Tinubu should invest gains of fuel subsidy removal wisely - Senator Sarafadeen Ali
Senator Sarafadeen Ali

Senator Sarafadeen Ali is currently representing Oyo South Senatorial District. He was the Secretary to the Oyo State government, when Senator Rashidi Ladoja was the governor of Oyo State. He had contested, the governorship of Oyo State twice, under the Accord party and the New Labour Party.

In this interview, with Olusesan Laoye, he discussed various national issues concerning security and what is expected of President Bola Tinubu and the 10th Senate, saying that the majority in parliament is not likely to have it easy, as it used to be.

The problem of the removal of petroleum subsidy is still biting harder than what Nigerians envisaged. What is your take on this?

Well, this has become an inevitable thing. The government has done this and I think, it is in good faith. Whatever the people are going through, I believed it is not going to be for long because government has promised to back it up with palliatives that are expected to cushion the effect and hardship of the subsidy removal.
I know it is a difficult time for Nigerians now and honestly, no one is excluded. We shall come on top of it at last and not too long.

You said the pain is affecting all of us, don’t you think the government was impatient to have removed the subsidy without planning what the palliatives would be because many Nigerians are blaming government for this rash action?

Whatever the situation may be now, the main issue is how to move forward and for government to ensure that the palliatives work, to have impact on all Nigerians, especially, the down trodden. What is, however, expected of government that would enable the citizens get its impact at this trying periods, is to invest the money removed from the subsidy to sustain education, health, infrastructure and invest heavily on agriculture.

The investment on agriculture should not be the priority of the Federal government alone, at this crucial periods in Nigeria, it should be the responsibility of all, the state governments, local governments and even the rich individuals. If there is plenty of food the problems would be minimized.This is even going to help local industries grow, with the provisions of the agro based raw materials for local productions.

What I will also like the government to do is to ensure that Nigerians have adequate power supply to help local artisans that would need it, to work. The welders, hairdressers, carpenters, tailors and a lot of small businesses that would need power to grow. The situation has reached a stage, that government should endeavour to make its policies work, to favour the masses.

In addition, we should not forget the issue of security. Whatever we gain from the subsidy removal, should as well, go for the provisions of security machineries, that would help curb various crimes, such as banditry, kidnapping, ritual killings and the rest. We have also equipped our security operatives to be able to tackle both internal and external aggressions.

You made mention that the local governments, at this period are expected to invest in agriculture, how would this be possible when they still go cap in hand to get what would sustain them from the state governments. What do you think the 10th National Assembly is going to do about this?

This is one area, which both the legislature and the executive must work to ensure that the local governments are properly funded, so that they would be able to perform their obligations to the people at the grass roots, their major concern. I have been at the local government and I know how things work there.

As lawmakers we just have to make sure that his time around, there must be proper legislation to enforce the autonomy of local governments. Though they will still have to be supervised by the state but their budgetary allocations are expected to be intact for them to function effectively.

If you could still recollect, while you were campaigning, you made a lot of promises to the people, now that you are now in the Senate, what do we expect from you in terms of making sure you keep to your promises, in providing dividends of democracy to the people?

Yes, no doubt about that. I made promises and by the grace of God, I will keep to them. I am not new in governance and I know the people of my state, especially, those in my Senatorial zone, would be looking forward to what I would do. I have not gone back on the promises made, that, apart from making laws, I will try my possible best that a lot of programmes, that would benefit my people are initiated and executed.

I am very passionate about education and empowerment of the people. There are a lot of areas to be covered and I will, by the grace of the Almighty Allah, do my best not to let my people down. You know I am a grassroots politician and that is the more reason why I just have to make my people feel the impact of being at the National Assembly. I will also collaborate with my colleagues in the other two senatorial zones, to make sure that we bring laudable projects to Oyo State.

The state is governed by another political party, which is not your party, there used to be conflicts between law makers and the state governors. How do you want to take care of this?

I think we are in the same state. Whatever projects brought by us the lawmakers, even if we are not in the same party with the sitting government in our states, are for the people and not individuals. The benefits, which these projects would bring, is not for us but for our people collectively. Again there is no way programmes for the people would be carried out without carrying the state government along because whatever the case may be, we are all working on how to better the lots of our people.

As far as Oyo State is concerned, all the federal law makers have good working relationships with the government and we shall all work together to alleviate the sufferings of our people, despite the fact that we are from APC and the government is PDP. Don’t forget that we used to be members of the same political family before and we know ourselves.

Can you give us some hints on what Nigerians should expect from the 10th National Assembly which you are a member?

Let me say this clearly, the present National Assembly would be different from the past ones because there are seven political parties involved, both at the House of Representatives and the Senate.This is unlike before when you have two or three political parties that are prominent in the Assembly. This means that there is going to be alignments and realignments and it does not mean that if a party has the majority, it would use that as an advantage against others.The present situation does not call for that and all the political parties this time around will work together for the betterment of our people.

With what you have said now, does it means that there would be no rancour at the National Assembly?

Definitely, there would be problems. You disagree to agree.That is what life is all about but just as I said earlier on, the 10th Assembly is going to be different from what we used to have because it is now an Assembly, where the ruling party in the majority can’t lord itself over others. But I can assure you that all what we are going to do, would be in the interests of the people.

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