By Obafemi Babajide
For people in the grass root, the first government that directly touches their lives is the local government. People have argued endlessly about the need to concentrate funds and resources at the local level, sincere power of autonomy should be granted to the local government with the placement of checks and balances so that it won’t be miss used. Argue it with all your strength, power just like politics should be local because no matter how cosmopolitan you are, the first point of call either at where you live or work is your local government.
Intricately and because of the kind of government system we practice in Nigeria, aside from the local government level of governance, the two most important strata of governance that is saddled with legislating to represent the need of their localities are the state house of assembly and the federal lawmakers. Because of how the state governors totally pocket the state assembly, preference will be given to the federal lawmakers with a narrow down to the green chambers because of a more narrow scope in the constituencies they represent.
Legislating does not only involves raising of hands to concur, it goes beyond moving motions on issues or national emergencies, it also goes beyond speaking brighter grammar. It is however the best practice to put your best foot forward first, that is, send the best man for the job to do the job. It is called putting round pegs in round holes.
I have had interactions with different aspirants across our constituency I have heard rumours of those who are still warming up and in my small head, I have had to imagine what every one of them will bring to the table if elected.
I may be biased but life itself isn’t fair to all, I do not have that tingly inner exhilaration in my imaginative mind about other aspirants filling the space in the green chamber come 2023 like I do whenever my imaginative heed switches to that of Olaiya Micheal Olobatoke and I will tell you why.
I have had to ask him why he wants to run for this legislative seat against so many odds and his responses were the reason my mind leaps for joy knowing full well that for a long time since the creation of Kogi state, Kabb/Bunu/Ijumu will have an aspirant and hopefully, a HOR member whose core value and constituent is with his locality and who will legislate and lobby with a human face.
Imagine Olaiya Michael Olobatoke as your next HOR member, what does he bring to the table?
An astute entrepreneur, Olaiya Michael Olobatoke is a complete grass-root personality. Because he grew in his locality and at least spent his first fifteen years around Kabba and environ, Otunba Olaiya has the full grasp of what his constituent will need to stand tall in the league of constituencies.
A local man to the core, OMO is a great lobbyist. He knows where the shoe pinches, he knows where to lobby and what projects to attract to his constituency with his full lobbying weight. He won’t be selfish, he has never been.
A man with great native intelligence, Otunba Olaiya understands the implications of good education, he knows that majority of the problem that bedevils the nation in the area of kidnapping, banditry, cattle rustling and insurgency emanated from the nations falling and failing educational standards. He understands that one of the reasons an Okun indigene will stand tall anywhere in the world is because we are vast in education. He knows that our local educational system which he passed through cannot be said to be as virile as what was obtainable in the time past. He also knows that a legislative emergency is needed if we will intend to witness successes and progress as of old.
A former NAN staff and a good journalist and communication strategist himself, OMO knows the value of communication. He does not intend to leave a communication gap, he sees his constituency as more of home rather than his office at the National Assembly. He will literarily hold periodic town hall meetings at different communities if he is given the chance to represent his people; this is to feel their pulse always and know where and what are their immediate priorities.
Otunba Olaiya knows the value of research and evaluation, this method he intends to employ at every period all the way. I am very sure that evaluating and re-evaluating will lead to prioritising, lobbying and securing needed employment opportunities for the fresh and young graduates which is also an issue that cannot be overemphasized.
Age on his side, his youthfulness, strong will, respect for elders plus passion to see Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu on a great level will not allow him to rest on his oars if allowed the opportunity to serve as our HOR member.
Take a deep breath, read and re-read all these laudable intentions which are woven around his adequate preparation and tell me if you will not be excited at the prospect of allowing him to represent us. He will certainly surpass our expectations.
Just like me, imagine his emergence, think it, work it, act it and let’s make it happen.
–Babajide Obafemi writes from Ekinrin-Adde.