Barr Sharafadeen Alli, the Senator-Elect, Oyo South Senatorial District, has highlighted the need for devolution of powers and the strengthening of democratic institutions to move the country forward and fulfill the yearnings of Nigerians for a better country to live in.
The legal practitioner and grassroot politician was responding to questions on Vintage 93.7FM’s political programme, ‘The Platform’, hosted by Akeem Kareem on Saturday in Ibadan. He said, “My main responsibility is to make laws for a better society. Laws will be made to address issues like insecurity, which affects our people in Oyo South, especially our people in Ibarapa. The current House of Representative Member representing our people there is doing his bit and we will build on it. We will also address the issue of restructuring as it affects the various aspects of our national life, as has been done lately with the matter of power generation. The power to generate electricity has been given to state governments, so we have to urge the state government to act on this so that sufficient electrical power will be made available for the needs of our people in Oyo State”.
Speaking further, the Senator-Elect noted that youths constitute a large percentage of Nigeria’s voting population and many youths in Oyo South need to be gainfully employed, hence he will be delivering empowerment programmes with a difference, “Youths constitute a large percentage of our voting population and they need jobs, we need to get them engaged on jobs, not only that, we need to help them acquire the skills they need to be self-employed. Although our people clamour for empowerment programmes, we will do it differently. We will ensure that we do not give the tools of a barber to an hairdresser. We will ask our people what they do before we assist them with tools. Rather than just give out tools, we are looking to set up business units for our people, cooperative societies will be encouraged amongst market women and soft loans shall be facilitated for them” The Senator-Elect also added that he will persuade his colleagues in the Red Chamber towards achieving the upgrade of the state medical facility in Igbo Ora into a Federal Medical Centre and this will be the first of such in Oyo State.
Barr Sharafadeen Alli, who described himself as a professional in politics, is a senior chief in Ibadanland being currently Maye Balogun of Ibadanland and a member of Omo Ajorosun Club of which he is a former President, pointed out that his legal background, local and state governments administration experience will be an immense advantage as he represents Oyo South Senatorial District, “Fiscal economy is an area that I have a lot of experience being a former local government chairman. I was also a part of the administration that found a solution to fiscal economy issues in Oyo State in the past by making education a first line charge matter. In the same way, the problem can be solved at the national level the way we solved it at the state level by making the payment of teachers salaries a first line charge under UBEC. We want local government autonomy and with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as our President, we will get it done’.
Asked to comment on a possible agenda for the Tinubu administration, Barr Alli envisaged constitutional amendments to effect devolution of powers piecemeal, as in the case of power generation by states, rather than a wholesale affair that can be thrown away in its entirety. He also reiterated the need to strengthen our democratic institutions with particular reference to separating the office of the Attorney General of the Federation from from that of the Minister of Justice, subject to the input of the National Assembly, to make the office more responsible to the people. Furthermore, he pointed out the advantages of state policing and local government autonomy while assuring Nigerians that the 10th Senate will not be a rubber stamp.
On the state of Oyo State All Progressive Congress, after the 2023 general elections, Barr Alli acknowledged that there are issues, which will be addressed in the coming weeks. He noted that party politics in Nigeria need to be strengthened to balance the interest of the people with the need to get votes. He discountenance the recent proposed amendments to the Oyo State laws regarding the council of Obas, “I sincerely believe the way the Governor is going about it will not achieve the desired result. We do not need that amendment, the Governor is just giving excuses. The proposed amendment will give the Governor more powers than is needed and the process will become political. Have the state council of Obas been convened and they did not attend? What the chiefs need is recognition and a proper place in protocol, not beaded crowns. Whatever we want to do must be in line with customs and traditions. We need to be cautious and I will like to warn those in office not to dabble into the matters of Obas and land”. He however pointed out the need to give more roles to Obas, even if it is an advisory role, in view of the experience of royal fathers.
When asked about the clamour for Ibadan State, Barr Alli noted that state creation was more easily achieved under military administration than it will be in a democratic dispensation. He however noted that Ibadan is deserving of a state and should be the first of such if it is to be effected in the future. He proceeded to debunk any speculation of having eyes on being Oyo State Governor in 2027, “It is not true. I have been elected a Senator, let me do that job. People can speculate, however I want to plead with everybody to leave me to do the job of a Senator which I have been graciously elected to do. Senator Teslim Kolawole Folarin remains the face of our party and our leaders; Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Chief Moses Alake, Baba Jolaoso, Abu Gbadamosi and others are well recognized”.
“I want to thank the good people of Oyo South Senatorial District for getting me elected in the last election and I want to promise them that I will not let them down in the National Assembly. I will ensure the distribution of dividends of democracy to all our nine local governments and I will continue to interact with and engage our people. I want to thank our party leaders for the confidence they have in me and I thank the people of Oyo State for voting in our National Assembly members. We did not have the same in the Governorship election but there will be another time. Finally, I want to thank our people for voting our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and I want to assure you that he will work for a better Nigeria”, he concluded.
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