By Razaq Bamidele
Somehow steadily, Nigeria’s representative democracy is evolving. Unlike before, people are increasingly becoming more aware of their rights as the absolute sovereign in a democratic system. For so long, public aspiration for good governance had remained elusive owing to the seemingly low indignation capacity of the electorate. As such, people hardly get feedback from their elected representatives. Often times, majority of those elected to represent their voice stay disconnected with the grassroots. Soon as they take positions in the National Assembly, they turn themselves to Abuja politicians without any visible presence in their constituencies.
With the rising level of political awareness, however, things may no longer be the same. Eyes have become opened. Whoever thinks he can woo and ditch the electorate at will is surely doing so at his own peril. At the appropriate time, they would invoke their powers to choose their preferred candidates regardless of party affiliation.
Thus, Hon Jide Jimoh, a member of the House of Representatives representing Lagos Mainland, speaking with Sunday Sun on his closeness to his supporters said: “I have a very busy and functional constituency office at 362, Borno Way, Alagomeji, Yaba. I will advise you to go to my constituent on a fact finding mission. I can assure you that you will get first hand information that will convince you of my popularity among my people.” So far, he said, he had kept fate with his mission and vision.
Making clarification on the controversial issue of constituency project, Jimon explains that it is not within the purview of the legislator to execute projects, but the responsibility of the executive. His words: “If you think that a legislator must come round to execute one project or the other, I will say it is not his duty to do so. But if any legislator does so, let us be informed that he is doing so from his own personal pocket. It is not part of his responsibility to do it. It is part of the responsibilities of the executive to do it.”
In line with the emerging trends and demand for public accountability, he told Sunday Sun that he had sponsored a number of bills and motions of urgent public importance some of which have passed through the second reading. He declared: “I am not a ‘siddon look’ legislator. I am not at all a bench warmer in the National Assembly. I have moved more than 26 motions on the floor. I have also sponsored a number of bills some of which have got to the third reading. Some of the motions I have moved include: Unemployment Crisis: Need for State of Emergency and Legislative Intervention, co-sponsored by Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; Matter of urgent public importance: Urgent need to address the poor service delivery of the Nigeria Fire Service; motion on how to confront piracy in the Nigeria’s entertainment industry; motion calling on the Federal Road Safety Corps to curb the menace of unlatched containers and trucks on the Nigeria highways as well as the unbearable traffic nightmares on major highways; Matter of Urgent Public Importance: International Certificate of Vaccination (a.k.a Yellow Card) for saving Nigeria from global embarrassment as approved by the World health Organization (W.H.O), among others.”
He went on: “In addition to all these, I have also sponsored a bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Prosecution Service (NPC) with a view to enhancing the administration of justice system in Nigeria and for other matters related to it. I have equally sponsored a bill for the establishment of Traditional Medicine Council of Nigeria and other matters connected with it, which has passed the second reading. The last bill I sponsored was entitled: A Bill for an Act to establish Weights and Measures Council for Retail Commodities to make provision for monitoring and implementation of standardized measures of consumable products and for other related matters. It is about measurement for commodities in Nigeria. If you travel to anywhere in the world, you cannot just enter a super market to buy anything anyhow.
“You need to weigh it in order to get correct value for your money without cheating. It has to be measured in grams. This bill will ensure equity among the citizenry if it scales through. And at the end of the day, we will realize that things are done in the normal way. Nigerians need to be properly enlightened on the proper ways of doing things.
This bill has also passed second reading and now moving towards the third reading. And you can be optimistic that a bill that has gone beyond a second reading has the chance of scaling through to get the President’s assent.”
Jimoh further cited a number of empowerment projects he had embarked upon to assist the youths, the widows and the aged in his constituent. Enumerating his major achievements in less than two years of his election into the House of Representatives, he said: “I want you to know that during the last year’s budget appropriation, I strived to bring tangible and solid projects to Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency. In particular, I made a case for the moribund Fire Service Station that has been there for years. I can assure you that in the next couple of months, the project will be reactivated.
“I have done some projects to assist the down trodden in my constituent, particularly the youth, the widows and the aged. And we have record for them.
We provided tricycles (keke NAPEP) to assist our youths; we provided moulding machines to assist our unemployed people, we provided grinding machines also to assist my constituent.
I have also sunk boreholes within the locality. I have provided security apparatus for all the schools, mosques and churches in our area to assist in checkmating crimes. And these have been helpful. I know how many of these gadgets I provided and I know how much money we sank into the project.”
“I have also helped the aged in terms of provision of cloths, food and accommodation. Provision of houses for people might be difficult for an individual, but the little I can do to assist, I have been doing it. In the area of education, I have assisted a number of our students in terms of scholarship and other forms of assistance.
All these projects are executed in the last one and a half years of my being in the National Assembly.” All these, he added, are verifiable within his constituent.