As 2019 election draws near and politicians seeking elective position, Prince Rotimi Agunsoye of House of Representative, Kosefe Federal Constituency spoke with Kosofe Post recently during the interview about his achievement as a member of the 8th National Assembly, his goals and other sundry national issues .
Can you tell us about yourself?
Before I became a member of the House of Representative, I started my journey when I was appointed as Deputy Executive Secretary in Ikorodu Local Government in 2002, during transition period under Bola Tinubu administration. After the expiration of the Chairmen of the various Local Government chairmen, when they were 20, I was there, immediately, I was appointed as Board member of LESEPA, the position I held for four months before I was later appointed as Special Adviser to Bola Tinubu on Physical Planning and Urban development. All the while, I came out to contest for the Kosefe House of Representative. The 1sttime I came out was in 2003 and I had done my campaigns but when I was told to step down, I yielded to the voice of wisdom and reasoning. In 2007, I came out as well but before 2007, I have held top positions in government. In 2007, I was asked to withdrawn which I did and after that election I was appointed as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. The position I held for four years and to the glory of God and evaluation from the people who told me that I perform very well. Here am I today representing my people in Kosefe Federal Constituency and by God’s grace, I am seeking a re-election.
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In four years, what are the things that you have done in the National Assembly that will record in history?
I will tell you that there are several motions that I sponsored which can be verify on the social media landscape. I will tell you the very first motion I sponsored in just about a week after we were sworn in which is that Nigeria should practice true federalism. This motion was important because it has been a disturbing and pain in my neck and many Nigerians. The motion I first sponsored that we should go into true federalism by making the closet government to the grassroots get the largest chunk of the revenue allocation. As it were, the Federal government get more than the state and local governments. When we are talking about developmental projects, you should be talking to the state and local government. So, when I sponsored it, I could not believe it, you needed to be there to see how the speaker and the house Leader reign encomium on me. At that point, I know that the journey has just begun. I have also sponsored motions on food, agriculture among others. There is the particular one which was about the federal government proposed increase in the tolls charged at the international airport, I opposed it. One bill, I can recollect that I sponsor is the bill making its mandatory that every infrastructure project carried out by the government must come with the maintenance or wear and tear cost. The idea was promote the culture of maintenances.
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True federalism is one of the manifestoes of APC, do you think the party will need to do a lot more to entrenching true federalism?
There is a time and season for everything under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to gather and a time to scatter. At this time in the history of Nigeria, there are so many things that we should plan to do to move for the country forward and true federalism is number one. But what we met on ground, no matter how sincere , when we came in 2015, if certain things that the past government that should have done to help our country was not done, by ow we should be talking about restructuring. We should not forget too soon how Dollars became our legal tender when PDP was in government because its was dollars they were spending in Nigeria and that is the reason why we are where we are today. So there is no how you will talk about governance in Nigeria without going back to true federalism. True federalism will be our solution. You need to give power to the Local Government and states government because they are the closet arm of government to the people.
So, do you support autonomy for the local government?
When we talk about autonomy for the Local government, there is no way that you will not talk about true federalism that we will not talk about autonomy for the Local Government. When we get to the bridge, we will cross it at the appropriate time.
In the last four years, they have been cold relationship between the legislative arm of government with the executive arm, what can we do to improve their relationship for the good of all Nigerians?
If you must hear from me, I will tell you that it was war between the executive and legislative arm of government and in such situation, the country will not move forward and he —-on provided. Although the relationship should not be too cordial but it should not be warfare as well. There must be basic understanding between the two arms to be able to move the country forward. I mean, whatever it is personal, should be remove from the relationship. We must be objective in whatever we do. The paramount thing is to move the nation forward and we sworn to an oath of allegiance and oath of secrecy, why did we do that, it is about the nation and not about us. See, if you look at the situation at hand, the situation where minority is leading the majority in both houses, it is an awkward situation. There is nothing good that can come out of Egypt.
Would you say that 8th National Assembly has done well in the last four years?
Well, I will you in all sincerity, when it has to do with our bills and motions, a lots has been achieved and a lot has changed. Even padding bills that was sent to Mr. President for assent and was brought back.
Are you saying the Electoral Act was padded?
Well, you are saying that. Look, when we are talking about the country, we should be talking about yesterday, today and tomorrow. If you do not talk about yesterday, you will not know the history that brought you here today and if you do not look at the future, am sure, how do you talk about tomorrow without talking yesterday, and today. What we are saying is that for you to do right thing, you have to live every day of your life to the fullest with the thinking that tomorrow may never come and you equally secure the future as if tomorrow may never end. History is the best teachers and those who refuse to learn from history would end up becoming victims of history. All we have been doing in this country, I am generalizing, we have not be making use of history. What you sow is what you reap and if you want to move forward, you have to lay your hand on the book of history of Nigeria. I am even told that they have remove history from our curriculum, how do we learn from the past.
Young people have been shut out of public office because of high nomination fees and Godfatherism factors, what can the youth do to weather this challenge?
The question is who shut out the youth, they did. I still see myself as a youths because as you are here, you need to learn from my own wealth of experience. I can also learn from you. It is not about age. The people deserve the government they have. If you cannot stand up and ask what belongs to you, you want me to ask of what belong to you, you need to stand and organised yourself, until then, people will not take you serious. When we sign the Not too young to rule bill into law, it is not the apt time for young people to come in 2019 election, why are youths in a hurry. They were expected to spend at least five to 10 years of planning ,mobilisation and search for credible materials within you (them) and put them forward and see whether you will get in power or not. When you are talking about God fatherism. Even in the bible, there is Godfatherism.
If you don’t have God father, don’t you have God the father in heaven. You do not know how I started this journey.
You once held a mega empowerment programme and thugs carted always some of the materials to be distributed at the event, what is your take?
When SANWO VISITED AGOBY RECENTLY, I HARMER IT TO HIS EAR THAT ABOYI KETU LINK Bridge. He mentioned and promised that the bridge will be built. When you are a leader and people see some qualities that make them refer to you as a s leaders is because you can influence things and that is one of those things. To empower, if you are good leaders, you should be free within your people. Money was not stolen. What happen is that the empowerment was mega and while was it mega because I believe so much in my people. I denied myself of so many things to organise the empower programme. While I was coming to this world, I came with nothing and when I will be leaving, I will go with nothing So , when you are leave in between the time you come and the time you leave, you will need to work very well and do something for humanity so you do not become a wastes to humanity that is reason why am doing what am doing, am not a fool . My journey here is not by a sudden flight but rough and slippery but at a time God did his miracle. God has been so kind to me. I am a special child of God. I went to University of Ibadan. I was a solid students, good, a politician and stubborn. I was an activist and am still an activist even in the national assembly. I pressed my point home. When I believe in a course. I stand by it. We have a pressure group inside the National Assembly and I am one of them. If you mention Adamu Chika, we are in the same group and they are people of integrity, so whatever you want to become in life. God has given everyone talents but how do you discover your talents, purpose is by hardwork and prayer; you will discover your potentials. When you discover your potentials and your focus on it, you will succeed. That is how to make it in life and that is exactly what we are doing. We are not where we want to be but by God’s grace, we are on track.
What is your relationship with Isokan Framer Forum?
I am challenging the people to come and give evidence. A group of people came to me that they want to borrow money and I told them that am a not a bank and I assisted to get to somebody to loan them 4million, up till now, they have not paid back the 4miilion. They are still owing close to 2 million. I don’t have money to borrow anyone. I only facilitate means to them in getting the money. The problem the people have is that once you are in politics, people think that you have a lot of money.
Agboyi Ketu , has been the campaign rally for most politicians around Kosefe and visitors, are you going to make case for the construction of the Agboyi-Ketu Link Bridge?
When SANWO visited Agboyi-Ketu recently, I hammered the need for Agboyi-Ketu Link Bridge to his ears and he announced it publicly that the bridge will be built. He mentioned it and promised that the bridge will be built. When you are a leader and people see some qualities that make them refer to you as a leaders is because you can influence things and that is one of those. To empower, if you are good leaders, you should be free within your people.
People says campaign has gone beyond digging bore hole and distributing wheel barrows what is your take?
If people say that campaign has gone beyond digging bore hole, the people that says that do not have any problem with water supply but for those people that need it, digging the bore hole becomes imperative. There is big difference between the executive and lawmaker. If you are a lawmaker and you are talking about constituency project, you are not given physical cash it is the executive arm of government that will come and do the work, our role is to site where the project will sit. In a situation where I want anything for my people, what I will do is to come to my community and they will tell me where they want the hall or project to be cited and I will tell the executive and the parastatal where the people want it and they will come and executive the projects.
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As the elections draw near, what will you tell your constituency?
Please rally round and support us to ensure continuity in government. If you have your PVC and you remain indifference or docile, you don’t want continuity in government. God will give us the wisdom to continue to discharge our duty to the best of our ability.