Kayode Emmanuel Oduoye, a Barrister-at-law is the son of late Senator Simeon Oduoye, a retired AIG who served as Military Administrator of Ebonyi and Niger states. He later became a senator and represented Osun Central in the Senate from 2007 to 2011.
Kayode is the PDP candidate for Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin federal constituency, Osun state. In this interview with Tade Asifat, Kayode spoke on the challenges facing the nation, plans for his constituency if elected a member of the federal lower house and other issues…
What is your take on the developments in the political circle as almost every Tom, Dick and Harry, including musicians have besieged politics?
It is normal for such to happen because this is the first time a democratic experience would last this long in the country. Expectedly, however, the development is what the English refer to as bandwagon effects , it has become almost an all-comers affair but I believe as we gradually progress and people who are enlightened, educated and know their onions begin to come into politics, it would be quite easy to separate the good from the bad. It is even better now that more educated people are moving into politics.
I am sure as things transform and Nigeria grows, things would take a better shape. Those who conscientiously want to serve the nation would stand out while those encouraged into the field by the seemingly alluring financial benefits would also be identified.
It is even better now that you have more educated people. Interestingly, if you look at the advent of democracy in 1999, most of those who came in were less qualified and because of their strong holds as ones that have served and held positions, it was a stronger and bigger challenge for those who are more enlightened and educated, who have better degrees, who have better pedigrees to serve the nation to register their presence. But like I said, I’m sure as things transform and Nigeria grows better, things will continue to take better shape.
Why are you seeking to become a member of the House of Reps?
It is actually as a result of feelers from our constituency. I noticed with keen interest that our people lack better and qualitative representation in Abuja and that is possibly the reason we have not had so much from the Federal Government and my people know I can offer a better, proper and functional representation in Abuja. The only way that can be done is to ensure that Federal Government’s consciousness is galvanized towards our constituency.
What would be your priority if you eventually get elected as a Federal lawmaker?
For me, by the grace of God and trusting in Him that I will emerge victorious at the polls on February 14, my key area of interest would be manpower because whatever you want to do for a man, if he isn’t comfortable, fulfilled and doing well, all efforts would be in vain. So, I would really concentrate on manpower.
Poverty is one of the factors inhibiting development in the country, how do you intend to get it tackled at the constituency level?
For me as a lawmaker I would work for making of laws that would tilt towards welfarism. Our government would also be made to show more responsiveness to our people. I would also make sure that better opportunities are made available for my constituents. So, to me, welfare is the key thing. I am looking at a welfare package that touches on education, wealth creation, job creation, empowerment and others. Basically, my focus would be on good welfare packages and voluntary nosing for available job opportunities for my people.
Osun state is under the control of APC led government, do you think it is possible to secure electoral victory on the platform of an opposition party in the state?
I would say that for every politician that aspires into an office, we all make promises one time or the other, before you remain relevant, you must keep to your promises. If you fail in keeping to your promises, you would lose the support of the grassroots and that is what I think APC has done. People understand they would have it better through us.
For instance, when you are elected by thousands of people, it puts a responsibility on you to feed them about happenings where they sent you and you also ensure you carry their problems and challenges on your shoulder.
I would also attract the Federal Government to our constituency and make things change for our people and that is what they failed to do and that is why people want us because they identified us as a better alternative. Considering what was seen at the campaign flag off in Ikirun, the massive support we enjoyed, you would agree with me that we have the support of our people.
As a lawyer who knows what lawmaking is all about, what bills do you intend to present if you eventually become a member of the House of Reps?
Like I said, I am all out to make my people enjoy good dividends of democracy. There are things I would not want to reveal on the pages of newspapers because they are strategies. Hopefully, when we get there, we would start unveiling them. I would just sum it up in few lines that I will give my people a better, qualitative, proper, functional and responsive representation in Abuja.
My coming into the race wasn’t by accident, it was well -planned and I have all along been busy researching into ways of making positive impacts on the lives of Nigerians as a whole and my constituency in particular by pushing relevant bills.
Entertainment industry released one of its very active members (Mosunmola, nee Filani) to you as wife few years back, how has it been?
I think it is all about understanding ourselves to avoid misunderstanding. Number one, I believe in prayers and I believe in seeking divine support regularly. My marriage to Mosunmola has been that of pleasure and peace and she has been a wonderful person. Not that she has left the entertainment industry permanently, she is involved in another dimension. She is quite busy with one or two things in the industry but at another level and I want to thank the entertainment industry for producing her and making her who she is.
Your style is unique; you took a decision to tour the three local government areas in your constituency before flagging off campaigns a week later. Is that not a repeat of same exercise? Why, if I may ask?
I believe so much in the grassroots and I believe in living in the realities of time. If I don’t mingle with my people properly, I cannot understand their pains and if I don’t understand their pains, I would not be able to represent them better as I wished. I want to give them what they want and not what is available. That is why realistically speaking, I must let them understand and also get them updated about happenings where they sent me to represent them. I shall carry their mandate by the grace of God and that means I’m responsible to them because without their mandate I would not be in Abuja.
That is very key for me to understand. As I was taught in law ‘when there is a right on one hand, there is a duty on the other hand’. It is a duty I owe them because they have given me their right, their power, which is the mandate to go there and represent them. It is important for me therefore to live in a consciousness of that all the time and let myself not be fooled and forget that power belongs to the people.
In what way have you felt the absence of your father in respect of your political ambition?
Late Chief Simeon Oduoye was a prominent Nigerian and a father in a million, whose advice and wisdom served as guidance and the compass guiding our lives and keeping us on the right path. I really miss him and his words of wisdom. No doubt, his absence is seriously felt but we take solace in the fact that he enjoyed divine support of having his children well trained and equipped with necessary trainings and exposures before he passed on. We thank God that the trainings, lessons of life and experiences learnt from him are a potent platform to leverage on and get things done.
Your late father, Senator Simeon Oduoye was a gentleman with a gentle mien. Here we have his son, Barrister Kayode Oduoye, who is quite amiable like his father but outspoken? (Laughs)
Maybe that influence came from the fact that I believe in the people. Right from childhood I was the voice of the people wherever I belonged and I also believe that the only thing I can give to my community is to represent them and serve them. So, if you want to say I’m outspoken, maybe that is the side of me you have seen. I think I’m for that purpose so that I can be the voice of my people.
How did you feel when the bundle of joy came from your wife, Mosunmola?
Of course, I felt happy and highly elated. It was a joyful moment and we still revel in it. It was a special blessing and divine mercies for one to get a bundle of joy from a loving wife and I thank God for the love