Eze Christopher Arinze is the Eze Udo Ndi Igbo of Agbara Igbesa in Ado Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State. Recently he spoke on what the Ogun State governor can do to deliver good governance to Ogun people.
Recently Dapo Abiodun was inaugurated as Governor of Ogun State. What are your expectations?
It is a good development for our democracy. When the deputy governor once visited me in my palace during her campaign and we sat with my people, she lamented that what she saw on the ground on her way to Agbara in terms of bad roads made her heart bled. She said she never knew that Agbara Igbesa had been abandoned to that extent. She lamented that a community where we had multinational companies had been left in ruin. Because the roads are bad, commuters from the area and environ spend valuable times in endless traffic caused by the bad roads and she promised that the first on their list as they resume would be to tackle the road problems head long. I am happy she and the governor won.
Now that Abiodun has been sworn in as governor what do you think should be his priorities?
I would plead with him again that he put infrastructure on the front burner. We need just good roads. Nigerians are not lazy people. We are not demanding much from government but basic necessity of life, next on the list should be creating jobs for the unemployed youths in the state. If they can assist in vocational training in the grassroots, it would help a lot.
When you talk about road, we want you to zero down on areas of need
The major roads like Agbara-Igbesa Atan road have turned to death trap. Daily, lives are lost to accident on that road because of its critical condition and recently, I saw Chinese companies putting some palliative measures. But for how long would that last? If the government come in and do it, such person would win the heart of the people. I have already told my people that any governor that reconstructs that road would get a second term in office. Within me, I believe Dapo Abiodun would do that. Then another thing is, if you come to Agbara Igbesa, you would discover that it is a very big Local government. Then you have to put into consideration other areas that Agbara Igbesa connects, therefore everything must be done to ease movement of agricultural produce.
Communities like Itekun which shares boundary with Isashi community is a good example. If the bridge connecting Itekun and Isashi is constructed, that axis of Ogun would be linked to Lagos and this would boost trade and commerce along that corridor, Imuse and Totowu need bridges and culverts also to connect them to mainland and if the government can be able to do that, many companies would spring up from these communities. Also government should remember Papalanto road. Remember that the community hosts a major power plant and as such government should help fix the road. Agbara Igbesa is indeed is a food basket because of its vast fertile lands. Good road will make it easy for the farmers to move their crops from hinterland to the cities. If this link bridges that I mentioned are constructed, agriculture would get a boost in the area. Good roads would also attract property developers to the area too.
When you look at Agbara Igbesa, it share boundaries in many fronts with Lagos, it is also a host to many multinational companies. Government should encourage investors in the area by establishing Fire Service station in Agbara to protect lives and properties in the area. The Police also needed to be encouraged and motivated through changing of patrol vans and renovations of Police station. Although crime is relatively low in Agbara because most of our youths are gainfully employed, as the state gradually attains mega city statue, you cannot rule out crimes in the future, so law enforcement agencies need our help.
How can the governor carry everyone along?
The non indigenes just like I keep telling them contribute very well to the socio economic development of Agabra Igbesa and as such should be compensated with appointments in government both at state and local government levels. We are not asking for too much but let the government of the day give us sense of belonging. Once you carry the non indigenes along, the foundation for second term is gradually being laid.
In the area of healthcare, do you think there are things the government can also do to make a difference?
As you know, I am the next Rotary President Of Agbara, In Rotary, we practice our four way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? And so on. So we care for humanity. That is why in all our projects, we always work towards touching peoples’ lives for good. So in delivering good governance to Ogun people, we look forward to working with the governor and his deputy in years to come. In rotary, we have done a lot in polio eradication programmes, distribution of mosquito nets and other projects. In my own tenure as Rotary president, I hope to build toilets and bathrooms in Police stations within Agbara Igbesa area.
How have you been coordinating Ndigbo in Agbara Igbesa to maintain peace with their neighbours?
My title Eze Udo means King of peace. Like the name implies, I settle dispute among my Igbo kinsmen and their Yoruba neighbours. My relationship with Oba of Agbara Land, Oba Lukmon Jayeola Agunbiade is also cordial. From time to time, we meet to discuss issues that are of mutual interest to both races. Come September 7, I shall be celebrating my coronation as well as my investiture as Rotary President of Agbara. I look forward to seeing the governor and his deputy at the occasion just as I also attended their inauguration in Abeokuta.