…In Politics, people must understand that institutions will remain, individuals will fizzle out- Hon Remmy Hazzan
…It wasn’t only former Governor Ibikunle Amosun policies that I criticized, Otunba Gbenga Daniel policies was also opposed by me and others.
Rt. Honourable Remmy Hazzan, Former Deputy Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Special Adviser to the Governor of Ogun State on Public Communication, Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God(RCCG) and a father spoke to Sparklight News Editor, AAT and Adedokun Olamide to clear the air on his various disagreement with the Former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and misconception about G15 Law Makers to which he belongs while serving as a two term lawmaker at the Ogun State House of Assembly. (Excerpt)
Sparklight News: Having spent two terms in the legislative and now serving in the executive arm of Government, what has changed?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: A lot has changed. Being an elected official is different from an appointment. As an elected official, there are well spelt out mandate that you have which speaks more to the people you represent and they yearn for. You have that leverage to always represent that particular expectations of the people on the floor and there are other means of ensuring there are certain avenues for conversation and a bit of negotiations, horse-trading, even lobbying to get matters favorably decided in your constituency but when you come into an appointment, its more of what you’re directed to do and that’s why I said a lot has changed but it is good that one is exposed to this aspect of governance because it’s a system functioning with organs which are legislature, executive and judiciary. This is another aspect that helps learn the role of governance and it is privileged to be in a higher position with all of this experience if you’re able to navigate properly and get decisions made from an informed position.
Sparklight News: From findings, you were an active person while at the Polytechnic and during NYSC, even in Bayelsa, politics, church. What has been your driving force?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: My driving force in all leadership position that I’ve been privileged to hold was seeing people happy around me and whatever needs to be done to make people happy, those are my driving force. Anything at all, as long as it is within the frame work of legal allowance that will make people have joy running over their face, or maybe in the area of aspiration of someone wanting to go to school. Sometimes, what makes people happy is relative so you can’t make everyone happy, therefore, when you need to make people happy in a democratic process, the other side of it should be for a greater good of a greater number so it should be what makes the majority happy and fulfilled that are the things that drives me.
Sparklight News: You represented your constituency as a member of the house of assembly for two terms. How was the experience like?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: In the service to humanity, you should have a reason to want to lead or standards you want to be judged by and by the time you’re done, you will now appraise your journey if you really lived up to expectation or not.
What I told myself when I came in was to make maximum impact and leave behind an enduring legacy and I can say with all boldness, conscious of the fact that the people ordinarily should have appraised my tenure that I didn’t just serve but I served well and my representation is now used as a standard to measure the progress of others who have come before and after me which gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Sparklight News: You seriously opposed the leadership of the last government, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, what really went wrong?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: I don’t hate people but any policy that will not make the people happy and add value to their life, I will oppose such policy and it’s not only Governor Ibikunle Amosun alone, some of the policies of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Governor of Ogun State was also opposed by me and others. One of Amosun’s decisions I opposed was the policy to scrap Tai Solarin University of education and college of education; also the decision not to develop the local affairs and I also opposed certain funding pattern for local government administration. Those are the policies and it has nothing to do with individuals.
That is why people must understand that institutions will remain individuals will fizzle out. So, I opposed some of Amosun’s policies and also his predecessor. Even this administration, if there are any policies I don’t like for any reason to side with, I will air my views maybe the approach might be different.So,i never hated Amosun, I only hated some of his policies that were Antipeople
Sparklight News: During the campaign period of Abiodun, you were the spokesperson to Prince Dapo Abiodun and today, you’re his special Adviser on Public Communication, what made you fall in love with the governor?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: Quite a number of things because for you to speak for someone, you must know the person and I have known him since his political terrain as an individual when he first won election as the senator-elect in the 90s and he was one of the youngest set of senators Nigeria ever produced back then but unfortunately, he wasn’t sworn in.
Again, he returned to contest governorship in 2003 with Otunba Gbenga Daniel in PDP. He was still active in politics when he returned in 2015 and contested senate but didn’t win but yet, his footprints in politics was becoming a lot so when he came for governorship in 2019, it wasn’t without pedigree so when the decision to make me his spokesperson came, we had to engage each other, it was a late night discussion that lasted hours. I really wanted to know the person I was going to speak for aside the things I’ve known about him added to the things he gave me as his vision for the state, I married them together which formed the basis for asking questions.
It was an intellectual engagement and at the end of the day, I made up my mind that this is a journey that I’m embarking on and that was how we fell in love with each other, the programs he provided, the way he carried himself before people that he sought to lead and all combined made me fall in love with him.
Sparklight News : You studied estate management in Yaba college of technology, how has it been easy for you to be a spokesperson?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: Public speaking for me is a passion and it has nothing to do with my profession. As of today, this is year 2020 marks 20 years post qualification as a qualified estate surveyor because I got registered in the year 2000. Now, public speaking is something I fell in love with since my days in secondary school which has made me to become visible in any setting I find myself. It has also called me to action most times when we have reasoned as a group to make presentations and that was how I became the spokesperson for G15 when we were still at the state house of assembly. I guess that was what launched me into state and national limelight. So, it is a passion that I embarked on since secondary school days.
I’m not in this government as a land and housing expert or estate management. In here now, i speak for the governor and the government which means somehow or somewhere, a passion that one has built over time is beginning to add value not just to me but to the whole government and that gives me joy.
Sparklight News: Rumor has it that the G15 lawmakers then were all opportunist. Is that true?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: Whoever said that must define the word. Opportunism in my own understanding is taking undue advantage of the situation corruptly either to enrich yourself or get certain benefits which ordinarily means you don’t deserve, that to me doesn’t apply to any member of g15 because at the end of the day, it is the people that you represent who will determine whether your representation applies to the expectations that they have.
There are those who sought to return for second term but didn’t get the opportunity but some of us who did so got. So, those who raised that kind of allegation should proceed to define opportunism but if it’s in the context of the definition I’ve given, whoever says that does not know g15 at all.
Sparklight News: Away from politics, you were born a Muslim. Did you give your life to Christ because of your wife?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: Fortunately, I became a Christian before I met her so the idea of she being the influencing factor of my conversion does not arise. However, I would say being married to her helped me grow in Christian faith even though I was a young boy to a Christian mother that laid the foundation. So, when I converted, I got married to a Christian wife who of course helped but it wasn’t the deciding factor.
Sparklight News: From research you’re born in Kaduna served in Bayelsa, retained in Bayelsa, and your father relocated you to Ogun state. Now, you can trace your lineage to Ogun and Bayelsa. How do you navigate the distance between Ogun and Bayelsa?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: Family comes first but it doesn’t matter any role anybody places in life. Family also recognizes that you have a role to play in ensuring that provisions are made for the family. So whatever I do at any point in time, I try to put food on the table. The family should also recognize that and give preference. Most times on week days, I do my work here and by weekend, i am with my family.
Sometimes they come around here too saving me the stress of having to travel is the quest of balance. It is a family that is united and understanding that is not so much of a stress for me. At the end of the day, everybody understands everything that is at stake, i have businesses to look after and my wife is looking after some of it in Bayelsa and that is where my primary business is. What we are doing for government is more of service to the governor, government and people of Ogun state that so requires a lot of attention. At the end of the day, you are able to balance it, family first and every other thing comes second.
Sparklight News: As a politician, how as life been in Christ knowing fully well the dirty things involved in politics?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: It is just to make up your mind that those dirty things that are there, you do what represent a cleanup as much as you can, don’t join the crowd to do evil. it is there in the scriptures that “ do not join the multitude to commit sin”. It’s a question of mind set why are you going there; if you are going there to join the crowd and the part of the band wagon, then, you’ll be part of the murky Waters needing a lot of clean up. I came into politics not because I will put food on the table but more to make an impact with the leadership privilege to provide within my own circle of influence.
Sparklight News: When the former governor of Ogun State demolished the RCCG church you pastored in Ibara, how did the church of God react? Did it have any impact on you?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: The Instruction of Pastor E .A Adeboye says that nobody should comment and it still stands on that note. I have no comment.
Sparklight News : As a Pastor and leader and family man how do you unwind?
Well there are so many ways by which I relax by and one of it is vacation with my wife and sometimes with some of my children and I love driving. I can drive to any part of the world and can sit down behind the wheel for 10, 15 20hours, to me is an hobby. One of the ways I unwind is by driving to a location of interest especially when am on vacation and that is why whenever I travel to any part of Europe, US or Asian countries, I do lend a car for the period of stay so that I can explore and look out for mysteries of the world that we are in, increasing my knowledge and understanding of people and opportunities that are bound everywhere.
Sparklight News : Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: I don’t share projections, I have them buried in my heart but I work towards them. The reason why I don’t talk about it is because wisdom is always profitable to direct.
Sparklight News: What message do you have for the people?
Hon Remmy Hazzan: It’s just a very simple message and it is for them to believe more that the leadership that this administration offers is genuine, sincere, and proactive and a very visionary government that carries genuine empathy of the people. The governor is genuinely moved to develop Ogun state. This is not political talk at all, the governor means well for this state and what he has done so far suggest to us that he knows exactly why he is on that sit and all he needs from the people is for them to give him their support.