Honourable Mufutau Egberongbe was a two-time former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly. Now Special Adviser of Political and Legislative Matters to the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, Egberongbe in this interview with thegazellenews.com‘s crew, speaks on why President Muhammad Buhari, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Rt. Hon. Obasa deserve second term in office among other state and national issues. Excerpts:
How would you describe the current 8th House of Assembly?
It has been a successful House. Private member bills are being sponsored in this Assembly unlike the previous ones when most bills came from the Executive arm of Government.
The Neighbourhood Watch, the Cancer Institute and Yoruba Language Preservation Bills are just a few of such. These are Bills that have direct positive impact on the people.
Don’t also forget the Annual Stakeholders’ Meetings too which afforded the lawmakers the opportunity to feel the pulse of their constituents and which have severally assisted Governor Ambode in planning the annual budget while it eases its passage making the two arms remain on the same page.
To some people, the 2018 budget was rushed by the House. Why was it so?
Remember I said the document is generated by the executive and legislative arms which has made processes of passing budget easier. There is also the pre-budget meeting between the two arms where issues are raised and trashed. That is where the real job is done. The participants collapse themselves into a team to look at it. What also makes it easy is that the the Governor and the Speaker had been working on the finances of the state before their latest positions. The Governor was the Accountant General of the state while the Speaker was the Chairman of the House Committee on Budget. Their experiences have been added value to the passage and implementation of the annual budgets of the which has benefitted the people of the state more.
What is the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature currently?
Without mincing words, the Executive is moving at a geometric pace. And there is no way the Executive will run in that pace without the cooperation of the Legislature. The Governor recently granted assent to seven bills in a day. These Bills were passed by the House. It has never happened in this state. That alone answers your question.
Would you recommend the Speaker for another term?
Honestly, I have known the Speaker for over 10 years now. I know him as a godfearing person. He is also a very technical and thorough person. He remains versatile and strives to have knowledge of issues. I think it is good for our system. I would strongly recommend that for the Governor and the Speaker, it is half a dozen and six which has no difference. What they have started together, they should complete together. It is not about the Speaker but for the progress of the state.
Now, there is this general outcry of the expectations of Nigerians not met by the APC government. What do you think are the reasons for the seeming inability of your party to meet these expectations?
First, Nigerians are very impatient people. See them at the bus stop and canteens, you will definitely see someone attempting to jump the queue. Nigerians want the rot of over 16 years repaired in less than three years.
Second, there is this insincerity on the part of the opposition because they just want to paint the government bad despite the successes recorded in the fight against corruption.
Most times, I hear people saying that the same people that destroyed the PDP are the ones in the APC currently. Yes, while I agree with you, the party itself is such an institutionalized one and capable of whipping anyone to line. Look at how that has assisted the government. You see how some international bodies have described our president as incorruptible. But what are we saying back home? Buhari is just one of us, massive population. What have you as an individual done to bring the much needed change? I think we should just be patient with the political class. Now that we have seen a good man, let’s give him a chance to work; if it works, it will be for the benefit of everyone and even the future generations. We need to be sincere with ourselves.
There is this anxiety that has continued to trail Tinubu’s role as a mediating factor in the internal crises that have plagued the APC for sometime now. Do you see any success in this task before him?
What is wrong in us warring and later coming to jaw-jaw? Whatever reason would anybody see to make him be against a reconciliatory move if ever we are being sincere? And who has the kind of personality of Asiwaju? This is not just because he is my mentor, but let’s put on the table and ask ourselves who that person is that is like Asiwaju. Who is that individual that has made friends in every part of the country and still maintain those contacts since he was a senator? None. I am not saying he is a saint, but he loves Nigeria passionately.
So does this imply that you mean there is no vacancy in Aso Rock in 2019?
Yes, both at the federal and state levels. Just go round Lagos and see the progress recorded in the tenure of Ambode. Have you been to Lekki? Have you been to Ojodu-Berger recently to see the transformation? Recently in Oshodi area of Lagos, a couple was caught via the CCTV, stealing. I agree that there are areas of challenges but putting them side-by-side relatively with the progress, I think the latter supersedes.
What would you say to those dreaming of unseating Buhari in 2019?
They should not waste their resources and time trying to defeat him. Rather, they should collaborate with him, use their money to set up small and medium enterprises to sustain the economy and create jobs so they would be respected as statesmen. From within the party, nobody is raising his hand. Severally, even leaders of other parties have confirmed that Buhari has tried. Bode George is one of them. Come down to Lagos, see how Ambode has revolutionise Epe, a former sleepy town. What that means is that the value of land there has shared up, the economy and night life too have received boosts. We have a governor who is constantly thinking.