OVER one year of calling the shots as the chairman of Ifo Local Government in Ogun State, Chief (Hon.) Oluwole Enilolobo is beating his chest that his administration has fared better in terms of touching lives. Highlighting some of his achievements in office, the Lagos State University graduate insisted there is still more in his plans for the good people of Ifo. Married and with three kids, Lobo 1, as he is fondly called, in this interview addressed the issue of house demolition within his jurisdiction last year.
What is your assessment of your leadership as Ifo Local Government boss?
Let me first appreciate the good people of Ifo Local Government for giving us this wonderful opportunity to serve them. Looking back over one year in office now, I would say the people have been wonderful. They have cooperated with us in achieving all we have done. The journey has been so tough, however, I give glory to God.
What are the challenges of occupying this position?
In governance, the major challenge is fund. What we are getting from the federal government is far below what should be coming to us. We only rely on internally generated revenue and at the same time we wouldn’t want to place too much burden on our people. We must, however, serve despite the little resources coming to us. We need to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
Recently, the government took a giant step by constructing major roads in Ifo Local Government and many houses were demolished. What is in place for those affected by this development?
First, working with the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the development of Ogun State has been wonderful. I see the governor as somebody who put God first in whatever he does. He has the love of the people at heart. Many developmental projects are going on in most parts of Ogun State, Ifo Local Government inclusive. As soon as he became the governor, he toured major areas in the state informing the people of what he would do concerning roads. He informed them that houses would have to give way for roads. He did it himself, from Ijoko to Ojodu. He said there is compensation for any house owner affected. He said they should come to Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State with relevant documents to claim what belongs to them. I am a witness. I have taken more than three people to Abeokuta for compensation. The exercise was for road construction. It is not to inflict pain on the people. There is compensation for those affected.
You are from Oke Aro in Ogun State, how have you been able to relate with the people of Ifo as the chairman?
The issue of where I come from has been neutralized. I am looking at the larger picture as Ifo Local Government chairman. The people of Oke Aro you mentioned hardly see me. I spend most of my time here in Ifo. I know my responsibility. My jurisdiction is the whole of Ifo Local Government and we must do justice in reaching our people. Most of our projects are spread across the local government. We move around to identify the problems of the people and we go to work to alleviate their sufferings.
How many areas of development has your leadership touched in the last one year?
By the grace of God, we have touched the education sector, health, in terms of provision of drugs free of charge. Most of the people who visit the local government health facilities are from the rural areas and we make sure there is free drugs for them. When we came in, we decided to work with the state government in reducing mortality rate in this local government. We realized that lack of money is keeping the people away from using our health facilities, especially the pregnant women. We now decided to supply delivery kits to all our health centres. All a pregnant woman needs during labour is that delivery kit. Once you have it, you are ready to go. We made available over 2,000 of such and supplied to all our health centres, it’s all free. We also provided free drugs to all the centres. In the area of agriculture, we are turning things around. In the last one year, the governor was here to commission our ultra modern poultry. We have about 2,500 birds. That has created job opportunities to the people. We also sell our eggs at minimal cost. We gave tricycles, motorcycles to the people, equip the vigilante group to combat crimes. We have given out hair dryers, sewing machines to the people. Road construction is very important to the people. We are also there.
What will you say being Ifo Local Government chairman has deprived you of?
I see myself as an image and ambassador of Ifo Local Government and because of that there are so many things I wouldn’t do anymore. Being a government official, you don’t have a private life anymore. You watch what you do and say. You must think before you speak. You talk when it is right to do so and keep quiet when occasion demands. Your word is your bond. I work round the clock even without seeing my family and that’s the oath I took to serve the people at all times.
There is this peculiar issue as it concerns politicians, once you assume one level of position, the people would want you to solve all their domestic problems. How do you cope with this pressure?
It takes the grace of God. It is a constant feature in Nigerian politics. People might not really understand how it works but that does not mean we shouldn’t listen to them. We are here to serve them and one on one we must listen to their problems.
How is your social life?
Like I said, the position has taken away most of my social activities. I socialize, have good times with friends but the position is very demanding and there is no time for that at the moment. It is different when I was outside there. As the chairman of Ifo Local Government, there is no weekend for us, we work round the clock. There is really no time. I have a lot on my table to attend to.
– FOLUSO SAMUEL