Prince Abayomi Akinruntan is a member of Ondo State House of Assembly representing the Ilaje Constituency 1 of Ondo State. In this interview with Akinyemi Doyinsola, the First Son of His Imperial Majesty Oba Akinruntan Olugbo of Ugbo Land touches local, state and national issues of political importance.
When and why did you start politics?
I believe Politics Starts from our immediate environment, even in our homes Talking about active politics in a democratic setting, i retired fully into that 2011 and contested for House of Reps under the then Labour Party whom i have been a financial member. I was finally elected into the state house 2015. My reason for going into politics is not far-fetched, it is premised on the urge to contribute to the development of my people by offering myself to represent them.
What has been your contributions to your immediate constituency and Nigeria in general?
Well, it’s unfortunate that the economic situation as we all know has made it impossible to access our constituency project allowances from inception till date. But with the little i have earned (salaries and take home allowances) i have been able to give back to my people.
However with the support of my foundation ABA Foundation we have been able to touch the lives of our people and not limited to Ilaje Constituency 1 alone but of course Constituency 2 and Ese Odo (Federal Constituency). These include; distribution of Helmets and C-caution to Okada riders 500 beneficiaries and NURTW 200 beneficiaries, distribution of textbooks, Note Books, School Bags, Mathematical Sets to students, scholarships, skill acquisition and empowerment for youths, empowerment of widows, orphans among others. I also represent my people well by sponsoring bills and having my say in the House of Assembly.
Ondo is one of the oil producing states with 13 percent derivation, do you think the fund has been judiciously used by past governments?
So far, during the last administration of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko we witnessed development in the mandate areas in areas of capital projects (roads/water project/town halls etc) as well as Youth employment Programme (Lakwa Vanguard), Youth and Women Empowerment Programmes and especially Peace a Security oriented Programme (Suvillance) through the commission responsible to manage and advise on the use of the funds (OSUPADEC). I will say they have tried and believe that the new administration led by Arakurin Odunayo Akeredolu will do more.
Ondo state house assembly is presently led by minority in terms of number of members in the two major parties. What is your position on this and what impact do you think this will have on the house official activities, and posterity??
-Laughing…. Presently APC were i belong now we are 11 and PDP 15 but i am sure more members from PDP will join soon recall it took me some time to take that decision and as you are aware constituencies peculiarities varies. Talking about the House activities all the needful is been done under the new leadership where applicable without neglects or delay in our responsibilities as members in the house of assembly representing our people.
Nigerian politics is replete with cross carpeting and sales of interest of which you are a partaker, is this really good for democratic development?
Everyone take decisions based on their convictions. For me, my decision was based on the problems rocking my formal party (PDP) and also in the interest of the people i represent. So far, the new administration have started well hence i see it as a partner to development in my area as a ruling party in the State.
We have heard from several quarters that you are nursing an ambition to go to the house of reps. What prompted this ambition and what are your plans for Ondo people
For now I am a member of Ondo State House of Assembly (APC) representing Ilaje Constituency 1 and we still have a seating house member. We both have about 2 years more to spend in office and he is in good health. Our people voted for us and they are learned enough to determine who represents them at all time. So far, i haven’t disclose to anyone on any ambition rather, I am faced with how to represent my people at the moment and bring developmental projects to their door step.
Do you support reduction in allowances of Nigerian lawmakers?
Depending on what allowances you are talking about,like i said earlier practically all my salaries and allowances if any been used already in my own case.
Why not if it’s worth using for the people that voted for us (projects and development of various areas.
On a platter of development, what position will you rate ondo among the 36 states? Why?
This may vary and depending on what you are talikng about Will say 90% especially in the health and educational sector
What challenges does the state faces and how best can they be resolved?
To the best of my knowledge one of the major challenges at the moment is salaries (arrears) and we witness August 2016 was paid before Easter. Others will be addressed gradually. Proper utilization of allocation is key to all.