On this week’s Katanga spotlight, Indy Press Correspondent, Timileyin Akinmoyeje, interviews Samuel Oluwasegun Adegoke, popularly known as Honorable Smart, the Speaker of the Indy Hall House of Assembly. They discuss politics, leadership, legislature and other things. Enjoy!
Good afternoon sir, Can we meet you?
My name is Samuel Adegoke Oluwasegun. I am the Speaker of this great republic; Independence Hall. Nice to have you.
Nice to have you too, Thank you very much. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey into becoming a speaker? Where did you start from? What was the process?
From the start, I have always been a kind of person that likes to partaken in things anywhere I am, I love to make things right, I like to contribute my own quota to anywhere I am. Anywhere be it small, be it big. It started right from my polytechnic days where I studied mass communication; I was a member of the press as well during my ND 1. I have been trying to make things right, right from the start. I did not just develop that leadership interest when I entered UI.
What led me to the legislative arm of Indy hall when I entered UI? I was in room A42 and I saw the situation of things. How Katangites do mess up the toilets and I also heard about a particular executive, Obinna, who embezzled some particular funds. I was touched. I was like is there no one to check these wrong doings? These things should not go scot free, I asked for who the floor rep was; it was Honorable Toluene. He explained some things to me. Then, he was the speaker. He explained to me that the floor reps are the ones to check the executive. He told me some things as regards Independence Hall and how the legislative arm has tried to curb these wrong doings. I told him I would like to be this kind of person. I expressed interest in continuing where he stopped; I didn’t want the good work to stop there. I made my intentions known to Toluene about going for the Floor rep of my floor then. I did my campaign; I met with floor members and God so good I won excellently. That was when I started my journey to being the speaker. I was part of the financial and budgeting committee. Right from there, I started my journey. Mazi was the chairman and I learnt from Mazi and from Hassan has always been an edge for me. I talked to honorable members about my ambitions to make things right and to build on the legacy of our past leaders and that was it basically.
Alright. Thank you very much. So, you mentioned a particular individual who you said was part of the executive and that he embezzled money. On that note, have you had any issues with the executive? How has it been working with them?
Actually, being in the legislative arm and the executive arm, we are all working for the progress of Katangites and that progress should be our watchword. During this tenure, I have set up my committee members in charge of audit, the one in charge of financing. Like then, when they brought their budget to the house, they proposed a budget and I set up a finance and budget committee to look into the budget. These committee members went outside to verify the prices that the executive members fixed to the things in the budget. Is it actually the price? At times, it may exceed the price and at times, it may not be up to the price.
So, they have actually done their job, they did not just bring their budgets to the house and we approved that way. If we do that, the press will talk (laughs), Katangites will even raise their voices. We have tried to balance everything well between ourselves and the executive. We really have been trying to work with them as partners. We have been working together for the growth of Katanga.
So, it has been smooth so far?
Yeah, it has been smooth so far.
Do you have any political ambitions after this; after your tenure as a speaker?
Okay, thank you. Remember I told you that during my 100 level days I was a pioneer of making things right. I was a caterer then. When I entered into the legislative arm, I was like omooo, from the look of things I have to drop my catering job for now. Especially, when I later became the speaker of the great Independence Hall, I put my job aside. This is due to the fact that I wanted to represent my people for this particular year. We will all leave Indy Hall one day, what comes after is what people have to say about us. So, I left my job. Due to that, after this tenure I want to sit back, but I will still be looking into making things right for Katangites actually. I don’t have plans for going for any other thing. I will just sit back and sit tight.
They are concerns about the green horns and newbies in the house. Particularly 100 level students. How has it been working with greenhorns? Do they really understand the process of the legislature? Have there been issues?
Okay, alright thank you. You know, representing a particular group of people is not by force. It is willingly. During Hassan’s tenure and during my own time, when I was elected as speaker, there were a group of people. Most of them are in 200 level. You know, you can’t force people to represent, it is willingly. People who would have been returning officers before I became speaker, like most of them didn’t return at all and most of them graduated. Besides, these guys I can’t call them newbies. Some of them have these experiences from outside. Some of them have had experience from other institutions before they gained admission.
So, the thing is we can’t force returning officers. It’s an ambition. They have volunteered to represent their floors and they are in 200 level. We can’t just tell them no, because of that fact you cannot represent your floor. It’s their ambition. They are willing. Then, I have been trying in my own capacity, to make sure they know more about the constitution and more about the culture and tradition of independence hall. I could even remember the constitution; we used to take the money from Indy Hall to give honorable members. I sponsored it myself. I gave all of them for free so that they can be familiar with it even before we started our sittings. So, I did that with my own money not from the hall. Even the ones we coopted, I gave them free of charge. I made them understand that they need to align with that. On a serious note, they have been surprising and proving excellently well and I can vouch for them. That is that about that.
Okay so, talking about the constitution, do you think there are any issues with Indy constitution? Do you think it needs to be amended?
Actually, Indy Hall constitution is okay and it is still not okay to some extent. I could remember during Toluene’s regime, he wanted to amend the constitution then, like some parts of it. But then, I don’t know what happened then, I can’t really recall. I realised that they are a lot of processes, a lot of protocols to follow before we can amend it. I have always wanted to put in my best to try to amend this constitution. Even if I won’t be able to finish it, the next speaker would be able to finish up everything. Then the Pandemic disturbed a whole of things because we resumed late. It was kind of somehow to me to go ahead battling with the constitution again. So, that was the cause of that
There are also concerns about resolutions not been disclosed to the public. There were some disclosures made during Honorable Hassan’s time as the speaker. What do you have to say about that?
Okay, thank you for that question. It is written in the constitution that after each sitting, the resolution should be submitted to the hall management for the hall warden to vet and to look through. The warden is not always around. Anything we resolve is still subjected to the hall management. It is still subjected to the hall management. It would be somehow if we release any resolutions that have not gone through the hall warden. Most of the time, we have always been the one to call the hall warden to vet these things before we can release. We will try our best as regards that to keep Katangites posted.
Okay No problem. What do you have to say about concerns of lackadaisical legislators?
None of my honorable members is lackadaisical. As a matter of fact, they have all been grouped into one or two committees. They have been performing and functioning well. None of them is lackadaisical
You had goals when you wanted to become a speaker, can you appraise your achievements so far? You could do it on a percentage basis
At least, I think I have made more than…let me say 80% of my goals. During my manifesto then, I planned to provide constitutions to honorable members because they are fresh, I also planned to carry out a program that will broaden their legislative acumen which I did, I took honorable members to the house of assembly. I took them to the Oyo state house of assembly to gain knowledge on how things are being run in the legislature. So, yeah.
Do you have a favorite candidate in the SU elections. Since the campaign ban has been lifted, do you have any one you think can perform? Particularly the presidency?
Up till now, I can’t say. I am still trying to sieve the two of them. Now, I have been hearing Richard and Mascot. But then, the fact still remains that, as a Katangite, we are like a body. Mascot is from Mellanby, it’s like a party there too. Richard is from Kuti and we have some of our members in Indy Hall that are going for particular posts as well. I can’t really say Okay, between mascot and Richard. Expect the stakeholders meet and decide who we want to stay behind. I can’t do anything or support anyone alone as a stake holder.
Can you appraise Akeju’s administration? Just a general overview of what you think about the administration.
He has tried his best. He has tried his best…
I remember you were a staunch supporter of Hessy…
Actually, apart from the fact that Hessy is a Katangite, I have known Hessy before I entered UI, when he was in Moore plantation. I know he is a kind of person that goes straight and will deliver. I don’t just support suddenly; I have known Hessy. The fact that He is a Katangite was a plus. I know he would have surely delivered and I know UI would not be as dull as this. Though people have said it is because of the COVID-19. However, UI has been dormant and passive. They have tried their best.
Ok thank you. Do you have any final words for Katangites?
Well, as Katangites and as students, I always want us to remember that, anywhere we are or we are headed. You are there for a reason and that reason should not be jeopardized. Your coming to UI now is to learn and to be learned. This has always been UI motor, worthy in learning and character. The Yoruba also have a proverb that “irini sin i isenilojo”. So, I want us to be people that can monitor our behavior and the way we react to people. It helps a lot even outside UI. Also, anywhere we are, let’s be custodians of peace, loyalty and making things right. As Katangites, let’s see ourselves as brothers;let’s team up in anything we are doing.
Alright, thank you very much; this has been an interesting session.
Thank you for having me.