Lagos Assembly holds public hearing to regulate and control all lottery, pools and betting activities in Lagos State and pegs minimum share capital by operators to N20 million before license is considered.

This was disclosed during a Public Hearing held on Friday by the House Committee on Finance to regulate and control all their activities.

The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun who represented the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Mudashiru Obasa expressed that there was need to address the emerging trends in the gaming industry.

“Lagos State through the pro-activeness of this House has timelessly promulgated laws to address the needy areas of Lagosians. It is our view that the 2008 Lotteries Law is in need of re-calibration to soothe the needs of the present and address future questions”.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo explained that the public hearing was to create an avenue for stakeholders’ involved in the lotteries and gaming industries to address their concerns of the bill in other to create a better working environment in the industry.

“Lagos State through the pro-activeness of this house has timelessly promulgated laws to address the needy areas of Lagosians.

Hon Sanai Agunbiade while on the overview presentation of the bill, disclosed that the various sections of the bill spelt out the importance of the lotteries and gaming authorities which is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating what the bill is meant to achieve and repeal certain laws.

Dr. Rabiu Olowo, the Commissioner for Finance who also lent his voice to the deliberation expressed that the bill’s emergence is timely as a lot has changed in the Nigerian lottery and gaming industry and is expanding everyday while he enjoined all stakeholders present to take valuable essence of the public hearing by making their contributions.

Mr. Adebangbo Nojeem, a representative of the Association of Lagos State Promoters expressed that the composition of the Board is of great concern to them. He said there was no input of registered associations who are active actors in the gaming industry.

He added that the minimum share capital of N20m before license should be reconsidered and given special consideration to; as the pool, betting participants are senior citizens and the industry operate once a week; pleading that penalties should be reduced from N2.5m fine and 3years imprisonment to N1m and noncustodial punishment.

Mr. Tokunbo Akande of the Lagos State Internal Revenue of the State and Mr. Niyi Adekunle from Grand Lotto were of the opinion that the liberal use of ‘tax’ should be ejected and replaced with licensing or royalty fees as it affects the multiple interface use of taxes. It was also added that the financial requirement stated to secure a license was kind of expensive considering the fact that the requirement were just for one form of lottery.

In response to the stakeholder’s contributions, Hon. Wasiu Sanni- Eshinlokun, assured them that all comments will be taken into the review by the House Committee on Finance. He reiterated that the acceptance of Memoranda has been extended till Wednesday, 19th of August, 2020.


Obasa, State Speakers Condemn Obaseki Over Siege On State Assembly

The chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has condemned the recent siege on the Edo State House of Assembly by men suspected to be loyal to governor of the State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

In a statement he personally signed on behalf of the Conference of Speakers, Obasa said the removal of the roofs of the hallowed Assembly is an injury to Nigeria’s democracy and must be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.

According to the statement, the Speaker and his colleagues in the country described the brazen manner the suspected political thugs took over the Assembly, removed the roof and broke the symbolic mace, which were all captured in a recorded video, as sheer recklessness.

The Conference accused the state government headed by Obaseki as autocratic and dictatorial in this regard adding that whatever defence the latter has for the action does not ‘hold any water’.

“It is sheer recklessness and a proof of dictatorship for a governor who is supposed to be the head of the executive arm of government to decide to take charge of another arm through questionable means like it happened in Edo.

“There were reports linking the removal of the roof and the offloading of gravel at the complex to purported plans by the government to renovate the Assembly but we think this is an afterthought,” the Speakers declared.

The Conference wondered how the idea of renovating the Assembly suddenly came up just weeks to the governorship election in the state and in such manner creating a mockery of the electioneering process and democracy.

“Why is the government just realising the need to renovate the complex at the twilight of the administration?

“What happens to the building if the governor does not return? What happens if the next administration does not take that direction?

Obasa’s statement on behalf of his colleagues further questioned the role played the Commissioner of Police in the state in the entire drama.

The statement accused the police commissioner of allowing himself to be used as a tool to perpetrate an attack on democracy in the way the drama panned out at the Assembly complex in the state.

While strongly warning the governor and those participating in the electoral process in the state to desist from doing anything that would affect the smooth running of the Edo House of Assembly, the Speakers reminded Obaseki that the removal of the Assembly roof does not stop the lawmakers from sitting as the constitution of the country does not limit plenaries to the hallowed chamber alone.


What we know about late Senator Bayo Osinowo – Sanwo-Olu, Speaker Obasa

What we will miss about Senator Osinowo – Sanwo-Olu, Obasa

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa have declared that the late Senator Sikiru Bayo Osinowo lived an exemplary life.

Sanwo-Olu and Obasa spoke during Special Parliamentary Session held in honour of Osinowo at the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday.

Senator Osinowo reportedly died of COVID-19 on Monday, June 15, in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, who noted that Osinowo meant different things to different people, added that the State Executive Council held special session for the late Senator on Monday because of his level of contributions to the development of the state and that they prayed for God to grant him eternal rest.

“How do we want to be remembered, when we are gone. If we missed him, we must learn something from him. Let us know that our time will come and what will people say about us.

“On behalf of the people and government of Lagos State, I thank the House of Assembly for the session. I thank you and I want us to know that our time on earth is limited,” he said.

While eulogising the late lawmaker, Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said that no one wanted to die, including those who wanted to go to heaven.

Obasa stressed that the late Osinowo was a major general in the corridor of Nigerian politics.

“We are gathered here to honour Senator Bayo Osinowo, a power broker who assisted many politicians to realise their dreams. I met him before we got to the state house of Assembly, when we were strategising about who would be the Speaker of the 5th Lagos Assembly.

“Osinowo was an astute and grassroots politician and a super benefactor to many.

“My emergence as Speaker of the 8th Assembly was through him and he contributed to the success of our elections in the South West.

“He fought to liberate Nigeria from military dictators. He was a parliamentarian par excellence and he was a great democrat,” he said.

The Speaker described Osinowo as a friend, a colleague, and a teacher adding that the late Senator was ebullient, lively and full of humour.

“He was a political leader with charisma. He was in tune with everybody. His death has created a vacuum that would be difficult to fill and he would be greatly missed by everybody.

“I am sure that Senator Sikiru Osinowo never knew he would be departing so soon, when he gave a speech about death on the floor of the Senate. While I pray that Almighty Allah grant him eternal rest, I urge all of us to learn from his death,” he said.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who spoke virtually, commiserated with the lawmakers adding that Osinowo “would be remembered with fond memories. Let us remember those good times we had with him, his jovial ways, and anecdotes. He was a welder who welded different forces together. He was close to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, I know you would miss him. May his soul rest in peace.”

A former speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, in his contributions, said that he never knew that after five years and three weeks of leaving the House, the time he would speak in the chamber again would be a valedictory service for Senator Bayo Osinowo

Other lawmakers in the Assembly paid glowing tributes to the late Osinowo, describing him as a mentor and a political leader.

Money Politics Is Affecting Our Political Development -Bisi Yusuff

The lawmaker, representing Alimosho Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adebisi Yusuff in an interview, spoke on effect of money politics and its attendant effect on the nation.

He also spoke on other sundry issues, and called for a deliberate action to reduce money politics in Nigeria.

What lesson would you say we learned from the last general elections?

The last election was a tedious project, in fact I am afraid for Nigeria the way we are going. A time will come in this country that if we are not careful, we won’t find intelligent people with integrity or people that know what to do and when to do it venturing into politics, if they don’t have money. I must confess to you, people do not even know what you have contributed towards the development of a system, it is what they can get from you, forgetting that it is what you put down in sustaining the system that matters than what you get from the system.

Sustaining the system is most paramount now in Nigeria, if the current trend continues, I am afraid even I pity the propagators of “not too young to run” because no matter how brilliant you may be if you don’t have the means or money you cannot go far. We thank God in that Lagos State we have got a very focused leader in person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

For me, I will continue to be blunt and speak my mind because that would be my legacy that other people would meet. Those who had been there long time ago, we are reading their piece, witty contributions, seminars and all that. It is what they have the courage of speaking about that inspires the young ones to become something, but if you are afraid that you are going to offend somebody and you refuse to utter it you are dead because the moment you die with it you are dead completely and that is why I feel that we should do something about money politics.

Does the high level of poverty in the country have anything to do with this?

It is true to a certain extent that it is a result of poverty, but even you that you are doing everything possible to make the system work, when the time comes they forget about what you have done in the past.

They forget what you have don so soon, in essence I am advocating the retraining and rebuilding of our mindset to ensure that what is obtainable today is redefined so as to justify our continued existence and integrity.

However, how would poverty not come, when the electorate would demand the little money I supposed to invest in projects.

The system won’t thrive without money, but we thank God for everything. But were it to be based on performance some people are in this country and with what they have done so far, the electorates ought not to ask them for anything, when it is time for elections.

In the United States of America, such a person may continue to be there for years. I just returned from Chicago in the United States of America the Speaker of the House of Assembly there has been in office for fifty years as Speaker not as an ordinary member whereas people are talking about the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa who is just going for the fifth term and second time as Speaker. But when you look at the way Obasa is handling issues in the House today you will know that we need somebody like him that is full of experience and that can stabilize the House, who knows what to do and when to do it. That is just it, we should be building institutions not individuals. .

You recently brandish your CV to prove a point on social media. What role do you feel adequate sensitization can play in toning down money politics?

There is one particular candidate from a different political party. He committed what a journalist or social scientist would call ‘class suicide’ by derailing from the ruling party and decamping to another party to contest with me. He was saying that “imagine Bisi Yusuff who cannot even express himself in English Language.” I regard them as novices, he can be said to be suffering from political schizophrenia.

They are living in illusion and more like in a mirage due to their vested interest, which is conflicting with their sense of reasoning, which informed what they eere saying. I graduated from the university before many of them were born.

Moreover, I have spent eight years as a lawmaker. I would have gotten several additional degrees within this period of I had enrolled to a school eight years ago and you can’t buy experience with money.

In essence I feel I need to thank my constituents for the confidence in me despite the character assassination and the deliberate heating up of the polity.

The people stood and they helped me. I scored the highest vote, over 45,000 and again “Mr. Honourable” contested against me with all the degrees and intimidating resume. The people now call him “Honourable 2004” because he scored 2004 votes, you can see the wide margin in the difference.

It also shows that aside the money some people still remembered your efforts…

Clearly without that there is no way I would have emerged victorious. Especially, if you look at my health program alone, you will see that we are interested in the welfare of the people. When I now came out with my compendium, people were asking if I was going for governorship election and I said no because it is only governor that can dabble into such a thing and this is just because I am not a sleeping. I am not a docile lawmaker and I do not run away from them. I have a functional constituency office running from time to time even when I am not around. I have a team of media people who are on ground, they are putting heads together, doing researches and some other things because you can’t afford not to be informed so that you are not deformed. They say a reader is a leader.

What advice to you have for members of the National Assembly over the leadership tussle for the 9th Assembly so that we don’t have a repeat of what transpired in 2015 and what would be your candid advice to the incoming Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State?

There is no where in the world that you would do anything outside the party as a politician. So the party hierarchy should know who is going for what, that is what stabilizes the polity of a country.

We all know how Senator Bukola Saraki became the Senate President by fraud and we saw the consequence of that.

So why should we go through that trend again, we should not because experience will guide us. If you obtain your certificate by fraud definitely you would secure a fraudulent job and the end of it is shameless exit from the system like the defeat of Bukola Saraki in Kwara State. That is where we saw a Senate President losing his polling booth and when he want to go out of his domain people shouted him down. So, I will advise the members of the National Assembly that whatever they want to do,we have a national leader and other high ranking leaders of the party.

They should discuss with the leaders of the party and constitute very formidable team that would have the interest of the nation at heart not individual ambitions.

The law states that the legislators shall choose somebody among them, the party influence is not really captured in the law and the National Chairman of the APC is however signalling the direction the politicians on appointing their leaders, would you consider that a democracy?

That is what the law states, but there is internal democracy.

What it means is for you to subject yourself to party discipline and know that the party is supreme. The party supported them to the heights they are. Those that are faulting the decision of the party are really not disciplined members.

So anybody supporting Ali Ndume should be considered as an undisciplined member of the party?

Oh yes, do you just come to contest for a position without identifying with the party? The terminology that the party is supreme must hold sway, it is applicable anywhere even in the United States of America even in the UK. You know that the party must have an internal mechanism by which they determine who gets what, the leadership of a party anywhere evolve from a gradual progression. You cannot just come from the blues and say you want to be anything or contesting for something. The party supported some of them to become what they are today and as a result,they must do everything in line with what the party is saying, but I know they would fail, those who are not toeing the party line will not succeed..

What should the Lagos State Governor-Elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu look out for in crossing his executive cabinet selection?

Sanwoolu should not do it alone, he should consult with leaders widely that is my own candid opinion and I would not shy away from saying that. He should not arrogate the selective power to himself alone. It is when you do that, that people view it as a team work and they would have confidence in you. Gone are those days when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not even do that to anybody if you know him like I do, the Jagaban of Borgu would never select alone, he would ensure that he consults with every leader in each local government before concluding or coming up with the list and the era of saying somebody is imported from somewhere has gone. I trust him, he has trained thousands of his foot soldiers today in Lagos, in other parts of Nigeria and even outside the shores of Nigeria. He is being reckoned with across Africa as a leader that has a political family, sometimes even across all the party lines.There are politicians in other parties who align with his political ideologies, his aspirations and all that. So this is the kind of man that we need.

What are you doing differently this third term?

I will build on what I have done and I would continue in a different manner and with more vigor. I would not sleep on the floor of the house and I would be as articulate as ever. I will marshal the points as it should be in the interest of my constituents and Nigeria as a whole. My constituents should be rest assured that they have a ranking member of the House as their representative. Aside legislative business, my constituents are now more confident in me being a third timer. They follow me as a role model, I now have the Prince of Hope School of Thought, where I lecture young people to know what to do. I will never abandon my healthcare program. I am even sure it would outlive me. Then i will focus on education, being a vehicle for development, when you build the mind of the people you have built the schools, roads, several social amenities and infrastructure yet to be seen. I will continue to fund their academic progression, distributing JAMB forms, organise skill acquisition programme like ICT training and more. As a former council chairman and a ranking legislator, I will bring my wealth of experience to bear and lobby the executive to curry more favour in my constituency. Our Speaker have chatted a course for us today to forge ahead. This 9th Assembly will be a different one due to the fact that so many experienced lawmakers are returning, so expect a robust legislative session.

How do you view the reduction in the number of women especially in the coming 9th assembly?

Given women soft landing in political space means you are reducing their status.

In the university the score that gives you admission is not gender sensitive, consider Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, whose stance is more than that of a man, they should join the struggle. If they keep lamenting, men would continue to dominate them in the political space.

My Covenant With People Of Epe- Tobun

Hon. Abiodun Tobun, representing Epe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, is about breaking the jinx of being elected into the Assembly for a third time from the area.
However, Tobun, who chairs the House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, sees this as an opportunity and not a right, adding that he has a covenant with the people of Epe to represent them well in the Assembly.
The lawmaker speaks on other relevant issues in this interview he granted recently.

You are hoping to come back here. Can you tell us what you have done in your community to earn you a reelection at the polls next year?

You don’t change a winning team. If your team is winning, what you only need to do is to continue to support them. You cannot judge yourself. People have confidence in me, they have confidence in my leadership style and with the way I have attracted infrastructure development to my community and to our people. They look at personal relationship, official relationship, our contributions on the floor of the House and the way we have attracted dividends of democracy to the community. They know that I have contributed immensely to the development of the community in terms of health, education, infrastructure development and social development. We have done a lot in terms of free medical services, free eyecare such as glaucoma, cataract, treatment of malaria and other ailments. Mother and child care project was attracted to the community, the theatre in the hospital was rebuilt, and we brought ambulances to the community. We have sponsored so many healthcare and education programmes. We have distributed free exercise books to students, we supplied instructional materials to schools, and we organised prize giving days in schools to encourage the young ones to do better.
We undertook repair of classrooms as St. Michael Primary School, St. Theresa Primary School, Epe Grammar School, Model Colleges and others and we purchased equipment for schools. We have supplied transformers to more than 20 Communities such as Balogun, Bale, and so many others. We did electrification projects and took transformers to remote communities. We have sunk boreholes to communities in all the wards. We have done a lot of empowerment programmes and got equipment for the beneficiaries. We have trained over 600 youths in skills and we gave them working tools. We have paid fees of some students, we paid N250,000 each per annum to sponsor some youths in nursing schools. We have sponsored about 25 students to technical schools, paid their fees and gave them all!owances. We organise free coaching programmes and give out UTME forms on a yearly basis. We give out GCE forms, and JAMB forms every year to about 250 students. We have organised sporting activities and organized the first female football competition in the division called; “Bolanle Ambode Football Competition.” We have done the second edition and our people were so excited to see their females playing football.
On social activities, we organise an annual “Ojude Oba” Festival in Epe and we have done that for eight years. Popular Fuji Musician, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde performed there for six years and this made the place agog. The people appreciate all these a lot.

How do you feel as the first person to be elected to represent Epe Constituency 1 for a third term. At least you have won the third primary election?

I feel humbled sincerely. My allegiance and loyalty is to the people because they made me proud. It shows that they have confidence in me. So, I will do more to earn more of their respect and for posterity sake. I will let them feel happy that they voted for me again. I owe them my allegiance and I have a covenant with them. On the day of the primary election, while others were running from pillar to post, I wore my best attire and I sat down confidently because I know that my people trust and love me. I defeated my competitors by a landslide. While I was having about 8,850 votes, the closest person to me was having 1,300 votes. That shows the love the people have for me and I am indebted to them.

What was it like in Epe when Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was denied a second term?

The people of Epe are not happy that their son, who was doing well for the state and the community was dropped. But, the party is supreme. We cannot do it alone. Epe is an integral part of Lagos. The party has spoken and we have to abide by the decision of the party.

You must have noticed one or two things that you want to build upon when you come for the third term. What are those things you want to do better?

Naturally, when you are doing something and you are not relenting, you will want to do better. Parliamentary activities are important. Your energy and your contributions will determine your success. You have to improve on your contributions on the floor of the House, improve on your motions and bills and your attraction of dividends of democracy to the community. What you can do better is to improve on what you have been doing. You go to the secretariat to attract dividends of democracy into your community. You lobby before the budget is prepared. You don’t sit at home to do that or sit at home to argue issues on the floor of the House. Some of things like moving motions, parliamentary procedures are not what you will learn in the textbooks. You have to do more than what you have been doing in a more scientific way and get results.

What advice do you have for your colleagues as the general elections are coming?
My own idea is that he who does not want his child to be killed should not push children of other people into the streets to be killed. Whatever you do will one day come back to you? Sincerely, I won’t subscribe to political violence. I don’t go about with thugs during elections. All my elections have been free of violence. Nobody has been wounded not to talk of being killed during my elections. I am an easy going person, but that does not mean that I am a moron. But, I don’t support violence. If you try it in my area, we will deal with you. Let us shun violent elections, we are members of the same family. Elections will come and go it would remain the people. Our campaigns should be based on issues not campaign of calumny. Tell the people what you can do better. Tell them your manifesto and those of your party. Work with your people rather than snatching ballot boxes that could lead to violence. We are here today, one day we will no longer. We should go about the elections with peace.

You are the Chairman of the House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, how are you monitoring the ongoing projects in the state and the contractors?

Most of the projects are ongoing and we are monitoring the contractors and encouraging them to complete the projects at record time. We want to ensure that most of the projects are completed latest by the end of the year. We don’t want them to extend them to next year. We have urged the contractors to live up to expectations or else we will bring them to book. That is why we have been meeting with the contractors and the ministry has been coming with their files so that we can have all the records.

Plateau Killings: We Need Restructuring To Make Things Better – Olumuyiwa Jimoh

A panacea has been given for the different crisis across the country.

Reacting to the Sunday June 24, 2018 killings of about 86 people in 11 villages in Plateau State, a lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh has recommended a restructuring of the country.

The lawmaker, who is the Deputy Majority Leader of the Assembly, also calls for state police amongst others to make the country better.

Jimoh, representing Apapa Constituency 2, speaks on other matters on this interview.

What is your reaction to the recent killings of about 86 people in 11 villager in Plateau State on Sunday 24 June, 2018 as some people are insinuating that the Federal Government is not doing enough on the killings?

I don’t want to join insinuations with anybody on the matter. We have had problems with our foundation from colonial period due to multiplicity of ethnic groups. It is not common in the South West, where you have the Ijebu people, Egba and Awori people and what have you and they all speak Yoruba Language. But in the northern part of the country, it is not like that. I am aware that they have more than 83 languages in Plateau State alone. Our constitution in Nigeria however recognises only three languages, Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba. That is a big problem, I have travelled far and wide, and I know the feelings and perceptions of other people. We are pretending as if it does not matter, but it matters. We have about 430 ethnic groups in Nigeria, but our constitution recognises only three ethnic groups. I am a Yoruba man I should be happy that my language is recognized, but this is giving us problem. A professor of political science has outlined the number of the different ethnic groups in the country. The former Gongola State that became Adamawa and Taraba State had about 138 ethnic groups. I know between Bero and the Jawara in Plateau State, it is a question of who owns the land and boundary adjustments. Then Kangali and the Fulanis in Bauchi State, there are always problems. You think they are one, they are not one, oneness does not mean sameness, forget Hausa/Fulani Hegemony and herdsmen claiming this or that there are casualties on both sides, go and study the report very well. Problem is like a plant, it has roots.

May be that is why some Nigerians are clamouring for restructuring and the President is saying no…

The President has not said no. We will continue to clamour for restructuring until it is done. I agree that everything cannot happen at the same time. We have seen states that collapsed before and came together. Rwanda collapsed in the past. The former Soviet Union divided into about 14 countries.

So what it the way forward over the killings as the President is saying we should pray over this?

The President said we should pray because he knows the enormity of the reports here and there. Some people even believe that restructuring will not work, some people believe that it would be tailored or doctored by the government. We need to talk for us to live together as a people. It was Aristotle that said it is only the people of the same tribe and culture that govern themselves. So, we need to talk and we need state police to solve the problem. If we have state police, they would swing into action once they hear information about some of these things and it would be easy for them to nip it in the bud. We will continue to agitate for it as we did for the recognition of the winner of the June 12, 1993 general elections, the late Chief MKO abiola, which was eventually find by the Federal Government.

Is it necessary to overhaul the leaders of the security parastatals in the country?

That would not solve the problem. The Inspector General of Police would not know what is happening in Lagos State, for instance and the state Lagos Commissioner of Police would not know what is happening in Ijora Badia, they are human beings like you and I. When you get to the United Kingdom, as you are seeing the state police, you would see the Metropolitan Police. The Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, which is one of the busiest and the biggest airports in the world, is being controlled by a local government.

What is your advice to the Oshiomole-led National Executive Council of the APC?

Comrade Adams Oshiomole has taken the first step, he knows there are pockets of grievances here and there, not factions, as far as I am concerned, there are no factions in the party, he is reaching out to the aggrieved ones. The process is on, the more the merrier. He should take the party to a greater height. He should ensure that the elected officials work according to the manifestos of the party.

8th Lagos State House of Assembly is three years, what have been your highpoints?

We have passed 17 bills into Law, not just bills, but bills and laws that are rekevant to the welfare of the people. There are states house of assemblies that have not passed a single law for three years. We passed laws that are relevant such as the one that created the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) and a law to criminalise kidnapping. Our annual town hall meeting is also first of its kind.

In the next one year, may God preserve our lives, we will not let our people down. We will continue to protect their interest.

Insecurity In Nigeria: We Will Still Embrace State Police – Olumuyiwa Jimoh

A panacea has been offered to the spate of insecurity in Nigeria.
A lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh said in an interview that Nigerian security would get better if the nation embraces state police.
The lawmaker, representing Apapa Constituency 2 in the Assembly speaks on Nigerian democracy, security and other matters of interest.

How would you react to our democracy in Nigeria so far

Apparently, you don’t expect democracy to work in a day. Those you are comparing Nigerian democracy with have been practising it for over 100 years. Our democracy is less than 20 years old, so we are still evolving. Our current democratic dispensation in Nigeria began in 199, and it is still young. 50 or 100 years is small in the life of a nation unlike that of an individual. You will agree with me that this is not where we were in 1999. The essence of democracy is to get input from people. When we were in secondary schools, it was only students that were protesting. Now, you see a lot of parents and people protesting to the state house of assembly over issues. That is part of democratic process, but people expect it to get to the peak within a short time. We have have left Egypt, but we are not yet in Jerusalem. Our democracy has taken off, but we are not yet there. The human society also has not reached an eldorado, we have not got to where we are. It is a process because we are dealing with human beings.

What can you say about the state of security in the country?

There is insecurity all over the world generally, the fear of what to eat and drink is now the beginning of wisdom. The emergence of all terrorist groups is a result of one nation trying to dominate another. The essence of governance generally is to provide security and welfare for the people. So, the issue of security has to be taken seriously. It has to be taken systematically by the government.

Would you now say governance is where it ought to be in Nigeria now

I am not talking of the expectation of the government, but I agree that we are not where we should be, we are progressing arithmetically.

Are we not moving towards having state police as people are postulating with the way people are being attacked or killed all over the placr

It will be difficult to bring a Jukun man to come and police my community in Lagos, for instance. He has to map out strategy to be able to do that. But it would be easy for someone from this community to police the area because he is from the same community. State police is inevitable, it is a matter of time. That is why I want to encourage the Lagos State Government to continue with the way they have been challenging the Federal Government on the issue of waterways. We won the case at the State High Court though the Federal Government won at the Appeal Court. How can the Federal Government be controlling the waterways. Two major robberies in Lagos State came in through the waterways; the one in Ikorodu and the other one in Lekki because the waterways are porous. The battle between the Lagos State and Federal Governments makes our waterways more porous. We have secured the land. With that you can make a comparison. Eventually, we are going to have state police because a thesis gives birth to antithesis and antithesis would give birth to synthesis, which will determine what will happen.

What would be your advice the Federal Government as we are moving towards another election

What do you want me to advise the Federal Government, you should consider when the government took off. Compare what they met on ground and what is on ground now. Government is a serious matter. A lot of people would say so many things before they get to office only to do a different thing, when they get there. I am not holding brief for anybody, but when you see the systematic way the President and the Federal Government have been doing things, you would see that a lot of things have been achieved. People just want things to happen just like that. When I was younger, I thought things would happen just like that, but when I grew up, I discovered that human society is far from eldorado. Problem is like a plant, it has root, we have to solve it from the root.

With what happened at the National Assembly, stealing of mace and others, what would be your advice to the National legislators

Yes, there was an issue, the mace was taken away by some thugs or whatever you may call it and it has been recovered. That is very wrong, those who did that are not cultured, they are not civilised to democratic norms. However, it is democracy, majority still have their ways, the senator concerned has been suspended, he might spend the rest of his term at home. What gave birth to democracy itself is agitation, we have to continue until we get the Nigeria of our dream. Everything will not be smooth on one day, even God did not create the world on one day. He has power to do it on one day, but he didn’t do that. Then, he rested on the 7th day.

What would be your reaction to the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari in London that Nigerian youths are lazy?

Well, it is difficult saying this, but that is the truth, some of our youths are lazy. We are in government, we know some of our constituents that we got work for, who are not ready to work. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo said in 1974 that some Nigerian youths are lazy and that eight hours are enough for anybody to sleep out of 24 hours. He said that some time should be dedicated to reading. There is a saying in Europe that if you want to hide anything from Africans put it in a book. Don’t look at the messenger, look at the message. Just let us do a personal assessment of ourselves. The youths should be serious and read wide.

What would be your reaction to the issue of electricity in Nigeria

I am not satisfied with the current situation, but it is better than before. There was a time we would not have electricity in Apapa for six months, but it is better now. We are not where we ought to be, for instance in South Africa, they have electricity constantly such that they can afford to export it to other countries. But we don’t even have sufficient electricity. The military intervention also added to our problems. They mismanaged the country. Now, democracy make things better such that a serving Inspector General was challenged by his surbodinate.

What can you say about the Nigerian workers as we are celebrating May Day. We also want you to talk about your reelection in 2019

The Nigerian workers are trying, May 1st is dedicated to them and the Federal Government has declared the day a Public Holiday. Their average take home cannot take anybody home, so the government should increase their pay. But it goes beyond salary increment, the government should think of accommodation, healthcare, insurance, housing and all that because inflation would set in as soon as this is done.
On Yah Wahab, it is a name of God. I am fortunate to be given one of the 99 names of God and the lieutenants decided to give me the name. We have had more lieutenants and they feel the slogan would be okay for my electioneering campaign.

2018 Budget Of Lagos State Would Be Properly Implemented After Passage By Assembly – Gbolahan Yishawu

A cerebral lawmaker and newly appointed Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Adhoc Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu has assured that the 2018 Budget would be properly implemented for the benefit of the masses.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the formation of the Committee by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, Yishawu from Eti Osa Constituency 2 added that no leakages would be allowed in the budget.

He also emphasize that the state has developed new strategies of getting more revenue, while adding that the state has always been scoring one of the best marks on budget performances amongst all the States in the country.

What is the assurance you are giving to the people of Lagos State that the 2018 budget would achieve it’s aims as the Chairman of the House Adhoc Committee on Budget and Economic Planning?

The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode has given out his budget, the Budget of Progress and Development. Traditionally, the House of Assembly would scrutinize the budget. We are going to ensure that we go deep. Every step we have taken is for the people of Lagos. This budget is for the people of the state. We will ensure that the money for the people of the state is judiciously and strictly applied for development purposes.

How do you want to block the loopholes that might arise from the budget and those who would want to outsmart the government?

That is simple, the legislative arm of government, this House of Assembly, under the leadership of the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa has given us a free hand to scrutinize the budget. We are well grounded, when it comes to budget matters. We will look at the budget to fine tune it to cross the ts and dot the Is. I can assure you that it if there is anybody in the Lagos State Government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who wants to be a devil in the system whereby they would now want to outsmart the government or be fraudulent, we will weed the person out.

How realistic is the 2018 budget of over N1 Trillion, when the state could not realise the N812 Billion budget for 2017?

It depends on the angle you are coming from. I believe that Lagos State can even handle a budget of N2 Trillion. It is not too big, if you look at our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the ratio of our tax collection, it is very low. That a budget performs 80% or so is not new, Lagos State’s Budget has always performed in the A Class year in year out. If in 2017, we have a budget of N812 Billion and as at November the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is 76% and overall budget performance is 74% and we do 8% every month then it is commendable. If you divide 100 by 12 months, each month we have a minimum of 8.3%, when you benchmark that you would see that we have done well. By November, the budget was 11 against 12, by the time you do 12 against 12, we will be doing 84 or 85%, which is not bad. For 2015, it was 80% or so. Each year, our increment is about 25 to 28% and each year we are able to make about 80%. What we are going to get in 2018 is, at worst, 80% of N1 Trillion. But I can assure you, this government has standard. We are planning a software for hotels and hospitality businesses such that we will be able to collect about 90% of consumption tax, which is about N50 Billion.

Also, Value Added Tax (VAT) would be collected effectively. When this is done, we will also get an increment for our percentage of VAT from the Federal Government. For our federal allocation, the price of crude oil is now about $50, United States has a projection of about $55. We are selling about 2.3 million barrel per day and dollar is about N305. The Federal Government will likely meets its projection on crude oil. That means our federal transfers would also be intact.

One other money we are expecting is the one on derivation fund for our oil and little drops of water makes an ocean. We are also coming up with a review of the Motor Vehicle law. The other one is the Land Use Act. Based on enumeration, we have over two million houses in Lagos State and only about 300,000 houses pay land use charges. If we are able to capture more houses, we will be talking of about N70 or 80 Billion. However, for this to work enforcement is key and we need to motivate the staff of the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). For them to do their job, they would not go on foot, they need vehicles. Those are the things we will look at in the budget.

We also need to go through our laws, the embedded power law is there. Power is key, with the power initiative of the state, we will unlock the potentials of the state. Without power, nothing would be done. When there is power, industries would open up and they would be able to employ more people. With power, the factories that have shut down would re- open. So, with power, there would be more employment, more production, more taxes and more fund in the state. Lagos State would now become the destination of hospitality, so it is enormous because what is attached to power is much. Someone was talking about profit, we don’t need profit from power, we just need to break even. We are not in power business to make money from it, if we can just make it available it would be okay. Even if we need to subsidise it a bit, we will do so. We subsidise health, we subsidise education, transport and others. So why can’t we subsidise power that can make many other things work. That power sector reform would set Lagos in the right footing of sustainable development. I am not just talking about development, but a sustainable one that has not been seeing in the West African sub-region.

How do you intend to block the loopholes in the system?

What I like about us is freedom. You need to prove your assertion, just blow your whistle and let us see. When our revenue is performing at 76%, what is leaking. We collect a rate that is higher than those of other states in the country. We have enough time to look at it. It is a continuous thing. We could have fraud one way or the other, the culprit would be dealt with. I have not seen any serious level of leakages either in this government or the previous ones.

How soon will the committee do a thorough job?

We will be given a timeline, but I and the members of the committee would do our best on the job we have been given.

The Easterners Have No Reason To Leave Nigeria – Makinde

The South Easterners have been cautioned to jettison the idea of leaving Nigeria to form Biafra.

Hon. Rasheed Makinde insisted in this interview he granted us recently that the Igbos are not being marginalised.

Makinde, who is from Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency 2, advised the Igbos to retrace their steps and give peace a chance.

He speaks on other matters of interest in the interview.

The agitations by the South Easterners have been on the rise, especially by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Federal Government is resisting them. What is your view on this?

The agitation of the Easterners to break away from Nigeria is uncalled for. What is happening in Nigeria is not peculiar to a particular state, region or religion, it is all over. If you check your statistics, you would see that the South Easterners are spread all over the country. There is no state or local government that you would not find them. If they are calling for secession, I don’t know what they want to achieve. It means all their people would have to relocate to their States and in the states, will those there accept them. By nature, the Igbos are entrepreneurs, they are enterprising in nature. You would find them everywhere. I don’t really know the cause of their agitation for secession because since the enthronement of this democracy, the Igbos have been the most beneficial. At least, they have produced more senate presidents than other regions. You have Evans Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo and Ken Nnamani. Today, they have the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and they have others serving in this government. May be when they come out with the reason they want to go, we might agree with them.

Also, by saying they should not go, we are giving them undue recognition, we should allow them to go and give them just six months, they would want to come back to Nigeria. Our problem in Nigeria is that only a few people are sharing our resources. The most backward region in Nigeria are the northerners. The Easterners are still better off, I would rank them second among the six geo- political zones in Nigeria coming after whoever we say comes first in terms of welfare. I mean standard of living, development and their placement.

People have criticised Operation Python Dance, and they are saying that the government should dialogue with IPOB?

Operation Python Dance is really strategic to calm down the agitation of the Easterners. We Nigerians enjoy the civilian government, if it were to be under the military, they would have run away because you cannot dare them. That would have resorted to casualties. The government could not fold its arms and allow the IPOB to have a field day, they would find a way to destabilize them and their organization. If the Igbos really want to go on their own way, it should be in a civilised way. What Nigeria signed is to be together for 100 years and we have surpassed that. So, they should be civilised if they want to go.

We have tried to organise a constitutional conference in 2014. Should this government go back to that or come up with another constitutional conference to sort out some of these issues?

The constitutional conference is for us to have a better basis for issues in the country. A sovereign national conference is not a law. It is just an avenue for memoranda, it is not binding. All the ones we have been having could be basis for the present government. What we need is economic restructuring. We should dwell more on our economy and not politics. If this government could work more on economy and agriculture, Nigeria would be better for it. The steps they are taking now by linking the country together through rail lines is commendable. If we are well linked, it would ease mobility. People can live in Abia State and work in Lagos State, it would not take them more than two or three hours to get here from there. This would open up a lot of opportunities across the country. A lot of people are going into that. If the Easterners could take advantage of their fertile land and dwell more on that, it would be better. If their people are gainfully employed, they would not be interested in a revolution. Sovereign National Conference is just an advisory body. All of us know our problems, only that we are good in theory and not practical in this country.

The issue of economy comes to mind, do you think we should continue with our strategy or change it?

I cannot talk more on what is happening at the national level, those at that level can talk on that. The major issue is that we have a lot of saboteurs, but this is being handled by the current government. You would see that electricity has improved and fuel scarcity is out of our memory now. What we are really battling with is a global phenomenon in form of recession, but Nigeria is getting out of it. I think more powers should be given to the states so that individual states can empower their people. The government is really performing at the state level in Lagos State. We have enabling laws and our executive is doing their best, we work more and talk less in Lagos State.

People believe that the state assemblies tilt towards the executives in the states since they are mostly in the same party, what is your experience like?

I would tow your line if you say that because the manifestoes of the party are the same and that is what we are following. If we are following this, there is no room for unnecessary rancour.

How do you see the intervention of party leaders in political affairs as this usually affect projects?

If it happened, it might be in the past. This current government has no room for that.

Former governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State once said that the state government was working on the master plan of the state. How did the state derail from the master plan and what are they doing to restore it?

The worst civilian government is better than the best military government. In 1980, when Alhaji Lateef Jakande was the governor, they had a 30-year master plan amongst which was the metro line that cut across the state. At that time, he identified 15 areas that covered all the spheres of life. But unfortunately, when the military came in, all these were jetissoned and the plans were affected. In 1999, when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinu became the governor of the state, he thought of what to do to restore the master plan of the state and, we started having component plans instead of master plan. This varies from one local government to another, then Badagry and others had master plans. This current government has Ikorodu masterplan, Oshodi/Isolo masterplan and Epe Model plan. All these can now form a composite plan, which we can now call a regional plan.

Lagos Youth Should Avoid Bad Gang – Kasunmu

Youths in Lagos State have been enjoined to avoid joining bad gangs. A lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, who doubles as the Chairman of the House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development, Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu urged the youths to engage in positive activities.

Kasunmu, who is representing Ikeja Constituency 1 in the Assembly, believes that one of the ways of developing the country is to develop the youth.

He speaks more on these and other matters in this interview.

What does the theme of this year’s International Youth Day, ‘Youth Building Peace,’ connote for the youth of the state?

I would like to thank God for yet another successful International Youth Day, which we celebrate every 3rd August. This year’s edition was celebrated in Lagos and all over the country and the talents of the youth were being showcased. We tried to encourage them in various activities, programmes and symposia, which was celebrated in colourful manner in various regards. The youths were able to showcase their talents at this year’s event. I would say that this year’s edition gave us a lot of joy. There has been a lot of agitation for youth emancipation and having said that I would say that the “Not Too Young To Run Bill,” that was recently passed by the National Assembly would give room for a lot of our youth to get engaged in the leadership position of the country. It would give them a chance to build the nation because if you build the youth, you are building a nation. But if the youth are not happy, you cannot build a nation. The theme of this year’s edition, which is “Youth Building Peace,” is very important because if there is no peace and harmony we would not have the kind of leadership structure that we want for this nation judging by what has happened in the country over the years.

My message to the youth of the nation is for them to build peace themselves. How do you do this, we need to join the bandwagon of leaders or else we will not achieve much. I am also a youth and I know what it means to give ourselves recognition to rebuild this nation. Now, one thing is that the youths should avoid hate speeches. Let us move together, let us live in peace to create a better nation for ourselves.

Of course, Lagos State is a pacesetter in many aspects. It is my responsibility to get across to as many Lagosians as possible within the state most of whom are youths. My advice to them is to get positively engaged, we must have a focus, we have to create a conducive environment to carve a niche for ourselves for the development of our character. If we you something doing there is no way someone can engage you to get involved in negative activities to be a miscreant or a thug for one reason or the other. The Lagos State Government, under our amiable Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, whom Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has tagged ‘Wonder Boy,’ has created a forum that a lot of youth can benefit from, which is the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). This is where a lot of people, who have business ideas can have opportunity for loans. They can develop themselves and change the economic fortune of the state to be better than what we have currently, especially in the area of IGR.

Another way the youths can help themselves is in the area of information. They should get involved in volunteering and ensure that they perform their civic responsibilities, get yourself engaged. If one, two, hundreds, thousands and millions of youths do this, they would be creating a lot of wealth that would change this nation gradually. Having said that, a vital aspect of this is for them to take their education seriously, this would adequately prepare them for the future. Another aspect is that we find a lot of youth on the social media such as the Instagram, twitter, and Facebook, let us begin to use this positively and not negatively, let us use it to educate ourselves so that one way or the other if we are getting engaged and empowered, wilfully we will build peace and I can assure you it would be the beginning of securing our future as youths.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo once said that the youth have not taken their position in the scheme of things and that they should stop complaining. Do you think the Nigerian political system is accommodating the youth?

If we consider the education, empowerment, civic responsibilities engagement, all these would give the youth the opportunity to participate in the scheme of things.

In practical terms what programmes do the Lagos State Government have in place to take youths away from the streets as we have youth restiveness all over the country?

There are a lot of vocational education that the state Ministry of Youths and Social Development is providing for the youth. Even if those out of school youth have nothing to do, they are engaged in things they can use their hands to do and things they can do with their passions. If you don’t have the cognitive requirements for you to get to a particular level educationally, you still have the opportunity to get to where you want. The Ministry of Youth and Social Development works hand in hand with the House Committee on Youth and Social Development to achieve this.

We have put policies in place that the Lagos State Government would implement. We have had youth talent shows for the benefits of the youths. We will continue to put programmes in place to ensure that the youths of our time are fully engaged and fully prepared for the future.

One area the youth need do much is education, but now, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on strike. What message do you have for them and the Federal Government so that the time of the youth would not be wasted away?

I would not stop appealing to the Federal Government to get the youth back in school because they need the education and our co- operation and we would definitely do everything within our capacity to ensure that the strike does not last long. We would continue to work with the necessary ministries and the House Committee on Education to get our children back in schools.

What have been your achievements so far on sports development in the state?

There have been countless sporting activities in the state in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports, and the Sports Commission in the area of football, tennis, badminton and developing sports in schools in various localities in the five divisions in the state. We will continue to develop them as we know that stars can be produced through this.