The Senator representing Lagos West in the ninth Assembly, Senator Adeola Solomon, has said that the rising foreign debt profile of Nigeria is not responsible for the cash crunch being faced by the government.
Senator Solomon, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance disclosed this while featuring on TVC’s Breakfast show on Tuesday.
The Lagos West Senator said its committee is guided by the fiscal responsibility act in approving borrowings for the federal government, adding that there are thresholds it must adhere to.
“Well, let me thank you for going into my activities as chairman of the senate committee on Finance. I want to say that if the country is broke, it is not broke because of the level of foreign loan, rather because of the issues of security affecting Foreign direct investment. Looking at the issues of foreign loan, we are guided by the fiscal Responsibility act which gives the threshold in which the borrowing must be to the GDP which stands at 3% and there are provisos that it can be extended if need be.”
Gale of defection
Speaking on the gale of defection currently being witnessed in the national Assembly, Senator Solomon said the development is not unconnected with the fallouts of the primary elections across party lines. “I want to say this is the time of the season when you have so many members of the national Assembly going back to their constituencies to seek. As you are all aware, during the consideration for the mode primary, there are so many issues that came up with divergent views. The clause had to be removed to allow parties adopt any method it is comfortable with. After the conclusion of the primaries, some members of the National Assembly who failed to return blamed the method of primary adopted. So many of them feel they should seek reelection under another party. But I feel at the end of the day, APC will come out stronger>”
Reacting to the implication of defection for APC, the Lagos West lawmaker said he is confident that the ruling All Progressives Congress is already working on how to resolve the matter. “I want to say the defection may affect APC but we are still in the majority. We are 62 in number. With 62 senators and majority in the Reps, we are still in the majority and there is no cause for alarm. And also, for those who have defected, talks are still ongoing to bring them back to their party to see how they can be accommodated in various ways. The presidential candidate of our party, Asiwaju bola Ahmed Tinubu had also met the lawmakers before his trip to France with assurances that everyone will be accommodated.”
Ogun West Politics
Senator Solomon, who is also the Ogun West senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in 2023, also spoke about his victory at the primary and issues arising from it. “I won the primary convincingly in the last primary election that was conducted in Ogun west and this was not as a result of what happened overnight, it has been efforts put together in the last 15 years since I have decided to return to my root. It is possible with the support of God almighty, the support of the governor and the support of all members of the party. And you can see from the result, I won convincingly, the entire 294 delegates decided to vote for me, that shows I am on ground, that shows I am the candidate to beat in the primaries. So, for those who have gone to court. Like I said, this is the time of the season that everybody would want to engage in one activities or the other but there’s no locus standing because the electoral act is clear on that because before you can go to court, you must be involved in the process. The purpose in which they have gone to court is still not yet known but our lawyers are there studying the paper. The truth is that I won the election convincingly and my people are with us. We are only looking forward to the general election in February and by the grace of God we’ll win.”
Speaking on people’s reaction to his Ogun West ambition, the Lagos Senator thanked them for showing concerns about his political sojourn. “Whatever school of thought anyone has shared about my movement, I want to thank them very much because that shows I have done something while serving the people of Lagos west. And I felt serving my people in Ogun West is not also a bad decision. I have know regret and I want to assure you that the same support I enjoy while representing Lagos West, I will enjoy same when I would be representing Ogun West in the 10th Assembly. So, by and large, I am happy, I am in good stay and I am focused. I am looking ahead to the campaign ahead of me and also assure the good people of Lagos, that, yes I am back home, I am serving the people of Ogun West but I would be there at anytime when they need my attention going into the future.”
Why I switched
On why he switched to Ogun West, Senator Solomon said his decision is purely about his people and nothing more. “My decision to go back home is about my people, And I did a wider consultation both in Lagos and in Ogun. I also want to say that there’s no ulterior motive or major reason but I just felt that I have done well and I am okay having served Lagos for so many years. Let me go back to my root to contribute my own quota towards the development of my people. I want to thank Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and governor Dapo Abiodun for their support and encouragement. I want to say there’s no regret or major reason switching to Ogun West.”
While reacting to insinuations that the Lagos Senator relocated to Ogun in order to pursue his governorship ambition, Yayi as he is fondly called by his admirers, said: “I don’t want to talk about the future, I want to allow the future to talk about itself but for now, I am here to represent the people of Ogun west after the 2023 elections and not going in for governorship that is not a discussion before me now. I want to believe that what is before me now is the senatorial election. With the support of the people, my governor, I will come out victorious.”
Ninth Assembly and Rubber stamp allegation
The ninth national Assembly has often been described as a rubber stamp by many, but the chairman of the Senate committee on Finance vehemently objected to this. He queried what the proponents of the concept imply by what “rubber stamp.
“Well I don’t know what their definition of their so called rubber stamp is. I want to belief the National Assembly is made of men and women who are distinguished Nigerians and who have the rights to take their own decisions on what comes before them. And I want to believe if supporting the policies and programmes of your party so that the party can bring about meaningful development to the people is what they call rubberstamp, I don’t have apology about that. If timely passage of appropriation bill is rubber stamp, I don’t have apology about that. I don’t know what they call the so-called rubber stamp, if what they call rubber stamp is to be at loggerheads with the executive is their meaning of rubber stamp, I don’t understand. Even in developed democracies across the world, there’s bipartisan where both opposition and ruling parties come together on an issue that affect them.. The issue of rubber stamp should not come but rather we should be seen given enough cooperation to the executive to bring development.”
The Third Force Option: NNPP and Labour
Speaking on the development of NNPP and Labour party as third force option, the Lagos senator said it is good for Nigeria’s democracy but noted that politics is about structure and spread. “I know they’re trying to bring the third force and I hope we are not having the fourth force. It is good for our democracy and I strongly believe they’re bringing to the table what the other two political parties are not bringing, but you know Politics is about structures, spread and the people. And I think if you go into the National Assembly now, NNPP has one senator, Labour too has one. I don’t know their number in the House of Representatives. They are welcome if they choose to be the third force. But for us in APC, with our Presidential candidate, I know we are good to go, For PDP, I don’t know their plan or agenda. I know it would be difficult for NNPP or Labout or any party to upstage the APC. To a large extent we are prepared, everybody will sell their manifesto and I know this time around, Nigerians are going to vote not only for party, but the candidate.”
Tinubu and APC Primary
Speaking on the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives, Senator Solomon said the APC chieftain emerged victorious because he did his homework very well and the delegates believed in him. “There’s no much underhand play or anything that transpired other that Asiwaju Tinubu did his homework very well and also the delegate were convinced that this time around he (Tinubu) should be the one to fly the flag of the party. You he has been there before. He’s one of the founding fathers and he’s a national leader of the party. A lot of us that came out to support him know that he has done so much to become the presidential candidate of the party. I believe we rather thank the delegate for voting him and those who worked from behind the scene.”
The Lagos West senator said in a bid to consolidate on the success of the primary, reconciliation moves are ongoing to bring back aggrieved party members. “I want to say that APC for now across the divide are coming together more than ever before. For instance in the Southwest, I know hardly would you see anybody saying anything different. And the presidential candidate himself had met with all aspirants who contested with him. That is a sign of reconciliation and they have all pledged their support. In the Southwest, if there’s any issue ,it is not about the presidential, that should be at state level and we are trying to resolve everything.”