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Akobundu: Sincerity, Deliberate Government Policies’ Implementation Can End Hardship, ‘Japa’ Syndrome

Akobundu: Sincerity, Deliberate Government Policies' Implementation Can End Hardship, 'Japa' Syndrome

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Akobundu: Sincerity, Deliberate Government Policies’ Implementation Can End Hardship, ‘Japa’ Syndrome


The Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning, Senator Austin Akobundu, is a retired Colonel, representing Abia Central Senatorial District, in the 10th Senate. The former minister of state for Defence, who also served as national organising secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), speaks with NASSNEWS on his plans for his constituency.



NASSNEWS: You replaced the former Minority Whip, Darlington Nwokocha of the Labour Party (LP) who was sacked by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on 4 November last year. We would like you to tell us more about yourself.


SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: My name is Sen. Austin Akobunduu representing Abia central Senetorail district Abia state.



NASSNEWS:Okay. Sir, why did you choose to sponsor the Federal College of Health Technology, Ikwuano, Abia State (Establishment Bill 2024, SB-392″ bill?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: I come from a rural community in Iguana Local Government Area and I know there are issues about access to health facilities and children. Some of my constituents who are in, in getting the requisite knowledge in health have to travel to distance places to get placements. I thought that since I’m here, and I’m able to push a bill that can attract a medical facility in the area of health services and health management, it wiill serve and beneficial not only to my community, it’ll also serve the entire local government and serve even the senatorial district in terms of providing basic technological training for our children that have interest in those areas.

So that’s the driving force behind interest.




NASSNEWS: How would this bill affect your people and the whole of Nigeria?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: Well, you know, our people, the saying goes that health is wealth. When you create a healthy environment, you are already creating a development, I mean a society that it’s poised for development. So the multiplier effect is huge. Even in terms of economic pursuit. You can’t farm, you can’t work, you can’t get into other business endeavors if you’re not healthy. Beyond that, having an institution of that nature also has a multiplier effect.

The area of the value chain is huge. So if you have such an institution, the multiplier effect is unquantifiable.



NASSNEWS: What are you doing to ensure that graduates of the proposed Health institution won’t travel abroad in search of greener pastures?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: Well,the ‘Japa’ syndrome as far as I’m concerned, is a phase that will come to pass as soon as government starts doing the right things in the area of our stability in our economy, provision of basic needs for our people after all, life is all about providing for the citizenry. People need to have access to medical facilities and all that and proper salaries that can help you meet your needs, security and all that.

These are issues that I believe government should focuss on and over time the japa syndrome will be a thing Of the passed, I believe.Okay. I believe that that will happen.



NASSNEWS: What do you think is the solution to hardship in Nigeria ?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: Well, it’s work in progress. The solution is not instantaneous. It’s going to be driven by government policies when sincerely implemented. We can address the challenges, having laws, that will take care of areas of gaps in terms of the wellbeing of Nigerians looking critically at the people’s need. Of course that also includes security, which we have been talking about. Those managing the economy also must be seen to be doing the right things.

One thing that is clear is that it will not happen overnight because as far as I have seen, the challenges are huge. The rot is profound. So it’s going to take sincerity, deliberate efforts and focus plans to, on a sustainable basis to make sure that the deliverables will begin to trickle in. People will begin to feel a bit of alleviation and all that. So it’s not going to be a one-off thing is not going to be on the flash. It’s not going to be something that we expect to happen overnight because it took a long time for us to get to where we are today. First of all, the government must be sincere and deliberate in addressing the challenges and also putting policies in place that will lead to alleviation of the poverty and the challenges that people face today.


NASSNEWS: There was a serious turnaround in the Senate on Tuesday. What are your comments on the budget crisis?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: Well, there was an allegation made by one of us, probably he didn’t have all the information. I do not know, I have not interacted with him. I know that the session on Tuesday also provided an avenue for senators to access information that perhaps were hitherto not open. The session opened up some figures and the fact that there was no padding. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have loved to talk about this because I come from the opposition party. If I talk like somebody from opposition party, I’ll probably take a different, but this is what is on the surface.




NASSNEWS: If you have a private discussion with President Bola Tinubu, what will you be telling him?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: Mr. President, there is problem. There is hunger. We appreciate your efforts so far, but we want you to do more because the problems are real.



NASSNEWS: finally as our leader at this time, what will be your general advice for Nigerians at this present time?



SEN. AUSTIN AKOBUNDU: Well, first of all, I’ll acknowledge the fact that Nigerians are suffering. I’ll acknowledge the fact that there is hunger. The cost of living is beyond reach, the hardship is intense, the hunger is real. However, I would advise them not to despair and keep hopes alive. On our own part, we’ll continue to do our best to oversight the activities of the executive and to come in through our legislative activities to ensure that the right policies are put in place that will be aimed at alleviating their sufferings,

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