Who is honourable Rotimi Makinde?
.My name is Olarotimi Makinde. I was born during the civil war. I did my primary and secondary school in Ile-Ife before moving to Sokoto, and attended teachers training college at the now Waziri Ibrahim, formerly known as Kebbi Polytechnic. That was where I did my OND in Accounting, then moved to Kwara State where I did my HND in finance, before working for NNPC as an Accountant in 1991.
While in NNPC, I attended ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho, a Postgraduate Diploma and Masters.
I worked in NNPC for 20 years from 1991-2011, before quitting to join politics; I contested in 2011, and became a member of the House of Representatives. Professionally, I tried to do my best. I will love to be remembered as a falicitator to some bills and motions, not by the amount of empowerment;
I passed the bill to protect pipeline, I pushed the bill, to make it mandatory for all police officers to come out to save lives; and not to protect the VIP’s alone.
It is only in Nigeria, our policemen, run away from crime scenes. I did a lot while I was in the House. I also did some things for Nollywood as a member. My mentor and Role Model in politics is, His Excellency, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.
Is it true that your in-law, Governor Oyetola and your mentor former Governor of Osun state Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola are at logger heads?
No doubt, God used Ogbeni to commisioned me into politics. I shall continue to hold him in high esteem. He deserve my respect for life and to our party my steadfastness and loyalty. Gov Oyetola incidentally is my inlaw, I must not be seen to betray him.I really don’t think I am at crossroads on their matters. These people are from the same political family. I dont want to get involved in anyway,I am still licking my wounds. My instinct and common sense tells me to begin to display maturity and borrow myself the much needed common sense. I am not prepared to make enemies with any of these big guns and these includes Otunba Sen Omisore. This are all big men who have ways to settle themselves.
Are we correct to say, you were truly used to sabotage the national election of 2019.
People know me to be a very unique man in nature…I am too big to be used as a tool to sculture anybody’s ambition. I heard that rumour and my investigation is still ongoing, I feel disappointed for such accusations to be leveled against me, but I know myself. They will not think of using my end. Allah will not forgive any facilitator of such satanic politics, but as concerned as I am, i was not involved and i can never be involved in such devilish style of politics. To have heard of such deadly act also perplexed my mind but people should count me out..The collateral damage was too much and been the victim of betrayal made them to implicate me. I feel truly betrayed by the process of the primary election which took the ticket from me, I’m just recovering from the shock. As a politician, I’ve fought many battles behind the scene when the ovation was loud and I refused to align with the candidate until the substitution period lapsed, during which many mischief makers had been peddling negative rummours about my person. I may be a principled person but not to the extent of working against my party. The candidate for the seat of the House of Reps in my constituency ordinarily ought to be my brother and someone who should see me as his blood but political ambition separated us, we grew up under the same roof but intrigues against my community divided us. The rest is now history.
The senatorial candidate was my former colleague in Nass (National Assembly) and a very good friend of mine. To be falsely accused that I served as a tool to sabotage him by some powerful group, can only come from those who want me dead politically. In due course, the darkness that shrouded the circumstances shall come to light…I feel for him.I t would have been more honourable for me to see this set of people win. But God knows the best.
As a former member of the House of Reps and politician, what are you doing to help in the fight against covid-19?
I am not a noise maker; I have always been a giver, I want to be remembered as a philanthropist when I leave this world. However, I don’t subscribe to the idea of people giving and making noise because when we give to our parents, we don’t take pictures, or record it on video. I have been giving quietly in my Society, God sees my heart.
I spend up to a hundred thousand naira everyday to the less privilege, since the beginning of the lockdown, for weeks and counting.
How can we win the war against covid-19?
We are not doing enough to orientate the people, for an average Nigerian, to believe, that Covid 19 doesn’t exist! Then, we’re still in a sorry state. I told a friend that, as an accountant; I will not be fulfilled if I am made minister of finance, I’ll be comfortable as a DG of National Orientation agency, because I’ll be able to liberate ignorant people through that agency, we are not proactive enough in liberating our people to accept reality. We have to change our attitude; it is only when we believe, the coronavirus is real, only then we can adhere to social distancing and wearing of face mask.
The government needs to come up with better ways of helping the people. The manner at which the government is reaching out to the masses is not the best, sharing of perishable food items is not a creative idea, we are thinking of immediate palliative, we should also think of the future.
Of what benefit is the donation from Dangote and Otedola? When they are the manufacturers of rice, sugar, etc. We could return their money, and tell them to give us 30% reduction on all the manufactured food items. We don’t need their cash now, as cash becomes useless during this Corona era; unfortunately I can only have my say and not my way.
Health workers need to be encouraged in the fight against covid-19, so they can work effectively. This pandemic has exposed our maladministration of which we do things. We have the resources to have good University Teaching Hospitals in every part of Nigeria. Now we are in a mess, we now convert our stadiums to isolation centres; It’s not as if the money is not there, we just lack creativity, we must observe social distancing and make sure everybody stay at home, we mustn’t dance to the cries of the people. There is a huge difference between hunger and death; hunger is temporary and death is permanent, Once death occurs, it’s irrepairable and that is what the people must understand. We should encourage our local scientists to come up with ideas on how to defeat covid-19. I don’t like the idea of Us waiting for our slave masters to bring solutions for us, they now celebrate our chloroquine worldwide! I think we should go back to our laboratories to see how best we can work. This is the time for our legislature and the presidency to bend their principles, to cause an accelerating approach to our law making system.
Tanzanian government has reached out to Madagascar for herbal solution while the house of reps in Nigeria has passed a bill on compulsory vaccine to all Nigerians. What is your take on that?
No price is too much to save lives, if the smallest country happens to be the fastest to invent vaccine that could save lives, Or a bigger country like Nigeria! So be it.
If the passing of The Bill is of good intention without an ulterior motive, then Nigerians will voluntarily take it.
In the 60s/70s, we were subjected to such vaccine and people received it voluntarily because they knew the advantages of taking it. People were willing to take without being compelled to.
In your opinion, is this the best time to release the lockdown?
It is unfortunate that the government is dancing to the tears of the people, simply because they themselves aren’t sure of what they’re doing. For example: if I know, stepping out of my gate is not safe for my kids; then I will do everything within my power to keep them indoors. Releasing the lockdown is very risky, I think we are only copying countries who have passed through stages of community transmission. Our government is simply adhering to the cries of the people by releasing the lockdown; that means they (the government) are not firm enough. The number of infected people are on the rise everyday, especially in Kano. I was discussing with someone recently and I told him “I pray the dream I had about Kano state doesn’t come to reality”. Maybe because of the signs and news have been hearing about Kano, made me had that Dream. I saw people dying in multitudes, it broke my heart. Some people in the North still don’t believe that coronavirus exist.
Any word of encouragement to the youth?
Don’t play with your education no matter what you want to be in this life. Try as much as you can to study. The likes of Funke Akindele, Kunle Afolayan, couldn’t have gotten this far if they weren’t educated. I was once a taxi driver and a bus conductor; it was my determination to study and excel that brought me this far.
Thank you for your time sir…