary schools, and school leavers. Some are enjoying scholarship, bursary and some have other benefits such as free ICT training, free fashion training, free transportation for primary and secondary school students. These are things that ordinarily, a lawmaker might not do, but because of the peculiarity of my people I am doing them. I want to consolidate on all the programmes that I run presently. I will empower those learning fashion designing with sewing machines after training, I mean those who have been confirmed to be serious by their instructors of being capable of starting on their own. The people embrace the projects, they are happy. What I see as my major challenge is that some political leaders in the constituency want you to concentrate only on the political class. But, I usually believe in touching as many lives as people, which is what our leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu believes in, he does not only take care of party members, he takes care of the masses. That is why he is an acceptable and undisputable leader in the state and in the country. Our political leaders in the area believe you must take instruction from them before you do anything.
What do you look forward to as you cross to another year after your recent birthday, and what is your next ambition?
I hope it would be my year of fulfillment, year of purpose and service to humanity.
My ambition is to seek re-election into the assembly in 2015.
What have you influenced into your constituency since you got here?
I have influenced lots of road construction into my constituency in Ifako/Ijaiye, notable among them is College Road that is under construction, it is a state-of-the-art road. The approval was given in 2010 by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. There is also a bye-pass and link road that leads to Obawole. It takes away traffic, you go through Ajayi Road to Abiola Onijemo Junction, and then you are in Obawole within three minutes instead of 10 or 15 minutes journey. By the time these roads are completed, the perennial traffic jams in the area would be a thing of the past.
I want to thank the state Commissioner for Works, Dr. Femi Hamzat for approving the construction of College Road. The road was approved in 2010 before he got to office, but the person there then said that there was no fund for its construction, but when Dr. Hamzat came, he felt every part of the state should benefit from the state’s resources. He assisted me by awarding the contract for the construction of the roads in the area. I could only get the approval, but I cannot get it awarded, it is the job of the ministry to do that. I want to thank him for that and for the other roads that are being constructed in the area.
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