Hon. Sanai Oyeniran Bolanle Agunbiade is representing Ikorodu Constituency I at the Lagos State House of Assembly for the second term and recently secured another mandate from his party, All Progressive Congress (APC) to stand as the party’s flag bearer for third term in the coming general elections. He spoke with Kunle Adelabu, Publisher/Reporter-in-Chief, THE IMPACT Newspaper, Sulaimon Azeez and Qudus Onike in an interview where he bears his mind on many issues especially the revalidated of his mandate by the party delegates, his third term agenda and expectations in the forthcoming general elections. Excerpts:
Impact: For the record sir, can you please introduce yourself?
Hon Agunbiade: I am Sanai Oyeniran Bolanle Agunbiade, popularly known and called “SOB”. I represent Ikorodu Constituency I in the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Impact: Your mandate was recently revalidated by the party. What is the implication of this?
Hon Agunbiade: Firstly, I want to appreciate my party, the leaders and the party members, especially the delegates of All Progressive Congress in Ikorodu Constituency I. In the recently concluded party primaries, 262 of about 500 party delegates voted for me to revalidate my mandate for 2015 to 2019 among other 12 contestants that vied for the position. I want to say that my party giving me this mandate to stand for third term implies that they have critically considered the points I have highlighted as reasons for my seeking third term re-election, because it was not easy for legislators seeking re-election for third term across the state. Some of us scaled through because we were able to persuade the delegates and the party. The important thing is that our re-election is in the interest of the legislature, because it get better when experienced legislators are made to stay in the house. The more experience legislators possessed, the better for the legislature. To have constructive argument during plenary, critical dissection of issues during debates and to be able to factor the law is not just about sitting down and talking grammar. There are so many things you have to understand. You have to be sure that the law you want to pass is not in conflict with any existing law and the ground norm, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, because Section 13 of the Constitution says that the position of the constitution shall supersede and that any other law to the extent of its inconsistent shall be null and void. So, the constitution is sacrosanct and you have to factor that into process of law making. The legislative terminology is also not something that anybody can learn in four years. You needs time as a legislator to understand some basic concepts of lawmaking and Nigeria after 50 years is just getting to a stage where we should be able to start having versatile legislature that can make adequate law. With all these, as a third term legislator, the legislature as whole would benefit because I will bring the training and experiences to bear on the coming Assembly with good legislations. The fact also remains that as an experience legislator, you will be respected more by the executives and the years of experience and matured ways things will be handled by a ranking honourable will also go a long way in improving legislative-executive relations. My third term will also further enhance my capacity to lobby efficiently and effectively among my colleagues and with other arms of government. I ‘ll not be seen as novice and when I talk about legislature and governance general, I’m sure of getting necessary attentions and knows where to press buttons and get more dividends of democracy for my people. My return to the house would also enhance the capacity of my constituency which will be ranked among the constituency that produce an experienced and ranking honourable member. So, on this note, I want to say that the third term I’m seeking would further assist and enhance development in Ikorodu Constituency I and Ikorodu Division generally. In the house, there about five honourable members seeking re-election for the fourth term and an honourable seeking for fifth term. In legislature, there must be some people to serve as role model and give leadership role in the legislative duties to new entrants and which is why in other clime you will see people staying in the legislature for 30 and more years. In these climes they do not see legislature as turn-by-turn, rather, it is about service to the people, though, every position confer certain benefit on the occupier, but the benefit to the society must be paramount. So, these are the issues, but you cannot do what others have not done before and expect no opposition. So, people may not understand you and the need to offer explanation to them, while some will understand, others will oppose just to rattle you. These set of people just don’t want you to feel that you can get everything so easily and cheaply and that is the beauty of democracy.
Impact: What is your agenda for the third term if you are eventually elected?
Hon. Agunbiade: I have been telling people that as a legislator, you cannot start promising people things that you’ll do, because this will amount to shooting yourself on the foot. As a legislator, there are two things you can do and they are basically representation and lawmaking. As a lawmaker, you sit with other colleagues at plenary in the hollow chamber to make laws for the good governance of the state. So, my re-election will make me look deeper into areas where I can make more motions for resolutions that can transform the activities of the government and for the benefit of the people in Lagos State and Ikorodu Constituency I in particular. As a representative, I will have to agitate more for infrastructural development in my constituency, in addition to the ones they have been doing. Even, the governor can testify to my insistence on rehabilitation of Ikorodu-Mile 12 road. Also, as a representative of my people, I played significant roles in the rehabilitation of Obafemi Awolowo road, Ipakodo-Ibeshe road and lots more. In fact, in an unprecedented way, I have documented my account of stewardship more than anybody else in Ikorodu and circulated it for all to see. By my going back to the House of Assembly, I have the legislative tendencies of attracting more development to Ikorodu and give my people more dividends of democracy and of course, I will be able to maneuver my ways within corridor of power to get more and better opportunities for my people, only that I can promise and that has been my promise since 2007. In a nutshell, my agenda for the third term and my pledge to my people is improved and adequate representation and effective and efficient lawmaking. For my third term, I am promising my people that they will see more practical representation, more effective and practical lawmaking and they will be happy to have me as their representative.
Impact: You have sponsored many programmes in the last four years like Computer programme, Free Interest Loans, Best Brains Contest, construction of water projects in different areas, enlightenment programmes among many others. Should the people be expecting continuation of these?
Hon Agunbiade: I have told the market women that because of their faithfulness with the programme (Free Interest loans), I will continue with it as long as I remain in government. I will continue to give financial assistance to help the Small Scale Businesses. The market women have been very faithful and they are not owing, because the money belong to the bank (Skye Bank) and I only pay the interest on it. I can see that they appreciate the scheme and it has been very useful to them and I am going to improve on it by asking for more money from the bank so that more people can benefit and those that have been faithful will also enjoy improved loan. I am also very thankful and impressed by their supports during the primaries even though they are not delegates. The market women and other interest groups did posters and flex banners in support of my ambition and campaigned for me. On the computer programme, we are working on how to repackage and further improve on it so that we can give students adequate lessons on ICT and like I have stated above, constituents should expect improved and sustainable and practical representation and by extension we are going to continue all our programmes and improve on them.
Impact: What are your expectations on the forthcoming general elections?
Hon. Agunbiade: My expectation is that we need effective change in our attitude towards manifestoes of political parties, change in our attitudes towards electing people and retaining confidence in those that have performed and changing those who have not. I thank God that the flag-off of PDP campaign has clearly shown Nigerians that there is need for change at the federal level because you see a President who has been in office for six years that cannot itemize what he has done for the benefit of Lagos State, even myself that is just a mere representative, I have compiled what have been able to do in the last seven years in a pamphlet and also in many publications. President Jonathan was defensive though his speech in Lagos and was unable to state what he been able to do for Lagos and the generality of Nigerians in the last six years. He attacked his predecessors as if he just got into office yesterday. The same thing goes for the man who says he want to take over the seat of government in Lagos State. He could not articulate any agenda for the people. APC and its candidates have been embarking on issue-based campaign, showing what they will do when the party takes over the government at the centre and how they are going to improve on the Lagosians lives if APC mandate is revalidated in person of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode. Buhari was able to show how he tackled Maitatsine crisis during his military regime and we all know his war against indiscipline and corruption then. Our party has also been able to show how it will make people’s votes bring about employment, constant power, infrastructural development, deal with Boko Haram issue and bring about a secure environment, good economy and empower the youths and women. But I think that President Jonathan has resigned to fate and we are just waiting for him to concede to Buhari because he has admitted that he is part of the generation that has failed Nigerian youths and at same time accepting his own failure and that he doesn’t have idea on how to govern again. Unfortunately for the President, he was unable to recognize the fact that in every generation, there is always exceptions, Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammed are exceptions in their generations. Likewise Martin Luther King, Obafemi Awolowo, Gani Fawehinmi, Aminu Kano and Lateef Jakande among others. Tinubu and Fashola are also exceptions in their generation because they have been able to impact positively and made marks where their counterparts have failed. So, what premise did the president inferred his conclusion that everybody in a particular generation are failures? Nigerians should not waste time in voting President Jonathan and PDP out with their votes because they have failed us woefully. Buhari has been able to tell us what he was able to do when he was in government and what we should expect from him if elected with clear cut agenda. I’m urging Nigerians again to vote out President Jonathan, PDP and all that have been inimical and preventing development in Nigeria. APC want to restore hope to Nigerians and that is why we have combination of men of integrity and probity. Our Vice Presidential candidate is a pastor, professor of law, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a man of proven integrity and character. He is a teacher of teachers and an erudite scholar. Nigerians are being offered these characters and I hope and believe we are going to massively accept them with our votes come February general elections.
Impact: On the 9th of January, 2015, you were honour again as “Best Performing Lawmaker in Plenary by the House of Assembly Correspondence and another award from the African Initiative for your contribution towards empowerment of the youths and women. What is the secret of your practical and adequate representation?
Hon. Agunbiade: There is no secret and Governor Raji Fashola (SAN) has always said that “the reward for hard work is more work” and a Yoruba proverb says that, “Yiniyini ko le se mi” (commendation always ensure one to improve on performance). That I was given the award as “Best Male Lawmaker at Plenary of the 7th Assembly further shows the cumulative assessment of my performance at plenary for four years running. The 7th Assembly is from 2011 to 2015 and that is not just an award from a group of people, but from an unbiased people and member of the Fourth Estate of Realm which is the conglomeration of all press men working in the Lagos State House of Assembly under the aegis of Lagos State House of Assembly Correspondence Association (LAHACA). I was elated by the honour because it further motivated me to do more. The award shows that my efforts over the years have not gone unnoticed. It is indeed a recognition, reward and acknowledgement of my contribution to the growth and development of legislature. It is a motivation for me to continue to do things that people will appreciate and it is also a revalidation of the award I got in 2014 as “Best Performing Lawmaker (Male) in the Lagos State House of Assembly” by another unbiased umpire, Gazzelle.com, an online media outfit. Again, on the same day, I was also honoured with another award by a group of young men and women who are into educational and economic empowerment, African Educational and Economic Foundation (AFREDEEF) whose membership cut across Lagos State, but base in Ikorodu. They gave an award for my contribution to the growth of Ikorodu and the empowerment of the people. I am dedicating these awards to the members of Onward Movement of Nigeria for their dedication and loyalty and for assisting me in the discharge of my duties and responsibilities. Also, to Ikorodu youths whose criticisms, observations and suggestions have also contributed to my performance and to all members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, particularly Mr Speaker and Principal Officers of the House, Legislative Staff and entire members of staff of the house and to the generality of Journalists in Nigeria.