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Hon. Victor Akande is a lawmaker representing Ojo constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly and the chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions & LASIEC. In this interview, he discusses with Victory Orimemi on the State of the country and what we should look forward to in the forthcoming 2023 general elections as well as what Nigeria can do to improve her economy.
What inspired you to go into politics?
Every human being is a political animal, every human creation has the element of politics. In our eco system within our ecological niche, we fight for our space and in fighting for your space, there are a lot of intrigues that surrounds it and those intrigues have a political undertone. Growing up I was motivated by my environment, I witnessed people being oppressed and in abject poverty, I witnessed a lot of injustice and inorder to correct the injustice, I had to get involved in politics.
You’ve been representing Ojo constituency for a while now, what are the challenges facing your constituency and what solutions have you preferred?
The major challenge is road channelization, access to good roads. If we had good roads in Ojo, Ojo would be better than most industrial hubs in Nigeria. It is not easy for the Government to just come and fix the roads in all areas, they have to pick a little from each constituency or local government so the governance will be all inclusive but gradually we’ll get there. Another challenge is the availability of medical facilities.
When we’ve been able to find solutions to these two problems, commercialization will boom because we have Alaba international, we have Alaba Rago, we have so many things that can generate revenue for the State and been doing my best to attract road construction in my constituency.
I can say without any form of fear that Ijagamo Ije-Ododo road which is presently under construction was through my effort and that of some others, I had to subject the Special Adviser on Ministry of works for us to ply the road and see for ourselves and bring government closer to see the problem we are having. I have also tried as much as possible with the help of Mr. Speaker and the SA on Ministry of works, Eng. Ramide and the Governor to work on the Okoko-Ajangbandi road and I’ve also approved the construction of six other new roads. I’ve spoken to the Government in respect of the general hospital which is currently being constructed.
Most times we want everything to be done in a jiffy but governance is not like that, they must appropriate money for every project and generate revenue to be able to meet up with all the projects.
Nigeria will be 62 on October 1, 2022 and currently as a country, we are faced with several issues like insecurity, poverty and other societal menace, what do you think we can do curb some of these issues?
Nigeria is just 62 years old, she’s still a baby where America and other countries are. America is almost 160 years old and America has passed through all these stages, everything in life comes in stages. Although we wouldn’t wait until we are 160 years to get it right, it is still gradual.
I would say to a large extent that the years of military rule have already bastardized our political structure and our development, that’s why we are finding it very difficult to be able to meet up with the tenet of modern day politics and democracy or development. We are till in the dark days era, I don’t want to call it a stone age era because even if we are in a stone age era, we should be able to think out of the box.
Most of our problems can be linked to bad governance because most of our leaders today, know the truth but they don’t want to follow the truth. When you talk about insecurity, what leads to insecurity is lack of cautiousness. The case of insecurity did not start today, it is something that started gradually in the days of the Maitatsine and we couldn’t do anything to totally erase that group at that time, destroying the group and regrouping is what brought us to Boko Haram. We allowed our intolerance to create a problem that has become the evil of the nation.
I believe we are strong enough to solve our problems, we just have the issue of wealthy Nigerians who are bankrolling them and traitors who give out relevant information about our ‘moda operandi’ when it comes to security situation. We should have wrapped up the issue of Boko Haram for a very long time and I believe we will get there and that’s why when our National leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu picked Shettima as his running mate, he wasn’t making a mistake, this is one of the reasons why he picked Shettima who is prepared to support him to combat and fight this insurgency and I can tell you, after 2023 elections, give them six months and you’ll see what will happen to Boko Haram, I can tell you for a fact that Nigeria will come back to what it used to be in terms of security.
You said something about Nigeria being able to to solve her problems, how is that so? Do you think we are capable enough at this time or we might need to have the help of some external factors?
We don’t need any external factor, check round the world and check those who are doing exceptionally well all over the world, 70 percent are Nigerians. The fastest computer is made by a Nigerian. I went to Qatar, their international airport was built by a Nigerian. So we have the material, the human resources to do well, all we need is somebody to harness it together and that is why we are saying that our National leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the man. He is the key, let him unify everybody together, he knows everybody in the North, he knows everybody in the West, he knows everybody in the East, he can tap abroad, he is an accountant, so he knows the tenets of business because he was once in the private sector and he knows the dictates of good business.
Earlier you made mention that the military system has destroyed the country, some people are of the opinion that a new system of government should be practiced since democracy has failed in Nigeria. Are you of that school of thought?
I am not. Have you really tried true democracy? Who elects the people in government? The people. The only thing is you put a system in place where all the anomalies of election can be a thing of the past, look inward, test the water, let’s do it the way other people are doing it in other climes and check to see if is going to work or not.
So if we leave democracy, do we now practice autocracy? Or do you want us to go to aristocracy? Or what do we do? If the people don’t come together to elect the people to govern them and govern them well, then which type of system do you want us to put in place? Or militocracy, we should still invite the military to come and rule us with a gun where we have no say. You see, the beauty of democracy is that we have the freedom to condemn the Government, can you abuse the military government? Can you stand? So don’t let us throw the bath water with the baby, let’s embrace it, let’s do it well so we can gain the benefits of democracy.
There are a lot of Nigerians who are leaving the country, seeking for greener pastures and it is because of the State of the economy, do you feel Nigeria is in a retrogressive state at the moment?
It is a lie, we are progressing.
With the inflation?
We are progressing, but what we have failed to do is to take responsibility because we believe everything is about the Government. We believe it is the government that can do everything and put everything in order, no! You get educated to contribute you own quota to the development of the country. Let me tell you the story of China, Malaysia and Taiwan, some years ago these countries were known as poverty-stricken countries. Today, you can’t say they are poor, do you know why? Poverty and hunger made China to go into technology and a lot of their citizens are technologically aware, so if we learn from them, we’ll be able to make our economy strong again.
The 2023 general elections is coming up soon, how important is the forthcoming elections in putting the development trajectory of the country in order?
Judging from all that has been playing out, just as you have said that there are so many things that has happened in terms of insecurity and otherwise and you’re talking about inflation, which has encouraged brain drain from the country, it is now important that we look for the person that will take us to the next level. The election is very key to take us to the next level, if we miss it, then we are going down and we do not want to go down, we want to move up. So, the 2023 elections must usher in a new development.
A new governance that will oversee good development, that would take us from where we are and catapult us to where we’re supposed to be, that’s why this coming election is very important to rewrite many wrongs, wrongs in terms of insecurity, wrongs in terms of developmental projects, wrongs in terms of our GDP, wrongs in terms of our debts. Who can help us to settle these debts? Because it is the level of your debt that will inform the kind of status you are, whether you’re retrogressive or progressive, whether you’re already in a recession or out of recession.
What is your Nigerian dream?
My Nigerian dream is to see a reoccurrence of what played out in the early 70s where the exchange rate was two naira to a pound, I was fortunate to be born then and it is not that it is not achievable, it is but we have to come and industralize our country, we have to come and commercialize our country, we have to find solace in tourism, we must open our brains to turn everything around and industralize this country. We are brilliant, Nigerians are very brilliant.
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