For most of those at the bottom ladder of the political class, things have changed suddenly as most of the political office holders who flung their doors open and were readily accessible just before the elections have suddenly become scarce commodities. Some of those who spoke to Street Journal disclosed that they don’t even get the honour of seeing their representatives on television.
Street Journal’s findings have revealed that of all the members of the National Assembly from Oyo State, Hon. Mudashiru Kamil Akinlabi of the Federal House of Reps seems to be the most vocal. He contributes sensibly and passionately to debates. He also discharges hs duties well as the Chairman of the House Committee on Youth Development. His constituents expressed satisfaction on his performance. An indigene in Atiba where Akinlabi comes from disclosed that the lawmaker’s “feat during the last dispensation earned him a return ticket to the House and the people have not regretted it”.
The same thing cannot however be said about most of the other Reps.
In other states, lawmakers celebrated their first year in office in different ways. The Senator representing Ondo Central District recently gave back to his constituency and it was in an unprecedented manner. The Senator gave out 33 cars, 2 MAN Diesel trucks, about 140 motorcycles, 50 hair clippers and 85 hair dryers as part of his programme aimed at empowering his constituents. He is also working on a constituency office building in which each of the six Local Government Areas that make up the Senatorial District will have an office. The building will also house skill acquisition centres, about N 75 million is expected to be spent on the building.
While speaking to Street Journal, Seun Adewale, an Oyo indigene expressed disappointment at the quality of representation Oyo State is getting at the National Assembly. He disclosed that “it is doubtful if most of our reps even attend sittings. We hardly get to see them, even on television”, he concluded. When BarristerTayo Oladele, an Ibadan based legal practitioner was asked for comments on the performance of representatives from Oyo State, he said “what kind of performance are you expecting from them? What do they know about governance? Are you even sure they go to the House? Even Muraina, who we thought would know better as a lawyer is a disappointment. When you watch the proceedings on television you will find out that most of the seats are empty. It is a pity the country is being run this way.”
Incidentally, it is the same story in almost all the constituencies. In Ibadan North East South East Federal constituency, it is being said in some quarters that after her visit to victims of last year’s flood which saw her donating items, Hon Ajaja’s impact has not translated into much for her constituents.
Incidentally, most of the National Assembly members from Oyo State boast of several degrees that should make them understand the needs and expectations of those in their constituencies. For instance, while Hon Ajaja holds a Masters degree in Social Work as well as a Doctorate in Industrial Welfare, Hon Muraina Ajibola is a lawyer and as a student in the then University of Ife, he won several awards including Amicable Assurance’s prize for the best student in Law of Insurance, a course in which he scored a B+. Hon Olaifa on the other hand is a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons. Some constituents however voted in their reps based on trust and experience. The likes of Ajibola, Hon Mulikat Akande and Kareem Abiodun of Saki East West have all been to the House of Reps before. That has however not changed lives of majority of their constituents; neither has it made them more visible. Some have even argued that if not for Hon Mulikat Akande’s duties as Leader, she would probably be one of the obscure members.
There was nothing spectacular happening when Hon Awoleye’s office in Mokola was visited. His constituents are yet to see the flashes he showed as a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly between 2007 and 2011.
It will be understandable if Hon Busari Olayemi Sikiru does not make any contribution in the House of Reps. the Honourable representing Egbeda and Ona Ara Federal Constituencies finished secondary school in 1987 and did not obtain his Grade II Teachers’ certificate until 2001. He thereafter bagged his Bachelors’ degree in Business and Public Administration in 2009. Some people in the state have opined that he might need some time to learn the ropes. Others are however of the belief that the Honourable member has enough experience and nothing should stop him from contributing on the floor of the House. Meanwhile, no one has ever heard him speak on the floor.
While constituents are bothered that Hon Busari Olayemi has not spoken after a year, the story is the same for his namesake, Hon Murtala Adewale Busari of Akinyele Federal Constituency. Hon Dokun Odebunmi who was the Commissioner for Local Government Commission and Hon Olabiyi Oyekola of Kajola/ Iwajowa constituency have not fared any better.
One man many are hoping would deliver is Hon Saheed Akinade Fijabi. He comes from a royal line in Ibadan; his forebears have ruled Ibadan twice. While Baale Fijabi I reigned between 1893 and 1895, Olubadan Fijabi II ruled the ancient city between 1948 and 1952. His father, Chief Ismail Akinade Fijabi is already on the Olubadan chieftaincy line too.
Till now, Hon Fijabi’s two Masters degrees obtained from universities in Greenwhich and Reading in the United Kingdom are yet to transform into any development for his constituency. Most of his constituents even wonder if he is in the House as he has remained anonymous in the last one year.
The Senators have not fared any better. Senator Femi Lanlehin is hardly visible; those who know him closely told Street Journal that he hardly picks calls. The story is the same for the other two Senators.
While the constituents are complaining and waiting for their representatives to deliver, the House of Reps member continue to enjoy a quarterly allowance of N 27 million as well as a salary of N 1.9 million per month while their counterparts in the Senate earn N 2.02 million.
Incidentally, complaints from Oyo State indigenes are not just about their representatives in the National Assembly, there have also been several comments concerning the Minister of State for the FCT, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide. One of those who spoke to Street Journal said “the flashes Jumoke showed when she was contesting for Senate are no longer there. I wonder if she has been able to help any Ibadan indigene in the last one year. If you go to her office, you will be told she is not around, even when she is in the office. I just hope people’s eyes will open so that the same mistake will not be repeated in the next elections”, he said.