Hon. Jude Idimogu, represents Oshodi/Isolo Constituency11 at the Lagos State House of Assembly. In this chat with select journalists in Lagos, he shares his experience in the house and his plans to empower the people of his constituency. He also speaks on the infrastructural deficit in his constituency and calls on the state government to come to his assistance. Peterclaver Egbochue was there. Excerpts:
You are barely six weeks in office; can you share your experience so far?
Quite frankly, things are ok even though the situation is not yet settled in the sense that commissioners in the state have not been appointed just like at the federal level. Don’t forget that the same party at the federal level rules Lagos State. So I think for now, we are all watching because without the commissioners coming on board, the full scale of the legislative activities might not commence. But be that as it may, we have started sitting. Some people have said that the government is slow, but I can liken it to when you are starting a new project, you will take your time and not rush it.
The National Assembly is yet to settle its rift over the appointment of the principal officers of the house. So far, what is the situation in the Lagos house of assembly?
Well, here in Lagos State, we have been relating well as a family irrespective of our political leaning. In the assembly, we talk about we the members; we do not talk about party affiliations. In terms of sharing positions, it was done amicably. There was no problem in choosing the speaker, the majority leader, the minority leader and all the other principal positions have been allocated and given to those that are deemed fit. There is no rancour in the house of assembly.
There are very deplorable roads in your constituency, how are you liasing with the state Government to ensure the roads are fixed?
I will say that is what is giving me sleepless nights for now. I must tell you that the state of roads here is affecting business transactions here. Movement is very slow resulting in time wastage; manpower hour is often lost. In the house, we have discussed it and we were asked to bring out roads in our constituencies that could be presented to the executives for an immediate palliative measure, which we have done. However, I am also happy that the state governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, visited my constituency two weeks ago during which he promised that work would start at Ikotu/Egbe road one week after the visit. Hopefully, by this week all things being equal, I believe work will commence. So I want to thank him for even coming to make that pronouncement. I want to encourage him to ensure that work actually commences as he said. I want to also let him know that there are other deplorable roads mostly in Ejigbo. Almost all the roads in Orilowo side are in terrible condition, Fadu avenue and even 27th January road, which has been awarded several times, I don’t know what is happening. For now nothing is happening there. That road will help decongest traffic especially in this area. That road leads to the place where victims of the January 27th bomb blast were buried. So I wish to use this medium to plead with the state governor to assist our people here particularly my constituency because the truth is that my constituency is really backward in terms of road infrastructure. If he can do those roads for us, I think everybody will be happy.
During the electioneering campaign, you did promise to initiate empowerment programme for the people of your constituency. What is the situation now on that?
Yes, I believe in empowering my people. The first step in the programme is the free computer training, which will commence on the third of next month. A committee has been set up and the flyers and the forms have also been distributed. The idea is to ensure that most of our youths will take advantage of the opportunity particularly those who have little experience of the use of computer to increase their knowledge and it is free for at least a minimum of two months. We want to cover as many people as possible.
In all, how many youths are you expecting?
I am expecting nothing less than 300 youths to start with. We may have to increase the number later.
What structure have you put in place to ensure that the scheme runs as expected?
There is an organization we are partnering with right now located somewhere around Isolo and the centre will be around the Isolo LCDA. We are going to have two sessions-morning and afternoon. Besides, we are looking forward to having another centre at Ejigbo LCDA so that most of the youths will not have to go a long distance. But that one will come up later on. We want to see how the first phase of the project will go first.
What are the challenges you are facing now?
The challenges are high because the demand is high even with the experience of the Sallah festival but it is part of representation one has to carry out. You have to make your people happy because without them, you could not have been there. They believe you are representing them and as such a lot of pressure will come from them and you have to make them happy by ensuring that you meet their demands. For me, I don’t want to concentrate on ‘stomach infrastructure’; I really want a situation where we can empower them. We want to see what we can place our hands at the end of four years to say this is what we achieved. I will tell you, challenges are meant to be surpassed.
Generally, what legislations would you like to see the house pass for the benefit of the people of the state?
Well, we are looking at the ways and means of tackling traffic in Lagos State and transportation system generally. We are trying to see how the waterways can be opened up. If the waterways are properly developed, we believe it will help to ease traffic congestions. So that is one aspect we are trying to encourage in Lagos state. I cannot sit down here and tell you the total number of laws we are going to pass but as we progress and certain issues come, I can assure you that the house will rise to the occasion and make relevant laws to address such issues. As we continue to relate with our constituencies, more ideas will come and we will come up with relevant laws for the purpose of the state.
What is your relationship with the traditional rulers and other stakeholders in your constituency?
My relationship with them is cordial. However, we have not formalized the avenue for our meeting since our inauguration but we talk. For the Obas, within this period of sallah, they got my message and even I sent goodwill messages to the Muslims in my constituency. I believe they felt my presence to show them that we do not discriminate here regardless of wherever you are coming from; we believe that we are one. The idea is that we want to ensure that Lagos develops better. Whatever positive step we can take to ensure peaceful coexistence of all Lagosians irrespective of their tribe or political ideology, we will push for such steps.
What message do you have for the people of the state on this Sallah occasion?
My message is for the people to embrace peace at all times because it is only a peaceful atmosphere that can engender development. We should love one another irrespective of our religious inclinations or tribe.