Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
In the views of many observers, it is long overdue for the nation’s security architecture to be decentralized. One of those who share this view is Mr Fuminiyi Afuye, the 6th Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly. In this interview, he speaks on the security architecture of the country, politics and other sundry issues.
Let’s have some of your performances since you came on board as the Speaker of the 6th Assembly in the State?
Well, we have performed to the best of our ability. We are performing along the mandate given to us by the people of Ekiti State. We are 26 members of the same political party; what this means is that the people want us to support the governor, giving him the legal wherewithal to be able to perform all the pillars of this governance and any other thing that we know will be good for the people; essentially, we are for the good of the people and this has always reflected on all the laws we have been passing.
What is your assessment of the current administration of governor Fayemi?
Well, like I said, the government of governor Fayemi runs on the platform of the five points pillars of governance; Governance, Agriculture and Rural Development, Social Investments, Infrastructure and Industrial Development and Knowledge Economy. Governor Fayemi to the best of my knowledge and the acknowledgement of the people, has performed creditably well. If you do a public opinion, the people will tell you he has performed creditably well, in any case, he is used to governance. His first term, JKF one, people didn’t really appreciate what he did, because, he constructed roads, he touched every aspect of human life in his first term but for inexplicable reasons, the people never appreciated him but they are the worse for it, what I can call the interregnum of the last administration, which again by divine power of God is restored to take the second term and of course, his performances have been applauded by people home and abroad. Also, he operates in a very tight financial environment. The financial environment is almost dried up but, he is making a mountain out of a molehill and that is why, as a house, all hands must be on deck to give all the support; you cannot see anybody living in luxury at the expense of the people; he as the governor is leading by example. We in the House, unknown to people, are dancing to the tune of the time, which is paucity of fund; we manage what we see, we are in the same boat with the governor, we are riding with him.
How do you see the crises rocking Edo APC and the issue of godfatherism?
I have no comment on that.
The security challenges in the country, if not mitigated, don’t you think could affect your party’s chances in 2023?
Generally the essence of governance is the security of lives and property. Any government that is faced with any security challenge must look inwards and that is why the President is making the best efforts to see an end to all the security challenges in the country today. As far as I am concerned, whether it’s going to affect our fortunes in the next election is not a question for now. All of us knew where this thing started and when it started. It didn’t start with the life of President Buhari’s administration; it started during former President Obasanjo’s period and even before then. Unfortunately, before President Buhari came in, people were folding their arms, monies that were meant to procure arms and ammunitions were squandered and stolen; you see the revelations in all the probes going on; EFCC is exposing people. The last time I read in the papers, Diezani took over $2 billion, if you add that to the foreign reserve, Nigeria is good to go. It is only sanctimonious hypocrisy for people to now be blaming this government. I agree, any government in the saddle at every point in time must take step. Steps are being taken by the government of President Buhari, unlike in the past when people were busy stealing, lining their pockets with monies meant for security issues, I don’t think that is happening now, because it would have been exposed.
The translation of Amotekun and other laws in the state to Yoruba language, do you think it will further curb the rate of crime and criminality in the state?
The essence of law is for the people to be carried along and if you look at our people, a good percentage of our people are literate in our own Yoruba language; some of us are literate in both English and Yoruba languages, but because we want the laws to be understood, to be followed by the people, it is good to really translate into the language they really understand. If you go to all developed countries, they speak their own language, apart from those ones that have decided to adopt the mother country language. In China, they speak their own language, Korea speaks her language, all of the developed countries; so, there is nothing novel in translating the laws into the language of the people, Yoruba.
Despite nationwide protests, a bill for integration of repentant insurgents into society had passed its first reading in the Senate, do you see this as an intention to really end terrorism in the country?
As a lawyer, I will not engage in speculations. I have not gone through that bill to read the sections; it is only when I do that that I can give an informed position on the bill. I will not just talk at random on it.
What advice do you have on possible solutions to end terrorism in the country?
People should look into the security architecture of Nigeria. Security is a local matter even though it is operated at the national policy level but, the people who really know the nooks and crannies of their environment are the local people; so the architecture of security in Nigeria is such a unitary system that must be decentralised and give powers to the government, to the local government chairmen because these are the people closer to the grassroots. In every location, the people know those who don’t have backgrounds, criminals and their families; so the security architecture of Nigeria must change, without which it could collapse on itself and that is what we are witnessing now. I am a protagonist of those who say there must be state police and of course, you are aware of what is going on in the South West now; Amotekun is on ground and that is the logic of a unitary security system which cannot protect the people immediately and the essence of government is to protect lives and property of its people.