The member representing Ado Ekiti/Irepodun/Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Ekiti State, Hon Olusola Fatoba, in this interview by SAM NWAOKO speaks on issues relating to his representation of the constituency, his political party and the coming election in Ekiti State. Excerpts:
The President withheld his assent to the electoral law which the National Assembly passed. Nigerians are saying that despite some flaws he noted with bills like the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and even the 2022 Budget, the president assented to them. Why has he not accorded the electoral act amendment the same treatment?
As far as I’m concerned, I’m in total support of the president withholding assent to the bill as passed by the National Assembly. The electoral bill amendment cannot be compared to the PIB or the budget. There are loads of differences. The electoral bill will determine a lot of things I this country. It would determine a whole lot of things about governance and about who becomes what in this country, which is very germane. So, it is not something anyone of us should take with levity. I am not in support of injecting the clause of direct primary clause for every political party. There should be an option. If you have indirect, there should have been direct. You could even add more options including that of independent candidature. That is my own take. So, I am not in support of the direct primary option.
There are more to the electoral act amendment bill than just the direct primary conundrum. Should we discard the bill because of that one item alone?
Some of the things in the bill are not tampered with, like the budget for INEC. So, whatever INEC is asking for would be given. Another area of the bill that is causing some level of concern is the electronic transmission of results. I am also not in support of that. My reason is because advanced democracies, precisely the United States which is acclaimed as our democratic model, there were lots of allegations that their election results transmitted electronically were tampered with and manipulated by Russians. If the US electoral system can be tampered with at its level of infrastructural development, what would be the case of Nigeria that is just trying to come up?
When you were contesting to represent Ekiti Central federal Constituency I in the House of Representatives, you had some things in mind. What would you say are the differences between what you had in mind and what you have encountered so far in the House?
When I was running for the House of Representatives, I had a lot of good plans for my people to ensure that I made a lot of good laws that would positively impact my people. I also had plans to attract good development to my people and to my state. It was also my plan to bring about good laws that would revolutionalise areas of unemployment and infrastructure in the country. I also had it in mind to do something to bring freedom and security to every part of the country. But on getting to the House, the way we thought that things were easy is not the way we met it.
What are those things you can readily highlight as holding the country down from your experience as a member of the National Assembly?
If our constitution is properly implemented, I believe that we have good laws that can take this country to the Eldorado we are looking at. A lot of bills and motions are being passed on each business day at the National Assembly but the implementation of all these bills and motions is the problem we have as a country. The quality implementation of bills and motions is lacking and I think that until we work on that, most especially the executive arm of government which is expected to implement some of these laws and policies, if they can be on their toes and do what is expected of them, I believe the country would be a better place to live for each and everybody.