2019: Cross-Carpeting, moneybags’ influence affecting the growth of our democracy -Akinmade



Hon Kayode Akinmade, a former Commissioner for Information in Ondo State and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the House of Representatives election in Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency, speaks on the 2019 polls.

Excerpts:

What is your motivation contesting the House of Representatives seat?

My motive principally is to be a good representative of my people. For a period spanning two decades, l had worked as a practising journalist and media manager, particularly in the field of politics. l rose to become the Group Political Editor of the Nigerian Tribune. I also served as the Lagos Bureau Chief of the newspaper. During the period, l traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria as a newshound, interacting with the high and the mighty. This experience was to later catapult me to the National Assembly, where l was appointed Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole. That position gave me a lot of opportunity to really appreciate what is going on at the National Assembly and realise the challenges some members are facing in terms of providing quality representation. I was able to understand the dynamics of Nigerian politics and its diversity. I realised that everybody at the National Assembly was fighting for their own interest. We have about 360 federal constituencies in Nigeria. Ordinarily, there should be equal rights among all members to the patronage of the Federal Government; but what I personally observed is that our people, especially in my constituency, the Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency, have been short-changed in the past years. Also, I witnessed, firsthand, the real politics of NASS and I can understand the problems confronting many that have hitherto got the people’s mandate to serve at that level. No doubt, my Idanre/Ifedore constituency has been short-changed.

In what way are the people being short-changed?

Perhaps due to the inability of some of our previous representatives to understand the dynamics within the National Assembly, we have been cheated. I can say without mincing words that between 2015 and 2017, the only money allocated to my constituency was N55m. That money came in 2015 and it was for the purchase of motorcycles. When you look at that, it is very ridiculous that my people were reduced to motorcycle riders in a federal constituency where we have competent and qualified graduates roaming the streets. At this critical juncture, there is a need for us to change the status quo and ensure that we get our rightful place in the country’s scheme of things.

You are contesting against the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, among others. What chance do you have, considering the fact that the Ondo State APC chairman is from the Idanre Local Government Area?

Everything is in the hands of God. The APC chairman and I are not from the same political party. He is well-respected in the community and I have a great regard for him. Nevertheless, if you look at the political history of Ondo State, the APC is just a new entrant. We were all aware of the happenings in the state two years ago that brought about the emergency of the APC. The people of Idanre and Ifedore, the two local government areas that constitute the federal constituency, have a rotation arrangement and if you look at those who have been representing us since 1999 to date, Ifedore has spent 16 years while Idanre had only four years. Most people in the federal constituency are of the opinion that this is the time for Idanre to produce the next person to represent us at the House of Representatives. This is to ensure equity and fairness in both local governments, established for decades. All political parties honour and respect this unwritten agreement. 

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