REMNISCENCES OF A SENATE`S TENURE
I returned to Nigeria about two months ago and when I got to my Osun West Senatorial
District, I was busy asking questions about our representations at the senate. It was sort of
a nostalgic thing and one is forced to relive the old days especially the time between 2003
and 2007.Things have changed though not for the good am sorry to say. From one end to
the other, the ten local governments making up the district are disenchanted to the extent
that stone throwing incidents were reported recently.
Early 2007 was a period I hate to recall in the life of Osun West. That period the Executive
Governor of the state considered exigencies of time and directed a serving senator to stop
rerun bid in favor of an ex-governor. Three or so years after, one cannot but look back
and remember with nostalgia the senate`s tenure from 2003 to 2007 as well as look ahead
to the battle for the same ticket in 2011.The Governor then probably acted in good faith
and he would surely not be ready to issue such directive again, not even with the grief and
apparent strong desire for change within the district.
Senate`s tenure is universally assessed with three main yardsticks namely people
oriented legislative activities at the National Assembly, attested service to the constituents
and satisfactory nurturing of party structure and leadership. The first was an excellent one
as the occupant was a voice where it matters in the upper chamber. His group today
controls the senate leadership. On the second count-servicing the party hierarchy, it was
also great. In fact ,many party leaders regularly alluded to that golden era, citing the
demonstration of critical understanding of how to oil a party machine and keep both the
dog handlers and the dogs in equanimity to achieve the supreme goal of service to the
I particularly remember a leader who after acknowledging his having benefited immensely
from the tenure wondered why the man cannot go for higher state responsibility. As that
respected elder put it, if we have him high up, we can all go to sleep. The party was well
nurtured then and all those who partook in the electioneering and mobilization had their
fair share of people oriented returns. The leaders were respected and treated with dignity
befitting of their state as conscience of their people. An unrivalled courtesies and
courteous treatment were extended to party elders that ,many of them today feel
something critical is missing or has eluded them since 2007.I cannot but feel the same way
as a stakeholder from the zone.
The third consideration has to do with service to the people. Lawmakers report back to
their people not just by enumerating motions and bills sponsored or passed. Dividends of
democracy in term of empowerment materials are part of the game. What surprised me
most was that the period witnessed a sustained series of such programmes that one is
forced to ask where the man was getting the funding from. From the first year to the last
year in 2007, the era was unprecedented in term of service and empowerment delivery to
the people. Let me say that the senatorial district never witnessed such effective people
oriented programmes either between 1999 to 2003 or 2007 to date. The records are too
self confessing to be disputed.
The first was the scholarship award to truly indigent students from across all the wards in
the district. The beneficiaries regularly attested to such unrivalled kind gesture and the
selection process turned out to be a yardstick being poorly copied by others today.
Distribution of farm tools, revolving loan scheme for women, building of health centers,
computerization programme and many more were common features of the era
Beyond empowerment, community development was pursued with vogour.Many rural
electrifications were initiated and executed. Many classrooms were built in many
abandoned schools. Boreholes were sunk all over the zone. And very strategically, the
Gbongan-Iwo-Oyo federal road was surveyed and designed, remaining appropriation.
These were not inclusive of many constituents who were given jobs and those linked up
with opportunities in various government agencies. The zone was truly at its zenith.
The testimony was not limited to that. Sometimes last year, the Provost of Federal
Polytechnic, Ede was quoted in the media as praising the former senator for being
responsible for the financing of the Vocational Development Center of the institution. I
thought I did not read the man well until he stressed further that the senator facilitatated
budgetary appropriation even when it was thought to be impossible. The center the
provost then concluded was subsequently built and put to great use of Nigerian youth. In
fact, the management of the institution had to invite the former senator to come and
commissioned the center. By their seeds we know them. I was in London when I read the
story and I was wondering then what the incumbent is doing.
My consolation and those of other stakeholders from the zone is that 2011 is around the
corner and we will not fold our arm to allow inactivity, inefficiency, and political immaturity in
senatorial representation to continue. This is time for change and I believe the leadership
of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Osun state will not toy with the fate of our zone.
We must be allowed to select our candidate through a free and fair primary. It is our
currently forcefully expressed wish to return the holder of the tenure from 2003 to 2007 to
the same position for 2011 to 2015.
I am therefore joining thousands of our people to call on Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi to
run for Senate in 2011.I was told he had so far rejected overtures on him to return to the
senate but I urge him to reconsider his stance and make himself available for the good of
his people. This is a call to duty and we will not forgive him if he fails to accept our
*Adekoya sent this piece from No 10,Olode street,Ile Ogbo,Ayedire Local Government of Osun state