Hon. Akeem Bello is 56 and is serving his first term in the House of Assembly, representing the good people of Amuwo Odofin Constituency II. A businessman and politician, he is the Managing Director, Tahas International Ventures Marine Surveyor & Loss Adjuster. He holds a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration.
How has it been in one year that you have been the Minority Leader of Lagos State House of Assembly?
It has been fantastic and a wonderful experience to be a member of the House of Assembly in the first instance. To now be the Minority Leader is just an added advantage.
What is it like to be in the minority party in the Assembly?
I have not experienced any difficulty as a member of the minority party in the House. I give thanks to Almighty God and the Speaker of the House of Assembly. The Speaker is the best Speaker that I have ever known or met. He relates with everybody equally, irrespective of your party affiliation. He is a team player. He does not sideline any member of the House.
Did your emergence as Minority Leader come as a surprise or something you were expecting?
Nobody handpicked me to become a Minority Leader. It is usually by election. I emerged through election by my colleagues. Members voted for me.
What would you describe as your best moment as Minority Leader in one year?
Being elected Minority Leader would be described as the best experience of my life. One, it is not easy to be elected a member of the Assembly, particularly in Lagos State. For a member of PDP to win a seat in Lagos State House of Assembly, you should know it was not an easy task.
I have been aspiring since 1997, before God crowned all my efforts in 2015, to be a member of Lagos House of Assembly. So, winning a seat in the House of Assembly as an opposition member is an achievement in itself. To now become the Minority Leader of that Assembly is a thing of joy.
What would you say has been the most challenging moment of your tenure as Minority Leader in one year?
For now, there has been no major challenge in the House. Legislature is entirely a new experience for those of us who are just coming in for the first time. So, what many of us have done is to move closer to the ranking members in order to tap from their knowledge. This is an institution where you learn every day. So, to that extent, the challenges of learning the new legislative experience has been overcome by moving closer to the ranking members. Aside this, there is no challenge or difficulty.
What are the privileges that are attached to the office of the Minority Leader?
The major privilege is that as a Principal Officer of the Assembly, you mingle with members of the executive regularly. We deliberate with them on major issues before they are presented to the whole house.
What exactly are the responsibilities of the Minority Leader?
The Minority Leader is the leader of the opposition party in the House. If there is any major issue to be discussed on the floor of the House, it is the Minority Leader that will present such issue to the leader of the party.
As the leader of the opposition in the Assembly, we have not heard you opposing the ruling party’s policies on the floor of the House.
What are the policies that we should oppose the government for? Are there financial misappropriation, why oppose the government? The most important thing is to move Lagos State forward. We shouldn’t just oppose the government just for opposing sake.
Has anything changed about you since you became the Minority Leader?
Nothing has changed about me. I have always been humble and I will remain humble forever. As a leader, you must be able to interact with people, irrespective of their status.
Has being a Minority Leader affected your primary responsibility of representing the people of your constituency?
Not at all. Minority Leader is just a leadership role in the Assembly. You cannot allow such thing to affect your relationship with your people who got you into the Assembly in the first instance. That shouldn’t happen at all. God says humble yourself so that He shall exalt you.