HONOURABLE Jide Jimoh is the chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area. In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the middle aged articulate politician gave account of his stewardship in less than nine months of his second term, his take on the raging Makoko demolition palaver and more…
How has it been in the last few months that you started your second term in office?
We thank Almighty God for sparing our lives. So far, we have continued from where we stopped in our first term in office. In line with our constitutional responsibilities and our party’s manifesto, we have continued to make life more meaningful for our people by rehabilitating bad roads. For instance, in less than one year that we came in for second term, we have rehabilitated Church Street, Makoko Road, Alara Road, Kofoworola Road, Olatunde Road, Olorunade Road, Borno Way and many others. We have also procured 350KVA generator for the whole council secretariat.
We also empowered the aged -that is those within the bracket age of 70 and above, in line with the constitutional provision. We placed them on a stipend of N10,000 per month. 100 of them are benefitting. That is N12 million in a year and N36 million in three years. We have made provision for it in the budget.
We did not stop at the aged, we also embarked on empowering the widows. We gave 100 of them farm produce such as crates of eggs to start business on their own. The youths of the LCDA are also not left behind in this welfare package of our administration. We empowered 185 youths through our skill acquisition programme. They have not only graduated but also given a little sum to start their own business.
It is also worth of note to mention that there has been an improvement in our IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) in the few months of our second term in office. We established what we called Yaba Environmental Defenders –where we engaged 40 able bodied men to be in charge of our environment. We have appointed about 650 people of this LCDA into various board committees. This is to keep them busy and away from evil.
A whole lot of schools have also been rehabilitated. For example, All Saints Primary School, the perimeter fence of Talimu Islamiya Primary School. During the recent rain storm, the entire fence of Lagos City College collapsed but we have since assisted them in building a new fence. We have procured two ambulances for the use of the community at no cost to the residents of the community. They are already using them. We recently distributed nine 500KV electrical transformers to the nine wards within the community. We also gave out wheel chairs and crutches for the use of old people and physically disabled people of this community respectfully.
We thank God Almighty that all our efforts to make Yaba LCDA as one of the best in the whole of Lagos State is yielding results. For instance, in the just concluded Ibile Sports Festival in Lagos State, Yaba LCDA emerged victorious. We came first among the 56 LG/LCDA in the whole of Lagos. Our female football team, Yaba Queens came second in the whole of Lagos State.
Just yesterday, I was honoured by Nigerian Union of Teachers with an award of excellence and good performance.
Recently, your LCDA was in the news albeit for the wrong reason, the demolition of Makoko.
There was no demolition of Makoko, what happened was the removal of shanties on the lagoon. Although the shanties on the lagoon very close to Makoko, but they were not part of Makoko. Even with that the removal of those shanties is for the good of the community. My take on this is that there is need for the state government, the LCDA and other stakeholders to meet with the people again to enlighten them on why such things must take place.
Are you saying the people were not consulted before the removal took place?
The Commissioner (for Waterfront Infrastructure) said he called them for a meeting and they also confirmed to me that they were called for a meeting. What they are saying is that they did not know that the thing will happen so soon. That was their grouse.
Were you informed before the demolition started?
The Commissioner informed me after the meeting with the stakeholders.
Are there alternatives provided for the people that were displaced?
Knowing the kind of government our party is running, I am sure something is being done.
But some lawyers are saying the state ran afoul of the law by demolishing those shanties?
I am not aware of such law. The governor himself is a lawyer, a SAN, who has the full knowledge of the law. I am sure he must have taken such law into consideration if actually it exists before embarking on the demolition. I am sure too the court is the one that can determine whether what the government did was right or wrong. So, let it to the court to determine that and not any lawyer.
But I remember that sometime in your first tenure you built a health centre and also gave them a boat. This action sort of gave these people a legitimacy?
Giving them a health centre, a canoe and transformer does not mean we gave them legitimacy. We don’t have power to do so. It is only the state government that has power to give them legitimacy. We were only providing them our own welfare package because they are part of the community. They are human beings and they are part of the electorate and above all, they are tax payers. On that basis, we have to give them what is due to them.
So, what are you doing to ameliorate their sufferings now?
The governor has said it all. He said there is going to be stakeholders meeting where all of us will be there to discuss and resolve the whole thing. And I am in support of that.
So, when is the stakeholder meeting going to hold?
The governor will tell us. But I have met with the people myself. I told them not to take laws into their own hands nor should they allow other people to infiltrate them. They agreed with me.
- TOLANI ABATTI
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, July 31, 2012