From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Miffed by the current economic recession biting very hard, in every part of the country, especially in rural communities, a member of the Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, has called on government at all levels to make poverty alleviation their priority in order make life meaningful to the people.
In this interview with Daily Sun, the lawmaker who is the Chairman of House Committee on Information and Strategy, lamented that government’s neglect of the people at the grassroots had, over the years, denied a lot of them the true dividends of democracy, adding that since he started representing Obokun Constituency at the Assembly, he had personally embarked on several community development projects to bring government closer to his people and reduce their poverty level.
What do you think is the way forward to alleviating poverty, especially in the rural communities?
It is unarguable that things are really, really hard. But it is not peculiar to my people, neither is it peculiar to Osun State.
But you would agree with me that it is worse in rural communities where there is acute shortage of social infrastructure and amenities that aggravate the poverty situation.
Governments at all levels need to consider the plight of the rural dwellers by providing access roads and transportation so that farmers can transport their farm produce to the markets and for the community people to be able to carry out their economic activities, especially trading and farming which are the major sources of livelihood.
Government should also encourage mechanized farming to motivate farmers to show more commitment to agriculture that is the sure alternative to crude oil. Government should include soft loans in agric budget to enable farmers access soft loans to be able to embark on full scale farming and drive the nation’s ongoing food production and security vision.
This would also go a long way in boosting the country’s export profile and ameliorating the effects of the current economic recession. Provision of electricity and steady power supply can also encourage small-scale businesses in the rural communities. If all these are put in place, I think life can become better for the people.
What are the socio-economic challenges affecting the people of your constituency and what efforts have you made to address them?
My constituency, Ibokun, in Obokun Local Government Area is majorly an agrarian community. We have two major sources of livelihood which are farming and trading. But the major challenge is the lack of finance and infrastructure to embark on them on full-scale basis to be able to overcome poverty. I have made personal efforts in different areas to alleviate poverty in my constituency.
For instance, I have been able to facilitate grading of rural roads to help farmers access their farmlands and transport farm produce to other towns within Osun and other neighbouring states. Farm produce used to rot and waste away in the farms due to lack of access roads to transport them to the markets.
But the plight has been assuaged. In order to boost the economic activities of my constituency, I have embarked on gigantic market projects in Ibokun and Ipetu-Ile markets. I have also facilitated sinking of boreholes and hand-pump wells across my constituency. I also facilitated installation of transformers to some communities that are in critical needs of electricity. All these infrastructural projects have brought economic development to the areas and reduced poverty level among my people.
Insecurity of lives and property remains a serious challenge in the country. Rural communities are not an exception, following bank and other forms of robbery incidences in these areas. In what ways have you been able to solve the problem in your constituency?
We have had our own share of insecurity threats and robbery incidences, especially bank robbery. Since the only bank in my community was attacked by armed robbers two years ago and was closed down, business activities have been at low ebb. In order to proffer solution, I drew government’s attention to the situation and Governor Rauf Aregbesola government deployed an Armoured Personnel Carrier in the community. Since then, the insecurity situation, robbery incidences and other criminal tendencies have been curbed.
What is your advice to President Buhari in the efforts to overcome the current economic recession?
The president needs prayers and less distractions. But he needs to listen to reasonable advice from people, especially economic experts. He has to review and continuously evaluate his economic policies and programmes targeted at benefitting the citizenry.
The president also needs to examine his cabinet critically and conduct regular retreats with them for proper orientation on performance. He needs to be open to new ideas that can take the country to the next level economically.