By Lateef Dada
Mr Rotimi Makinde was a Nollywood actor who ventured into politics and represented Ife Federal Constituency between 2011 -2015 at the House of Representatives. In this interview, he explains his intention to return to the National Assembly in 2023 and his efforts to close ranks between the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and his successor in Osun, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. He spoke on various issues.
Recently, you declared intention to return to the National Assembly, do you think you will get the ticket again?
I believe Ife Federal Constituency can still be made better in terms of representation at the National Assembly. Seeing Ife develop, prosper and become the pride of Africa and the Black race will undoubtedly be my sincere joy and that has always been my wish. I am here because I know that change must come and that change will come because of my people.
Without sounding immodest, as I move around Ife interacting with regular Nigerians, I listen to their concerns about unfulfilled expectations, frustrations, cluelessness and sometimes disillusionment by the current representation they have at the hallowed chamber. Yet, I still see the excitement, determination and hope on their faces as they crave for better alternative to what they currently have.
In spite of the many challenges they face, it is quite remarkable that my people have refused to give up, hence they have made a clarion call to me to be their representative at the hallowed chamber in the coming 10th Assembly. It is inspiring that amidst difficulties and growing anxiety over the future of my constituents, my people have refused to succumb to despair and hopelessness. This never-say-die attitude gives me immense hope and it is one of the reasons why I can never give up on my people neither will I disappoint them or ignore the call to serve them at the House of Representatives come 2023.
I have traveled this route before in the 7th Assembly, between 2011 to 2015; it is a familiar terrain for me. As I am coming back to the office again, I make bold to say that I will bring our tendencies together and unite my constituents and as well bring governance even closer to the people and to mentor the next generation. I will also extend my commitment to galvanizing my constituents irrespective of tribe, religious background or political persuasion. There is so much work to be done by way of legislation in many areas of our life including but not limited to education, health, power, infrastructure and alleviation of poverty, socio-economic empowerment etc. I believe many of these deficits can be addressed through meaningful and impactful legislation.
Historically, the House of Representatives was established to be the people’s House and for the people’s business. It follows therefore that Honourable members must be the people’s voice elected to do the people’s business and champion their cause and in doing so, fulfilling their hopes and aspiration. This is the kind of federal parliamentarian I intend and hope to be for the second time after the attempt was aborted in 2015.
I have the requisite experience matched with wealth of knowledge to offer quality representation to my people and to facilitate federal presence to my consistency with the primary aim of making life more abundant for my people socio-economically. It is also my resolve to unleash the full potentials of my ability to uphold the policy thrust of law making. I have taken copious mental and physical notes and it is time for implementation in the interest of Ife federal constituency
However, while I was in the House between 2011 to 2015, the government at the centre was PDP, my successor also suffers similar situation because the centre is controlled by the APC. Sadly, a situation like this doesn’t make federal presence to be drawn to the constituency at a desirous pace due to sheer political differences. Therefore, I appeal to my people to ensure that we have APC holding sway at the Ward Level, local govt Level, state Assembly Level, federal legislative level, and ultimately at the centre, a political scenario like this will significantly help to fast track and deepen development across board in the overall interest of the people without any encumbrance.
What do you think you have done in the first term that would earn you another opportunity?
I can humbly state that my glaring potentials and my previous achievements and strengths have become for many a frustrating puzzle; for others it is a topic for national debate; and yet for another group, it is doomsday lament. But as a progressive and open-minded Nigerian, I consider it a golden opportunity and a great chance to display my courage, rekindle my innovative instinct, showcase my character and turn the Great Ife’s dream into reality as a ranking federal lawmaker with the blessing from my royal father, who I strongly hold in high esteem, His Royal Highness, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II).
Similarly, I must also commend my political leader and mentor, the Executive Governor of Osun State, His Excellency, Adegboyega Oyetola for his unwavering support for me in all ramifications. May God bless him abundantly and make him realize his reelection into office in Osun State. His legacy projects, especially interventions in capacity building and human capital development cannot be lost on the good and great people of Osun State which is why they have all resolved to throw their weights behind him to run the affairs of the state for another four years, deservedly so.
No doubt, much is being expected from us as acclaimed custodians of history, the cradle of Yoruba race and home to an institution such as Great Ife, as a result, we must endeavour to be great in all aspects of life. This is the time for us to parley with all members of this constituency, close ranks with all and sundries, see each other as brothers and sisters and this includes right attitude towards the Modakekes and the Ifes at both home and away with serious and committed intention to reposition our dear community; this I shall try to continue to champion. Thankfully, we are fortunate to have our cerebral brother and leader as the National Secretary of APC, Otunba (Senator) lyiola Omisore; we cannot afford to stay too far from him and to give him all necessary, profound and quality support that he deserves to make him succeed as a true party man.
Ife is being watched, our political leaders are being watched. This is not the first time for such opportunity to come to this community or to be privileged to serve as Secretary of a ruling party. History was made and will continue to repeat itself. Therefore, we need to be circumspect in our conducts such that we can be placed on the right and good side of history and I pray that posterity will never judge us harshly.
Are you not at crossroads on the crisis between Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who you said brought you into politics and his predecessor, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, who you said you are now loyal to?
Before I indicated my ambition, you will never see me in any attempt to bootlick, either to impress Governor Oyetola, or go to the radio or television or write against Aregbesola. I turned myself to an apostle of peace and that I did with everything. I went as far as meeting Alaafin Oyo. I was the one that went to Baba Adeboye, I went to Eleko of Eko, I went to Ooni of Ife, all in my attempt to make sure that I close the rank. I stated my position on television and radio that what we need is unity as far as I am concerned. So, to me, I am for Oyetola and I don’t think anybody in Ile-Ife will be as close as I am to Oyetola. But, I will not say because of that and not subject myself to democratic destiny. Oyetola was the Chairman of my wedding. I married from his hometown in Iragbiji. I will not say because he is my in-law, I will not seek the support and honour or beg for vote from people and a leader like Senator Iyiola Omisore. With due respect to him, his coming into my party is beyond human comprehension. I led the campaign for Governor Oyetola in Ife Federal Constituency with all the power I have. I was so committed to my party. I never betrayed my party in 2007, I never betrayed my party in 2012, in 2014 when he was a candidate, I never betrayed my party. No money can buy my conscience. I worked and the little votes we can say we got from Ife was as a result of my commitment to my party. Will I not be correct to say that Senator Iyiola Omisore will not visit me with sin of yesteryears because of my commitment to my party. Believe me, Senator Iyiola Omisore is refined more than that.