Leonard Agha is the Grand Patron, Non Indigenes in Shomolu /Bariga, Lagos State. He speaks on the administration of Governor Akinwumi Ambode, saying that a non-indigene should be considered as his running mateß next year.
You visited the chairman of Somolu/ Bariga LCDA. Can you tell us the reasons for the visit?
When we met the chairman of Somolu Local Government Area, Abdul Hammeed Salawu, we deliberated on issues affecting non Indigenes in the council and at that meeting, he promised to make Somolu a model council in the state. He has lived up to his promise because presently, road construction is going on in many parts of the council. In Igbobi Sabe, there was a bad spot that often give motorists nightmare but the spot has been fixed and drainages were constructed in the area. Last year, he started attending to some of the requests of non-indigenes in the state and we believe that he would do more. We are appealing to him to give attention to the elderly by establishing Old Peoples’ home in the area which will help in alleviating the hardship being faced by senior citizens. As the leader of non -indigenes in the council, I’m pledging the support of the association towards the success of his policies.
How would you assess Ambode’s performance?
Under Ambode’s watch, the state is now food sufficient. Part of this was due to the collaboration between the state government and Kebbi State in the area of rice production; the Lake Rice is now a household brand in Lagos. During the yuletide, Lagosians benefited from this project as many of them were able to procure rice at an affordable price.The governor promised to run an all-inclusive government and today he has done just that by allocating administrative slots to non-indigenes in the state. I pray that he would be able to do more of such.
In the area of infrastructure, he has turned Lagos into massive construction yard. In Oshodi, modern bus terminals are being constructed, while work is going on intensively at the Lagos Badagry road. When completed, the 10-lane Super highway with light rail will transform the Badagry corridor and open it up for tourism. In the area of security, the government through the establishment of the Neighbourhood Watch Corps has been able to reduce crime in rural areas. Other existing security outfits like Rapid Response Squad has also been strengthened to protect lives and property.
What do you think Ambode can do to secure a second term in 2019?
I think he should try to work on his manifestos by revisiting it and anyone not implemented should be reviewed so that people can give him massive support. Again, the governor should critically consider the contributions of non-indigenes to the development of the state especially in the area of taxation. The leadership of non-indigenes in the state also expects the governor to give the slot of deputy governor to non-indigenes so as to give them a sense of belonging.
Also, we will like him to address the frequent cases of market demolitions. Each time markets and shops are demolished in the state; the victims are mostly Igbo and other non-indigenes who engage in trading. Such exercise without adequate compensation often impoverishes them. When these issues are given adequate attention, non-indigenes will give him their support in 2019.
As an Igbo leader in this council, how have you been able to coordinate affairs of your people?
I take the lead through exemplary leadership. For instance, through the annual New Yam Festival, I promote Igbo culture. There are plans on ground to establish an Igbo language primary school in my place where Igbo children would be taught Igbo language in addition to other courses that they learn in primary and secondary schools. As a person born and brought up in the South East, I also want our children to learn and understand the language too.
What do you think is the solution to the menace of Fulani herdsmen’s attack?
The cases of herdsmen attack have assumed a frightening dimension. I have also read in the newspapers that the federal government recommended the establishment of cattle colonies across the states. I think it should thoroughly look into the problems so as to find lasting solutions to this crisis before it gets out of hands. But in the South East, you have “Ama Awusa”, Garki and other settlements where cattle herdsmen have settled for years without any conflict. Care should be taken so that the problem would not lead to loss of more lives.
With the release of the election timetable, what’s your advice to eligible voters in Lagos State?
They should immediately participate in the voter registration exercise. It is important for them to update their voter’s card in preparation for the election because it is only through this means that they will be able to elect credible leader of their dream.