How Nigeria Can Achieve Quick Economic Recovery – Hon Adesegun Adekoya
Honourable Adesegun Abdel-Majid Adekoya is a Member of the Federal House of Representatives from Ogun State, representing the Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency. He was elected on the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), but incidentally his name has been mentioned as one of those who played key roles in the high-wired politicking at the National Assembly which led to the emergence of Speaker Dogara.
Q: You are in the National Assembly for the fist time, how prepared are you for the job as a lawmaker?
I think you need to appreciate where I am coming from politically. I happen to be one of very few Nigerians who have been lucky to rise through the rungs of the political ladder as it were, being promoted from one level to another. Not only that, I have traversed the two arms from legislature to the executives. I started my political career as an elected Councillor; I have served as Supervisory Councillor where I also doubled as a Vice Chairman of Somolu Local Government Government Council area in Lagos State. I have also served as the first elected Executive Chairman of Kosofe local government area council of Lagos State; I was a Commissioner between 2003 and 2011 in Ogun State, and now I am back in the legislative arm of government as a member of the Federal House of Representatives. So, so to speak, I am one of the very few who one can say is adequately prepared for the job at the green chambers.
Q: The National assembly has been a flashpoint of crises since the election of Rt. Hon. Dogara as the Speaker and the appointment of principal officers of the legislative chambers in such a controversial circumstances.
What is happening at the National Assembly can be better appreciated if only you look at it from the point of law. What does the law says? And are we following the precepts? We are aware of our responsibilities as lawmakers, and that as custodian of the democratic institutions, we must get certain things right from the start of legislative business. We have to protect Nigerians and our democracy against certain norms which might be injurious to it later. We are trying so hard to strengthen the independence of the legislature in absolute terms and protect it from direct interference from partisan interest. But I can assure you that whatever that is happening in both chambers of the legislature at the moment are all in the best interest of Nigerians. What we are trying to institute is a Business Unusual approach to legislature. Don’t forget that the legislature is an all-important part of democracy, it is the only arm of government which are usually done away with in a military dictatorship, so we are very much aware of our responsibilIties as the custodian of that democracy. To this end, we must get certain things right from the start of business; we must get the right kind of leadership both in content and character; and our choice in the House of Representatives in Rt. Honourable Yakubu Dogara, is the first right step. What we simply did was to look for a very capable and competent man in terms of experience and practice; that was why you can see somebody like me, a South Western moslem canvased for a Northern Christian from Bauchi and all these sentiments did not even matter at all in our choices and preferences.
Q: The global prices of oil keeps on the downward trend, and with it, the economy of Nigeria. Several governors have been unable to fulfill their financial obligations to workers and contractors. As a lawmaker, what could be wrong?
Our problem has always been the reliance on crude oil as the major foreign exchange earner. We rely so much on oil that we virtually left several other sectors to rot. For instance, the development of the maritime sector alone is capable of generating more money into the economy while at the same time put several youths in permanent permanent and continuous employment. I need to remind you that one of the three local governments that make up my federal constituency is Ogun Waterside which has a deep sea level that is deepest in the whole of Africa, twice the depth of the Tin Can Island port in Lagos, so I am going to do all within my capacity to return maritime transportation as an economic hub of Nigeria. Bottom line is that Nigeria should begin to look elsewhere for economic prosperity. I am not too sure if we have explored the full potentials of the Nigerian economy and its elastic capacity to expand. I also think the disconnect here is the over reliance of the states on allocation from the federal government, the states should become more creative in their revenue drives, not by over burdening their citizens with multiple taxes, but in creating economic drivers; flagship projects that could have direct multiplier effects in terms of revenue generation. But more importantly, I think the public procurement act should be strengthened and given more teeth to bite. The processes by which most states government and governors award their contracts should be looked critically into, because I think this is largely responsible for the sad state whereby many are owing workers salaries.
Q: As a member of the Federal House of Representatives, what then do you suggest as the way forward for Nigeria’s economic recovery?
Just like I said, the first hurdle to cross is to get competent, experienced and independent leadership for the legislative arm of government. This I can boldly say we have got in the Speaker of the House of Reps, Rt. Hon. Dogara. With this our job is half way done. The next is for every member of the green chamber to bring their experience to the table, not only in making laws, but in the various oversight functions. For instance, we would ensure we move to assist the president, Muhammadu Buhari to seek alternative means of generating income by exploring all other options. We would encourage the development of the maritime sector, not only as an avenue to raise the country’s earnings and balance of international trade, but to create jobs and take away pressure off our roads as an alternative mode of transportation. The waterways have been age long routes for transportation, predating the railway, the air and land highways, we should find a way to revisiting this, we should upgrade the facilities in this sector and it will be our responsibilities in this legislature to bring this to the fore of national development. After the Tin can Island port, I am not too sure the federal government of Nigeria has again embarked on the building of new ports. We should be interested on why the Calabar ports and Port-HarCourt ports have not been promoted for international trade. We should be looking in the direction of a deep sea port to capture the West African and sub-Saharan African global trade.
We will also be looking in the direction direction of our infrastructure development. The missing link currently is that most of our road contracts have been done only for the sake of building roads; I think we should take this a step further, linking our infrastructure development directly to employment generation as this is the only way it can be meanigful. So, we will try as much as possible to measure the performance and delivery on our highway road construction and building of our roads generally in terms of how many jobs they have been able to provide directly and indirectly.