Hon. Omotayo Aramide Oduntan is 59 and serving her third term in the House of Assembly, representing the good people of Alimosho Constituency II. She was also one time Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Grassroots Matters. She has a Certificate and Diploma in Food Hygiene and Handling.
How has it been in the last one year that you’ve been the Deputy Whip of Lagos State House of Assembly?
It’s been challenging, fulfilling, rewarding and very interesting. When you are in a position of authority, you are like a mirror to others. There are some things you dare not do.
But, like I said, it’s been interesting too because I have the support of my colleagues. I have their confidence and we all work as a team which I love very much.
What precisely are the functions of a Deputy Whip?
Principally, the job of the Deputy Chief Whip of the House is that when the Chief Whip is not around, the Deputy Whip takes over.
Aside this, the Deputy Whip is the secretary of the parliamentary caucus and chairs at least one of the committees of the House.
Are there privileges attached to the office of Deputy Whip too?
Of course. As a principal officer, you enjoy some privileges too. For instance, as a principal officer, you are given opportunity to speak on the floor of the House before other members.
What would you consider the most exciting moment in one year as the Deputy Whip of the House?
When Hon Mudashiru Obasa emerged the Speaker of the 8th Assembly of Lagos House of Assembly. We all worked for him to emerge and when he emerged, of course, I was happy.
I was also excited when I was appointed a principal officer of the House.
What would you say is the most challenging moment in one year that you’ve been the Deputy Whip?
Have I had anything challenging? I don’t think so.
Did your appointment as Deputy Whip come as a surprise to you or it was something you were expecting?
It actually didn’t come as a surprise, because, aside Hon. (Adefunmilayo) Tejuoso, who is the highest ranking female member, I am the next ranking female member in the House. Since she was interested in the Speaker’s seat, I knew something will definitely come to me.
But you were not sure what principal office that would be given to you then?
Yes, I was not sure.
Has anything changed about you since you became a Principal Officer?
I have been my usual self. Except that these days I tend to be more patient than before and I behave like a mother to everybody.
Has being a Principal Officer affected your primary responsibility of representing the people of your constituency in anyway?
It has not, because now I don’t chair any major committee. So, I don’t have committee meetings.
I have more time to attend to the needs of my constituents.
A lot of people are wondering what could be responsible for the cordial relationship that exist between the executive and the legislature in Lagos State.
Both the executive and the legislature have resolved to work hand in hand in the interest of the state. For instance, in December (2015) we had to work 24 hours every day to make sure the budget was passed. It is all in the interest of Lagosians. It is not that we don’t have issues but we allowed the interest of the people of Lagos to overshadow all other interest.
Thank God we also have a governor who has listening ears and ready to hear your complaints or suggestions. So, there is no point having any confrontation or rift with such a person. Our concern is all about the development of Lagos State.
Given the opportunity, would you rather be a member of the executive rather than the legislature?
I tremendously enjoy being a legislator. I enjoy the fact that I am part of the body that makes laws that affect millions of people. It is even the laws that we make that the executive will execute. I just love to touch lives and this is where I can touch lives most.
Where do you love to see the Lagos House of Assembly in three years?
You know Lagos State House of Assembly is first among equals in the country. Of course, others are trying to catch up with us, we too will not rest on our oars. The result of hard work is more work. So, we will keep on moving so that others will not catch up with us.