The lawmaker representing Kogi West district in the National Assembly, Senator Smart Adeyemi, says he has hundreds of people from his constituency on his payroll.
He stated this in response to a question during a special programme – Open Square.
In his reaction to the remarks by a resident of Kogi who decried the underperformance of some legislators in the state, Senator Adeyemi explained that there was no way he could get all his constituents employed.
“I am not in doubt that to a very large extent, my constituents are happy with me,” he said during the town hall between lawmakers and the people. “It will be wrong of me to say I have 100 per cent support. In this era of social media, a good percentage of people have access to you.
“On a daily basis, there is none of us who will not receive up to 500 text messages and request but notwithstanding, I have a secretariat office in Kabba. It might interest you that I have up to 600 people I pay stipends on a monthly basis because I can’t provide jobs for everybody. I have some of them on my payroll.”
The lawmaker asked his constituents to go to the secretariat office in Kabba, the headquarters of his senatorial district for issues that require his legislative intervention.
He highlighted some of such functions, including law-making and constituency projects, as well as carrying out legislative duties to ensure the delivery of the dividend of democracy to their constituents.
Senator Adeyemi, however, stated the limitations of a lawmaker as it relates to developmental projects, saying they cannot go into a competition with the executive arm of government in the state.
“Talking about us going out of our purview; if you’re campaigning and people make a request that you construct roads … we are to complement the government,” he explained. “Legislators do not have executive powers.
“If I pledge to construct a hospital or health centres and my state government is already doing that, I have to divert and do something else.
“So, we need to understand the roles of the legislators, we are not to compete with the executive because the resources are in their hands; we just receive peanuts to maintain ourselves and our constituents.