Hon. Sunmi Odesanya was a former Member, Lagos State House of Assembly between 2003 and 2007. He is a legal practitioner and Commissioner I in the Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission. He bears his mind on the importance of Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission to legislature, vacant position of Ayangbure of Ikorodu and his expectations from the forthcoming general elections in an interview with Kunle Adelabu, The Impact Publisher/Reporter-in-Chief. Excerpts:
Impact: As Commissioner I in the Lagos State Service Commission, could you please explain the importance of your body?
Hon. Sunmi: If you may recall in 2000 under President Obasnajo’s government, the National Assembly Service Commission came into existence and the directive then was that all the states should domesticate the act in there respective House of Assemblies. The philosophy behind it is to strengthen the independence and the autonomy of the legislature wherein employees of the States’ Assemblies and the National Assembly are to be employed by the respective Commissions. In this case, what the Civil Service Commission does is what the Assembly Service Commission does. We are career managers and the body was constituted based on the five administrative divisions of the state which are Ikorodu, Badagri, Ikeja, Epe and Lagos Island. So, I am holding forth as Commissioner I representing Ikorodu as a division and base on my experience as a former lawmaker. Basically, what we are to do is to manage the career of the employees, we are to employ, we are to discipline and we are to promote. Having spent two years, because we assumed office on 27th November, 2012. It’s been interesting and in December 2014, we had our yearly retreat where we looked at our achievements so far and our lapses within the year and we also set goals and objectives for the year coming. It has been an interesting task so far.
Impact: In what way as the Service Commission impacted on the performances of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Hon. Sunmi: Like I have said earlier, the personnel that work with the lawmakers need to be updated, need to be very vibrant and be well trained across the globe so that they can compete with their counterpart anywhere in the world. They are sent abroad for training and the lawmakers needed them to be adequately trained in order to be able to help them with knowledge acquired. They have really helped the lawmakers in conducting researches and making vibrant contributions on the floor of the house. The people that are working with the lawmakers have to be adequately trained, hence, the Commission has really gone a long way in strengthening the performances of the house by ensuring that the employees are properly trained to enable them assist the lawmakers in discharging their statutory duties.
Impact: As former lawmaker and now Commissioner I in the Lagos State House Service Commission, how will you describe the Lagos State legislature compare to other states?
Hon. Sunmi: Lagos State has been a pacesetter and the kind of parliamentary house that we have is one of the achievement of the state. A visit to the House to witness debate on the floor of the house will actually convince you. The nature and the pro-activeness of laws that have been enacted by the lawmakers is equally an important reference point and they are working together with their pairs not only in Nigeria but in Africa as a continent. Lagos State House of Assembly has been dictating the pace in setting legislative agenda in Nigeria. In Lagos State House of Assembly, we have professionals that make up the parliament before and now. They are vibrant individuals with their profiles and background and experience. So, I’m so proud of them.
Impact: Let’s look at the legislative in the local level especially, the ongoing debate on local government autonomy. What is your view on this?
Hon. Sunmi: If you compare the achievements of local government before to what we have now, you’ll discover that we require our council to be autonomous. The issue of autonomy will make sense if it is allow to take place. A lot of things are lacking. Some things are supposed to be handled by the local government and they keep using lack of funds as excuses. If they are autonomous, there are ways they can generate revenue and I believe they will perform better than what we have now.
Impact: Sir, you are classified as one of the frontrunners to succeed the late Ayangbure. What is your view generally on the selection process and what is your stand in all of these?
Hon. Sunmi: The fact is that my mum was a princess from the Odujumbo Araba family in the Lasunwon Ruling House and it was said that interested aspirants could make their intention known which I did a couple of months ago through my branch-Odujumbo Araba, but as we speak now, my own branch have actually picked one Bamidele Korede Bamisedun after due consultation with Ifa Oracle and also pray and hope that all other branches will cooperate and I believe they will see reasons to harmonize their differences so that we can have a successor to the throne. So, as far as I am concern, and on my own part I’m done because my branch had actually produced a candidate.
Impact: As a prominent Ikorodu indigene, what kind of character are you looking forward to succeed the late Ayangbure?
Hon. Sunmi: Well, I pray fervently and I believe the gods of the land will guide us right. I pray that whoever that will succeed the late Oba will be able to sustain his achievements. The next Oba must be a person of great profile, character and pedigree and that is the reasons why we have to make sure that we produce a successful king that will surpass the achievement which late Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi brought to the division for over 40 years that he reigns. So, we need a successor who is competent and capable with unblemished integrity and characters because the late monarch actually really and he brought Ikorodu to the forefront among its pairs and we can all attest to that in terms of the level of commerce and infrastructure in the towne. We are actually proud of the late oba during his reign and that is the reasons we are clamouring for a very successful successor.
Impact: As a senior All Progressives Congress (APC) member in the State, what are your expectations come February 2015?
Hon. Sunmi: Even the blind can see and the deaf can also hear that APC is the party that can take Nigeria out of the troubled water en route sustainable development path and I believe Nigerians are wiser. Under APC government, Nigeria will change positively, because we have no business with poverty, corruption, epileptic power supply and badly managed economy. Nigerians are not comfortable again and come Februrary 2015 with the combination of General Buhari and Professor Yemi Oshibajo, APC government will move Nigeria to the greater height.