Nigerians have been advised to differentiate between the duties of the executive and those of lawmakers. A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency 1, Hon. MojisolaOluwa Alli- Macaulay recently met with youths from the constituency and had a fence mending meeting with them, while also educating them about what she has been doing as their representative. She spoke with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI at an interview during the meeting. Excerpts…
How was the peace meeting with your constituents?
Its was very fruitful. We were on round table and they expressed their grievances and I was able to express myself. When you are in a public office, the expectations of the people are so high, they don’t know that we don’t have the power of spending. They are happy and I am happy too after the meeting. I feel so sorry for the youth all the same.
What is your take home from what they have said?
They all agreed that I have been performing, and that I have given them qualitative representation. They were telling me things I didn’t even know that they knew. The import of it is that they are in financial need. They just want the dividends of democracy and I think I would work on that. It may not go round, but I will make sure that themajority of them benefit from whatever we have for them.
With what they said, it’s like many of them do not know the duties of a lawmaker, what are you doing to educate them on this as it relates to developmental projects?
I did that, in the course of our meeting. I tried to explain to them that we have three arms of government, and that we are lawmakers. I told them that we are the voice of the people and that we are supposed to collate their needs for debate and have a motion moved on that to ensure that the executive arm of the government does the needful and that they are to execute projects. With time, our people will know that we have three arms of government that are guided by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended. With time, people would understand that we have our own functions. I cannot do roads, I can only facilitate them. I can lobby the executive to come and do it, which I have been doing with the Lagos State Public Works. I have also been to the Ministry of Works to tell them to come and assist us in Amuwo Odofin. I have been to Abuja a couple of times to the Federal Housing Authority with my own money. I saw a lot of dilapidated buildings in Amuwo Odofin, in FESTAC Town in particular and I became worried that we have a lot of issues of collapsed buildings there. I met with the Minister of Works. Senator Gbenga Ashafa even came to FESTAC Town on an inspection tour and he mentioned that he was there because of my visits to Abuja and he promised that they would come in to work in FESTAC. Since FESTAC ’77, I don’t think they have done any rehabilitation in FESTAC Town. I have to lobby to facilitate this, I cannot do projects, I can only lobby and get the government to do projects in our community. I am still in government, so I’m responsible to do this. People don’t understand, they don’t know where my work stops and those who do look the other way.
The issue of constituency office also came up at the meeting and people felt you should have a constituency office where they could meet with you …
There is never a time that I don’t have a constituency office. My constituency office is on 306 Road, House 36, that was where I grew up. Though the owners are dead, I am still part of the owners of the estate. That was where I held meetings during the campaign period. I have always met with people and received my correspondence there. I have people, who are living there and receive my mails. I have a younger brother, who is living there. Access to that place is not impeded in any form. What they want from me is to go and rent a house somewhere else. If you do that, you will be responsible for the protection of the property. I can not leave where nobody is chasing me to go and rent a house in another place. What I will do is to just make the place more active.
Don’t you think the whole issue has to do with communication gap?
That is what we are trying to bridge. A lof of times I would be in Amuwo-Odofin, I visited people, but I stopped after COVID- 19 came. I also want to live, I don’t want to die. We were warned from the Assembly to be very careful. All the same, I still go there to see the people I want to see. Now, we agree on where to meet and when. I am a very accessible person, my phone is available 24 hours a day, my office is open to them. The issues are always about money, but I don’t have enough.
You lobby, but the people are not feeling the impact, why?
I have done a lot, the records are there. Even in a year, they could see what I have done. The issue is that they want the dividends of democracy. If you dig boreholes and the people are hungry, they don’t want to see that, they just want to eat. I gave 25 computers to one of the schools in FESTAC Town, we gave them data, WiFi, chairs and generators. I did empowerment for our mothers and I used my money to buy the items that were distributed then, I didn’t use palliatives meant for the people for the event, they just said that to destroy my image. I gave them pop corn machines, and sewing machines. I did health week, where 500 of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) walked three kilometres for health. We had 20 doctors that came to treat them. We did children party, we supported schools for inter house sports, we gave JAMB Forms, GCE forms and others. But the poverty level is high, people need money in their pockets, I will look into that and try to do something.