What Gov Abdulrazaq Promised Me During Casual Meeting With Him – PDP Lawmaker Agboola

A member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. AbdulRaheem Jimoh Agboola, representing Ilorin South state constituency, presently the only lawmaker in the state who is a member of the opposition party, the PDP.

In this interview, Hon. Agboola disclosed what he told Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq during a chance meeting, how he would rate the performance of the 9th Kwara state house of assembly and other issues.

Read excerpts of the interview:

We cannot talk about your membership of the 9th Kwara state House of assembly without touching on the incident recorded during the budget presentation a few weeks ago, what has been your relationship with other lawmakers after the incident?

Before the presentation of the budget, you were all aware that I was placed on suspension pending investigation into allegations of inciting people against the government and the house of assembly. In order for me to have a good relationship with my colleagues, I chose to tolerate them and be patient.

I am a stakeholder in that assembly because I am not a first time member. This is my second time of being a member of the house,. I was there between 1999 and 2003. I have returned there to represent my constituency. Most of them, including the speaker are first timers. There is a need for me therefore to allow them to know, if they don’t know, what is called legislative duties and the Speaker is just one among equals. This is what I wanted them to realize. And you cannot apply house rules when it involves activities of a member outside plenary sessions, the house rule is just meant for the conduct of a member during plenary sessions. For me to make them understand this, I had to be patient with them. That was why I felt I should accept their allegations to get investigated. So that we will be able to rub minds and settle the matter amicably while doing that.

They invited me twice to appear before the committee. To crown it all, we went to Rwanda together. While there, we discussed my issue and they said on getting back home the matter will be resolved amicably. That they will do that during the first plenary session and that I will join them. But unfortunately, the first, second and third plenary sessions were held. I had to see the Speaker and asked him what was happening.

I told him that maybe I would be sitting in the public gallery to watch the activities of the parliament and that if I do this , it will send a signal that he has a pending matter to look into.

Though he asked me not to do that promising to resolve the issue which he said was about 80% resolved.

They asked me during our trip to Rwanda join their party. I told them categorically that I cannot do that but that we can establish a relationship because we don’t know where we could meet again.

Maybe that did not go well down with them. I sat in the public gallery for four plenary sessions, I had not attended 17 plenary sessions and it had been over six months. I had to therefore attend the budget presentation by the governor being an important event.

Prior to that day, I had not gotten any correspondence to show that I was suspended either for one month or indefinitely.

During that plenary session, there was a little drama when one member wanted to attack me saying that I was not supposed to attend the budget presentation and I had asked ‘Who is supposed to be there. Who is the representative of Ilorin South? It took maturity and patience for me to attend the event.

After the budget presentation had ended, the report of the ethics and privilege that they have kept for long was later brought out, they removed my chair. I had to sit on the table allocated to me to attend the plenary session so that I will not breach the house rules. It was while sitting on the table to attend plenary session that they announced that I had gotten another legislative suspension that will last for 14 days. This also shows their ignorance of the law. If they rely on the house rule they are using, it is supposed to be like four weeks. They might be counting their sittings. The suspension was done verbally. The speaker made the pronouncement. One of the members had raised a motion that if they go on with the suspension, they might likely fail in court because past cases showed that a member cannot suspend another member.

The supreme court judgment also according to him supported this and he suggested using the word ‘reprimand’ and the Speaker opted for that word and declared that I would be reprimanded for 14 legislative sittings.

Hope that will not involve stopping you from entering the premises of the House of Assembly?

They have done that already, I have taken them to court though.

Our local government people have not had their representative sitting with others at plenary sessions. I can count four important legislations that they have done with Ilorin South absent. The approvals of 35 billion bond and 18.3 billion bond, consideration of the report of Public Account Committee, PAC, on the state and local government and the supplementary budget.

Our local government was not involved and there is no way you want to take a bond and one local government will be left out.

That you were not at the plenary sessions where bonds were approved can be considered as immaterial because it would not stop projects meant for your constituency from being included?

Who will add the projects? They will only add the ones that they have considered as important to them and not the projects that are important to the people of my local government.

Are you saying that in the projects listed and captured in the 2022 budget, the projects meant for Ilorin South were not included?

They were included but I am saying that they cannot be our desired projects.

But the government created a platform for citizens of Kwara state to give input on the budget in order to identify their areas of priorities?

You can’t take over another person’s job and duties. The meeting attended by stakeholders that you are talking about, many important people may not attend because they have a representative who is well -briefed. He is the one that is supposed to present their requests or even see to their requests being considered at plenary sessions because that is where approval to the budget will be done.

Can you comment on the leadership qualities of Speaker Yakubu Danladi and how will you rate the performance of the ninth house of assembly?

Hon. Danladi is a good person. But if you add his status as Speaker of the Kwara state house of assembly, you will be talking about another Danladi.

He does not care about the people he is representing. He dances to the tune of the executive. He takes orders from the executive to deal with colleagues. That is the Speaker we have. He is a good man but the office has influenced him to become something else. The members because they are first timers don’t also have what it takes to ensure qualitative representation.

They are not performing. If there is no government business in that house today, that house will be as quiet as anything. It will record zero-activity. All the bills are that of the government. You can rate the assembly the way you want but I am telling you this because I belong to the people. I stand by the truth.

Coming back to you, how many bills have you sponsored or initiated?

You cannot go beyond the Speaker according to the rules. For anything you want to do you have to carry the Speaker along. The first one that I wanted to raise was the Freedom of Information Bill. I was ruled out of order. Several motions, several complaints of my constituents that I wanted to translate into bills or motions were denied because you have to write what you want to do and submit it to the committee.

It is this committee that will get you listed among those who will get things done during plenary session. You cannot do anything unless such process is satisfied. They need orientation. They need to attend seminars and retreats.

Doing this will allow them to know the level of their performance, how the public rates them, how their constituents rate them ,and the relationship with the executive and the judiciary.

Many people have argued that a good relationship between the executive and the legislature will result in good governance and delivery of dividends of democracy ?

It is a big lie. There must be checks and balances. There must be constructive criticism to keep government on its toes. Look at what is happening in the state today, we used to see our state as one of the cleanest states but today you will see refuse on our roads.

People are being sacked. I think the previous government was spending like 26 million per month for the cleaning exercise.

Today, they are committing 48 million and what is the result? The payment by the previous government was to all the sweepers but this administration has sacked all of them. No sweeper on our streets again. Let me tell you more. Go to our airport today, in the cargo terminal people living there are those smoking Indian hemp and those who have gone mad .

They have left that place unattended to. Go to the Agric Cooperative Building, you will see what the place has become. They are not taking care of anything. It is as if we don’t have government in the state. So it is the work of the legislative arm of government to keep the executive on its toes through oversight assignment.

In the seventh assembly, there were two opposition members and now you’re the only one. Have you gotten in touch with those two people to know how they were able to cope then?

You know I said I am not a first timer. I was also in the opposition in the fourth assembly. I was elected on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and we related well. Eventually, towards the tail end of the legislative session, I decamped to the ANPP.

How many plenary sessions have you attended since becoming a state lawmaker and in what ways have you touched the lives of your constituents positively?

I attended first plenary session on 9th of February last year and by 13th of July I had already been suspended, which meant that I only spent four months as a member that was free to attend plenary sessions .

Because I was commenting on it, I was able to get the grassroot initiative project of my constituency. The first one for 2020 was given to someone else but I was able to get the second one. I did two boreholes. One at Taiwo Isale and one at Government Secondary School. So I am waiting for that of 2022. I did installation of transformer at Sabo Kulende area. That is Akanbi 5 of my constituency . Then I did another transformer at Bada Ajegunle Akanbi 1 through the constituency project.

Being the only opposition member in the house, have you gotten what others have enjoyed in terms of patronage?

No. They are doing secret employment and I had no input, when they were recruiting people for community policing the same thing was done.

Sometimes they will send money to them and I would not be given. The only one that I have been enjoying is the one that comes to the assembly as allowance. That is the only thing I use to benefit from the house apart from my salary.

Have you made efforts to book an appointment with the governor for possible intervention?

Yes. I used to do that initially when I became a member of the house of assembly, I visited some communities in my constituency and especially the public schools . I realized that there was a need to talk to the governor. I called him more than 10 times he neither picked up nor returned my calls. I resorted to texting him but still got no response .

Not until recently that we had a chance meeting. I was in my constituency around Gaa Akanbi for a community assignment when drivers of a convoy of cars suddenly pulled over and I thought the security agents wanted to clear road for a VIP.

Eventually someone opened the door of a Hilux and the DSS officer approached me and said someone wanted to see me.

When I got there, I discovered it was the governor. I felt honoured that he gave me such a recognition and I greeted him.

‘What are you doing here? He asked and I told him I was in my constituency. How is the assembly? He also asked? I told him you will help me beg your Speaker to allow me enter my office and he told me that he was going to talk to him. That was the only time myself and the governor have met one on one and that was in January this year.

Do you now look forward to things changing for the better ?

People have described the governor in different ways but I cannot describe the person I have not spent a quality time with before or work under him.

People have said he is humble and gentle and his looks also confirms this but they have also said he has a heart of stone. I wouldn’t know what he is going to apply in respect of my issue what I know is that we had a chance meeting and that was the little things we discussed

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