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.

What We Need Is Brand New Constitution, Not Amendment – Agunbiade

While the National Assembly believes that the 1999 Constitution being operated by the country should be amended, the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade believes that what the nation needs is a brand new constitution.

In an interview he granted us recently, Agunbiade, who happens to be a lawyer and a representative of Ikorodu Constituency 1 in the assembly, added that even in amendment is desirable, a totally new constitution is more preferable to the people.

He addresses this and other matters in the interview.

Some sections of the Nigerian Constitution were recently amended by the National Assembly. Would you support this or you prefer a brand new constitution?

A lot of people have been advocating for a new constitution, where ethnic nationalities and interest groups would come together to determine how we should be governed. The constitution being the ground norm of every society should derive from the people. But what we have currently is a product of a decree during military dispensation.

Military dispensation is itself an abberation, which is preached against by Section 1 of the Constitution itself, which says that nobody shall take control of the government of the country except as provided for in the constitution. The constitution provided for democratically elected leaders in all spheres. So, for the military to have come to power and hijack democratic process is illegal.

For those illegal group of people to now try to impose a democratic arrangement on Nigeria through the constitution is what some Nigerians are now saying is wrong as you cannot build something on nothing. That is why they are saying that what we need now that the Nigerian democracy is becoming stable is to agree to sit together and come up with a new constitution that is derived from the people instead of the current constitution, which unfortunately was given birth to by the military. They started it by saying, ‘we the people of Nigeria.’ You cannot use a legal affirmation to bring out illegality. The foundation of every structure is important.

On whether we should have a complete amendment of the constitution or something evolving. I would want to say it depends on where you are coming from and how you are looking at it. Some people would say that the cost of coming up with a new constitution is enormous and because of that a new constitution would not be desirable. But if you want to look at how many constitutional amendments the country has had, the cost would have taken care of a new constitutional conference that would take care of the different ethnic nationality.

As it is, people are saying that there is nothing wrong with the current constitution, what we have problem with are the operators of the constitution. I mean those, who are making things difficult. When you do the necessary amendment and it is properly pursued, it would bring out sanity.

In the current amendment by the National Assembly, efforts are being made to thinker with the age prescription for different elective offices by reducing the ages to accommodate the youths. They reduced the ages for some elective offices from 35 to 30, from 30 to 25 and so on like that. It is only the one for the senate that is left at 35 because in the absence of the President and the Vice President of the country, the Senate President would come in. So, if the prescription for the office of the President is 35 years and that of the Senate is lower, it would be dangerous because anybody can be Senate President. So, if somebody is 30 years old and he assumes the office of the Senate President, if anything now happens to the president and his vice, then there would be a constitutional problem if the Senate President is to act as President. I know the issue of independent candidacy, accounts of the state and the federal governments and the issue of treating the local government as a government on its own and given more political offices to women were discussed. However, a critical area like fiscal federalism has not been touched. They actually tried to devolve power to the state by removing some powers from the exclusive list to the concurrent list. That is reducing the power of the Federal Government. What of fiscal federalism, where much money is given to the Federal Government and the federating states are given little money. We are saying that they should weaken the financial power of the federal government and give more fiscal power to the states that are closer to the people. The federal government should just be playing a kind of supervisory role. Fiscal federalism would allow the statea and the local governments to have more allocations. So, this would then weaken the federal and give more powers to the states and the local governments, which are closer to the people.

The problems of the people would be treated directly by these people. But for me as an individual Nigerian with what I have seen, I would go for a new constitution. There are still some problems with the current one. We can still manage the one we have now because you cannot throw the baby away with the birth water. We can continue to manage what we have and continue the advocacy for a brand new constitution.

But we had a constitutional conference in 2014 under former President Goodluck Jonathan, which your party did not support. Would you want us to go back to that report or organise another constitutional conference?

We are saying that a constitutional conference, where you give no go areas is not a constitutional conference. A constitutional conference should be so free to touch all areas that affect the people. When you talk of evolving a brand new constitution, the ground on which you predicate it, you would know that you are writing an entirely new constitution. Where is the report of the constitutional conference that you are talking about. Has it been effected. That which my party was against I am also against it as a loyal party member.

We should not play politics with the lives of the people. Whatever you do and you do not do well, you would come back to it. That which you do not do right you would want to come back to it to do it right. That is why our party is saying that let us do this thing in the right way. We should look at the real message. Why can’t you accommodate the views of everybody for a better and greater Nigeria that everybody can be proud of. Some people fought for independence, they have gone now, but we are all enjoying it. So if we postulate some positive things that bring results, we will all benefit from it.

The local government election was recently held in Lagos State and it followed the trend where the ruling party won virtually all the elective posts. How would you assess the election?

There was a climatic problem whereby rainfall affected the election in many areas. But we had a situation, where some councillorship seats were won by some other parties other than the APC. This showed that the election was free and fair. So, those who won councillorship seats but could not win the chairmanship seat, it shows that they did not have enough stamina to win the coveted seats. I saw a situation, where other parties won seats in some wards. It is different from what happens in some states, where the ruling party won all the chairmanship and councillorship seats. What we are saying is that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State is doing well. The foundation was laid by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola complemented it. Now, Ambode is moving across the state with infrastructural development simultaneously and people call him ‘Mr. Wonder’ because of the way he has been working in the face of recession. So, everybody is happy with the administration of Governor Ambode. Don’t forget, the local government administration is an offshoot of the state government. So, there would be replication of all of these in the local governments, and who does not want development in his area.

People are saying that the local governments have not been living up to their expectations. What is your view on this?

Human beings are nor equal. The problem of countries different from one another so also the states and local governments. We have 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) chairmen in Lagos State. You cannot expect all of them to have the same administrative ability and capacity. You cannot expect all the students in a class to come first. So, you can have a class where everybody is good, but they would share positions. You cannot assess the local governments chairmen now, when election has just been done. Let us give them three months, six months or one year before we assess them. But, I am sure that those that were elected have the ability to do what they have been elected to do.

Two years down the line, your party, APC is yet to fulfil some of its critical electoral promises, especially at the federal level, in the areas of employment, free food for school children amongst others. What can you say about this?

The party has manifestoes and that is what they are working on. There is an intervening factor. Recession is around, we have not said we will not do them. We cannot run all the manifestoes at the same time. The Governor cannot tar all the roads in the local governments at the same time. Government is a continuum. The question should be that is the party doing well or not. It is doing well, it has not reneged on its promises. When the government was coming to power in 2015, nobody knew the extent of the rot in the country then. Nobody knew the extent of the decadence in the country. What we have been doing is to redeem the country.

People have said that your government does nor welcome opposition in any form. How would you react to this?

Are you saying there has been no opposition. Whoever is charged of something would whip up sentiment. The right of everybody is protected by the constitution. There is right to dignity of human life and right to freedom of speech and our government recognises that.

How have you been coping as the Majority Leader of the House?

We have been doing well that is why you see a lot of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crossing to the APC.

How have you been meeting the needs of your people in Ikorodu as a lawmaker?

I have been representing them well here and at home. But it is better you go to my constituency to ask them what I have been doing for them since I got to office. We have tried our best to give the people the dividends of democracy as much as possible.

In Lagos House of Assembly, Speaker Obasa Is An Exemplary, Motivational Leader – Ogundimu

Honourable Oluyinka Ogundimu is the representative of Agege State Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly. A two time lawmaker, he is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance.
In this interview, he speaks on his experience in the House so far, the leadership style of the House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa and other issues.

Sir, as the chairman of the house committee on finance, what does the job entails?
· Wow, that is a very big question; well it entails the activities of revenue and monitoring of MDAs that has to do with revenue generation in Lagos state and getting the budgeted figure given to them and ensure they meet up with the standard expected.
You know the budget of this year is more focused on improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state and that means there is a lot of work to do for the finance family. Aside from monitoring of the finance agencies like LBIC, Ibile Holdings, LAGBUS, STOs and also the debt management office, even the Governor is on ground monitoring the process, hence being the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the House involves a lot of work.

· As the Chairman of the Committee, what does the committee do in case there is a shortfall in the revenue expected?
· What we have just done is not to wait till the last quarter of the year when they have to bring their returns, we have decided at the committee level that at each quarter of the year, we will have to call for the revenue figures from all the MDAs and we get our own figure from the STOs, Ministry of Finance and Oracle, so we marry them together to reconcile and see the differences. Actually, there are bound to be differences because the standard limit for each of the organs is different, if we get the final figure, we then ask the MDAs to bring their performance figure and see if it conforms with the standard figure and if there are deviations, we have to see what is responsible either it is shortage of staff or they have not been doing their best, we correct them right there and they go back to the field. If they are still not conforming, we will see the result in the next quarter which will be the middle of the year, and then we can raise the issue on the floor of the house.

· Sir, you are a second time legislator, during your first term in the office, what are the challenges you face?
· As a first timer, you are said to be green, one lacked the technical know-how, the skill require of the office, one’s residual knowledge might not be enough, there is need for experience in this job. If one does not have the experience, people will just be calling you honourable and one will be answering without knowing the rudiments of the office. Optimally for one to perform there is need to learn from the senior colleagues and secondly, there is need to get involve in training that will expose you to the core aspect of the job and thirdly is learning on the job, where you will be able to sit down with other honourable members and read fervently from the books. We are very lucky in this House as we are expose to a lot of trainings, even if one is learning carpentry or mechanic, I think it is enough to know the rudiments of the job.

· Cuts in… Even during your first term, you were rated one of the best honourable, how did you manage to surmount the pressure?
· Well, one has to just throw away every possibility of making errors, face the business from day one, if you make mistakes, they will correct you, then you learn from your mistakes. I don’t think that is an offence, just determination that you should face the job from the beginning, secondly, you need to get some mentor and one’s background also is a factor to assist in doing better on the job.

· Recently sir, you commissioned boreholes in all the wards that make up your constituency, as a lawmaker, are you expected to do this?
· Yes, I commissioned seven bore holes that made up my constituency; the issue is like a business organisation that is set up in a particular community which is out to make profit, as the organisation is expected to be responsible like providing good roads and other community activities, in management, it is refer to as Corporate Social Responsibility, so as a lawmaker too, we should be socially responsible. Beside our legislative assignment, we should be able to set aside part of our salary to do these things one after the other. I may not be doing it at the same time, I just give myself a period of time to do it, I get some of the materials myself not minding the stress without awarding the contract to anybody and people appreciate it so well. So, I need to be socially responsible.

· What are plans on ground to monitor these entire projects?
· Ones the people are the curtain in the process of establishing the project, they take it up as their own and monitor it at all times. I asked them to get the elders, youths and the religious bodies, they were asked where they want it situated and they gave reasons, so the project was handed over to them. They gather to determine the price to be selling the water and whatever they get will be used to maintain the project like buying fuel and other stuffs to ensure the project last longer.

How will you rate the performance of the 8th assembly?
What you have asked me is a very difficult question, it’s like asking a child to mark his own script, what do you expect other than awarding marks to himself or herself, but to be candid, this is a very determined assembly, having been part of the 7th assembly, I think we are more focused and determined. Determination is the key word; you will discover that there are some bills that people will just shy away from but this assembly never relent. A very good example is the Land Grabbing law; we’ve been on it for a very long time and at a point, it looks impossible but this assembly went ahead and pass the bill. Another example is the Neighbourhood Safety Corps bill, it is something that we look into severally and passed to the Federal Government but it’s like we’re crying lonely in the wilderness, but the fact is we need to help ourselves, kudos to the leader of the 8th assembly in person of Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa for showing us the way. He single headedly pushed the bill and we all gave it a good shot as it becomes a law. These and many others are landmark achievement that doesn’t come easy, also is the kidnapping law; the 8th assembly is very proactive. Not forgetting that in law making business, there is what we called impact assessment of all the laws even the existing ones and that is what we are doing presently.

And you make your mark by moving motion for the fly over at pen cinema…
WOW… I have to give kudos to the Rt. Honourable Speaker and my colleagues, it was an overwhelming support that I have on the floor that day because it’s an eye saw, when we came up with that idea, the Commissioner for works was talking about stigmatization and I told him nothing concerns me with that, all I want to achieve is to ensure the traffic from Moshalashi Alhaja to Iju road, from agunbiade to oba ogunji and other routes, so, at the end of the day, the Governor reasons along with us and included it in the budget, if this is not achieved, it will affect the 2017 budget which I know the Governor won’t like.

· Together with the Speaker, you have brought development to Agege…
· Well, we have to give the Speaker a lot of kudos; he is always ready to support a laudable and genuine idea that will serve humanity. Like that of Abule Egba bridge that is on-going, Abule Egba to Oshodi, a lot of construction is on-going as well like the BRT lane, the road will even come with a service lane. We also have to appreciate the gesture of the Governor who is always ready to support the laudable ideas. These are what we’ve been working on in Agege and we have just started.

Southern Kaduna: It Is Unreasonable to Kill Because of Religion – Bisi Yusuf

A lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Bisi Yusuf is not happy with the current killings in Southern part of Kaduna State.
In this interview, the lawmaker, who represents Alimosho Constituency 1, urged the people to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
The lawmaker, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts (Local, also condemns the perceived interference in religious affairs by the government and speaks on others matte

My fundamental answer to the question is that be it religious, social or otherwise, I don’t see why we should be killing one another at this particular time. For the Federal Government and the Governor of Kaduna State, I would not say they have not done anything about it. It is not every time that the government speaks without doing something underground. I believe they might have been doing some things underground, but they should accelerate it. Killing is a grave act and it pains me. Most parts of the country are not safe; the militants in the Niger Delta, the Boko Haram in the north and the Kaduna killings are not good for the country. God hates blood shedding and all hands should be on deck to put it in check. I am not happy about the killings at all.

Is this not a challenge to our security in Nigeria and the need for state police?

State police is definitely the answer. The total number of policemen in the country is not enough to protect the number of people in the country. What is the population of Nigeria, over 170 million, and what is the number of police that are employed to take care of them? No matter how benevolent the government of a country may be, when security is not put in proper perspective, there would be problem and the government would not be able to do what they want to do. I am not saying they are not trying, but they should increase the tempo. I heard that they recently employed 10,000 policemen; but will that solve any problem. The Federal Government should allow each state of the federation to have state police.

There is possibility of a reprisal attack by the people of Southern Kaduna

…I just want to appeal to them not to do that, it is just an appeal.

You once appealed to the Sole Administrators of Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state to think out of the box. To what extent have they done this?

You would notice that the local councils have improved their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and they now concentrate on blocking loopholes. This could not be done once, it is a gradual process. My findings are in the report of my committee, which I would soon submit to the House for debate.

What is your advice to them in 2017?

They should be pro-active, and complement the efforts of the state government. They should be close to the people and people should see them complementing the efforts of the state government and they should work with the state government for development purposes.

People believe that capital punishment is going out of fashion, but the Lagos State House of Assembly recently passed a law imposing death sentence on kidnappers. Is this not retrogressive?

What do you expect us to do, when kidnapping is driving investors away from the country. Even the Bible and Quran say those who kill should be killed. What the law even states is that it is those, whose captives die in custody that would be killed.

Just recently, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Adeboye stepped down over a directive by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) Do you think the government should interfere in religious matters?

I am happy about this question. What does the government have to do with religion. I am a Muslim, but I believe that you cannot use an imperfect law to correct a perfect law. The law of God is perfect unlike that of man. I am not happy about this at all. A spiritually anointed person would continue to function until he dies unless he willingly steps down. His retirement would even be inspired by God; this is my personal opinion. It would make some radical pastors and imams revolt.

Would you advice the religious bodies to go to court over this?

Well, it is left for them. Would you tell the Chief Imam of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to retire. Why would you say somebody should step down as a pastor or imam, when God is still using him? Our President is 74 years old, would anybody ask him not to contest for a second term if he so wishes. Age is a thing of the mind.

Many people believe that the 2017 budget of Lagos State, which is N812 Billion is too ambitious based on past experiences

…That is a fallacy. When we were reviewing the activities of the past year, we discovered that no state government in Nigeria performed like the Lagos State Government. It is not just by mouth, it is physical, the manifestation is there. Everywhere you go, you see that there is new Lagos with a new look. With this year’s budget, you would see the results. Even N1 Trillion is not enough to solve the problem of the state in one year. I know we will get there.