Monday, April 17, 2017

We will resort to confrontation, youths tell Ondo Senators

A coalition of civil society organisations in Ondo State has warned the senators representing the three senatorial districts of the state to bring dividends of democracy to the people or face the wrath of the masses. 

The Convener and National Coordinator of Occupy Senators, Mr. Retson Tekedeh, affirmed this at a press conference after the maiden inauguration of "Occupy Senators in Ondo State" officers on Monday in Akure. 

According to him, the group which was launched in the capital city, Akure, also had its meeting across the geo-political zones of the country to recruit people of each state for more accountability of their representatives at the National Assembly. 

"With the monumental political corruption in the Senate, it is the ordinary Nigerian people that are suffering. Our senators are playing politics in Abuja while the President is working to fix Nigeria. 

"No senator representing the people of Ondo State can decide to play with our future, support looters of our commonwealth and fight a President who has shown the desire to govern rather than play politics," he said. 

Other civil society organisations at the meeting included: ECOWAS Youth Council, Movement for the Survival of the Underground (MOSUP) and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

Tekedeh lamented that the representatives of the state, especially in the Senate, were indifferent, callous and unconcerned about the yearnings of the people, pointing out that most of them do not have offices in their districts and constituencies. 

He accused them of undermining the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to develop the nation, urging the leadership of the National Assembly to cease from becoming "a major clog in the wheel of progress."

His words: "We have come to the point where confrontation is heavenly and cowardice is hellish. We fight political insensitivity, we die; if we don't fight political insensitivity, we die. We will fight political insensitivity and die."

The representative of ECOWAS Youth Assembly, 
Mr. Ikumapayi Smith, described the group as the Citizens' office for good governance that would force the representatives to be accountable to the electorates. 

Ikumapayi noted that the group would also mark "the commencement of a national mass movement against bad governance, audacious political impunity and mindless looting exemplified by the leadership of the National Assembly."

MOSUP President, Mr. Dappa Maharajah, however, added that there should be serious reorientation among the people, especially the youths, so as to achieve speedy results. 

"One of the reasons why the politicians have their ways is the enforcement of the vices among the electorate which Ola Rotimi described as 'Janupsychosis of oppression' in his book, 'If...the Tragedy of the Ruled."

Consequently, Maharajah stressed that emphasis should be placed on history as a subject in the educational curriculum of the nation to help promote school of statesmanship and emplace patriotism in the minds of the citizenry. 

While the State Coordinator of the Occupy Senators in Ondo, Mr. Ayodele Oladimeji, added that the idea was to bring the campaign to the grassroots rather than the constant intinery protest in Abuja. 

Oladimeji revealed that some of the strategies that would be used to make the representatives accountable for the people's votes, saying town hall meetings would be an integral part of the representative democracy as it is a global practice.

They said, "We are calling on all sons and daughters of Ondo State to begin the battle to force the senators representing us to conform and comply with the President's people-driven agenda or we will force them to do so with anger, vexation and frustration."

They demanded that senators with high profile corruption charges in court should resign, the National Assembly should join Treasury Single Account (TSA), expedite actions on the anti-corruption bills and 2017 budget without playing politics with them. 

"We are demanding that Ondo State senators request for the audited expenditure and budget breakdown of the Senate over the past five years. The Senate is accountable to the people and it is time they lead as the people dictate not as their pockets," they said. 

However, Jide Omogunwa, the Media Officer to the senator representing Ondo South District, Pastor Yele Omogunwa,said that the Southern Senatorial District has not suffered any kind of neglect. 

Omogunwa noted that the senator has embarked on large scale empowerment projects twice since 2016, which were estimated over N200 million to benefit the six council areas in the district. 

He disclosed that, among other items distributed, the senator donated a motor grader for infrastructural and agricultural development during the second batch of his district empowerment projects last Saturday.

"In fact, his defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last year, was borne out of the drive to give his people qualitative representation and to bring to the electorates the dividends of democracy," Omogunwa said.

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