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.