FORMER Orile Agege Local Council Development Area (LCDA) boss, Hon. Taofeek Abiodun Adaranijo, who won the election into the House of Representatives, Agege Federal Constituency has said there is no bickering between himself and Hon. Samuel Adejare, who he will be succeeding starting from Friday, May 29, 2015.
The Awori born politician told ENCOMIUM Weekly this and much more on Friday, May 22, 2015 when we visited him in his Orile Agege, Lagos office…
How does it feel emerging the winner of the keenly contested House of Representatives election?
First, I have to give thanks to Almighty God who has made it possible for me to emerge the winner of the last national election in my federal constituency. It’s not by my power or might but the grace of God. And to all my teeming supporters, the people of Agege who had voted overwhelmingly for me to emerge as the party’s representative at the National Assembly starting from May 29, 2015, I say a very big thank you to them all. I believe there is no magic in it, whatever you sow is what you will reap. People believed while I was at the council as the chairman, I did my best in the service to the community. So, they repaid me back by voting for me massively during the election.
You’re the council boss for three times consecutively, would you say you had done well to have deserved the victory?
I would say yes, but the grace of God will give you the opportunity for many people to say you’re the one. Even what you don’t deserve, if you have the grace of God, you will get it. I think it’s the grace of God that has given me the opportunity to be loved and voted for massively at the election. And you can also wish away your goodwill because whatever you sow that you reap. So, if you do well, people will see and if otherwise, they will surely see everything also. I believe there is always a payback time for everything we do. I think that’s what has actually worked for me.
Since Orile Agege Local Council Development Area was created in 2003, there has been no other person at the helms of affairs of the council than you. What do you think was responsible for this?
It all depends on the will of God. As we are all aware, in politics, you aspire to any political office of your interest. And it’s when people vote for you that you can get to that position. People have been voting for me all the time because they believe in my ability to deliver. And if you looked at what we have achieved throughout my tenure as the chairman of the council, you will agree with me that we have broken some records that will be very difficult for many people to attain in the nearest future. Are you talking about the council secretariat, the drainages all over the place and some other fantastic things we have accomplished to the benefit of our people? I believe all these achievements had really worked for us and the support of our people. But above all, God’s grace. Not that we are the best but it’s just God that has been seeing us through and we will forever be grateful to Him.
Can you give us some of your specific achievements in the local council area that people of the area can’t just forget in a hurry?
I have started mentioning some of these achievements. I started everything in that council. If you look at the secretariat, it was built by my administration on the land that was just a refuse dump. Nobody expected that such a marvelous structure could be erected in that place. But with God on our side, we’re able to build a befitting secretariat. Not only that, a maternity centre was built at Papa Ashafa which is the first in that community. And Papa Ashafa is one of the thickly populated communities in Lagos State as a whole. We have two wards in the area. We also constructed a lot of structures, rehabilitation of many roads, regarding and completion of Jakande schools’ structures of those days. We got some other roads done through the LSDPP, that’s World Bank project. Some other schools were also being constructed through the same LSDPP. We empowered a lot of people, especially youth. We employed more than 150 people into the council. So, I believe all these accomplishments can be forgotten in a hurry by the people in Orile Agege local government development area and which I think is the magic that has really worked for me.
In the last elections in Lagos State, unlike before, a lot of people voted for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which made it difficult for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to secure victory, especially the guber poll which was a fierce battle between Akinwunmi Ambode and Jimi Agbaje. Does that mean your party has not been fair enough to the people of Lagos State or what do you think was responsible for Lagosians to have identified with PDP to that extent?
You can also assess us. If you go round, you look at what the Lagos State government has done, hardly could we see any state that has done as much as Lagos State has done for her people. But you will also agree with me that PDP is in control of the Federal Government and the party has all the machinery of government at its disposal. So, all these were used against us but at the end of it all, we still won. You will agree with me that when we were already prepared for the elections, they shifted the elections and during the period, they came out with a lot of money, bags of rice in the name of stomach infrastructure and a lot of people danced to their tune on these. But with the grace and favour of God on our side, we conquered them. We’re politicians, and we believe with what we have done for our people, they will actually canvass for us, which they did and without bribing them. And we thank God, people voted for us.
Why did you opt for the House of Representatives seat after having been at the helm of affairs of Orile Agege LCDA for three terms? Then, what are your agenda now that you will be representing the whole of Agege Federal Constituency?
Concerning your first question, I believe you will agree with me that one has to aspire to a greater height in life. You can’t be in a particular position for donkey years. You will have to move forward and that’s exactly what I did. And of course, House of Representatives is one of the avenues for you to lobby for things on behalf of your constituency. If you look at my constituency now, hardly would you notice Federal Government presence. Even, the express road from Mangoro to Abeokuta, Ogun State that has been started about eight years ago, has not been completed. So, that’s one of the things we’re going to work on by making the Minister of Works aware of the abandoned projects like that and complete them for the benefit of my people and all other people that may benefit directly or indirectly from such projects. I will also make sure I use my position to attract more and more federal projects to my constituency so that our people could enjoy true dividends of democracy. And thank God, we’re going to be at the centre also, we’re not in opposition anymore. We will walk in to anybody and get whatever we want on behalf of our people. We only need the support of the people to give the government time to get its bearing. They shouldn’t be in a rush, they should just have confidence in us. I assure all Nigerians, whatever we promise, we will surely deliver.
What’s your advice for Buhari?
My only advice for Buhari and all of us in APC that will be holding one position or the other starting from May 29, 2015 is that all the promises we have made to the people shall be fulfilled. There should be constant supply of electricity because if that’s done, we have already generated a lot of employments for our people, especially youth. Then, fuel issue must be fully addressed. How can we be transporting our crude oil to other countries to refine when we have refineries here in Nigeria? We should make sure the refineries are fixed and if they can’t function anymore, let’s construct other ones that will be functioning properly so that problem of fuel scarcity will be a thing of the past. If Nigerians can have constant and adequate supply of electricity and fuel, they will be able to run their personal businesses and in the process, some people will be employed by a lot of private business owners. With that, the level of poverty will be reduced. We also need to empower people, especially the youth so that they can also be independent.
What do you think the Lagos governor-elect, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode can do to surpass the record of Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) or to serve Lagosians better?
I think we can still do better in Lagos. If we take a look at what’s happening in Ogun State, no one can believe Ogun State government can be constructing those bridges along Abeokuta, Shagamu, Ijebu Ode and many other places. There are lots of roads and bridges that have been constructed by Governor Amosun. So, that means in Lagos, we can do more than that. For instance, we’re supposed to have constructed a flyover at Pen Cinema by now judging by the number of people passing the area. So, I want to encourage the new governor, Akinwunmi Ambode to go through all the projects that have been enlisted by Governor Fashola, see those that will benefit our people and start work immediately on them. Before he knows it, four years will soon be over. And if you think you can be wasting time, the people are there to tell you if you have done well or not.
So, my advice to the new governor is to start work as soon as he assumes office and ensure things are done accordingly.
What’s the truth about the tale that you and Hon. Samuel Adejare are not in good terms even before you won the ticket for the House of Representatives which prevented him from going for the second term?
There is no problem between myself and Dr. Adejare. It’s only a contest, and in any competition, one person will win and of course, the other people will come behind him. And that’s exactly what has happened. In a contest which started with the primary election and I emerged the winner. And since then, he has also joined me. He worked for the party to ensure I win the election as a member of House of Representatives that will be representing Agege Federal Constituency, the position he’s holding presently. And it’s my turn today, it can be another person’s turn tomorrow. So, there is no feud whatsoever between us.
But we learnt you bought the delegates then to emerge the winner at the primary election, how true is it?
That’s politics for you. If anybody else had won, the person won’t say so. Let’s forget about whatever means I have used to emerge victorious at the primary election. What’s important is that somebody has won. And so far he has won, let’s not continue to argue about whatever magic he used to attain the position. He has won, he has won. To me, it’s just the grace of God.
A couple of days back, a story broke that you’re swindled in an attempt to buy a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, worth N250m. How true is it?
I have reacted to the story. I told the person point blank I don’t have such an amount. Where do I get such a huge amount? I don’t even know what will prompt me to go to Dubai when there is a lot of land in Lagos here to do whatever I want. And from common sense of it, where do I get that amount? I have never made that in my life. I believe the person is only praying for me and I claim it. But my brother, it’s just a mere speculation.
But maybe because having been at the helm of affairs of Orile Agege LCDA for years…
The council doesn’t even have such money. Don’t forget we don’t even have a direct allocation from the Federal Government. Whatever is given to Agege is what we share from. So, where do we make that kind of money? Our allocation has always been between N20m and N50m per month. And by the time you pay salary, all the contingency allowances, the non-pensionables and other miscellaneous expenses, so, where do I get that kind of money from? I just see it as a prayer, and believe I will be that rich in future so that I can even do more than that (laughs).