By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja and Ikechukwu Nobert
Hon. Akin Awodumila of Ekiti South Federal Constituency II of Ekiti state, bares his thoughts in this rare chat which bothers on several salient issues including the ongoing rebuilding of his embattled party the PDP, developments within his constituency, how Gov. Oshiomole lost his credibility among the workers, the state of the nation at large and why Gov. Ayodele Fayose remains the lone voice today in the ‘wilderness’ called Nigeria. Excerpts
Question: How can you describe your experience in the last one year in the 8th National Assembly as well as the impact you have made so far back home in your constituency?
Response: As the Honorable representing Ekiti South Federal Constituency which comprises of 3 local governments which includes Emure, Gboyin and Ekiti East local governments in Ekiti State. Of course you know that as a grass-root politician who was born, schooled and lived in Ekiti I know my people so well and have a very good grasp of what their everyday challenges are.
I was a former Local Government Chairman so I can tell you that our people are seriously backward especially regarding the access to modern infrastructure and basic amenities such as electricity, good access road. For example I just returned back over the weekend and my people are totally in the dark and may not even read or see this interview, that is the extent of what I’m saying, so I think it is time for our people to begin to feel the impact of the change being preached everywhere in the country, except if the change being preached is a lopsided one.
However, I have been personally engaged in some projects across my constituency, where I have been empowering over 1,500 youths in self empowerment scheme where most of them receive between 5,000 naira to 20,000 monthly stipends with which they use for their various businesses and welfare support initiative and it includes various youth and women groups. This scheme according to the way it is designed will last for at least 2 years, and it is aimed at taking out these groups of individuals out of extreme poverty. This is also in addition to scholarships which some very brilliant students enjoy within my constituency, aimed at promoting the culture of education which Ekiti state is known for because we do not have crude oil or any commercially viable natural resources which we get derivation from at the moment so we have to continue to harness education potential which is our own natural endowment given to us by God, that is why there is hardly any family in Ekiti state that does not have a PhD holder.
Question: How has your background in the textile industry added value to the 8th National Assembly in terms of legislative inputs?
Response: My background in the textile industry actually began in Germany where I worked there for some years, but when I returned back to Nigeria I joined the Western Textile Mills as a maintenance engineer from where I grew up to the level of a personnel manager of the company who supervised over 2,000 workers. At that time we were contemporaries in the industry with Adams Oshiomole who during that time was Chairman of the Textile Workers’ Union but he is now working against the interest of the workers as a governor today.
When I was in the textile industry I was an active trade unionist and we knew what we stood for at that time which makes most of us who know the comrade governor Oshiomole very disappointed in the kind of things he is engaged in currently which are clearly anti-workers. However, in the National Assembly I am working to sponsor a bill which seeks to revive the textile industries which have gone comatose over the years as a result of neglect of the sector. We use to have about 86 textile mills in the country, 42 in the South and 44 in the North but today they are all gone, and you know that the textile mills use to employ thousands of workers including the likes of Governor Adams Oshiomole, my humble self and many more even though Oshiomole today has turned against the workers.
Can you tell this to the Comrade Governor in person? Why not? This is someone who I’m very familiar with at that time, I told you we were contemporaries, and he knows my house where I lived in Isolo where we held several union meetings, so I actually wonder what cause people to change these days. So it really amazes me that a man who had mentored and influenced a lot of young comrades and vibrant unionist would suddenly betray the working class Nigerians that he rode on their backs to get to where he is today, it is so sad.
But we thank God for what he is doing now as the APC is daily disappointing the masses in different ways, as they seemed to be fed up of the PDP thinking the PDP wasn’t doing enough for Nigerians at that time and so demanded for the “Change”, but now God has changed their minds and I can assure you that if elections are conducted in any part of the country the PDP will sweep the APC away.
Question: In view of the ongoing rebuilding, reconciliation and rebranding efforts of your party the PDP where do you think the Nigerian masses stand to benefit in all of these looking beyond mere political promises?
Response: I can tell you that the masses have started seeing the kind of magic that is going on within the party, because almost everyone was expecting the PDP to break into different pieces, but today when you see Fayose standing beside Mimiko and may be tomorrow Bode George with them including the different alongside with them which you didn’t see about four or five months ago and many more coming on board I can reveal to you that there is confusion in the camp of our detractors because they didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
The point is that life under the PDP cannot be compared to the kind of hardship endured by Nigerians today. So I can assure you that the masses stand to benefit a lot from the ongoing efforts of the PDP especially in view of 2019 general elections.
I hope you know that Ekiti state is currently at the fore front of this rebuilding process of the party and critical to this effort is Governor Fayose who I liken to the biblical John the Baptist who was the ‘lone voice in the wilderness’.
Question: How will you describe your relationship with Governor Fayose?
Response: Governor Ayodele Fayose is my boss and leader, a fighter and dogged advocate for the truth. He is a typical embodiment of what Ekiti people represent which is this bold and audacious approach to life regardless of the circumstances. I have worked with him for about 15 years and he has been very consistent to his personal philosophy which is to remain a man of the people whether it favors him or not. So when people ask me to tell him his life might be in danger with the way and manner he is going about his criticism of the APC led government, my Governor was barely moved as he insisted that at list he would be remembered for being the voice of the voiceless in the most difficult circumstances in the country’s history where impunity has become the order of the day, disregard for rule of law occasioned by blatant disobedience of court orders, elevation of ethnic divisiveness, loss of jobs through brash economic policies. I think Nigeria will in no distant future appreciate God for making Fayose a governor during this time because who would have spoken up against the planned enslavement of Nigeria to China through the attempt by the APC led government to borrow another loan from China which they declined urging President Buhari and his party to make use of the monies which they have already collected from the looters including those monies being anticipated also to fund the budget, rather than resort to borrowing from China.
Today, Buhari has made over 20 foreign trips within the last one year with tax payers monies, carrying with him in some cases about 150 persons who in most cases do not have any impact to bear on these trips, yet the Nigerian economy remains ‘critically sick’. I hope Nigerians haven’t forgotten many of the predictions he made prior to the elections which he pointed out most of these things happening now, so why wouldn’t he be likened to a prophet?
Question: But Sir don’t you think that the cause of our ailing economy is largely connected to the massive depletion of the nations treasury by the 16 years of misrule of your party the PDP as alleged by the APC led federal government?
Response: Let me state it emphatically that those are the excuses APC prepared to continue their propaganda philosophy in anticipation of their imminent failure at governance. What do you think prompted the British Prime Minister David Cameron to described Nigeria to be “fantastically corrupt” at a time when President Buhari is globetrotting telling the world he is fighting corruption, so those comments are a mere attempt to malign the precious government but unfortunately for them the truth is being revealed gradually.
I hope you the media will also not deny being aware that Jonathan administration left about 30billion dollars when leaving office to refute most of these malicious claims by the APC government, so where did the money go? The APC government even before facing the business of governance fleeced the treasury and embarked on their campaign of calumny against the PDP. So the British PM didn’t just decide to sensationalize the matter of corruption this time because a thorough diagnosis must have been done by the British intelligence agencies before arriving at the obvious conclusion that Nigeria under the APC led government is “Fantastically corrupt”.
Even the renowned Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and friend of the administration, Femi Falana had recently raised alarm over the inaccurate figures being brandished in the media with regards to the recovered and returned loots by the government. According to him, the actual figures was supposed to be more than what was published and thus leaving most of us to wonder if this corruption war is actually free from the grip of corruption itself.
But I know Nigerians won’t take long to find out.
Thank you Honorable.