The House of Representatives member, representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 2, Hon. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson has thrown his weight behind the closure of some of the national borders. Speaking during an interview with Sunday Sun, he said that the closure of borders would lead to Nigeria becoming self-sufficient in food production.
He also spoke on why he introduced what he called, ”Meet Your MP” programme, the just concluded Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections, traffic gridlock on Lagos roads and on other issues. Excerpt:
How do you see the closure of some of the nation’s borders?
Well, I want to say that the closure of the nation’s borders is in the interest of the country because apart from helping to check insecurity, it has helped immensely in the reduction of influx of foreign foods into the country. Before, Nigeria used to be dumping ground for rotten frozen foods like chicken, fishes and even expired tinned fishes. Our people have for a very long time been consuming poison in the name of protein and that is why cancer and other dangerous diseases have been on the increase in the country. But this closure has helped to checkmate that. Another good thing about the border closure is that it is now encouraging local production of foods. Nigerians have very rich variety of foods. It is our mentality of loving foreign things more than our own that is making us feel as if foods produced in Nigeria are not as good as the imported ones. But very soon, everybody would realize the wisdom in what is happening now in the country. I know that those who are living at the border are not finding it easy. But in the long run, they would adjust and begin to enjoy what is going on in the country.
Going by what happened during Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections, people are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended electoral reform bill into law, what is your take on it?
Those who are calling for the signing of the amended electoral reform bill into law are being mischievous because election results are being transmitted electronically right from the polling booths. What we should be talking about is sensitizing the masses for large voter turnout. In most of the elections across the country, there are always voter apathy as a result of lack of sensitization. This should be our major concern for now. So, INEC should be doing sensitization periodically because it is very important. Once this is done, things would begin to improve. So, we must educate, sensitize and enlighten the electorate on the rules governing elections.
Why did you start meet your MP programme?
Meet your MP, meaning meet your member of parliament programme, is part of my campaign. I told my people that I would be making myself available for them if elected. So, I decided that I would be using the last Saturday of every month to be meeting one-on-one with them. It started just two months ago. It is a way of bonding with my people. The last Saturday of every month, we interact in no holds bar. They discuss freely with me, telling me of their challenges and it is from the response that I have been getting from them that I launched food for all programme because the level of poverty in the country is endemic. Oshodi Federal Constituency two has 13 wards and two Local Council Development Areas, that is Isolo and Ejigbo. We have been rotating the food for all from one ward to another. It is very difficult, but we have to support the Federal Government. By the grace of God I will sustain it throughout my tenure and if possible after my tenure. It is my commitment to my people.
How do you interact with your people?
I have ward coordinators and they liaise with the landlord associations, NGOs and other stakeholders, that is one of the ways I get feedback from them. I have been able to develop a template. I know the needs of every area. I know those who need boreholes, I know those who need transformers and very soon, we would begin to give transformers and dig boreholes for those who need them.
How do you see the heavy traffic gridlock now on Lagos roads?
Well, the truth is that most of the roads in Lagos State have gone back and the governor has reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads as one of his key point agenda. But as an engineer by training, I know that you cannot tackle roads during rainy reason. However, I am very optimistic that between now and April, Lagos will become a better place with regard to road infrastructure. So, Lagosians should bear with us .We are pained by the situation and government is doing everything humanly possible to ameliorate the situation.
Why is NASS dilly-dallying on 2020 budget?
Budget is a very technical issues; there are various committees that are involved in making budget. It is like in the bank. The account must balance. So, before the budget is passed, all the committees have done what they are supposed to do. However, I am very optimistic that before the month goes half, the budget would be passed.