Hon. Abiodun Taofeek Adaranijo is a member House of Representatives, representing Agege Federal constituency. To him, the Governor Akinwumi Ambode administration’s attainment in Lagos State beats his wildest imagination. Adaranijo also used the opportunity to ventilate his views on the state of the nation; the proposed cattle colony saga, state police and his plans for 2019 in this interview with PATRICK OKOHUE
There seem to be a pronounced bickering within your camp and that of the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, are the gladiators closing ranks now?
Don’t worry yourself, Yoruba would say ‘inu ikoko dudu leko fun timan jade’, every gladiator you see on the field today are product of the same camp, everybody ask anybody, you are talking of Ogundimu, the Speaker, Adejare we all started from the same pot/camp,
but Yoruba will also say, ‘Oba mewa, Igba mewa lonile aiye’ a king may reign today, another may tomorrow if somebody is reigning today you better just support him, because he is the one God has ordained at that time, there was a time I was the one ordaining everybody, whoever wants to go for any political office in Agege if I didn’t say yes that person will not go,
today it may be the Speaker, that is the work of God, it is for me to cooperate with him and see that Agege moves forward that is my own, because it is only God that can do all things, God has said this is his own time, tomorrow may be somebody else, so while he is there the necessary thing for us to do is to cooperate and we work together.
I know the Speaker tomorrow or in 2019 is going to be my man and what do you expect me to do, if somebody is for me do you want me to be against him?
So that is my own philosophy of live, the last time when it was a local government contest and everybody said I am here you are there all of us cannot be on the same page, so it has come and gone that is my philosophy of live, it is only the person God wants to be there that is there now.
You have been off the radar politically in Agege for some months now, one hardly see you at epoch making events in Lagos lately, an instance is that of the commissioning of the Abule-Egba golden Jubilee bridge last year ?
I am most times tied down at Abuja with one activity or another within the National Assembly, I feature most times in important functions that involves politics, the example of the Abule-Egba Bridge,
you mentioned you know I am one of those that influenced it, I remember the time when Oke-Odo road was so bad I moved the motion on the floor of the House not long after FERMA and the Lagos State swung to action, money for the construction of that road was approved by the Federal Government,
you know it was a loan between the state and local government and we collaborated to facilitate it owing to our influence at different levels, it was delivered and now we are enjoying it, thanks to Governor Ambode.
I want to delve into that because he has been doing wonderfully well for us in Agege, look at the number of roads that are being constructed and the new ones being initiated, two each in all of the local governments and LCDA ,very soon many of the works will commence
and also to ease the traffic snag experienced by our people prior to now, for instance look at the Pen Cinema Bridge construction ongoing now, a lot of developments, sometimes I might be busy at Abuja most times on oversight functions,
it may be at the North, East, West and a times when I know that some of these functions are the type my people can handle I send representatives to represent me, because if you leave the other one I am talking about, a times it might have negative effect on my constituency or to my committee in the National Assembly, so politically, I have been there, I am relevant.
There is hardly a week I don’t come home, if you come to my constituency office sometimes you see me there attending to some people, last Friday I held meetings with the women, I did the same thing in Agege, all these things currently there is a training centre running in Agege, sometimes you want to achieve certain feats, it is not ideal for you to talk too much. Let your achievements do that for you.
How best can you assess Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration and style of politics?
Let us give thanks to God almighty and to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu our leader who gave us Governor Ambode, initially many didn’t believe things would go the way it is going, we believe he is a civil servant and may not be able to do much,
but today when you look around you marvel at his performance, may be because he is also versed in grassroots management having worked at the local government as a Council Treasurer for many years, so he knows the do’s and don’ts, nooks and crannies of the state, he knows what to do to get results, the result is everywhere for everybody to see, so for Ambode 2019, it is a done deal.
I don’t think anybody will contest that except anybody that wants to waste his time and energy, Ambode is our Governor by the grace of God.
What are your 2019 plan as you have decided to close ranks with other gladiators whom you claim were heirs of the same political family you emerge from?
For 2019, well you are right, everything depends on God, but my own wish is to go back and run for the second term, because I have initiated a lot of things.
You know when you get to a place it is not easy for you to immediately grasp what is on ground there and note this that Obasa became the Speaker today because this was his fourth term there if not, he may not be the Speaker, so the more you are there, gain a lot of experience, have rapport with a lot of people there you become a ranking member,
then you will be able to influence a lot of things, so my wish is to go back and I know everybody will also toe the line, I am not disturbing anybody and I am aware they will not disturb me, my own is commit it into the hands of God he would see us through.
Years back you held a stakeholder town hall meeting, but since then you have not had another, what was the reason debarring this feedback session from holding?
We are doing it just that no noise was made about it, but I have been told that I need to do something soon, but sometimes we do get these projects to our constituency, but you know we as first timer you have to do a lot of work before you can get anything,
but not withstanding talking about the Abule-Egba bridge and the roads, I believe in doing concrete things though empowerment is not bad at all, two schools have been approved for me to my constituency by the Federal Government, but they have not started constructing the school, may be because of my own executive background I believe in projects that will touch on our lives as constituents,
but you know in 2011 the budget has been made we don’t have influence in it, in 2016 all of us in Lagos State from APC said let our money come for the Lagos State government for a mini stadium at Epe that is where our allotted fund went, 2017 that is what I am saying now, the school that I have been given the construction is yet to commence,
you know the Federal Government don’t release money to start capital projects on time, immediately they do release money for construction you would see them working and some other things we would have to influence and fight for, but what is left for us is to go back and articulate all these things together and then you will see action immediately.
What are the expectations from the stable of Hon. Taofeek Adaranijo as you seek re-election?
Well, it is for one to build on what is on ground, I just moved a motion not quite long ago on casualisation of workers, that is you see some people who engage workers and say they would staff them after three months or six, when it is one year they would ask them to go and they would recruit another set of people,
some would have accident at the place of work and they won’t take good care of them, there are also private member bill in the offing which I won’t disclose now so as not to be seen to have breached the protocols of the House until it is out,
we are going to build on what we have gathered and getting there we know a lot of people, lots of ministries, agencies that we can approach and get a lot of things from today we are better off where we started.
Why is the 2018 budget still foot dragging till now in NASS?
The question is very simple, I cannot be representing my constituency, the President is representing the whole federation and we would not see anything being done in our constituencies and you want us to continue to approve the budget for you.
You know I said earlier that they supposed to have started constructing the schools given to me since 2017, we want all those things, so if you start doing that today we would also pass the budget.
Because the President is getting the glory that he is doing this anti-corruption thing and we that are representing the constituency that gathered the votes for his emergence as President are not seeing anything and the National Assembly is not like before that they flaunt monies here and there which we all believe in and agree that let’s use the resources of the country for the development of our people, but not to the detriment of our constituents.
That is what we are saying, we are not saying give us money or did you hear us asking for money from the President? No! But do one or two things in our constituencies so that we can also go back and tell our people that if you give me opportunity, see I have been able to influence one or two things oh, if you give me another I will influence better developments, and it shores up support for our party, I am certain very soon we would pass it.
State Police issue how feasible?
First and foremost I am party man, my party has suggested that these are the things that we want and this had been on for several years, everybody have been clamouring for it that let’s have state police to complement and assist the conventional police
because if you have a state police, somebody that is recruited and posted to Agege and he started misbehaving everybody would call his parents to stop him, for him to go out of hand so it would be easy for some people to control them and if you look at the Federal Police if anything happens now you call a DPO who calls the Commissioner and he would call the DIG who will also call the Inspector General of Police,
before you know many unexpected things might have happened, but when we have our own, who am I going to call than the person that is in charge of the local government there and you get immediate response to issues and because we are going to know ourselves, that is what they do overseas, the Police would know me and my children,
I would also know him and members of his family, then if he starts misbehaving everybody would see that this person is going overboard, let’s draw him back, so there is no other alternative to state policing as it obtains in other climes, why not in Nigeria? We should allow it if it comes to the NASS we would have to amend some areas of the Constitution and we would give it a smooth sail.
Cattle Colony and hues and cries, your take?
One thing is certain, sometimes one man’s meat is another’s poison, what would work in Taraba may not work in Kogi, what would work in Lagos may not work in Edo,
so it depends on the states themselves may be the governor of Kogi felt it would work for them and their people key into it, Benue people said no this is not what we want, that is the essence of having this state police, so if it is what would work for you now enact a law the police would be in charge of implementing that law,
but if there is a law that does not conform with any interest of the President and he gives directives to the IG that that law they made there I am not in support of it that law would not work, that is what is happening in Nigeria.
Even when it is not conflicting with any constitutional provisions?
Yes, that is what we are seeing today, but let every state have and implement what they prefer in their state, we would see that there would be a lot of ease in this country,
that is the panacea and if the state are controlling their own resources you would see that there would be a lot changes and everybody will not be running to the Federal Government, some of us that would still be useful to the state but now at the national level now, you just have to find yourself in a place and adapt.
May be because he is also versed in grassroots management having worked at the local government as a Council Treasurer for many years, so he knows the do’s and don’ts, nooks and crannies of the state, he knows what to do to get results, the result is everywhere for everybody to see, so for Ambode 2019, it is a done deal. I don’t think anybody will contest that except anybody that wants to waste his time and energy, Ambode is our Governor by the grace of God.