My Senatorial Ambition is a Complete Departure from the Norm …Osiriame Obalabi Edeipo
Osiriame Obalabi Okhumeode Edeipo is the State Chairman of BOOT Party and the Edo North Senatorial Candidate of the same party.
In an expository interview he granted to the Editorial Crew of Development Monitor, Osiriame opened up his mind on a number of issues that would radically transform the political and economic narrative of not just the good people of Edo North but Nigeria at large. Below is an excerpt of the Chat.
Please can we get to meet you briefly, who is Osiriame Edeipo?
My name is Osiriame Obalabi Okhumeode Edeipo. I hail from a village called Ayogwiri in Etsakor West Local Government Area of Edo State. I hold a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ambrosia Ali University, Ekpoma and another degree in the English language from Benson Idahosa University, Ugbor G.R.A, Benin City. If not for the non-responsive nature of the current government to ASUU, I would have had my Master’s degree handy by now. I speak and understand Etsako, Hausa and Yoruba languages and understand a little of Igbo language because my dad is from Etsako and my mum is Yoruba. I had my Secondary School education in the ancient commercial city of Kano, I did my NYSC programme in Igbo land and I am happily married to their daughter. So, I jokingly tell my friends that I am Nigerian’s Barack Obama. If I have a family function, person from a number of Nigeria tribes will be there because of blood tides. I have travelled to about 30 states of Nigeria and have friends in virtually all the 36 States and the FCT. Therefore, I can confidently call myself a broad view Nigerian that is well positioned to articulate real-time practical solutions to the many problems confronting us as a people.
You are the Edo State Chairman of BOOT Party. Can you please tell us a little about what inform your pitching tent with them?
BOOT PARTY is one of the 18 registered political parties in Nigeria and the full meaning of BOOT is, Because OF Our Tomorrow. BOOT Party stands for Fiduciary, Obedience and Service and is arguably the most IT compliant Political Party in Nigeria. It is the only Political Party (to the best of my knowledge) that practice Direct Primaries. In the recent past, we all saw the nauseating occurrence in the “selection” of candidates by Political Parties that practices Indirect Primaries. Indirect Primaries has to do with electing very few party members that will go to represent all the party members in the election of the party’s flag bearers in a general election. This arrangement is often hijacked by corrupt and visionless men that have plenty of stolen funds to throw about because it is extremely very easy to bribe the “Delegates” than to bribe every member of the party. My point is, every Candidate of the BOOT Party, got his/her nomination on merit. He or She had the clear backing of the majority of the people in his/her constituency as required by the Law. The National Working Committee of the BOOT Party is bent on maintaining our Direct Primaries status quo and I give them great kudos for their doggedness. If Nigeria is to get (and keep producing) credible leaders, we must therefore, make laws that will completely ban Indirect Primaries and make Direct Primaries the only acceptable way of nominating candidates for all public election. The afore mentioned achievements and many others that I cannot state here for want of time in less than 4 years of her being licensed, makes her one of the most transparent political party in Nigeria and these are what attracted me to them.
What informed your decision to go for Edo North Senatorial ticket and what is your agenda for the people?
Let me quickly answer that question by telling you my 3- point agenda
1. Current Realities Legislations
2. Transparent Representation
3 Genuine Grassroot Development.
I took time to read our Criminal and Penal Codes and was shocked to discover that most of our laws are obsolete and the penalty they meet out are laughable. Did you know that about 65% of the laws banning a Nigerian from producing fake money talks about coin money? When last did anybody in Nigeria spend Kobo coin, let alone produce it? How many children and youths of nowadays have ever seen a Kobo coin, let alone spend it, that they should be warned not to illegally produce it? Did you know that the penalty for most criminal offenses in Nigeria carry few months’ jail team or an option of fine of N40, N100 or N200? The highest penalty in our Criminal and Penal Codes is a N1,000. Did you know that in our Criminal Code, a crime that is as serious as infringement on someone’s intellectual property by mass producing his/her Books, Magazines or Journal attracts just two months’ imprisonment or an option of fine of maximum of N1,000? If after 20 years of our nascent democracy, the House of Representatives and Senate are yet to change these laws or make them modern day compliant, then one is forced to ask what the former and present legislative sessions have been doing. It is the responsibility of our legislators to make laws that will meet up with the challenges of our days. There is anarchy all over the nation because we don’t have adequate laws that will adequately address the excesses of criminally minded persons in our shores. If voted to go to Senate, I will not only sponsor modern reality laws but will make my colleagues see the need for such bills to get speedy passage – whether they were initiated by me or by another.Secondly, I have watched with pains in my heart, the wide gap between the people and their legislators. Once voted into office, most Nigerian legislators become demigods that the electorates can only see on TV or past through the eye of a needle to access. They make Abuja their permanent abode all through their tenure and their constituency office only become operational when elections are near. In other progressive climes, Legislators are easier to access than the Executive or Judiciary because they are expected to bring the people’s excruciating nightmare to national view and possibly attract national funding and get solutions. I want the good people of Edo North to have a first hand knowledge of how beautiful life can be when they have a formidable and transparent legislator who truly cares for their collective and individual welfare. My constituency office will be open to the general public from my day one in office to the very last day and I will put mechanism in place that will enable them monitor the progress I have made on their complaint(s). Avote for Osiriame therefore, is a vote for a legislator that truly cares for everybody in land – educated or non-educated, rich or poor, indigene or stranger, etc. I also intend to go to Senate to eradicate the attitude of many legislators that have converted their Constituency Allowance to what I call PPM (Private Pocket Money).
It is an open secret that Legislators in the Federal Republic of Nigeria for now, are given opportunity to insert projects worth hundreds of millions of Naira yearly into the budget as constituency project and are expected to supervise the implementation of the projects. Unfortunately, most of them use their proxy companies to collect the jobs and embezzle the money while the projects are not executed al. If you look at what many of them claim they did with the money, you will be forced to laugh in Pidgin English. I will make sure that constituency projects will be directly supervised by me to deliver to my people. My focus will be on Human Capital Development (which basically covers formal and informal education, Youth and Women empowerment and Security. Another agenda I want to seriously pursue if given the opportunity to go to Senate is the building of a standard bridge between Agenebode in Etsako East Local Local Government of Edo State and Idah in Idah Local Local Government of Kogi State. That project will make the Edo North to have two major connecting routes between the Southern, Western and Eastern parts of Nigeria and the North. I will need another detailed interview to be able to explain the unquantifiable opportunities that Edo North and indeed, Nigeria at large stands to gain by such a wonderful project. I don’t just want to go to Senate for going sake. I have well-mapped out lofty goals that I want to achieve in order to make life more beautiful and meaningful for our people.
Considering the present political terrain, some persons may feel that you are too young and inexperienced to handle a senatorial ticket. How do you react to this? It’s been nice talking with you and hope to do same in the nearest future.
I was born 20th August, 1976 and therefore, turned 46 years August this year. That date of birth is what you will find in all my documents. If at 46 years, one is considered too young to go to Senate, then one is reminded of the terrible sad condition we find ourselves in this country where old men that are physically, intellectually and emotionally bankrupt wants to be the ones to control our present and future growth but in the long run, they end up taking us many decades backwards in all sphere of life. Who among our politicians will establish a multi-billion-naira company and employ a 70-year-old man to run its operation? You know very well that many of them have political age and real age. So, someone that claims 70 years may be 78 years or more. To be candid what intellectual work can such a man do? Many of them go to the Senate chamber to sleep and only wake up to say “hi” or “Nay.” The good people of Afemai land don’t deserve such a weak soul as our Senator. As for being experienced, please go read two of my books: “To Serve Nigeria Is Not By Force” and “Nigeria: Actual Problems, Practical Solutions” and you will appreciated the depth of experience I have at my finger tip. I have real time, result oriented solutions to many of our problems as a people and therefore, I am most qualified to go represent our people in Abuja.
So what advice do you have for youths?
I wrote a poem that is titled – Naija Youths: is your brain paining you? The General Election is around the corner, our youths must wake up in 2023 and refuse to be controlled by men that don’t care if they dine or die. Many of them have stolen so much from our people, that should they decide not to work till they die, they and their children can never exhaust the must they have in their coffers, yet such men want to grab more by contesting for one public office or the other. The number of months our undergraduates have had to stayed at home due to ASUU strike is just one out of the many evil our current political class have done to us. Afema Youths and the Elderly must wake up to the fact that it is only a young, energetic, intellectual and vast man like myself that can truly represent them at the Senate and bring back proper developments rather than controversies and backwardness.