Hon. Olatunji Abiola Shoyinka represent’s Surulere Constituency 2 of Lagos State in the Federal House of Representatives. He spoke to Paul Yovo on burning topical issues of local and national Issues. Excerpts:
As the representative of the people how have you impacted the lives in your constituency?
You know there is something we have to state first, what people need is governance and to see that governance is working, I am a PDP man to the core but it is not only PDP members that voted for me or else I would not be where I am today. All I am saying is that the people of my constituency voted for me, they want me to come and represent them. We need to do things for our people to see in a democracy and how do we do that? We do that by bringing to them all things that are possible from the federal level. Yes we are the rep, but most people don’t know the work of the rep. When they see streets that are not tarred they blame the rep, they see a school that is not functioning they blame the rep, but it’s not supposed to be because the rep does not have budget to attend to such things. All we do is come to Abuja and present our problems and bring feed back to the constituency.
So what specifically are you doing or looking at?
Firstly, I want to make sure the youths are taken care of because once the youths are taken care of we are bound to make a lot of advancement in our country because the youths are the future leaders. In the face of current economic challenges, we need to make sure there is skill acquisition for the youths because once the youths are skilled they have about five to seven things that they can derive from it, for example, if there is a well skilled youth in a family that youth would be self-reliant. That is one vital point, the youth would be able to give money to his younger ones , that’s number two, then the youth now is taken away from the streets, that’s number three, the youth is useful to himself and community in terms of job creation and crime reduction, because an idle man is the devils workshop. So if we are able to get the youths engaged then we will stand to say that we are progressing. But that is not all, having skill is not all, if someone is skilled and he is not given what to work with and where to work then the skill is nothing, wasted, so in that respect, we should be mindful of what kind of skill we give out. So in my view skill acquisition is important for our youths, then other things would follow, that some form kick-start support.
What experience do you hope to bring to the table in law making?
Lawmaking has been something that has been in existence before I was born. So what I see and know is that we go to the floor of the house and we decide on what and what are to be done in the country as a whole not only in our constituencies because whatever law you make on the floor of the house does not only affect your constituency at the long run, it affects the whole country so in that wise we make sure that all those things that we do together in the floor of the house, are actually implemented. So we want to make sure whatever is been said at the floor of the house doesn’t end in the house alone.
Do you support the downward review of the lawmakers pay?
Salary reduction to me is not what I feel is right. Is it just because the President comes and said I am reducing my salary, how much is that salary? How much of the salary would help to make Nigeria a better place, how do you ensure productivity when you are not being given what is sufficient for you? So rather than cut the salary why don’t we reduce the number of lawmakers and make sure they are treated well, if they are five and they are not been treated well what is the point? So we are going back to square one. We are talking about corruption, you reduce my salary I cannot meet up with all my expenses corruption would set in, so it’s going back to what you are trying to stop. Restructuring is nice based on the fact that the revenue is not fort coming but not on the cutting of salary. A man that live at Kuje here in Abuja, spending more than 1000 naira everyday on transportation, minus feeding, housing so what do you want to cut out of that salary that would be efficient? So for me I don’t support the salary reduction but rather restructuring. If a minister has more than fifteen to twenty aids what is he doing with them, we can cut and make them efficient and there would be no commitment if am not efficiently mobilized or given what is necessary for me to work with.
What do you make of the anti-corruption fight of the present administration?
I support with all my heart the anti-corruption fight of Mr. President. If I have my way, I would want to be at the front of the crusade. But we must be very careful in doing this, I mean it should not be limited charactersing PDP as corrupt or else he is not likely to make a head way. We have not forgotten that about eight months before the election, some people defected from PDP and are in APC. Does that make them uncorrupt? We have some governors that we were that were in PDP but defected to APC does that mean they are not corrupt? The issue is not APC or PDP being corrupt, the issue is Nigerian as a corrupt economy and you and I are part of it. In this corruption crusade conviction is very important. Once people are convicted others would fall in line with the new anti-corruption spirit.
The issue is not APC or PDP being corrupt, the issue is Nigerian as a corrupt economy and you and I are part of it. In this corruption crusade conviction is very important. Once people are convicted others would fall in line with the new anti-corruption spirit.