The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, only lawmaker at Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Dipo Olohunrinu, in this interview in his office expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner the Federal Executive handles the herdsmen attacks.
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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, remaining lawmaker at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Dipo Olohunrinu, in this interview, expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner the Federal Government is handling the recurring herdsmen attacks across the country.
What is your view on the persistent herdsmen attacks across the country?
Rearing cattle is not a bad idea. It is meant to boost food security in the country. But now the motive or agenda behind rearing of cattle is the bone of contention. Herdsmen over the years had been moving their cattle across the country.
In the 60s and 70s, herdsmen take their cattle to the forest where they believe their cattle could easily get better grasses to feed. So, it is the motive and agenda behind cattle rearing that has caused the country huge losses that the Federal Government must quickly look into.
Are you satisfied with the strategy adopted so far by Federal Government to stem herdsmen/farmers clashes in the country?
Criticizing the government of the day is like doing same to myself. Regardless of the fact that we are working at different levels of the government, we need to understand that it is a national thing. I am happy that some states are adopting new strategies to prevent the clashes.
I will task every state governor to try and adopt a strategy that would prevent such in his state, considering what could happen to his citizens whenever such happens in his state. This is because we cannot continue to wait on the Federal Government that is not ready to proffer the right solution. I am not satisfied with the executive arm of the government at the national level.
What is your opinion on the presidency’s proposal of cattle colonies as solution to the crises?
You can see that the legislature has not approved cattle colony. That indicates that the National Assembly is on top of the game. And an average lawmaker will always protect the interest of his constituency. It is not the issue of the entire government but the executive arm at the national level, especially the security agencies, not doing their job to stem the tide. The security agencies need to seek solution to persistent herdsmen attacks. The executive arm has not been proactive in tackling security in the states. The state governors should take the bull by the horn and adopt strategies that would protect their citizens from herdsmen attacks.
One of the solutions suggested is the creation of State Police. In your view, are we ready for it?
That is why I have always said that Lagos State is ahead of other states as regard security in the country. Lagos State Government has been democratic in handling security issues. And that is why I often argue that state police is a democratic issue.
In other advanced countries, every state has its own police. It is something that every state must advocate for, demanding that it is added to their projects. This will create employment for more people and boost security.
What do you think is delaying the National Assembly from passing a bill on creation of State Police?
I do not know why the National Assembly has decided not to approve any bill to that effect. Look at Lagos State, the government has not for once waited for the apex government to help in boosting security. It has continued to adopt new initiatives that would boost security of lives and property within its territory. For instance, Lagos has created Neighbourhood watch to assist in intelligence gathering. That is one of the strategies adopted to boost security in Lagos.
We need to understand that policing is not only when one carries arms. Even the National Police that were allowed to carry arms are not permitted to shoot the suspect rather they look for other means of apprehending the suspect alive. It is not about arms but for the security agencies to be proactive. When anyone who intends to commit crime understands that the security officials are few miles away, he would possibly shelve the plan. And that is what the neighborurhood watch has done for Lagos State. Security is all about information. If one checks it now, you will see that the Neibourhood Watch has helped to reduce crime rate in Lagos.
The police ordered security beef up in Lagos and Ogun, recently. How best do you think herdsmen attack could be prevented in Lagos?
We all need to understand that the criminals know where to operate. The security in Lagos is at par with any advanced cities globally. The state has procured enough security facilities to nip crime in the bud.
For instance, the state has procured cars, motorbikes, and choppers for security agencies to boost their patrol in Lagos State.
Your party is aiming to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. But what has the PDP put in place to actualise this goal?
The party is on top of the game. It has held its convention which is very difficult to achieve. This was one of the hard problems to proffer solutions to because there were several interests from people who wanted to exercise their right and achieve their interest in the party. Also, I need to let you know that the party is now serious. Its failure in 2015 has helped it to realise its mistakes.
Since return of democracy in 1999, your party has been aiming to occupy the seat of leadership in Lagos, what are the plans to actualise this in 2019?
For Lagos, even the deaf and blind can hear and see that the system presently in Lagos is working. I am a youth and I you should not expect me not to defend what is right. The present government in Lagos, which I am part of because I am a lawmaker in the state, is okay. Criticizing the government which I am part of is like abusing myself.
Does that mean you are satisfied with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode returning to the seat of power next year?
This government is not about Governor Akinwunmi Ambode but Lagos State Government which includes the legislatures that made the laws which had assisted Ambode to function effectively. We move the motions on the floor of the House which later become law in the state.
Considering the number of political parties emerging daily, does PDP feel threatened?
We are not afraid of new political parties rather it is APC that is afraid. We had some issues in previous years and we are aiming to find our balance. Due to that, no one is focusing on us while all eyes are on APC. The attention has shifted away from us, giving us the opportunity to strategise and correct our mistakes.
What are your plans for the 2019 election?
Everyone has different agenda for seeking public office. My agenda is to fulfill my promises to the electorate. But I love to seek for higher position. And that is the reward for hard work. Everyone’s interest in life is to get promoted in life.
Since INEC released the election timetable, your party and its opponents have started strategising on how best to win at the polls. Will you support the INEC on the use of card reader and other methods adopted during 2015 election?
There are several issues that accompanied use of card reader at the last polls. But what is most important to me is to have pure transparency during the polls. The electoral body must ensure atleast 90 percent transparency.