A broadcast journalist, Abdul Rasaq Abdul Ganeey, otherwise known as Mr GRA, tells SAHEED SALAWU about his aspiration to represent Ibadan North Local Government Constituency 1 in the Oyo State House of Assembly in the 2019 general election.
How would you convince your constituents that you are not just another politician coming on board to do things the old way?
The construction of the mind cannot be read on the face, so says Shakespeare in one of his books, Macbeth. But by their fruits, you shall know them. My pedigree speaks volumes. By God’s grace, I am not a hungry journalist, but nothing should deter each and every one of us from taking part in the governance of our immediate constituencies and our country at large. The job I do puts me in the full glare of the public and this has subliminally instilled in me, a sense of responsibility and accountability as has been the case with some veterans in this profession who have ventured into politics. Senator Smart Adeyemi, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Lateef Jakande were journalists and I dare say that they have all given good accounts of themselves in rendering services to the public. As members of the fourth estate of the realm, we watch our steps and our actions; we don’t want our reputations tainted. We can’t afford to lose the goodwill we have garnered over the years.
My intention to run for a seat in the Oyo State House of Assembly is not something that has just come up; it dates back to 1995 and it was borne out of my passion for the development of the society which I live in. I have a burning desire to ensure that we all lead good lives and I think one of the best ways to make this happen is to be involved in governance, especially through the lawmaking structure of the government. In one of his wise sayings, Plato said if you leave the governance of your domain in the hands of unscrupulous elements, you will bear the brunt, too. So, by God’s grace, I am in this race to make things better for all of us.
What do you hope to do differently to achieve a better result?
We must appreciate those who have been there, but there are shortcomings that must be corrected. We will be coming with innovation, new ideas that will better the lot of our people. The basic function of the legislature is to make laws, to amend laws and perform oversight functions. Where there is no law, there is no sin. If we are able to make good laws for all of us to abide by, life would become easy for us all. Besides, I have lofty plans which I hope to execute for my constituents when I get to the House, by God’s grace.
Do you want to share any of those things you have in the pipeline?
Yes, let me mention one. There are foreign organisations that give aid to developing countries in various sectors. I have it in mind to tap into such intervention programmes and I don’t need to use my own money or government money; we can get this done using influence.
What kinds of bills do you hope to sponsor?
When I get to the Oyo State House of Assembly, the bills I will sponsor will be those that will be of immense benefit to my constituents. What will better the lot of the people is what is paramount in my mind. The bills I hope to sponsor will be people-oriented, development-based. I am going to sponsor bills that will become laws. I will not sponsor impractical bills, but ones that will translate into development for my constituents.
In delivering democracy dividends to the people, what kind of relationship do you think should exist between the legislature and the executive?
The legislature must function effectively as a watchdog on the executive so that there won’t be any excesses on the part of the government because absolute power corrupts absolutely. When there are checks and balances, the government would not go beyond its boundary. But that is not to say that the executive and the legislative arms should have a cat-and-mouse relationship. If the executive arm is doing very well, give it to them, applaud them, but if they are not getting it right, the legislative arm should do the needful. By doing this, dividends of democracy will be evenly spread and enjoyed by people who are the reason the government is in place in the first instance.
What does the Oyo State of your dreams look like?
Give it to our governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; he is the architect of the modern Oyo State. He is giving the state a facelift and this can be taken further. My dream Oyo State is an extremely enjoyable, impressive, excellent state where everyone respects the law of the land and prospers in the process.
What strategic role do you think the legislature needs to play in the overall development of the state?
The legislature owes it to the people to take deliberate, carefully planned actions to engender growth and development. There are talented, brilliant and well-educated people in government, but one important quality that is missing in a lot of them is the awareness that we will give account of our stewardship to our Maker, which begs the question of what constitutes normal behaviour in public office. The House of Assembly must be given the leeway to function effectively and efficiently. The oversight functions should be performed doggedly and government projects and general performance must be monitored and criticised constructively. Legislators must have it at the back of their minds that they owe their constituents quality representation. This will spur them to keep the executive on their toes.
What is your political philosophy?
My political philosophy is, making life more meaningful for all and sundry.
What are your chances of clinching the ticket of the APC?
I want to urge the APC to appraise all aspirants with a view to finding out those who will give them a good standing at the election. They should choose people who are popular, those who are the toast of the society. And as regards my chances of getting the ticket, they are very bright.
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