As the Lagos State council election scheduled for July 24 draws closer, the Executive Chairman of Agege Local Government, Alhaji Ganiyu Kola Egunjobi, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in an interview with newsmen spoke on his achievements in office, his candidacy among other sundry issues. Excerpt:
As your tenure winds down, what would you say are your achievements?
First and foremost, it is our interventions in school and vocational education. An uneducated and unskilled citizen is a threat to the society and we all know in Agege we have our own share of the negative consequences of having a preponderance of such undesirable group in our council area, particularly among our youth population. So, we made considerable efforts to provide some essentials for learning and teaching.
The council distributed school uniforms, bags and customized writing materials to pupils of the 26 primary schools in the council. New benches and desks were equally distribute to the schools for pupils. We also have in place four free shuttle buses, 30-seater coaster buses, to convey public school pupils at junctions close to their homes every school day to schools and take them back after closing. That way, we were able to reduce the rate of school drop-out and truancy in the last two years by 60 per cent, according to statistics obtained by the department of education in the council.
Talking of vocational education, my administration established three additional units in the training centre: Graphic Art Design; Shoe and Bag Making; and Furniture and Carpentry. In all, over a thousand youths have graduated and upon their graduations got equipment from the council to ensure they practise their crafts. We did our bit education infrastructural wise. Some of our achievements include, construction of a block of six classrooms with a modern toilet at Salvation Army Primary School, Dopemu. Rehabilitated a block of twelve classrooms in Iloro Primary School including Security House at State Primary School. Renovated a block of six classrooms and reconstructed a collapsed fence at Oduduwa Primary School.
We also renovated toilets facility at State Primary School, Iloro among others. On my watch, artisans in Agege enjoy the patronage of the council and have a better fortune. My administration has in place 100 per cent local content policy. In contract award, we prioritize contractors from our area, so also those working on the sites. For your information, tailors from Agege made all the school uniforms we distributed to school pupils. The desks and benches were equally made by our carpenters.
The same thing with the customized books, it was made by Agege printers. Periodically, we identified struggling traders and artisans and give each N100,000 to support their operations among other social welfare programmes embarked upon by the council on my watch, which made the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, awarded me the Exemplary Leadership Award. In the area of water supply, we constructed 15 boreholes across the seven wards and provided generators to power them.
Speaking of health, we are in the process of completing the construction of two healthcare centres, one at Awori and the other at Dorcas and they will be delivered before the expiration of my tenure. In that regard, we bought two ambulance buses for medical emergency response in our community. We have equally carried out several medical outreach programmes, from cancer screenings to child immunization while the three healthcare centres that I met on ground, are never out of stock in terms of drugs and personnel.
Talking of road infrastructure, we delivered Oshungboye Street road, installed streetlights at Majaro, constructed Oba Remo Street’s road, same as Taiwo Dada Street, Union Road and Shodipo Street at Papa Ashafa where streetlights are also put in place. Like Shodipo Street, we also installed streetlights at Alagbigba in Isale Oja. Others like Ogunjobi Street, Agege Market Street, Shodipo Street road at Morcaz, Sanni Omomeji Street road, Abudu Oladejo road, Humani Street, Ishola Yusuf Street and Oredapo Street road were not left out one way or another. We have equally made our landmarks, our seat of power, the secretariat and the legislative building more befitting and to birth workplace efficiency.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record and immodest, Agege, today, have the best municipal legislative building in Africa named after Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who to all intents and purposes earned being immortalized in our community. In all honesty, we have not fared badly and the biggest room is the room for improvement.
What has been the challenges so far?
It is the menace of the Awawa cult group and one sore point I can’t run away from. One thing we need to understand here is that it is a complex issue, which requires a holistic approach to change the narrative. The family they say is the bedrock of the society. Most of the badly behaved youths are products of dysfunctional families with bad role models from childhoods. The constitution is also a big issue among other elephants in the room. As a local government chairman constitutionally you are the Chief Security Officer of the council. But that is just in name and not in reality.
However, we did our best within the confines of what is permissible using the carrot and stick approach. About 250 of them were recently enrolled in a rehabilitative programme by the council and are receiving a monthly stipend of N10,000 each to encourage them to undergo training at our vocational centre. Security-wise, we do give supports to the police and have regular meetings with all the three DPOs in our area and the Community Development Associations where we share intelligence.
Recall that Isokoko and Pen Cinema Police Stations were burnt by hoodlums in the aftermath of the EndSARS protest. While we helped to fix a part of the Isokoko station to ensure the officers attached to the station go back to work, the council donated its property at Ijaye Road temporarily to their Pen Cinema counterparts and I can tell you for free that right now they operate from there.
You are one of the contestants for the council election slated for July 24, what are your programmes if you are re-elected?
We have horde of chairmanship aspirants in Agege. In our party alone six persons threw their hats into the ring, including my Vice-chairman and my former Supervisor for Works. That is the beauty of democracy and I welcome the challenge and bear no ill-feeling towards them. We all want the best for Agege.
However, I remain the best man for the job. In terms of experience of presiding over the council, I stand head and shoulders above all the aspirants in Agege.
In two months, I will be four years in office, so, you can imagine the experience have garnered on this seat. Like they say experience is the best teacher, and you can’t buy it in the marketplace.
Also, I can only get better and up my game. I will ramp up my efforts on the issue of insecurity and seek more collaboration in that regard. All the unfinished businesses like roads under construction and those we have planned out will get special attention. There are lot of projects in the pipeline in the council. Some are even underway like a top-notch 2000-capacity event centre for commercial purpose, which construction is ongoing.
Likewise, Agege museum centre which is nearing completion. Already we built a gym for commercial reason too and to improve residents’ cardiovascular health, ensure they keep fit, and build their self-confidence among others. There is a first-class shopping mall we are also planning. Am wired to make a difference in the lives of the people of Agege and develop its landscape.