By Fatai Abiodun
On May 31, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Not Too Young To Run bill into law. The legislation brought down the age qualification for President from 40 to 30; from 30 to 25 for the House of Representatives and the State’s House of Assembly. It, however, did not change the age qualification for governorship and Senate; both were retained at 35 years.
In the aftermath of the 2019 election, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin won his re-election into the Oyo State House of Assembly. Being a second-timer, he was first elected into the 8th house of Assembly in 2018 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after he won the bye-election, which was held after the death of the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Michael Adeyemo, who died on Friday, 27th April 2018.
In June 2019, Rt. Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin became the Speaker of the Oyo State Assembly at the age of 32 years. His election as a speaker was widely celebrated by far and near. Many people thought having a young person controlling the affairs of the house would bring the yearning of democracy to the people of the state.
Alas, the story of the Oyo State House of Assembly is not different from the rubber stamp which the House of Assembly is known for. In fact, the rubber has been extended with a wider margin under Seyi Makinde.
Those who are the beneficiaries of the much-touted not too-young to run in 2019 have failed to justify the trust imposed on them. The essence of the bill is to use the achievement of the young to retire the old and to send a strong signal that youths are ready and capable but what we have in Oyo today is the opposite of the thought of the founding fathers.
As a son of the soil, the only achievement of Ogundoyin as Oyo Speaker is the timely approval of the loan for Gov. Seyi Makinde. One would have expected him to query how the approved loans were used by the Governor by virtue of the power granted to the house by the 1999 constitution.
The rate at which Gov Makinde is approving projects with allegedly obnoxious inflating prices is alarming to the point that even Satan cannot do up to this level. I challenge the Speaker if not a rubber stamp to the governor to call for a public hearing and summon those in charge of State Public Procurement to public scrutiny.
The dirtiness of Oyo State and the backwardness of the State in Education and infrastructure is enough to determine the fate of the Governor and Speaker by ensuring that they do not return. I’m not sure if the speaker ever visited any of the public primary and secondary schools in the state to assess what people would be remembered him for.
At a time when his voice and capability are needed, he was nowhere to be found. There is nothing good about governance in Oyo State. In fact, Abia State is doing better than the state and the pacesetter has tuned to failure setter under the leadership of Adedoyin as Speaker. Can the Speaker approve loans and turn Oyo to Rivers State?
How best can one describe a government that sees payment of Salaries and allowances to civil servants as the utmost achievement? One wondered why an administration that regularly lists the improvement of the state’s IGR from N1.7bn to N3.3bn as one of its sterling achievements and executes many of the projects it claims on a public-private partnership arrangement, would need to rely on domestic borrowing to pay salaries.
A Google search about the Speaker name Adedoyin is as good for nothing. One would have expected the youngest speaker in the history of the Pace Setter State to live a pace by doing the unexpected and going the extra mile so that the people could write and witness another story about public governance.
It’s a pity that what the masses are expecting is a total deviation from the reality of this century and the so-called Not too Young to Run is a failure in Oyo State. For now, Oyo is not fortunate with purposeful governance.
Politically, check and balance is meant to discourage abuse of power by elected government officials and to provide good governance for the citizens so as to have an egalitarian society.
Section 4, 5, and 6 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria provides for the three arms of government which are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. These sections also provide for the different functions of each arm thus the concept of separation of power comes into play. In a situation whereby these arms of government are allowed to carry out their various functions without any form of check, it would result in abuse of power as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It’s important to remind the speaker that the duties of the State House of Assembly are not to rubber stamp any undefendable request but to perform a legislative role, a financial role and an inquiry role for the benefit of the masses.
I don’t have fear for my actions and inactions but only fear the history that would follow my actions and inactions. As we approach the general election, we should look beyond age and vote for competency.
Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, you still have time to re-write your story.
Fatai Abiodun hails from Oyo State, is a Public Affairs Analyst and National Publicity Secretary, APC Professionals Council