Hon Ndidi Elumelu is the Minority Leader, House of Representatives. In this interview with MICHAEL OLADAPO, the Delta-born lawmaker speaks on his controversial new office, insecurity, xenophobic attacks, migration, power probe and others. Excerpts:
Your emergence as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives came with a lot of controversies. What is the present situation?
Well, we are fine. PDP is a big family and we are good. There are no issues. In a family, you must fight. You must disagree to agree and when you offend your parents, you must go back to them to apologise and I think we have done that. Most times, when you have a father or parents who feel you should go left and study Medicine and you go ahead and study Law, there is a tendency for them to be upset if you are not taking the line they expect you to take. After some time, with humility, you would go to ask for forgiveness, everything would be fine.
There have been recent Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. What is the Federal Government doing to salvage the situation?
The Federal Government has a commission on diaspora and we also have that in the House. The House has already set up a committee and I believe that as soon as we resume, that would be the first thing to look at, as well as other things that are ravaging us in the country, I have no doubts that we can handle some of these issues.
What word do you have for Nigerians in diaspora suffering from illegal migration?
Believe in Nigeria, come back home, Nigeria has what it takes to accommodate you. Most importantly for us to do, is for us and the government to create an environment that would discourage people from leaving this country in search of whatever they may be looking for. Once this is done, it would go a large extent to mitigate against illegal migration.
Delta State is ranked as one of the highest state of individuals with illegal migration. What can be done to arrest such situation?
Youth empowerment is the solution, it is for us to collaborate with the state government, because our Governor is a competent man and he is emphatic to the plight of Deltans. I believe that collaborating with the state and giving the necessary empowerment, not only to the youth, also women. I believe it would reduce the outflow of youths to other countries.
What do you have to say about the issue of insecurity?
The issue is serious and the House is looking into it. If you remember, we were invaded by the Shiites. So it is not only one sector of the Nigeria that is suffering from it. The incident led to us meeting with the Federal Government and we got a result as El- Zakzaky was released and was given the opportunity to have treatments. That has clearly reduced the tensions ever since.
What would you do to prove opposition wrong on your election as the minority leader?
I would run an open office, an open system that would bring everyone together. I am not the Minority Leader, the people are the Minority Leader.
There have been speculations about the reason you visited General Ibrahim Babangida. What is the actual reason?
IBB is a leader in this nation and our in-law. I went to submit myself to him for an assignment for the next four years.
What is the take of the House of Representatives on the power probe?
What they are saying is that they want to know what happened to the power sector. Why is it that we do not still have constant electricity? Of course, the House is a vibrant house, they decide what happens on the floor, I do not decide. Ours is to say what they decide and they have said they want to know why we do not have constant electricity and we will do what they want. The House has always had the capacity to focus on oversight functions and we are out to do that. The Speaker we have is an eloquent Speaker, he is a competent Speaker and a Speaker of the people. We are out to make Nigerians proud, we are one family, we became one family the day we were sworn-in. The essence of that is to build a formidable nation for our people and ensure the dividends of democracy gets to our people.
As a Leader in the House. What would you attract for Deltans who have voted for you?
We would do a lot through good laws as a result of good consultations and that is why I am here. To consult with my constituents so that we know what to take back to the floor of the House for a united Nigeria.
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