PDP NOT RIGID ABOUT ZONING
'I don't believe in opposition to government. This is our party and we are lucky that we have the mandate of the people to rule.
An aspirant into the House of Representatives on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Oyo State, Dr. Kayode Afolabi, has said that the party has never been rigid on its zoning arrangement. He told Daily Sun that zoning is a convenient arrangement if only it will enhance democracy, governance and development. Excerpts:
Zoning as a convenience
The zoning is a convenient arrangement which I believe it may actually be necessary or feasible. Also, it may be unnecessary and counter productive. In fact, they (PDP) do not have to be rigid about zoning.
Where it will enhance democracy governance and development is what we want. But we do not want where it will be counter productive. I do not think that PDP is rigid about zoning as it connotes.
Reactions on zoning
Well, every Nigerian has his or her right to speak opinions. The agitations and comments are personal opinions. This time, we should look for merit. We want to move forward. We cannot just sit down and continue to be addressed as a developing or undeveloped nation. We have the resources that will make us a developed and great nation.
We only need appropriate people to man our resources and they are up there. If we do not get the appropriate people, we may not move ahead. If it is zoning that will debar us from getting the appropriate people, then, we have to do without it, so as to move forward.
Oyo PDP crisis
Actually, there are other parties, even though PDP is in control in Oyo State. Other parties are practically non-existent. With every sense of sincerity and responsibility, I want to say that, crisisis not limited to PDP. There is no political party that does not have internal crisis. Of course, there is no party as large as PDP that accommodates so many people with diverse interests and opinions that will not have internal crisis
We should be talking of resolving the crisis which is not unique to PDP. When you talk of internal democracy, there is no way we can achieve good internal democracy without resolving crisis is. All stakeholders will come together and solve the crisis, to enhance internal democracy, which of course will rub off on the general election and the national democracy.
There is no how an election would be coming and crisis would not be witnessed in the parties, because there will be diverse interests. Well, it is not difficult to resolve. It takes the stakeholders to come together to tackle the problems on ground. After that, the differences that exist can also be addressed and the gap be bridged. I am very convinced that before the general elections, all the crises within PDP will be resolved.
What faction of the party do you belong?
I don't believe in opposition to government. This is our party and we are lucky that we have the mandate of the people to rule. I believe what we should all do is to work together in such a way to be able to deliver the dividends of democracy. If we work at variance, we will just be dissipating energy unnecessarily and the energy dissipated will also not be productive. My position is that we should work together.
Why House of Representatives?
I believe that if I keep what God has given to me to myself or just to the patients I see, I will not be touching as much lives as I can touch with my experience and qualification and my exposure. So, I believe, if I am elected to the House of Representatives at my constituency, which is Ona-Ara/Egbeda Federal Constituency, Oyo State, I will be able to touch more lives. I only want to give back to the society what I believe I have. By the grace of God, I am running on the ticket of PDP being the ruling party in the state
Plans for your constituency
The office I am seeking is a legislative office. However, there are a lot of things I can do as a legislator to make a difference in my constituency. If you look at the two local government areas that make up my constituency, you will realize that the presence of the Federal Government is almost not in existence, particularly our own local government area. It is unindustrialized, infrastructural developments are also not there. These are issues that with interactions with various government agencies at the national level and the direct interaction with the Federal Government, there will be relevant projects and programmes to bring development to my local government area.
When you talk about infrastructural development, there are federal roads that cut across my constituency. Many of them are either neglected or poorly maintained. So as it is, with my influency as a Reps member, I will help to bring the presence of the Federal Government to my area. Also, the area I want to represent is largely agrarian, that means interest of the farmers will be of utmost importance to me.
As a medical practitioner, I know the health challenges in my constituency. The two local government areas I am representing, only one has a general hospital. It ought to have four because of its population. These are the things I can influence. Part of it can be done directly as constituency project. I will also be interested in the area of education. I will be involved in supporting students. I have given scholarships to some students from part I till their graduation.
Three of them are medical practitioners, one is an engineer, while one studied Computer Science. I will also try to enlarge the number. Presently, I am engaged in the training of youths on computer appreciation because I believe that very soon if you are not computer literate, it will not be easy to get a job.
I am going to have an ICT centre in my constituency, where I will be able to train and empower youths on ICT and of course on some crafts.
Impression on the House of Representatives
They have so far done better than their predecessors. But when we consider legislative functions, I do not have the record of bills they have passed, but I am convinced that they have done better. However, I want to point out the one of the embarrassing crisis they had. It was really embarrassing, not only to the National Assembly, but to the entire nation. One thing that impressed me so much was that the Speaker of House came out openly and apologized. In the past, it was not like that, you hardly see a Nigerian in an official capacity coming out to apologise. So, that was an improvement. I believe as the democracy improves, National Assembly performance will also improve.