A lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Mushin Constituency 1, Hon. Abdulsobur Olayiwola Olawale has said that the major problem confronting the nation has to do with leadership. He believes that states should be allowed to control their resources for the country to develop and move forward.
Olawale, in this media chat with select journalists, bears his mind on the State of the Nation and Nigeria’s Independence celebration. OKUNADE ADEKUNLE was there.
Nigeria is 61, do you think Nigeria has anything to celebrate?
No right thinking person will subscribe to the fact that we don’t have anything to celebrate. That we are alive is enough to celebrate. If you look at our economy and politics to judge then you are not being fair to Nigeria. I will take you back to 1993, when we had a political imbroglio, didn’t we overcome the problem, during the years of the late General Sanni Abacha, didn’t we overcome. If you look at from 1967 to 1970, we had problems and we overcame them.
What we are experiencing now will soon pass. We should pray for leaders that would have economic wand to change the polity and do the economic reengeneering of the country. We have had our ups and downs. There is nowhere they don’t have it. But with good leaders we will overcome.
We have been having visions from 1990 till date and we are still on it, don’t you think a 61-year-old child ought to have grown?
I will start form where I ended, leadership, which is number one. A good leader would have prepared the country since 1960. There is inconsistency in our policy formulation and implementation, which is a fact. In 1960, we had development plan, when former head of state, Yakubu Gowon came to power we had development plans up till the time of former president Shehu Shagari. Later, we had military interventions. Since that time, do we have any development plan. We have been visionless.
What is missing in our leadership?
Patriotism matters in whatever we are doing. The three major leaders that we had then, Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, they were all committed to their regions. They achieved because Chief Awolowo was the best leaders we have had in Nigeria. They we’re aiming at improving their regions and they had genuine rivalry. If Awolowo introduced free education, Azikiwe will follow suit. When we are talking of the first television in Africa Awolowo did including road construction you will see that he tried and see how he established many organizations.
They were leaders with visions unlike the present leaders who base their judgments on ethnicity and others. They have jettisoned meritocracy for kakitocracy. Even if you have merit, they will say you are not qualified. Do we need federal character or why are we saying that states should not collect Value Added Tax (VAT). We need true federalism, each state should develop on its own.
What have you been doing to develop the grassroots?
I started my computer programme in Mushin since June 2, 2002 and I have people that also support me. My people should be patient because at the end of the tunnel there will be light.
How can you judge the performances of the 36 states in Nigeria compared to the regions that we had then?
Things are based on time, the regions worked then due to the leaders that we had then. If we should go back to regions who will head them. Politics is highly polluted now and we pray that we should have true federalism. Go to places like Venezuela and the United States of America, each state developed on its own by generating their own money.
If you go to a state like California in the US, they have oil and use it to develop their state. The same goes for Texas in the United States of America that also has oil. The government should allow each federating unit to develop on its own.
For instance, Ogun State has granite and they have industries based on their closeness to Lagos State. Imagine if Lagos State is controlling the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), do you know what they would be getting, same goes for Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Zamfara has gold for instance, if they control it imagine the development that would come to the state.