TEXT OF ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HON. DELE GBOLUGA IKENGBOJU, MEMBER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, OKITIPUPA/IRELE FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY AT THE LEGISLATIVE SUMMIT ORGANIZED BY OLUSEGUN AGAGU UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, OKITIPUPA (OAUSTECH), STUDENTS’ UNION, ONDO STATE ON 26TH MAY, 2021.
Let me tender an unreserved apology on behalf of our distinguished special guest of honour and awardee, Hon. Dele Gboluga Ikengboju, who is unavoidably absent today. Till late last night, he had thought he would personally be in attendance save his current oversight function in Lagos.
I am Barrister Tayo Cosmas Ogungbemi, our distinguished special guest of honour has detailed me to represent him here and he sent his greetings. I will be delivering his address verbatim.
It gives me great joy to be here at this bastion of erudition. More so, that this invitation is coming from a very important and strategic strata of our society, the Students’ Union.
The role of students in leadership and national transformation cannot be over emphasized; no organization (governmental or non governmental) will downplay or trivialize the role of students’ wing in terms of clamour for the just cause. Is it the crucial involvement in the struggle for independence, restoration of democracy or consistent agitation for good governance?
Some decades ago, I was also in your shoes and up till date, I still always find myself marshalling my advocacies via the lens of that ideology we were baptized with during my undergraduate days at the University of Benin.
The topic for this event “Youth Inclusiveness In Governance and Leadership” is very sacrosanct and timely, especially at this moment that our nation is confronted with several challenges.
In as much as I wouldn’t want to belabour you with conceptual clarifications on youth inclusiveness, governance and leadership as I am confident that our reputable guest speakers would do justice to that, it is appropriate that I share my thoughts with you as a national Legislator on this topic of discourse.
Leadership is all encompassing, ranging from the family, peers, schools, religious & traditional institutions, society, and government. Therefore, we must bear in our minds at all times that we owe the responsibility of contributing to the development of our society.
Dear Comrades, this is a very sensitive time in our national life. It is no more news that Nigeria is bleeding. There is high level of insecurity in the country; the Boko Haram insurgents are expanding their scopes of operation; banditry is gathering momentum by the day; kidnapping is becoming more lucrative to criminals; armed robbery is on the rise; ritual killings, secessionist agitations, cultism, drug abuse, and other social vices, all feature in our daily diaries.
The most recent experience here is the hijack of the EndSars peaceful protest by unknown arsonists who looted and razed public and private properties. Till date we are yet to recover from the trauma. All these are pointers to the fact that all is not well. We are almost putting a knife on the cord that binds us together and if care is not taken, we may find ourselves in the state of nature attributed with lawlessness.
I therefore implore us to wake up and strive towards ensuring that this country doesn’t collapse. I am congnizant of your expectations from the political leadership, but we tend to shy away from the reality of admitting that leadership is not limited to the political class. Like I noted earlier, it is inherent in every segment of the society and all of us from time to time are required to perform some leadership responsibilities. Today’s event for instance is a product of leadership from the students’ wing and if the students who constitute the larger percentage of the more organized youth populace maximize their strengths, most of the problems we are battling with in this clime would be ameliorated.
Yes, the government owes the responsibility of providing an enabling environment for innovations to strive. Of course, it defines the essence of the social contract that birthed the civil society of today and one of the basic foundations upon which the civil society was laid is security of lives and property. Once we realize this, it behoves on us to come to the consciousness that we must ask questions, and not only that, be an active participant in ensuring that what we bargained for is what we are getting. A peaceful and working Nigeria that will guarantee safety and respect for the rights of all citizens and inhabitants irrespective of colour, tribe, enthic or political affiliations, traditional and religious biases.
Oftentimes, I have been confronted with questions from concerned citizens on my contributions as a legislator. The general impression is that, we just sit in our offices without any concerted efforts to solve these myriad of challenges facing us in this country. I think it is intellectually apposite that I explain to us here that we must not misconcept the roles of legislature with other arms of government. The legislature is primarily saddled with the responsibility of law making amongst others including oversight functions aimed at checkmating the excessess of other arms of government. The two other arms of government (executive and judiciary) also have their constitutionally assigned duties. The underlying idea is for checks and balances.
However, there is a big challenge with our laws in Nigeria. Unlike the Western world, the Nigerian constitution seems not to be in tandem with the peculiarity of our diversity. The constitution as it is cannot provide answers to so many national questions. Hence, my position that it still needs a lot of amendments. The constitution tends to limit a lot of legislative responsibilities and privileges that could make us function effectively as lawmakers. More powers are concentrated in the hands of the executives that even when laws are made, it sometimes appears that it is at the discretion of the executives to implement or discard. We have a federal system where more powers are concentrated at the centre, leaving the components units vulnerable.
We have had several instances where executives and even top judicial officers shun invitations from the National Assembly to answer questions on their activities in their various ministries. In Nigeria today, disregard for court orders is becoming a culture. An act that is inimical to a working system. Within the legislative assembly, a member of an opposition party may likely be delayed or in some cases, not recognized by the presiding officer during plenary to make his contribution. These and many other problems constitute a major hindrance to our activities as legislators.
Therefore, we must come to the agreement that there is need for constitutional review where the principles of true federalism will be entrenched. President Goodluck Jonathan took a giant step, and it will only be sane to implement the recommendations of that 2014 national Confab at this critical moment. It was a conference where all segments of the country came together, analyzed our challenges and proffered a way forward on how we can peacefully co-exist and develop as one.
Invariably, the youths must utilize their intellectual, physical and numerical strenght in changing the current narratives. The youths must be vocal in the agitations for restructuring like the good old days.
Before I end this address, permit me to au-fait you with some of my achievements within this short period of representing the good people of Okitipupa/Irele federal constituency.
I have lent my voice to debates in projecting the interest of my constituents;
Facilitated empowerment programmes for more than 1000 people in this constituency through entrepreneurship, skills aquisition, and cash for business start up;
Ensured my people benefited from federal government intervention funds;
Uprage of Health Care facility and as well provided drugs worth hundred million naira to all comprehensive health centers in Ikale land.
I have helped scured employment for some of them in federal agencies and more will come soon as we progress.
We provided palliatives during the Covid 19 lockdown;
Gave moral and financial support to those with health challenges;
Made available welfare packages;
Rolled out educational programmes, the most recent being free registration for propective JAMB students; and many more.
By the grace of God, very soon, we shall roll out bursary and scholarship programmes for our indigent students to support their education. In few months time, the execution of the constituency projects qproposed for the year 2021 shall begin, and it majorly centres on infrastructures. I understand that expectations are high, and I can assure you that we will not relent in our quest to do more.
Conclusively, permit me to end this address by appreciating the organizers of this event for finding me worthy to be invited. I hold this honour dearly and I am indebted to you all. I also thank the school management for their support. To other invited guests, I appreciate you for coming.
Let me leave you with the words of Frantz Fanon “Each generation must out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.”
The question is, as young people, have you discovered your mission? and what is your decision? To fulfill or betray that mission?
Thank you for listening. God bless you all.
[20:06, 5/26/2021] Iwakun PA To Dep Gov: Towards giving a befitting place for the youth in nation building, Hon. Dele Gboluga Ikengboju ably represemted by Barr. Tayo Cosmas Ogungbemi honoured the invitation by the Legislative Arm of Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, (OSUSTECH), Students’ Union at Shool’s main campus in Okitipupa.
The lawmaker who bared his mind on the topic “Youths Inclusiveness in Governance and Leadership” noted that the business of governance and leadership involves everybody including the youths and students’ wing.
He extolled the virtues and advantages in youths leadership as well as charging them to rise up and take their place in the society.
The distinguished lawmaker also observed the challenges posed by the 1999 constitution and advocated urgent amendments that will give every stakeholder a sense of belonging, while emphasizing his support for true federalism for the nation to come out of the security and economic challenges.
Hon Gboluga who appreciated the students for the honour bestowed on him with the “Award of Excellence” for his immerse contributions toward Education, Societal Development and Benevolence to the masses, reiterated his commitment to the pursuit of the interest of his constituents in particular and the youths in general.
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