House of Representatives, Olaide Akinremi (Ibadan North) spoke with GBENGA BADA on the need to halt police brutality and amend the anti-rape law to curtail the menance.
Police brutality and rape are fast becoming regular discourse nationally, what is your take on this and how do you intend to approach as a lawmaker?
Let’s first of all condemn in strong terms rape and police brutality. The series of these terrible acts have led to the loss of a lot of innocent young people especially women. It has left a lot of survivors in emotional and psychological trauma.
As a lawmaker, I will strongly advocate for the amendment of existing rape and sexual offences law for stricter punishment at the National Assembly.
My foundation will also collaborate with NGOs and other relevant organisations in advocacy and campaign against rape, sexual assault, drug abuse and police brutality.
I will also work with relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book and also ensure they discharge their duties without harassing or putting the lives of our young men and women at risk.
In many constituencies, the youths seem to have the highest population. What’s your plan for youths owing to your knack for human building development?
Nigeria and Oyo have a huge youth population but despite that a lot of them are unemployed and this bothers me a lot.
As a young man growing up in Ibadan, I had great hope and aspirations but at a point I had to seek greener pastures to achieve this because the environment wasn’t quite favorable for this.
My passion for the youth is to do all I can to create an enabling environment for each and every hardworking young person to thrive and maximise their potential without having to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
Nigeria is blessed with a lot of brilliant and talented people that only need a little push and they will excel at their chosen endeavor.
So, how in particular do you intend to achieve this?
First and foremost, I was given the mandate to represent my Ibadan North constituents to the best of my ability and also the good people of Oyo State as well as Nigeria as a whole.
I will be making laws, sponsoring bills and moving motions that will improve the life of the average youth and Nigerian and also make life a better place to live.
My major focus is human capital development, ensuring financial independence and individual sustainability of my people especially the young people.
What are your plans post Covid 19 in this regard?
I will be connecting more with my constituents and meeting their needs through finding the right solutions. I intend to do this by creating a feedback system and as much as I can have engagement with as many people as possible.
I understand that a lot of people are out of jobs and some businesses have crashed so I will do my best to facilitate employment for as many as possible and also expand our support and intervention for MSME’s.
Your constituency is home to most of the higher institutions in Ibadan. Should we expect capacity development for our undergraduates too?
I am currently the Science and Technology Committee Vice Chairman, I want to use the position to see how we can partner with these institutions to promote STEM – Science Technology Engineer and Maths among young people.
The idea is to develop their skills beyond what they are taught in classrooms so that when they graduate they can actually create employment for themselves and/or become very employable. In those days a lot of the graduates of polytechnics were so good they ended up in oil and telecoms companies so how about we bring back that old glory.
University of Ibadan, UCH and College of Medicine are all first and produced outstanding graduates for so many years so why shouldn’t they be able to compete favorably globally? Outside of STEM we will have other trainings and empowerment programmes targeted specifically at the undergraduates to help prepare them for the real world. Of course we will not neglect sports and entertainment.
You seem to have an eye for tourism with preference to Oyo State, are you working with the government or corporate bodies or it’s just a flair?
Oyo State has huge tourism potentials from Bowers Tower to UI Zoo, Agodi Gardens, Old Oyo National Park, Suspended Lake in Ado Awaye and the numerous festivals.
I think the challenge is that we haven’t sold ourselves enough and also some investment needs to be channeled to the sector from both government and private sector.
I will do the best I can to see if we can develop a tourist map for Oyo State with the support of the relevant ministry and agencies. I am also working on getting a few individuals and corporate organisations to invest in the sector.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in Ibadan North?
Like I said earlier, we intend to create a system that allows for direct feedback from the constituents so that I can be abreast of their needs and concerns better.
I will also, after COVID-19 restrictions are over, kick off a monthly town hall meeting with constituents and also meet various groups and associations.
As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised if you hear a knock on your door and it’s me. Everything I do for my constituents will be needs based and to make lives better.
You have represented the Ibadan North constituency at the House of Representative for a year, what can you point to as achievements?
It has been a year since I began representing the interest of my people at the National Assembly, and in this space of time, I have contributed to lawmaking as well as facilitated several benefits to my constituents.
While my focus has majorly been on human capital development, ensuring the financial independence and individual sustainability of my people in the process, I have also facilitated a series of other benefits and capital projects, some of which are in the pipeline.
I was actively involved in the promulgating of the Out of School Children Bill, Infectious Diseases Bill and Local Content Bill. I was actively involved in sponsoring the motion for the provision of the Coronavirus Emergency Fund for Nigerian Universities and Tertiary Institutions.
All these are aside organising tutorials for over 6,000 WASSCE and UTME students; distributing over 1000 JAMB and over 200 NECO forms to indigent students in the constituency; facilitation of employment for 125 constituents in the telecommunications sector; facilitation of CBN loan for SMEs (Submitted to CBN already); facilitation of Agricultural empowerment settlement for over 7000 beneficiaries in the Cooperative for Commercial and Industrial Agriculture program of the CBN and Federal Ministry of Finance.
As earlier stated, my goal is to ensure the financial emancipation of my constituents, however, capital projects are currently been facilitated, with a health centre construction in process at Agbaje Ijokodo.
Credit: The Nation