‘If Buhari Truly Has Integrity, He Should Forget 2nd Term’
Mr Segun Sowunmi, is a prominent and active personality in Ogun State politics. In this interview with Omifenwa Owojide, he opens up on his next political move, plans for Ogun State and other sundry issues
Q: Let’s start with a brief introduction of yourself
My name is Segun Sowunmi. I am from Abeokuta. I am a happy person who has had a bit of experience around political process, so you could say I am a politically exposed person. I used to be the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the former governor of Ogun state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. At a point in time, I was a Senior Special Adviser on Economic Policy and Media as well to Otunba Gbenga Daniel. I have also had the opportunity to be the Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), campaigning for the Presidency in 2011. I have continued to stay with and articulate the issues of PDP. I am a Christian and married with children and by training, I am a multi-linguistic. I am always interested in how things can be done differently and better.
Do you intend to go for any political office in 2019, because your billboard is all over place?
In almost 18 years, I have been part of the political process. I have never thought or felt that I should push myself forward to represent my people. I just wait, do the job and if anyone comes, I preach and try to encourage them. But I observed the level at which they are delivering services to our people, especially at the House of Representative level –it is too low. This is the town where I come from, Abeokuta South, in Ogun State.
This is the town some of the best hands and some of the best training and opportunities may have ordinarily been showcased because they embraced everything very early education-wise. I begin to look at where development is going and I think that complimentary effort at different layers is not going on well enough. I am not coming just to build roads and many other things. We are coming to figure out what other things can be done from the legislative point of view.
We have not had quality representation from our State. You hardly move around in any environment and see the impact of anything meaningful they are doing and I thought that before we become less than what our destiny gave us as opportunity to be in Ogun State, it is better now to present myself as a representative of Abeokuta South Federal House Constituency in the Federal House of Representative, Abuja. By that, we will demonstrate to the world, demonstrate to our people that things can be done better and meaningfully. I cannot imagine somebody representing an urban area at the Federal House of Representative whose constituency project is to buy commercial motorcycles (Okada). I’m not saying people should not do that, but that can’t be all what they can do. If you want to create value for the people, you must be more interested on how you strengthen whatever you are doing with education. You must be interested in how you get human capital development in sports and how you energize the youths to provide more access for them. You articulate their wishes by organising town hall meetings to know exactly what the people want. If I were to be successful that people gave me their mandates, one of the minimum thing that will happen in Abeokuta South is that all secondary schools must have wireless internet. I do know that this is the only way to get the students appreciate what is going on in the outside world quickly. And if you put wireless Wi-Fi in schools, all the students and teachers can go on internet at no cost. If I am given the chance to represent my people, I will set up clinics and after school clinics for sports. I cannot imagine all the stadia lying fallow there and we have young people that are not engaged. It doesn’t cost too much to get coaches for basketball, boxing, soccer, athletics and buying the equipment. All the equipment and kits are not that costly. Putting a bus to convey the students after school will do. I cannot ever imagine that I will be in Abuja if the mandate was given to me and major issues will be debated and our opinion will not be heard. If I go there, my salary will be divided into two and a half will be used to empower people not by giving them rice, beans, Okada and other things politicians use for empowerment. It is also in my programme to open ICT centres that will take care of 100 people at a time mainly to support the School Internet Wireless programme for free. Regular town hall meetings will be put in place not to distribute food items, but to engage the people of what we have done, what we intend to do and as what the people want. The essence of this is for our people to appreciate themselves for putting their trust in me. My stand remains –how do we leave legacies that can sustain our people and significantly impact them?
Any government that fails to protect the lives of his people is a failed government. What is your take on it this statement credited to Chief Olu Falae?
Chief Olu Falae is correct. That is a very popular major quote. It is believed that the first duty of government is to protect lives and properties. But it is easier said than done. There are things that befall nations that are the result of carelessness from the previous times that comes to play. For instance, if you are a nation like Nigeria and you are not bothered to figure out an identity system for your people in such a way that government can identify you with an address, it means if one commits crimes they cannot even find you. Also, if the rate of unemployment continues to balloon without figuring out how to provide social safety net, it is only a matter of time before desperation will come in when people becomes easily available to crime. We need to modernize our farming system to save ourselves from all impending dangers because animals cannot differentiate between cash crops and weed. The business of government is to sit down every day and ask themselves how we can do it better. We have not reached the point when we say everything we need has been done. We are too complacent. They just go there to steal and when they steal, you ask yourself what they are doing with the money they stole. They live reckless lives and try to guarantee the lives of their children. Take cursory look at history. You cannot even find their children significantly doing better than other peoples’ children from the resources that were stolen. Chief Falae is right for knowing the answer but is not a reason to blame just one man. I am scared. What if young people that just graduated got sparked as a result of unemployment? We have seen it in the case of Arab and who told you that such cannot happen here? We need to get serious with what we are doing.
As a political pundit, how can we correct all these wrongs?
Before now, I have been preaching and telling people how to do it but with what is on ground, I now decided to run the House of Representative race purposely to teach people how to do it and to show myself as an example. If I am given the mandate, I believe we have 9 Federal Constituencies in Ogun State and 360 throughout the Federation. Once I lead by example, people from other constituencies will demand good representation from their own representatives. We cannot continue like this because we blame Federal Government for everything. How about our legislators? I cannot imagine how corruption can be a major problem for us and cannot be a major problem for legislators? It was a major problem for legislators from oversight functions, from budget