Asiwaju Barr Yinka Mafe.
An exclusive interview with the Majority Leader of Ogun State House of Assembly, Asiwaju Hon Barrister Adeyinka Mafe. He discussed salient issues about his life, Ogun governance and politics with the publisher of Amebohotnews Adedapo David talks about his humble beginning, the pace he sets for himself, governance in Ogun State and Legislative Activities, 2019 ambition, Mapoly Upgrade, Tasce staff payment, enthronement of new Akarigbo and many more
Amebo: who is Yinka Mafe before being elected to the assembly in 2011?
Mafe: My name is Adeyinka Mafe, by the grace of God I am the Asiwaju of Emuren land, Arole Asiwaju of Remo land, the Asiwaju of Idado kingdom and Oluomo of Latawa kingdom, a young man born in the 70s. I attended my primary school in Warri (Ndu Primary school), OSI College in Warri for my Secondary Education and Don Damigo College also in Warri. Luckily for me I got admitted into the prestigious University of Benin to study Law (1993-1998). I was actually in my finals when I contested and won the councillorship in my ward under the Alliance for Democracy being the youngest among the local legislators, I attended the law school in Victoria Island and became a solicitor, in 2003 I travelled out of the country to study in Cambridge University where I bagged my Masters degree in international business Law. I took some exams too especially the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) and became a qualified lawyer in United Kingdom, which made me practised in U.K before heeding to the call of my people in 2009 to come back and contest for the assembly which I did and won under the Action Congress representing Sagamu State constituency-1.
Amebo: what will you ascribe as your winning strategy from the start of your political career?
Mafe: in one word the people are my winning strategy, they believed in me and I’m grateful. Though I have been in the service to humanity since my secondary school days which made me become the welfare Director in my University days. My abilities and contributions during my tenure as a councillor laid the foundation which made my people believed in my ability to represent them; by that time I was conferred with the Asiwaju of Idodo Community.
Amebo: The achievements recorded in your first tern and the ongoing second term plus your the position held, any difference?
Mafe: Obviously there are differences, difference in position and responsibilities. I was nominated as the Majority leader in my first term unfortunately the party at that time couldn’t have its way so I eventually became the house committee chairman on education, science and technology. In achievement wise, as the education, science and technology chairman, I influenced many policies that brought about rapid development in Ogun State especially my constituency with enormous rehabilitation of schools. Infact I remember confronting LAFAJ on their social responsibility and they heeded by renovating over 30blocks of classrooms in my constituency. I didn’t just focus on education, I also in my own capacity built 2 health centers, a befitting hall in my Emuren village, a block of 4classrooms each in Ogijo and Sabo. The one project I will always thank God for is the free eye surgery I did. It cost me over 10million naira having over 200 beneficiaries and camping them for three days after the surgery. I won’t say I’m Jesus but at that time some believed I’m a miracle worker, you know somebody who was blind or partially blind regaining his or her sight after three days wowed them. I again sponsored the training and retraining of traditional birth attendants (agbebis) because our people believed so much in their efficacy so it beacons on me to ensure they are well trained and equipped which I did to the glory of God, the training has reduced greatly infant mortality rate in my constituency. In a few weeks time, we will be having another session of training for them and I am sure Amebohotnews will be there to cover to attest to our little effort. I lost my mum when I was just 8days old, so I know what it means for a mother to loose a child and a child to loose his mother. I also embarked on free ICT training and many others, it is verifiable and amebo can at anytime come and check all these projects.
This second term, we have not had the constituency allowance as we had in the first term, I’m not saying that is the only source of the projects I have done but it goes a long way. Despite not having that, I have just launched a free bus scheme to help conserve the energy of our students trecking a long distance even those who use #200 as t-fare will use the money for lunch. Though it is a very expensive project considering the daily routine and expenses but its a project I’m glad about, the feedback had been wonderful and I hope to launch another soon. I also organised a principal soccer competition across Remo land unifying all schools and youths in the land. I actually copied the eye surgery form the former deputy speaker Hon Tola Banjo while the free bus scheme was copied from the present deputy speaker Hon Oluomo, we copy good things from each other as far as its alleviating the tension of our people. So comparing 4 years to two years won’t be fair but I can assure you that our people will continue to enjoy the dividends.
Amebo; Political intolerance, some have said is happening in Sagamu Local Government APC, saying its as a result of a supporting particular faction or group of an aspirant that doesn’t have the support of the incumbent pointing accusing finger to order from above and yourself, how do you react to this?
Mafe: Babatunde Raji Fashola one of my role models said “we are in interesting time and interesting things will begin to happen”. Whenever election is coming, it is expected that you have more than two groups cropping out of a party,but the most important is that the party is supreme. I am an advocate of don’t have your group meetings in very close place with each other, if this happened it will result to unrest, infiltration and rancour. We have been enjoying a relative and enviable peace in Sagamu so I won’t pray we have political group clash, this is the reason I kept hammering that such meetings should be held different days and time. An aspirant or a government official cannot dictate the tune of meetings to the the party. If I’m right you are referring to SIA group and the other group. One thing is that I’m a leader to both groups and remember these are the people that worked for me and voted for me so I’m not aware that anybody sent them out of any meeting as far as it is not a group meeting but party meetings, in other words all groups are unified in party meetings.
Amebo: a statement was credited to you in one of the national dailies approving and supporting Sen Ibikunle Amosun beyond 2019 despite a constitutional restriction, your reaction?
Mafe: let me begin this way, I’m from Emuren, 60% of the reason why I contested was because of that Emuren road. The only person that can construct the road is the Governor which he has promised to do likewise the sagamu-ogijo-ikorodu road. My 8years as an assembly representative will be a waste if that road is not constructed because it is the benchmark for my contest. Take 60% of that out of 100% of why I contest you’ll see that its a waste indeed if the road isn’t done. In my constituency, Akarigbo road was constructed, model school in Likosi is about to be completed, OOUth is renovated and equipped and many others. I so believed in the mission and vision of the Governor Sen Ibikunle Amosun CON, FCA. He has lofty dreams. The constitution of the party made it clear that the Governor is the leader of the party, and so if he is saying it is beyond 2019, I must key into that. Continuity is not a new thing, Lagos did it successfully therefore the foundation been laid by SIA must continue to forestall lacuna whatsoever. I am believing Sen Amosun will fulfil his promises on that road. In actual fact I spoke with one of the contractors who told me papers are being finalised to be collected in Abuja and once that is done they will move to site, if I have my way I’ll say the headline of this interview should be about this response of mine.
Amebo: it is an open secret that you are vying for the house of representative in your federal constituency, what inspired the vision; your believing that you will win and again if those roads were not done will you drop the dream of the contesting?
Mafe: the aspiration is not my decision but the decision of my people. I represent Offin state constituency and regrettably it is one of the first constituency in Remo federal constituency and the only state constituency that has not represented Remo at the national assembly. This brings unhappiness to my people because 1/3 of the voting population is from Offin so they resolved that I should come to represent them again. Answering the second part of your question, I have never failed in any election, I have been contesting since my secondary school days to student union to law student association and councillorship; I’m not ascribing that to my political prowess but to a living God and the people I reside with. So since the people of Offin wanted me to serve them, they as usual will campaign and convince other electorate in Remo land. Thirdly on your question, I am a very positive person, I believe my Governor will not fail because he holds his words in high esteem so I have full assurance the roads will be constructed.
Amebo: You recently launched the bus project for students free ride to school, what prompted this scheme?
Mafe: the bus transit for students was in the fifth proposed project designed by the committee I inaugurated to be in charge of what our people wants, but I took the project to number 2 after the football competition that unites the 47schools in Remo land. There was a day I was driving from Lafaj area and I saw thousands of students trecking to Remo Divisional High School I felt pitied because of the distance as most come from a very distanced place over 1km away from from school,I moved into the school and consulted the principal on what to do, so at the committee level we tap it in hence its covering the school and other schools including Remo Secondary School. We are hoping to launch the second in few weeks to come and the third very soon. The second will cover the Makun area, Itaoba to Agbele while the third will cover the hospital road.
Amebo: as the majority leader, you will have an indebt into the runnings of legislation; what is the position of the assembly of the controversial 10lane that most still talk about till date?
Mafe: the position of the house is very simple, I was in the 7th legislature when the appropriation bill was brought around 2013 or 14, the problem is that their is a disconnect. The Governor wants many things done at the same time ranging from airport, metro lane etc. The 10lane consist of metrolane, public bus etc. The Ikorodu road has been a focal admiration of the Governor. We don’t enjoy demolishing of houses but the Governor is thinking beyond now. This was how the Akarigbo road, Sabo bridge was condemned at the beginning but today Sagamites are proud of the road. Our people should trust us, its a fact that some of us from east and west senatorial districts were not satisfied but we realize this is a state capital we are talking about. We will also keep pushing for township roads construction especially the rural roads this is because I came from a rural area. The 2017 budget was actually tagged budget of rural development, which I’m proud to say I was one of the advocate for that. We have been assured of over 100rural roads construction and we are hopeful.
Amebo: MAPOLY was recently upgraded to a University despite recession, noting that the University subvention from 44m has been reduced to 11m, more so considering the time the state government proposed merging TASUED, how do you see the possibility of survival?
Mafe: thank you for that question, I’m today happy to be among those who made TASUED remain as it is today by giving the state goverment superior argument. As the former Chairman of the Education committee the situation of MAPOLY is different, the school can stand on its won based on the population of students which cannot be compared to any University in Ogun except OOU. So when the proposal was brought we felt comfortable because we made our research as well. There are areas in Ogun that are deprived of institution like we have in Ipokia, so it gave us a delight sitting the Ogun polytechnic in Ipokia. The new Moshod Abiola Science and Technology as a lot to enjoy from the federal government which you will all see, in few years time we would all appreciate this government and I will be proud to say I had a voice.
Amebo: what are the bills you sponsored especially the recent land grabbers bill?
Mafe: for the record I am a cosponsor of the bill with the deputy speaker. The bill became very important because I know what people go through not just as a business man but as a lawyer as well, on the issue of land dispute and eventual grabbing. If you notice the law isn’t just about land grabbers alone but also touches kidnappers. To me its one of the most important bills we have passed. It upgraded our criminal justice in Ogun State. I have also sponsored important bills especially those that concerns the court and justice system. As the chairman of education, I made sure I stopped the encumbrance of taking public land especially schools lands and we passed strong resolution visiting all public schools in Ogun State, this led to all our school having survey plans and now we are working on fencing the schools. So if you build on a public land, I’ll be proposing that the government take charge of it from you. Its a Latin word that whoever owns the land owns the structure.
Amebo: many have said the creation of the LCDAs is more political than developmental especially that the state of the LCDAs are in disarray, your reaction?
Mafe: I won’t agree with you that the LCDAs are in disarray, when you just creat something, it is expected that it goes through stages even we human being grow in stages. Our people are so in a hurry. Despite recession creating it now has given us a clue that we need decisiveness. It is more developmental, if the Governor called meetings to know the state of each LCDA and LGs it will be easy to cover rather than focus on what 20people will say; it is now 57 so the coverage for development is high. For example somebody who might not have touched the soil of Ogijo for the past 3months, Emuren for the past 1year will be reporting for the whole of Sagamu, but now you have division and efficiency in governance, the chairmen are on ground knowing what we are going through and can tell the state government what we need so its more developmental more so projects circulates.
Amebo: despite the change of leadership in TASCE injecting Dr Kiadese into the school as the Provost, some of the staff are still saying they are yet to get paid, what has been the impact of the assembly in ensuring the sweat of the workforce didn’t get dried on their body?
Mafe: I sincerely believe the situation in TASCE would have change for the better because the new provost is well known and trusted to perform, but I don’t have the details of what is going on but I’m sure their is a positive change since the inauguration and swearing in of the new provost. The most important I know is that the workers get their pay even the Bible says this as well also the President of the Federal Republic, President Mohammadu Buhari, though change is gradual and the workers should be patient with us. I’m assuring you that I’ll do my findings from the new Chairman on Education, Hon Fasanya to know more about the position of things ,we will keep looking into it till we get all agitation met.
Amebo: the Paris club fund gotten by Ogun State is 10.6billion naira, has the assembly done their oversight function to know the level of prudent spending according to the directive of the Federal Government?
Mafe: what we have done in the two previous sitting, we called on the commissioner for finance to give us the breakdown of how the money was spent and he was given a two weeks period to bring it for presentation in person. Until that is done we can’t discuss about it. Before now we have interviewed him if the money was spent and he said it was judiciously spent. So by this week the ultimatum lapses and the commissioner will come for the presentation. So by that time I’ll be in a better position to answer that question.
Amebo: How do you reassure all projects scattered around the state will be completed because despite the reassurance by the Governor people still worry and attack the government of deception?
Mafe: we have a governor who is an accountant and experienced, who has promised us he will never leave any project uncompleted. The reason for the sluggishness is the financial status of the state and federal government which is obvious because of the recession. I’m not doubting the Governor and what I think we need as stakeholders is to support this administration so as to ensure the completion is done. The Governor has assured me and I’m using this medium to assure the populace of Ogun State that the government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun FCA CON will complete all projects especially the ones in my constituency
Amebo: there was a time on a Facebook commentary where you said the Supervisors, Special Advisers and Consultants are not entiltled to severance, do you still maintain that?
Mafe: yes I maintain that, I have not as the Majority leader of the state assembly set my eyes on the law that supports such payment, as lawyer I’m not just at the assembly to make laws I also uphold justice as a minister in the temple of justice. Whatever I see to be fair I must uphold. So if their is, they should present it.
Amebo: youth empowerment and employment is one of the cardinal agenga of the government, what is the achievement rate especially from your own angle.
Mafe: if I must say the reality the percentage rate is very poor, infact not up to 10%. It is apparent that 70% of our population are the youth, satisfying 70% in this economy is deception. So with the population we have not done anything. 7 out of 10 of our youth needs help the remaining is 2% for women. So we have a a long a way to go. Nonetheless, I must appeal to our youth not to wait for white collar jobs before they make it in life. In my office I have over 2000 C.Vs, in constituency office over a thousand while at home I have numerous, I can’t count that of mails. For example , I started as a dry cleaner with some youth collecting cloths from well to do people; I was not born with a silver spoon and today I am the Yinka Mafe,the majority leader, another very good example is Alhaji All-Rounder one of our humble leaders here in Sagamu, he was just riding Okada whem I was a councillor and today he has become an importer of Okadas and even the Chairman of Southwest Amoran known nationwide. So because you are doing menial job doesn’t mean you can’t be wealthy. You must think of what you can do,how many people can you employ or empower. I spent over 10m in the last empowerment but even at the party level can it go round? No!
Amebo; the house of assembly is a very cold interms of hot argument, what is the magic behind the peaceful coexistence?
Mafe; we have a Governor who is an experienced legislator, he understand that if you are forming a policy he brings us in at the executive level, we argue and resolve. So by the time we are bringing it up here all concerns have been adressed and it is passed smoothly. And again we have agreed between ourselves not to be in the news for bad reasons, it does no one any good. We are gateway state, so we must be example for others. Now see what we are witnessing, progressive development and more organization coming in plus an increases in IGR second to Lagos thereby improving our economy. We disagree to agree and once we agree that’s the end. We don’t want what happened to our predecessors to happen to us. We have forefathers who had been acknowledge as father of politics from Ogun like Chief Awolowo Obafemi, we don’t want to disappoint them even in their graves.
Amebo: immediately the Governor took over in 2011 he made a policy that any body who wish to take up political appointment must resign career appointment, but later relaxed it the policy, but till today some have not been reabsorbed into the system despite petitions to the assembly, your take?
Mafe: I have to be honest, I have not seen any petition, the closest I have is a text mesagae I received from somebody but I might not be the right person to ask this question. If its possible I’ll lik you to meet the chairman house committee on establishment this question, he is also in charge of civil service or even you can ask the speaker.
Amebo: the demise of Akarigbo, how soon do you think the stool will be filled?
Mafe: I saw a document in the dailies by the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs that the ruling house should come up with names for the stool. If that is true, we should be in the know by next month after which the process must have been done by all actors concerned. As the Arole Asiwaju of Akarigbo of Remo land, I’m a stakeholder it will be nice to see the transition process start and completed. The earlier we get it sorted the better for us, because among the comity of paramount rulers we must be represented and have a voice. So if that publication is authentic by next month we should have our Oba known to us.
Amebo: your colleague in Sagamu 2 is a PDP card carrying member and also the House of Representative, How have you all been able to bring development to Sagamu and Remo in general as well as what’s the relationship status?
Mafe: Hon Ladi Adebutu is a big brother, we often speak even people don’t know and we have a relationship that transcend party politics and because of that we talk on federal issues especially roads. I commend him for the projects he has done so far, its all success and the glory of Remo land. Hon Soyebo in the assembly is a very good friend and we roll as brothers, he brings issues that I’m not even aware of and we discuss them and I most times present them. That doesn’t mean I’m happy that its not my party candidates that is in those positions. Honestly I wish my party candidate won that seat including that of the House of Representative, it would have been a better synergy.
Amebo: as a hotelier…cuts in
Mafe: I’m not an hotelier, for the record this is not my hotel but that of my hardworking wife. I come here often because it enable me have a close discussion with my people and socialize, this is my constituency coverage and the hotel is in the heart of my constituency but I help her oversight the business.
Amebo:How have you been able to combine legislative assignment with hotel oversight and home responsibility?
Mafe: its has been easy because I have a wife that is ravishingly hard working, industrious and super home manager. The only thing that can give her stress is the oversight of the hotel. So as a legislator I am in Abeokuta from Monday through Friday attending to my legislative assignment and even my people do comes around both at the office or at the quarters and over the weekend I’m in Sagamu as a grassroot politician which has really given me an edge especially with this hotel business of my wife.
Amebo: no doubt you will have female admirers and advances of temptation, how have you been able to cope ?
Amebo: firstly I’m not aware of such temptation because I see myself as a public figure, a family man, societal role model and a God fearing person that doesn’t mean I’m a saint. We can’t run away from the women, they are part of electorates. Its you as a public figure that should be disciplined. So even in the Bible we have seen a lot of undisciplined men including Samson and David and we know their end. So in all it’s about discipline. So far so good, I thank God I have not disappointed my family nd my teeming supporters.
Amebo; in one word, what do you have as a closing remark for your constituents and the people of Ogun state?
Mafe: they should keep trusting us. The government is just about 6years, they should continue supporting the Governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun FCA CON, because I their representative believes in him and I want them to believe in him. We now have councillors everywhere as my footsoldiers, they should talk to them on the needs of their area they will get to me we have our meeting point and platform. They have a mandate of three years and they have a job of representation to do. My constituency office is wide open as well. Thank you.
Amebo: we want to thank you for the opportunity to have you on amebohotseat and we do hope that when next we want you again, you will oblige us.
Mafe: of course be assured and please do ensure at any point you want to see for yourself our various projects you are free to call on me. Once against thank you.