Kidnap Buhari’s daughter, he won’t stop corruption fight -Hon. Akeem Adeyemi

Member representing Oyo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, an Oyo prince and former chairman of Atiba Local Government of Oyo State, Honourable Akeem Adeniyi Adeyemi speaks with George Onmonya Daniel and Remi Adebayo on the fight against corruption, legislative-executive relationship and local government administration.  


What is the current relationship between the legislative and the executive? Are you people in good terms?
Democracy cannot work without the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. So, there is bound to be relationship among the three arms of government; those that make the law, those that execute the law and those that interpret the law. As presently constituted, there’s mutual respect relationship between the National Assembly and the executive.
This is the first time and I stand to be corrected that Nigeria will have the person of the president  that has absolute zero tolerance for corruption and someone who wants things done the way it should be. And don’t forget we had some members of the National Assembly who  worked with other presidents with undercurrent relationship but this president wants things done rightly. There is definitely going to be some frictions between 109 senators, 360 House of Reps members and executive. Definitely there’s room for misunderstanding, we disagree to agree but and large, the relationship must be cordial, not only for operators of the system but for the generality of Nigerians that would benefit in the democratic governance.
Are you satisfied with the current mode of corruption fight?
Yes, fully. Nigeria cannot move without fighting corruption.
What about the people raising issue of the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki and others, saying that government has not secured any conviction since almost a year in government?
You see, it is not Buhari that would pass judgement, it is the judicial arm of this democratic government. Now, you people want democracy and you still want the president to usurp the function and powers of the judiciary. It is the lacuna or the bottleneck that has been perpetrated over the years.  There’s reform in the executive arm of government; Buhari has told the ministers that it’s not going to be business as usual. Whether we like or not, there’s a kind of reform going on in the National Assembly now. There should be a reform in the judiciary. Don’t forget, you’re in this country, somebody was caught with more than N2 billion pension’s fund but he’s out and you forgot a judge gave him bail of N750,000, some years back.
That is the kind of the judiciary inherited by the APC. And, if I’m the president of the country; there’s police pensions fund, they found the money in the house of somebody, more than N2 billion and they arrested the man with the money and a judge gave him such ridiculous bail to walk away? He should walk away when a lot of people have died, a lot of police, their families and lives shattered, some of their children are out of school, some have turned to prostitution and some of their sons turning to armed robbery.
Now a judge sat somewhere and say he should walk away. Is it the fault of the president? If the president has not been so strong in fighting this corruption,  a judge has already given Dasuki a bail. Somebody that mismanaged $2.1 billion armed fund money where a lot of families have been destroyed,  a lot of people in IDPs, a lot of children that cannot go to school again and a judge says that kind of a man should walk away and should even go and see his children in Europe, America and should go to the best hospitals for medical? What kind of a medical? Checkup my foot!
But the PDP is saying the APC is stocked on blame game…
It’s not a blame game. Let me tell you one thing, do you want us to treat this thing half way or let’s uproot and lay a foundation for Nigeria? There’s no gain without pain, for God sake now. Something that has been destroyed in the last 16 years, and this is 8,9 months and you’re complaining. There was a country called Nigeria, where a minister of Aviation bought six expensive cars, more costlier than the vehicles of the president of America. Was that kind of amount budgeted for, who was the National Assembly that budgeted that kind of money, was it in the budget of the Aviation ministry? Where was it stated that a Minister of Aviation should purchase bullet-proof vehicles?
Extra-budgeted spending! That was the country inherited by APC and we’re trying to correct it. The President went to Dubai, as part of the gains of his many travels, the Dubai government has now blocked the loopholes; they will not allow Nigerians to steal and dump them in that country again. He even promised the repatriation of our money back to us. Americans are now listening to Nigeria speaking, they want to join us. If Buhari budgeted N6 trillion to transform this country for 2016, half of the money will be part of the monies recovered, that is the gain of his travels and that is the man we are talking about; there will be pain but I can assure you there will be gain at the end of the day. I am assuring you.
You spoke about the denial of bails to Col. Sambo Dasuki, rtd. In your opinion, you think it is right to disobey court orders to fight corruption?
The government has not flouted any court order.
What about those…
There are many cases involved with Dasuki. A lot of cases. If you have like three or four cases, if one gives you bail, the other might not because of the enormity of the case. So, this present administration has not flouted any court order.
What about the insinuation that…
You see, most of our people, you argue based on what you want to say. Now, because these people are in government for many years, because they have studied the lapses in the judicial system which they can exploit, they think there’s no God and they think there will not be a smarter federal government. Are we as Nigerians saying someone that has mismanaged more than $2.1 billion should walk away, to fly first class to America again? When people are in the IDPs and hopeless! We’re not even talking about what we’re going to do with people in the IDPs. Do you know what they’re going to become tomorrow? Another set of Almajirin are even coming.
The ones we’re used to are those that know their parents, another set are those that do not even know their homes again; another set are the people in the IDPs. And people that are responsible for that situation in this country, somebody that is the arrowhead of that calamity to the nation, some people are still defending him, asking him to have access to what in the line of bail? China is a developed country; if you’re guilty of corruption they kill you. China is about the strongest in the business world now.
Since you’re a legislator, why are you people not making laws to impose the stricter penalties on corruption?
We’re working on it; we’re working on it.
So, Nigerians should expect capital punishment for corruption soon?
It should be, I’m telling you. Can you just imagine, this was the same man that wen to Chatham House in London and said there would not be election, that we were not prepared. Painting the gloomy situation and the world said noooo… Immediately after his address, they arm-twisted the INEC and said elections must be postponed. So, they’re the ones causing havoc to the people and to the nation. His own is more than economic sabotage, it should be genocide.
But half, if not more of the people you’re complaining about are in your party.
You can be in a house, and when you see the house you have, the team I belong, the kind of people I work with have no plan for good of the nation, I leave the party.
Most of those that left the other party did not complain of lack of plan…
Whatever reason they might have, if the party was good, if the party meant well for the nation, if the party was actually a good party, they would not leave the party.
Are you saying the present political configuration in Nigeria is about idea?
The idea will come later. The idea will come. As long as the APC would not tolerate you to embezzle government money and still remain in the party, that kind of a person can go to the party they would allow him. And I know by the time the problem of Nigeria is being solved gradually, Nigerians would now appreciate that, “Fine, for real, there’s no gain without pain. We remember when we used to be on the queue to suffer to get fuel,” then they would now say “if the APC can continue like this we would be with them”.
I know Buhari will find solution to these problems. You and I know. We’re educated because we know that the problem is not now. The masses expected the results but it is left to the government to give palliatives or go to the root and try and solve these things so that they won’t occur again. I’m telling you!
If this government knows it is working towards an agenda, and there is a process towards it, why is it not communicating such well to the people?
They didn’t understand the working of government at that time. Sabotage!  You see, if government is just fighting bad policies or bad governance alone but this government is still fighting those that derive joy in the suffering of the people. Do you know that? People that, it is when there’s hardship that they make their money.
When I read an interview of a former minister (of Finance, Dr. Ngozi)  Okonjo-Iweala she said when she realised that about $1.5 billion being  paid as subsidy are fake, she told (former President Goodluck) Jonathan that he should not pay again. You know what they did next? They went to kidnap her mother. Imagine if a former minister in the PDP can say that.
But I can tell you, whether you like it, go and kidnap Muhammadu Buhari’s sister, he would not stop. If you like, go to Katsina and kidnap his daughter, I know that man will still go after what is right. That is the man; that is what we want. If you kidnap American president, they won’t negotiate with terrorists, they would say it’s in line of duty, that is it. See, they’re getting free money, so, what are you telling us, you’re collecting subsidy, subsidy on what?
Why is the APC government not investigating these people and bring them to book?
They’re investigating and you’re saying the man is not obeying the judiciary.
Why is the issue of Halliburton not on the table?
Halliburton was when, my friend?
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s era
How many presidents have succeeded Obasanjo?
Yar’Adua, Goodluck and now Buhari.
The one that is investigating the immediate past regime you’re complaining. You are complaining that somebody is now flouting… what is flouting, flouting what? The man has not said he has not mismanaged the money; you’re the one saying he (the president) didn’t allow him go and fly British Airline First Class again.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives emerged after some skirmishes of political intrigues. What is the position now?
We have a very united House now. You see, in a group of 360, there will be divergent views with different backgrounds, different orientation, different political parties, different ideologies, different perspective to issues and way of life. And again, when there’s going to be a contest, there will always be a winner and a loser and that has gone, and it has gone. We have the 8th House of Representatives and the Speaker is Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and in his wisdom he has being trying in his capacity to direct the House. So, we have laid that to rest, it’s a thing of the past.
The election of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki seems not to have abated, considering his current trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. What are your views about this?
I’ve declared my assets many times. Beginning of the tenure, assets declaration form would be given to you, end of tenure, assets declaration form would be given to you. The form is not to witch-hunt anybody. If before I come to the House of Representatives I have two bags, if by the time I’m leaving I’ve acquired more, definitely, even if you’re working, even as a politician or public office holder, you must have acquired more.
Whatever I have as assets, I declare it back to know that if I what I have to get another position tomorrow;
I know I have this before getting that. It’s not necessarily means to witch-hunt; it’s just to checkmate, for you to know that Nigeria has a mechanism in place for you not to acquire more than your lawful income. It’s a way to restrain us from excessive lifestyle in public office. The temptation is always there for an African and political office holders. If religions don’t preach heaven and hell, forget it, we would have been doing anything we like in the world.
There are people who see the whole Saraki issue as a witch-hunt, even among senators…
Noooo… Some people even see the trial of Raymond Dokpesi witch-hunting. What did the Federal Government do with you to give you N2 billion? Explain to us, Central Bank (of Nigeria) transferred money into your account in billions, tell us what you sold to Nigeria. Is that witch-hunting?
If you check my account and you see CBN to Akeem Adeyemi, N3 billion, what did you do…. eeeehhh…  they’re trying to witch-hunt me, because I was abusing Buhari that he’s too tall for my liking. Okay, Buhari is too tall, forget it, what did Federal Government do with you to give you N3 billion, explain, you’re saying witch-hunting, Dasuki, it’s witch-hunting. Go and show us the arms you bought now, show us! Governments all around the world have perfected plans that if government has business with you, it’s a win-win.
Go and supply five remote control, you get the price, they will give you profit margin percentage which is your profit. If you supply it, legally you have your profit and nobody can come and query you about that. You may even be lucky that when you get to the market, you get cheaper deals because of your quantity. You still sell to the government at the given price. But in the situation where you collect the money and the profit, now, where is the remote control?
You were a local government chairman for eight years… (cuts in)
Six years and nine months.
Oh, sorry… for six years and nine months; that’s almost seven years…
I just want to be precise… (general laughter)
I have personally been an advocate of autonomous local government administration. Now that you’re a federal legislator, do you subscribe to that and what are you doing about it?
Thank you very much. It will be a great disservice, to Nigeria and Nigerians if I, a former local government chairman will not be able to say the truth about what is happening and about what should be done about local government in Nigeria,  it would be disservice to them. Whatever I say now, I’m not going to benefit from it again because I won’t be local government chairman again. Luckily for me, I served two different governments, two different governors, to actually access properly. If we’re really serious in this country about development, local governments need to get autonomy.
We can raise the standard of the administrators then, maybe someone may not be interested in becoming the governor of a state again, that he wants to go and develop his local government. Develop this and that local government and meet at the point, if we all develop ours, we have developed the state which would just serve to interlinking the councils viz-a-vis other resources there on behalf of the Federal Government. I am telling you, there can never be any rapid development, progress in Nigeria without local government autonomy, without it, we’re just wasting our time and deceiving ourselves.
What are you going to do to realise that?
You see, the 1999 Constitution is such a funny document. In year 2007, that Assembly threw away the baby with the bath water; that Assembly, because the president at that time wanted a third term, a lot of amendments were pulled down in that process. The only bad agenda on that amendment was the third term agenda; very many others are good in the document that was thrown away. Even the autonomy or semi autonomy of the state Houses of Assembly and very many amendments to that constitution were thrashed because of third term. The constitutional laid-down procedure to amend the law is now cumbersome.
If as we started in the National Assembly now, we still need the consent of the two-third of the state Houses of Assembly, and you know some of our governors are emperors of their states. I have a governor in Oyo State that allowed local governments to function very well because in the environment where I functioned as a chairman, I performed so well that the people of my constituency now gave me votes in all the four local governments and sent me here. Maybe another local government chairman was under an emperor who hinders his performance and achievement. Sometimes the achievements of these people are sine qua non to the attitude and the vision of the governor of the state. But if you’re brilliant, you have an idea on how to transform your local government, it is immaterial if the governor does not give a damn about the laid down rules.
So, even if we’re not going to get a total autonomy, we should get at least semi-autonomy. At times there would be emergency situation in the council and the chairman cannot spend up to N500,000 of its own money without getting approval from the state. Now, there’s an emergency in Atiba, as local government chairman I’m handicapped.
I quickly get the HLA to write a letter, append my signature and getting down to Ibadan to give the commissioner of local government, the man is at a function in Kishi and from there to Igbeti the next day, from there to Ogbomosho another day so, and when he’s finally back to Oyo after 4 days, the emergency is still there and I’m helpless, the situation cannot be arrested because the commissioner has not come back and when you eventually see him, he’s like, “aaaahhh Adeyemi, what you put in here is beyond my own limit too, so, let me do a file and send it to the governor and the PS is not on seat, he has gone to a conference in Abuja.” The emergency situation after a month, you’re still on it. Yet, he has money; he cannot spend to arrest the situation to help his own people because of unnecessary bottleneck.
The people that put the measure did just to checkmate how the local government chairmen spend the money. Let’s now talk about the qualification of the person, is it the commissioner that was handpicked or a local government chairman that went for election, that has vision to transform the local government or an handpicked apron of a governor is now delaying a vision, mission mapped out by the chairman? If he’s not going to sign, he’s not going to sign it whether you like it or not. He refused to brief the governor the next day as a result of unnecessary ego at the detriment of the development of the local government. We need to set that aside.
We have not talked about the attitude of the governor, just the relationship between you and the commissioner. Now imagine a commissioner who has an ambition that clashes with that of the local government. So, there are lots of politics at that level of the local government administration. And people would keep piling pressure on the chairman, he is helpless! He can’t even spend the money because there’s no approval for it. We went for a conference in New York, Atlanta Mayor is important than the governor. The Mayor of New York, he is the owner of the city, he decides what happen. Even if the state governor asks to see him, he tells him I’m busy. You’re busy Mr. Mayor? You can see I’m busy, I’ll see you tomorrow. In Nigeria, you will see the governor tomorrow? (General laughter) You’re gone! After looking into his schedule, he can even say, “Sorry, I said I’ll see the governor tomorrow, no, next tomorrow please.”
Any plan for reform now that your party has more states in its kitty?
I would have loved a situation that before anybody becomes a state governor he would have first become a local government chairman that would have helped Nigeria a lot. That would let the governor appreciate why he needs not delay local government files. You wonder why the relationship between the American executive and legislature is always good; it is because most of the presidents were once senators, so he knows. Obama was a former senator; Clinton was a former governor, all of them. We need to set the local government free if we actually deserve rapid, spontaneous development in this country, we need to do it.
This process you device is nice, but since the law requires two-third for amendment and the APC controls majority to overhaul that bottleneck, why don’t you just go for it?
It does not lie on the National Assembly alone. Even when the National Assembly has gathered enough constitutional required “Yes Votes”, we still need at least 2/3 of the state Houses of Assembly.
Yes, that’s what I’m talking about, you have the states…
I think it is a continuous struggle. A time will come that it will be part of the manifesto of future vote seekers. I know it will come. For the first time, I have visited President Muhammadu Buhari more than four occasions as a legislator, as a member of the APC caucus; as a member of the National Assembly, and as a paddy-paddy to my president and the only thing I got was handshake but before, it cannot just be handshake. I’m telling you, handshake!
As a former council chairman and now a federal legislator, a lot of burdens…
A lot!
Aside your legislative duties, how do you assist your constituents?
The situation is so demanding. Let me give you the irony of it, I have on my phone this morning, someone who said, “Honourable I’ve been calling you since, you didn’t pick my calls, in fact, people are angry with you.” She said she gave birth and I didn’t pick her call. I now called her back, “You gave birth? Congratulations. She said she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. “How is your husband?” She hissed, “Don’t mind him, se o wulo ni (is he responsible)?” The anger is now shifted on me. My brothers, do you know the number of calls on my phone?
I now called her to explain, “Do you know what I was doing when I didn’t pick your call, you  said you’re angry.” She said, “when we didn’t see you in our ward.” I should leave Abuja to be in a ward? I have 40 wards, how can I be in 40 wards at the same time and be in Abuja legislating? It’s not possible. You don’t need to get angry with the people. I just needed to clarify, “is it still these 40 wards that I gave free NECO – GCE forms with free extra mural classes for everyone going to sit for WAEC or GCE? I got teachers to go and teach anyone in that category – free! I said is it these 40 wards where I put computers in the school so that students can have access to the internet? I did the subscription, paid electricity,  put generator, inverter, solar – four sources to generate electricity. Also, 210 just graduated from my Free Vocational Training, 50-50 per ward and 20 across, 210 just graduated from these same wards and you say I’m not seen in the wards.
All these I’m telling you are outside of my legislative duties. On behalf of these same 40 wards, I spoke on the floor of the House that the Oyo-Ogbomosho flank of the Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin road must be completed. On behalf of these 40 wards, I’ve already moved a motion that the water dam of the Oyo Federal Constituency, Erelu Water Works should be completed after the Federal government has paid N1 billion. I raised a motion that the remaining money must be included in the budget.
Also on behalf of these 40 wards, the only college of education that caters for the physically challenged in the whole of West Africa should be upgraded to a university; I moved all these motions in less than a year in office on behalf of these 40 wards. What are we saying again? On their behalf again, I’m repairing a lot of boreholes, it is not my duty but I’ve repaired more than 10 boreholes hitherto damaged or abandoned and I’m distributing free water to these wards. Yet, what is the problem, my dear sister? Because you gave birth, you called me and I didn’t pick your call?
There are special people…
Laughing… just imagine. My brother, it’s difficult! Look at what in less than a year, having been at the National Assembly…
I think it’s much…
It’s much! Let them hear. Motions, motions, debates… I laid before the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, what should benefit Oyo Federal Constituency and the minister shook my hand and said Mr. Adeyemi, you’re very wonderful. What should I do again, I should stop these work to come and sit down at home?
Maybe they’re not aware.
They’re aware. Our people? Her own is that I didn’t come for her naming ceremony… (General  laughter).
Thank you for your time.
Thank you very much, you’re welcome.

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