Hon. Dayo Saka Fafunmi is a second term Lagos House of Assembly member, representing Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 1. But he has also won the ticket to vie for the seat for the third term. In this interview with the experienced politician, he opened up on why he wants to represent his people again after serving them for eight years consecutively.
What are your plans for the people of your constituency?
Yes, I must commend the good people of Ifako-Ijaiye for their understanding so far on the projects we have executed. Though we as legislators are not opportuned to execute projects as determined legislators, we try to lobby for such projects to receive attention from the executive arm of the government.
So, over the years, my major responsibility is making laws, and the judiciary also works hand in hand with the legislature. I have spent eight years at the Lagos State House of Assembly representing the good people of Ifako-Ijaiye. My duty primarily is law-making and representation. The act of making law is usually in stages, so I have raised bills that transformed the yearnings of the people of Lagos State, which brought about remarkable ideas towards better Lagos like the advanced world.
Besides this life changing laws, as the Chairman, House Committee on Public Account in the state, I have been able to monitor finance meant for so many projects in all the local government areas and I ensured money is used meaningfully. The job of law-making is done by collective efforts of legislators.
We have been able to pass so many bills that directly affect the people. I really contributed my quota in this aspect. We have equally made law that reduces the mortality rate in the state. This law includes the law that bans the use of okada in some major roads in the state. You will agree with me the rate at which people were killed by the so called okada has reduced to the barest minimum.
Some said we are taking away their daily bread but people now realized that we are saving their lives, that is the determination of the House. Aside that, I am part of the legislature that raised the consumer protection law. This law will enables the people of Lagos to be able to return whatever you buy when you realize either it has expired or the taste is not good for you. It will give you the right either to return the good or your money is refunded. But most Nigerians are never interested in following the law, maybe because of the level of corruption in the country.
So, the idea is to protect the power of consumers. I want a situation whereby such bill is respected. Talking about representation, over the years that I have been representing Ifako-Ijaiye, it is no longer news that from Pen Cinema to Ishaga took close to four-five hours, because the road was not motorable since 2006/2007. When I came on board in 2007 with my determination to make things work, I lobbied to draw government’s attention to make this road more motorable, because I can only solicit for such projects to be implemented.
So, over the years, I have been able to key into the vision of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, and we have been able to influence the construction of over 30 roads which make transportation easy and accessible. I am also walking on many roads across Ifako/Ijaiye like Iju-Ishaga axis, Ajayi Road, Adeola Onijemu to Obawole.
You will agree with me that we have been able to take care of the infrastructure needs of the people of Ifako-Ijaiye. Ajuwon is a border area of Ogun State but all the same, we have done creditably in terms of infrastructure.
Also, the Kayode Road is also part of my effort which brings about the actualization of the project. Also in Ward A of the local government, you will also find other projects there like the provision of potable water. In Ifako-Ijaiye, we provide water used in every part of the city but we the producer don’t have water.
We took that drastic step to provide drinkable water, so it is a way of giving back to the people. We also invested in the building of schools. One of them was recently commissioned by the state governor, Barrister Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). I thank him so much and appreciate his passion for education development in the state. He is a man that God has blessed with a sense of leadership and this is a kind of person we will want to emulate and want to see leading the nation because he knows the importance of education. In my constituency, in the area of education, we have done creditably. Even at Iju Grammar School, we have been able to take it back to the benefit of the entire people of Ifako-Ijaiye.
Aside legislation, we have done a lot in improving electricity distribution with the provision of transformers, but the challenge is that NEPA is now privatized. Had it been that it is still under the control of the Federal Government, it will be easy to get stable power supply. I have set an ICT centre, well equipped. I don’t just train the people for personal interest but for them to be self dependent. Some of them are university graduates who have not secured employment.
I was given a testimony about how one of our students got a job with an oil company with the aid of his computer literacy. It also affords the youths to discover their ability in ICT. Throughout my lifetime, I attended public schools, my primary, secondary and even university. So I tried to bridge the gap with such ideas, so the rich and the poor will have equal opportunity to modern technology.
Why I provided free buses for all the students and pupils of Ifako-Ijaiye to and fro is to monitor all my programmes. The idea of scholarships, giving free JAMB and WAEC forms. Also, my major desire is to bring capital development projects to my constituency. In the area of sports, we have sponsored the organization of some competitions. Those are the things I believe will bring development to the community.
How do you fund all these projects you have highlighted? Is it from your constituent allowance or your salary?
Let me quickly correct this impression that Lagos State lawmakers earn constituency allowance. I will take you back memory lane, the idea was conceived during Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s tenure, when lawmakers introduced a constituency allowance to execute projects in their areas.
The former governor challenged this in court, and the agitation was put to rest. With that, no more constituency allowance and projects. So in Lagos, we don’t receive any money for project, but I want you to understand that a man with a mission and vision is different from a man without ideas.
Leadership is all about taking up ideas that inspire others to grow, to think more and do more, so my intention is to see what I can do to salvage my people and with the support from people who have same vision with me and my personal money, I have done more projects. So, when you look at it in general, you cannot see members that have such edifices like we have in my constituency in their constituencies. But my determination is to make things work, leaving a lasting legacy in the minds of the people. Don’t forget in Ifako-Ijaiye, no one has ever run for a third term in office. I am the first to ever aspire for third term and I was given the ticket.
Why don’t you go for a higher position?
That is a good question but I will tell you categorically that I prefer to work with the grassroots because I strongly believe in the grassroots development. I have some of my projects that I have not been able to complete but with the third term, I believe those projects can be completed.
One of them is the bridge that connects Ajayi Road in Ogba to Obawole area. With this, traffic on the college road axis will reduce drastically. I have done it to a certain level and His Excellency has approved this project but the contractor could not meet up to the expectation of the government.
The contract was re-awarded, so when the governor came for the APC rally in Ifako-Ijaiye, I was privileged to talk to Mr. Governor and he gave me his word concerning the project. So, this is why I could not aspire for a higher position. I have to be in the grassroots to give dividends of democracy to my people, and by the time I will be through with all these, I can plan for higher position because by then, I would have achieved my primary intention as a state legislator.
I want people to also know leadership is not just for selfish interest but ability to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people and because of this, I said to myself the best position now is the state house of assembly. Yes, lots of people have approached me that I didn’t aspire for the House of Representatives, but I let them understand I have lots of uncompleted projects at hand and I can only finish them with another term.
The issue of local government autonomy, will you subscribe to it?
Let me tell you, I am not going to support or advocate for local government autonomy. I am not going to tell you local government should have autonomy; the constitution recognizes the state and the national government according to the 1999 Constitution, it recognizes the centre which is the Federal Government; it is only sections 7 and 8 that recognize the local government, and for you to know the sincerity of the autonomy, it means it’s going to take power from the state to the centre, so this I believe will not augur well for the state government because it means the local government chairmen will now be taking direct order from the centre.
It will also mean that the governor will not have power over the local government. It will also mean having 20 governors in the state. Leadership should not be an accidental thing because most of our leaders came on board by accident.
Somebody said he doesn’t have any idea on the position he is vying for. We should support someone that will bring better things for the future of the country. So, coming back to local government autonomy, what we need is good representation. I think the Federal Government should give the state government autonomy to control its grassroots governance. Let’s look at this in another direction, we have a man at the centre that oversees all allocations and takes 57 percent of the total allocation. I think our collective efforts should be to discourage local government autonomy. Again, what is Federal Government business with education, they should provide power, security of lives and property.
For example, when you go to the Island, you will see lots of the so called federal roads which are abandoned, they will say don’t do this or that, because it’s a federal road. Are those roads not in Lagos State? So, when you bring up the issue of local government autonomy, that means you will allow a man sitting in Abuja at the centre to control Lagos local government directly. If that happens, then if a local government does not work the way the state governor wants, then what do you think will happen? So, I think we should all discourage that.
You have really touched the lives of your people with various projects, why are the local governments’ chairmen not living up to expectation?
It is a topic I cannot talk much about, but I can only tell you what you are seeing is a sign of what we are talking about. We in Ifako-Ijaiye are not so much lucky in terms of revenue, because a lot is tied to the allocation of the local government. Before I became a member of the House, I worked with various committees, it was there I understood the little problems encountered by the local government, by virtue of my position, I know how much they earn, so even though you want to do projects, how will you source enough funds to execute them? But like I said; if you are determined, you will perform. As legislators, we do not have power to execute a project; what I do is seek the attention of the executive.
– TADE ASIFAT