Nigerian Politicians have been branded several uncomplimentary names and have been described in several unflattering ways, however, to Honourable Saheed Akinade Fijabi, “Politicians are people who have turned rights to privileges.”
Hon. Fijabi who represents Ibadan South West and North West Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, made this statement during a chat with journalists at the South-west Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP) monthly interactive session held at CEOAfrica, Ibadan, Oyo State.
As a politician himself, the All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmaker expressed disaffection at the way Nigerian politicians deny the populace their rights to basic facilities and amenities, while noting that the masses – whom public officers were elected to serve – consider it a privilege when a politician commissions a well-deserved project in their community.
Fijabi also decried the manner in which these elected public officers create unnecessary noise when they are commissioning a project, stating that it is their duty in the first place to provide basic amenities to the populace and such events should not be taken as a rare feat.
He said “The problem about politicians which we should correct is that they have turned our rights into privileges. The moment they try and dig a borehole in an area, they will go to Gbagi Market, buy Ankara and people will be dancing round and be commissioning.
“When I was growing up in Orogun, if you opened our taps then, water was running. We should be moving forward not backwards. I didn’t even understand what borehole meant then. It is your right to walk on good roads, to attend good schools, to have access to good health care; it is your right not privilege. As politicians – I am also part of them anyway – we have turned it into privileges.
“I was somewhere yesterday, they were saying “won ma npariwo ninu oselu ni” (you have to make noise in politics). What I believe is that any project done, so far it is useful and people are benefitting from it, let us move on to another one. We have a lot of people who would do a project of N10 and use N100 to make noise about it. Why don’t you use the resources you are spending to embark on another one. And no matter the amount of noise you make, it doesn’t even mean people will vote you in in the next election.
“In my constituency, we have done over 40 boreholes but it is still not right in this century to be digging borehole everywhere, it is not right. I told you, back in the 70s, water was running in Orogun. So what has happened? That is the reason people think I am not making noise about what I am doing.
While speaking about his passion to serve the people and his desire to facilitate the development of his constituency, the lawmaker also highlighted some of his achievements as well as the projects he has facilitated in Oyo State.
He said “What I was able to do in my first term, you can’t compare it to what I have been able to do in the last two years. I know in the last two years, I have been able to facilitate projects very close to like a billion Naira to Oyo State. If you go to the Ring Road Hospital and Adeoyo Hospital, there are some maternity wards renovated by MTN, which is through facilitation. Just down the road here in the College of Hygiene, Eleyele, there is one school, which is a project worth about N 300 million.
“And if you go to UCH which is not even in my constituency, just to show you that what I think about is how to develop Oyo State and not just my constituency alone. Just go to UCH and see, it is there. If I have had the opportunity of being the Speaker or Deputy Speaker, I would have done more. If you go to Osun now, you will see the projects Lasun has been able to facilitate to his constituency. That is the reason why we keep telling our leaders in the party that as legislators, it is better to give us chance to repeat the class as many times as possible. It is very important,” he said.
Hon Fijabi who also chairs the House Committee on Telecommunications urged all elected office holders to serve the public in sincerity and truth so as to aid the development of the nation.