The Parliament Diary

In this interview with our publisher, Precious Enebuse, Hon. Dennis Idahosa recounts his achievements and proffers solutions to the challenges confronting the nation.

For the benefit of our teeming readers, who is the man Dennis Idahosa?

My name is Honourable Dennis Idahosa. I represent Ovia Federal Constituency in Nigeria’s House of Representatives. I attended and completed primary and secondary education in Ovia. Thereafter, I obtained my B.Sc. in sociology. Currently studying for a Masters Degree in Legislative Studies.

What motivated you to politics?

Excellent question. Early in my adulthood, I hated politics with a passion. The prevailing perception at the time about politicians discouraged me. But the perception later on changed. I think am generous: am disposed to give. I don’t hold back. So, at one point, it dawned on me that I lacked the wherewithal to continue my generosity to the extent I desired. I had noticed that my resources weren’t enough to help my people earn a better life by providing them with some of the basic amenities that were lacking in the region. Led by this strong desire to help my people, I decided it was high time I ventured into politics to be able to impact more positively on the lives of my people and society in general. I, therefore, took the plunge into politics. And, that is where I am today: to try my best possible to impact positively on my constituents.

For years now, as a member representing Ovia Federal Constituency of Edo State in the green chambers, can you confidently say that you are delivering on your legislative mandate effectively, and on your campaign promises to your people?

I have been in the house of Reps for over two years. When I came into office in 2019, about 3 projects were listed for execution in my constituency. It was a rough and tumble period. So it appeared I was not at my best. But in 2020, I upped the ante: I was able to do so much compared to 2019 that we had a mere 3 projects to show.

Apart, I have sponsored many bills and moved several motions.  We have had well over 11 motions moved so far. But, am from an agrarian community. My constituents believe that the dividends of democracy consist not just of lawmaking or sponsoring bills; they want to see projects in their constituency. On that score, I mentioned earlier that we had about 29 projects in the first year, consisting of a high number of primary and secondary schools, healthcare centers, street lights, skills acquisition centers, ultra-modern town halls, and the list goes on. We are relentless. We’ve done so much for our people, and will continue to do more because to whom much is given much is expected. The reason I vied to represent my constituency in the House of Reps is that I want to impact the lives of my people, and until that is done I will not rest.

What’s the state of infrastructure, education, health, and security in your constituency, and what should your constituents expect from you in the next legislative calendar?

Before I assumed office, the state of infrastructure in my federal constituency was in a terrible state. These, nonetheless, were some of the issues that compelled me to vie to represent my people in the House of Reps.

And, I can say with emphasis that I have been aggressive in delivering the dividends of democracy as regards the execution of projects. Not just projects but people-oriented projects. The educational sector was in shambles but we’ve so far achieved a reasonable level of growth and progress in the sector. In healthcare, we did not know how bad the situation was until the emergence of Corona Virus. The situation however nudged us to action. On road infrastructure, we have had a situation where a bridge collapsed in my constituency. And I swung into action to reconstruct the bridge in order to reconnect the over 45 communities in the area.

You are the Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Compliance. What exactly is the committee’s mandate?

The Committee has the mandate to look at the Acts passed by the National Assembly to ensure compliance concerning motions, bills, and petitions. So far, we are doing very well, we have been able to reinstate some federal employees who were disengaged. Some of the federal agencies before now failed to comply with legislatures. But we have compelled them to do the needful, and we must continue to do so.  Lots of motions, bills, and resolutions that were passed on the floor of the House weren’t complied with or followed. We compelled them and we are still compelling compliance by all the agencies.

My committee apart, from the entire membership of the House, is committed to all its components and units.   I am also a member of other committees. As a young parliamentarian, I have been able to learn from their interactions, and I am still learning, and learning fast in diverse areas.

Nigeria is over sixty. What do you think will be the best solution to revitalize this country and make her join the comity of technologically developed nations?

I have always made it clear that when the head is bad every other part of the body gradually atrophies. What we need is good leadership with good policies.  Nigeria is endowed with assorted talents. We are also endowed with a large population. Most Nigerians migrate to faraway countries and become the best in their disciplines.  Nigeria is lagging because it lacks leadership that will encourage and propel growth and development which will help its citizens fulfill their dreams and aspirations.  With good leadership, good policies, and the willpower to implement such policies I think we could change Nigeria and propel her to enviable heights.

Government alone cannot do everything.  In other climes, youths are the drivers of development. But in Nigeria youths have been sidelined and relegated. They are seldom engaged. The result is youth restiveness in every region of the country.  Technology will be able to absorb a lot of our teeming youths into its workforce.  It is unfortunate that some of our appointed ministers are clueless. They are bereft of fresh ideas or solutions.  If I were the president of this country, I will focus so much on technology because the trajectory globally has gone past the era of crude oil. The main thing now is technology and telecommunication.

What’s your reaction to the legal and political implications of the recent declarations by the southern leaders on topical national issues like the ban on open grazing and restructuring and the opposing position by some Northern Governors and interest groups?

These positions are in themselves inimical. Such gaps or disparities cannot solve any of these problems.  The panacea is unity. We all must come together. The call for restructuring is the way to go.   This administration should implement the 2014 constitutional conference recommendations. If it is done that would have solved virtually every part of our problems. The ban on open grazing alone cannot solve the issues. There are a lot of agitations everywhere but the most important thing is that we must come together as a nation. The division will not bring anything to the table. We all must come together as one family, as one united Nigeria to make this country prosperous for all of us.

As a legislator, what’s your relationship with the chief executive of your state and how would you rate his performance?

We have always been very close. In fact, the chief executive officer of my state, His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki has always been my very close friend. He’s someone I have tremendous respect for. In terms of development, I think he’s doing well and I will continue to pray for him to do well because Edo State is a state for all of us.  Let’s put the party aside for development.  I pray he excels. Whatever the challenges, God should give him increased wisdom to overcome. I believe we will work with him and we are willing to work with him to make sure that Edo gets the best in everything.

You are one of the youngest federal lawmakers, what is your future political ambition? Are you eyeing the Senate, or something bigger?

That’s a very good question. I am a spiritual person. Whatever God wants me to do on earth, I must succumb to His Almighty will. God is my navigator and He sees the end from the beginning. So, I think I must allow Him to continue to direct my affairs. When I allow God to take the lead in my life, He is sure to elevate me to become a blessing to my generation.

Lastly, what’s your message to your constituency, the youths, and Nigerians in general?

I wish to use this opportunity to thank members of my constituency. They gave me the vote with which I secured this exalted office. Of course, the responsibilities that are attached to this office are weighty. Nonetheless, my service with humility and loyalty to the good people of Ovia Federal Constituency remains unwavering. I will continue to give ears to their good advice. To the teeming youths, I say it is time we close ranks. We have a country and owe allegiance to none other than that which is ours. I as well speak to our leaders from the six geo-political zones. We need peace and unity. A country in a deficit of peace cannot progress. The government alone cannot do it. We need to come together and chart the way forward.  I appeal to those agitating for one right or the other to give peace a chance.

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