Nigerian economy in state of emergency – Ogun PDP senatorial candidate
In this interview, Olumide Aderinokun, the People’s Democratic Party senatorial candidate from Ogun Central Senatorial District speaks to DAUD OLATUNJI on why Nigeria should try the state police option to tackle the insecurity plaguing some states in the country, among various issues
What do you do for a living?
I am a businessman, politician, real estate developer and serial investor with an interest in agriculture, poultry products, real estate and high technology.
What prompted your decision to try your luck at the senatorial level as a rookie?
I should start by clarifying the word beginner you used. There’s no such thing as a rookie here because I got into active politics over 12 years ago. My ambition to run for the Senate seat is driven by my people and I believe that the worst thing that can happen to you when you take a risk is to fail, do it anyway because life is all about taking risks.
What have been your contributions to your riding?
I have done a lot to help my people in the six Local Government Areas of Ogun Central Senatorial District and my huge contributions are there for you to check and people are there to testify. Young, old, artisans and also less privileged have benefited from my programs organized by my foundation, Olumide and Stephanie Aderinokun Foundation. We have done 25 borehole projects in different communities, markets in Ogun Central, we have a loan scheme where market men and women can avail N30,000 without any interest for repayment. The initiative was born to relieve people of the difficulties of the local “gbomule lantern”.
What do you think of leading the legislature part-time
The legislation is for the development of the country with the interest of my people at heart. I will be a representative of democracy by emphasizing quality representation to meet the needs of my senatorial constituency, by legislating, by initiating effective policies and not by approving the proposals of the executive. I believe so much in serving my constituents.
What is your opinion on restructuring and do you agree that Nigeria should be restructured?
I believe we can restructure Nigerian federalism with decentralization of powers. The system we are struggling with has been in place since 1999 but no improvement, why shouldn’t there be reforms to assess the current state of governance?
Power is too concentrated at the federal level, why not delegate it to states/geopolitical areas? I must specify that restructuring does not mean breaking the unity of the country.
How do you think lawmakers can help fight insecurity
There are so many things that can be done, in addition to the oversight role played by executives.
Each region has its particular security challenges and these are things we should consider. A provision for the creation of a state police is an option we should try because it will go deeper into communities in the long run. We also need to boost the morale of our security agencies with improved machinery and welfare programs.
How do you feel challenging the ruling party in Ogun
As you know, the APC has fallen short and people are yearning for change. The PDP is the well structured savior, we will save the people from this suffering. The way we are surviving in Nigeria right now is by the grace of God because things have gone from good to bad.
Do you realize that you are challenging the former Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State, Shuaib Salis.
Yes. I am well prepared for the challenges to come, of course he is a formidable opponent.
The PDP in Ogun State is mired in a serious crisis, how worried are you?
It is not a crisis because the National Work Committee has made it a point to resolve the misunderstanding between the members. We are working on it and mechanisms have also been put in place.
What are your chances in the next poll?
I have a very good chance for the Senate seat at Ogun Central, you can make your findings. In fact, the PDP will be back in power in Ogun State because when you look at it, the APC has let the people down with empty promises. People aren’t surprised to wake up to reality.
Do you belong to a faction and what faction do you belong to?
There is no faction in Ogun PDP, just a few aggrieved members and we are working on it.
What should be the relationship between the executive and the legislature
There should be a handshake between the two branches of government. I think it should be a cordial relationship and at the same time a balance of power.
What are your programs for the people?
I have a strategic action plan for my people. I will focus more on empowerment, Ogun Central is a special senatorial district. I will also work to reduce the number of unemployed young people. We have a lot of work to do.
What have you observed as major challenges facing your people?
First of all, there is no foundation to stand on right now. My people are struggling to live on a daily basis under the current system. Unemployment, poor health care, poor roads, lack of empowerment support, basic amenities have turned to gold.
Who is Chief Aderinokun?
I am a thoroughbred son from Ogun State, with a father from the worthy Aderinokun family in Abeokuta and a mother from the popular Kuku lineage in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.
I am a father and a People’s Democratic Party senatorial candidate in Ogun Central. I am also the Akinruyiwa of Owu Kingdom.
You’re not a local politician, how connected are you to the grassroots?
I’m actually in touch with the pitch, it comes naturally. I’m a real estate developer by profession, so I’m more like a bricklayer who’s been dealing with craftsmen for over two decades.
What is this new thing that people in the center of Ogun expect from you?
A breath of fresh air, a sincere and strong leader who will take them to heart.
I have consulted with several associations and community groups, I can say that the good people of Ogun Central should expect more projects, empowerment programs as the next senator in the National Assembly and also attract the dividends much-desired democracy in the six local government areas.
INEC says it would use Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), is Nigeria ripe for it?
Yes, it is a welcome development and it is the assurance that the results of the elections will be transmitted electronically.
We are ready to adopt the system that will produce credible elections. It has been a long time coming and as you can see the country is improving with network coverage. The votes will count and this will strengthen democracy in Nigeira. It will also help to have good governance. This development will allow real leaders to take charge of the country.
What is your vision of the participation of women in politics?
Together we can make Nigeria better. This is our collective effort and there should be no gender segregation. Both men and women have roles to play and I encourage more women to get involved.
Kidnapping issue is rampant in Ogun State, aren’t you worried?
It’s always pathetic when I hear of kidnappings or violence in this senatorial district.
A few months ago, a university student was kidnapped and killed. The federal government must embrace community policing. He who lives in the house knows where the roof is leaking.
Security agencies must do better.
What do you think of the overhaul of the Nigerian currency?
Our economy is in a state of emergency. We can see the current price of a loaf of bread reaching the thousand naira, what will it be before May 2023 when a new government takes the wheel?
We need more than the overhaul of naira banknotes, the CBN and the Buhari need to enact effective tax policies to get Nigeria out of this mess. It is so shameful that the naira has lost more than it has gained in the history of Nigeria.