TEXT OF SPEECH PRESENTED BY SENATOR OLUREMI TINUBU, OON, DURING THE THIRD TOWN HALL MEETING WITH CONSTITUENTS OF LAGOS CENTRAL SENATORIAL ZONE AT ROCKVIEW HOTEL, 17B, PARK LANE, APAPA G.R.A., LAGOS ON TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012.
I want us to begin today’s programme with a spirit of gratitude and praise to God Almighty. Today, we have reached a milestone in the assignment of representation handed to me by you, the good people of Lagos central district constituency and our great party the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) one year ago, precisely on June 6, 2011. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your invaluable support and the trust reposed in me to be your voice at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
During my electioneering campaigns, I promised to hold quarterly Town Hall meetings to intimate you with our activities at the Senate and to rub minds with you on ways to move our dear State and Nigeria forward. I am happy to note that this meeting with you, my great constituents, the third in one year, is a fulfilment of that promise.
I am also delighted to inform you that just this morning, today June 12, 2012 our new constituency office now situated at 293, Herbert Macaulay way, Yaba was officially commissioned. In fact, I could not have chosen a better date for this 3rd Town Hall meeting, commission a constituency office and present my first year report. The significance of June 12 and what it represents to us in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) reminds us always of the price paid to pave the way for the present democratic dispensation that we have had for the past thirteen years.
As is customary, I would crave your indulgence to allow me to use this opportunity of the 3rdTown Hall meeting to also give a summary of what we have achieved this past one year.
At the Senate, I belong to the following Committees:
1. Employment, Labour and Productivity – Vice Chairman
2. Education – Member
3. Marine Transport – Member
4. Trade and Investment – Member
5. Millennium Development Goal – Member
6. Women Affairs and Youth Development – Member
7. Constitution Review – Member
Employment, Labour and Productivity.
The committee is striving to play a pivotal role in enabling government to appreciate the need to resolve the problems of widespread poverty and mass unemployment, which are the major causes of crime, insecurity, lack of access to education, poor access to health and other preventable difficulties.
In furtherance of my commitment to women empowerment, I have sponsored a Bill at the Senate to affirm the rights of women to employment in Nigeria by expunging Section 57 of the Labour Act Cap L1 LFN 2004 which provision potentially limits the participation of women in certain ventures and industry.Let me seize this opportunity to clarify that my duty as a Senator is to enact Legislations, perform oversight functions through membership of committees and at plenary and to ensure budgetary appropriation. I do not have the express powers to create employment but in discharge of my duties as a Senator I will support legislations in this regard or ensure that, the Executive discharge its functions in this regard through my oversight functions.
I have been inundated with mails from job seekers and applicants who believe that I have the powers to generate employment. However, utilizing one of the rare windows of opportunity that we get in this regard, I have submitted the name of 50 members of my constituents to the National Directorate of Employment for vocational trainings. Another constituent’s name has been submitted for consideration in the NIMASA’s Seafarers Development Programme.
Recently the joint committees on Employment, Labour and Productivity, together with Education held a public hearing to resolve the problem of casualization of teachers. As Vice Chairman of the Labour Committee and as a member of the Committee on Education, I advocated that casual teachers should be given full employment if they meet the stipulated requirements. I also supported the fact that those teachers who need to upgrade their qualification should be given a window of opportunity to do so.
This is to prevent the worsening of unemployment without sacrificing the quality of education. I am happy to report to you that the executive acceded to this request.
The Senate Marine Transport Committee of which I am a member has demonstrated its commitment towards having a first-hand understanding and resolution of the challenges that confront ports management and other aspects of the maritime sector, especially in Lagos state. The committee members have made collective assessment visits to Lagos and in due course, we hope to effect lasting positive changes that would meet the expectations of various stakeholders.
Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
Recently, the joint committees on MDG in the Senate and House of Representatives participated in a retreat aimed at accelerating MDG efforts towards 2015 and beyond. It is our hope as a Committee that the post 2015 MDG framework would be expanded to cover issues such as climate change which is of importance to us within the Lagos Central Senatorial District. Also we intend to widen the scope of MDG goal number2 which relates to achieving universal primary education. Thus, our efforts would be geared towards guaranteeing quality assurance in all levels of education. In the area of implementation, it is expected that the Lagos Central Senatorial district will benefit via the establishment of multi-million Naira projects such as skill acquisition centres and street lighting.
I was also appointed a member of the Constitution Review Committee. The Committee has received memoranda from the public that touch on subjects bordering on devolution of powers, creation of states, role of traditional rulers, fiscal federalism, justiceability of social and economic rights and gender issues.
I intend to facilitate the entrenchment of true fiscal federalism in the Constitution in accordance with my campaign manifesto. I hope that through my involvement in the Committee we will be able to resolve the impasse surrounding the creation of additional local governments in Lagos state and the ambiguities created in this regard.
Regarding social and economic rights, these are already listed as fundamental objectives and directives of state policies in the 1999 Constitution. However, I believe that education should be listed as a right; I will also advocate the entrenchment of the right to food for children in our Constitution and support efforts to introduce a school feeding programme in our laws.
The Post – Secondary School Scholarship Scheme (PSSS) was launched on August 16, 2011. All the 26 recipients of the 4-year scholarship scheme have received payment for 2012 academic year, except for Muibi Taiwo Hamed who missed his admission but received his grant. Today, we are to award the bursary sum of 10, 000 Naira each to help 624 students who applied to the Post-Secondary School Scholarship Scheme to defray the cost of purchasing academic books.Also under the Petty Traders Empowerment Capital Scheme (PETECS), a total of 624 beneficiaries received 20, 000 Naira each to re-capitalize an existing petty trade. This took place at the 2nd Town Hall meeting held at Banilux Event Place, Chapel Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos on Friday March 9, 2012. Previous donations had been made to 26 beneficiaries at the first Town Hall meeting that took place on 19th December 2011 at the Agip Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos.
Our current constituency development efforts through the MDG committee include the establishment of a skill acquisition centre expected to cost 43.2 million Naira, conventional street lighting estimated to cost 25 million Naira, solar street lightning expected to cost 4.8 million Naira and a 500KVA transformer estimated at 7.5 million naira. A drug treatment and rehabilitation centre estimated at 200million naira would be established within the constituency. The purpose of this centre is to help reduce the incidence and effects of drug abuse among our youth. The skill acquisition centre would also enhance productivity among our youth.
In conclusion, plans are in progress to kick-start a skills acquisition/training programme to assist some of our unemployed youth. By the special grace of God, I will be able to give a progress report on this by the next Town Hall meeting that would take place in either Eti-Osa or Surulere local government areas.
Our challenges are many but they are not insurmountable. With hard work, sacrifice, resilience and perseverance they can be overcome. Together, as progressives, we can accomplish a lot for our people.
Thank you for your kind attention.
God bless ACN! God bless Lagos Central Senatorial District! God bless Lagos state!
God bless our dear country, Nigeria!
Eko ‘o ni baje o.