April 22, 2024

Amuwo Decides 2023: Community presents development plans at a town hall meeting

Amuwo Decides 2023: Community presents development plans at a town hall meeting

Etim Ekpimah

Amuwo Decides 2023, “Let’s Choose the Right Leaders & Fix Governance”, is topical. The issue hinges on the lives and property of the people as bad decisions can spell doom for the entire area.

The Convener of the debate, Mr Ndubuisi Okafor, x-rayed some of the key challenges the community has been going through, like tank farms and container tankers, among others.

In his welcome address, Okafor said that Amuwo Odofin has become a community in the throes of deepened deterioration, erosion and corrosion of infrastructures, resulting in unrestricted and perhaps commercialisation of hitherto serene residential area.

He said: “And there are no commensurate expansions of its infrastructural base, non-maintenance of existing infrastructures and disheartening and abject abandonment of the infrastructures by all tiers of government. This picture is slightly changing with the number of road projects being executed by the Lagos State Government (they need to do more!).”

He noted that there has been an open disenchantment demonstrated by the people, who feel that they have become pawns on the chess board of the federal, state, and local governments and unholy private investors.

According to Okafor, the situation has provided the background for the rise of residents’ associations, and community-based agitation groups and the fuel to the crescendo and persistent riot of voices among the residents. Amuwo to FESTAC to Kirikiri, to Mazamaza, to Agboju have been like quietened landmines of tensions.

“From Ijegun-Egba-Satellite Town to Abuleoshun is headquarters of restiveness and truck assaults to our sensibilities. The former is a result of the total abandonment of maintenance, without any fresh infrastructural impetus, the latter largely created by the conscious location of Tank Farms arms and Container Terminals in the fully developed residential area under the full watch and support of all tiers of government.

“This has led to the massive invasion of the area by all types of tankers and trailers with the attendant pollution, gridlock, conversion of public spaces to parks by these trucks, and the total endangering of lives and properties by the unthinkable mere presence of highly inflammable polluting and massive road using investments in a residential area.

“I refer to this phenomenon as a brutal conversion of a serene, ideal environment to the most endangered community in the whole world by no other person than the constituted authorities. The country courts disaster and invites a repeat Ikeja bomb blast by permitting certain unhealthy developments and dehumanization of the environment.

“The residents of Amuwo Odofin have always been engaging their leaders and representatives in government but the effects do not seem to be impressive.

“There has therefore come this time in 2023 general elections when citizens and residents should participate actively in the process of producing their representatives in government for proper and most effective representation and input into governance. This is the plank of this and other town hall meetings. We can never have enough of such programmes.

Amuwo Decides 2023: Community presents development plans at town hall meeting

“We are the sovereigns. We need to elect the best of the best among those, who have offered themselves to represent, lead and serve us. They should serve us and serve us well,” he stated.

He added that for the town hall meeting on 16 February 2023, 14 candidates for Senatorial (3), House of Representatives (5), and House of Assembly (6) have been invited to interact with Amuwo Odofin residents.

The convener listed the candidates as Dr. (Alhaja) Idiat Adebule(Lagos West, APC ), Mr Dabiri Mustapha Oladapo (-do-, NNPP), Mr Segun Adewale (-do-, PDP ). Prince Lanre Sanusi (Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency, APC), Mr Damian Ezemegwalu (-do-, APGA), Otunba George Adegeye (-do-, LP), Hon. Ufuoma Adievuwhare O. (-do-, NNPP), Hon. Emmanuel Oghene Egoh(-do-, PDP ). Mr Folorunso Olusegun Olaitan (Lagos State House of Assembly- Amuwo Odofin 1, APC), Mrs Stella Osafile (-do-, LP), Barr. (Mrs.) Dorothy Ilegbune (-do-, NNPP), Mr Emmanuel Alaba Davis (-do-, PDP). And Hon. Wale Rauf (Lagos State House of Assembly- Amuwo Odofin 2, APC) and Mr Afeez Oluwa (-do- PDP).

He said: “As we set to interact with these distinguished men and women, let us urge us to be civil and obey all the rules to be set by the panellists, let us conduct ourselves with maximum respect. There shall be no party sloganeering, no cat calls, and no clapping. We should quietly and constructively engage with candidates, to know them better and their know our various problems in the Amuwo Odofin area.

“We thank all the candidates, who honoured our invitation today. We thank the community leaders (STF, STCRA, FTRA, and all Estate Chairmen).

“We thank everyone. We thank you all for coming as we fruitfully engage and interact with our various candidates.

“We thank everyone who has contributed towards today’s event- the donors and the amazing team Amuwo Thinktank!” he said.

The convener also thanked the candidates for being peaceful as they allowed a brotherly atmosphere to prevail throughout the debate. He added that the candidates sat as if they were from the same parents, exchanging pleasantries and without speaking abusively of one another.

According to him, he wished politicians in Nigeria could adopt how the candidates in the area imbibed the spirit of sportsmanship allowing the people to decide who they would vote for, devoid of verbal or physical attacks on other candidates.

Meanwhile, the Senatorial candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Mustapha Oladapo Dabiri, urged his constituents not to vote for parties but for a candidate that can deliver.

He said that the siting of tank farms in a residential area is dangerous. He stated that the provisions had been made for the tank farms in the area to be located at Ibeju Lekki, which is an industrial area on Lagos Island.

He added: “Anyone who is not complying with the state and the federal laws will not be taken lightly. That is what I am going to make sure to follow up on; make sure that this is done. Put matter on the ground, confront and who are not properly complying with the government of the day and they will be served accordingly.”

The All Progressives Congress candidate (incumbent), Hon. Wale Rauf Salaiman, admitted that there are some problems which have not been completely solved and which they are working towards solving them. He stated that he needed more time in the House so that he could continue with where the remaining projects are to start.

“The problem we are still solving, which has not been completely solved, is infrastructural development; I am talking about the road network. We have started and, you can see that we are doing massive work from Mumuni Adio Badmos Road to Old Ojo Road, and Navy Town roads. These are the roads that the state government have already started working on.

“We need to connect Kirikiri with Navy Town and with that we will be comfortable. Abuleosun Road: before it was an ordinary road, now it has been changed to the concrete pavement to last longer. So, if we can dwell on this, our road network will be working well – definitely, we can talk of other things.

“It is not that we are not taking care of the health of the people and if we do not, there would not have been approval for modern health centres, which, of course, we have got four in my constituency. This is to support the activities that would have been taking place in the general hospital.

Amuwo Decides 2023: Community presents development plans at town hall meeting

“We are on top of it when it comes to the provision of health facilities for the people. I know that if I don’t continue, the person that is coming may not know where I stopped. He will want to start all over again and, then the development of our area will be lagging in a way. We need to turn things around in the area so that we can bear our name as Satellite Town; if you know the name of Satellite you will discover that it is an area in every phase of it was supposed to be developed.

“As the area is below sea level, the infrastructure was supposed to be of the best quality with world-class drainages. The state government is 100 per cent present as I am talking with you. The State government has about eight channels they are working on right away, while five to six of them have already been completed.

“I know my roles and know what I am there for and I know what I’m supposed to do and as I am finishing now, I know that another one is still coming. I want to see Amowu Odofin of importance and happiness to the people within and outside the area.”

On the APC’s performance in Lagos State, Sulaiman averred that the party is the best in Lagos State considering the challenges they have been facing for the past four years.

He said: “If we are not the best, people would have stopped coming to Lagos. Since we have created the environment for them, every day, people are still coming to Lagos and we are still accommodating them even though they are putting pressure on the existing facilities we have, we are still opening up and still accommodating them.

“Lagos is part of Nigeria and if people discover that it is in Lagos they can make it, it now lies on us to provide that avenue for them.”

Hon. Prince Afeez Oluwa of the Peoples Democratic Party, Amowu-Odofin II, in his part, said the APC has been encouraging thuggery and violence in the state as it feels that it has no formidable opposition.

I am only vying for the position of the legislature; one person cannot make a law; law-making takes a lot of stages and processes. I can only lobby, raise a motion and be supported and bring in about law that will be of benefit to the people of Lagos State. He said what aids the agberos, thuggery and violence in the state boils down to education, people need to be educated.

He said: “There is nothing to gain in thuggery. The fact that this present government in Lagos State encourages violence, and thuggery; they work with the so-called agberos, and they know it if they do anything, they have the support of the people in authority and that has gone deep into how they are supposed to deal with the citizens of Lagos. Their level of civility is very low, especially as they see that the government is the government that can kill, maim, burn and nothing will happen.”

He added thuggery can only end or minimise until such time that they start to educate the youths used for violence, to let them know that politics is a common interest and not about a do-or-die affair: that is when things will change.

“I believe it is not right and it should not happen, and this is how we should see as an integral part of Nigeria and should be able to live in harmony and without anyone being intimidated or being harassed. There are a lot of extant laws in Lagos already, it is just that they lack enforcement.

“The reason why the House of Assembly is not functioning the way it ought to function is due to the fact that there is no opposition that will bring about new ideas or challenge what the government is doing and that is why the APC government has ruled Lagos for so long a time because there no opposition, everybody believes they have to be in that party before they can be members of the House of Assembly.

“I am thinking differently and I believe if it is my person, it is my acceptability that will bring about people voting for me into the House and when I get into the House, I will form a good opposition for the people of my constituency, especially as it pertains our concerns about tank farms and container terminals. These things must stop in a residential area.”

On Sanwo-Olu’s performance, he stated that not everything the APC has done in Lagos is wrong, adding that they could do better with the resources available to them. He opined that most of the roads that have been abandoned ought not to be; there should be continuous infrastructural development.

Amuwo Decides 2023: Community presents development plans at town hall meeting

He noted: “Sanwo-Olu has not performed as much as I would have expected him to because of the cabinet they run and the kind of the people at the helm of the affair. He may want to run faster but the system does not allow him to run faster. If he tries to run faster than the system, the system will expunge him.”

Other candidates who were present and spoke extensively on the issues bedevilling the community and proffered possible solutions are Alaba Davis (PDP), Stella Osafile (LP), Wale Rauf (APC), Afeez Oluwa (PDP), Sylvester Chulwurah (NNPP)- all House of Assembly candidates.  Mustapha Oladapo Dabiri (NNPP, Senate). Emmanuel Oghene Egoh (PDP), Lanre Sanusi (APC), Ufuoma Adievuwhare (NNPP) and Peter Damian Ezemegwalu (APGA) all HOR candidates.

Apologies were received from George Adegeye (LP, HOR) and Segun Adewale (PDP, Senate), who were unavoidably absent.

A few others like Idiat Adebule (APC, Senate), Ola Folorunso (APC), Assembly, Constituency 1, and Dorothy Ilegbune (NNPP, Assembly Constituency 1, missed the Town Hall Meeting.

Mr Govenor Imitini Chairman, Satellite Town Forum, the community association STF, embarked on various protests to draw the attention of the government to the once serene and beautiful Satellite Town.

He stated that the purpose of the meeting was to bring the representatives of the area at the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Lagos State House of Assembly members, especially the incumbents to tell the people what they have done for the past four years that they are now seeking re-elections.

He said: “We want them to come and tell us what they have done previously. Now that some of them are equally to be re-elected and the prospective ones that are coming on board that they want a change, maybe this person has not done enough. Yes, there are some areas they have not done well or that these are the new things they want to do and that is why they are asking for our votes.

“So, we want to know, because from what we have seen so far from the government we have seen a kind of total failure in some areas, mostly in the area of environmental infrastructure. If you look at our area, for instance; what has plagued us in this vicinity has to do with tank farms and the container terminals that have been established in a living environment, which Satellite Forum stands for.

“For the Satellite Town Forum, the issue here has to do with the relocation of tank farms which the government has not seconded to. They asked us to cohabit with these things and the ongoing projects that we have at Marwa Road have been stopped. The rain is approaching and before you know it, the rain will begin to flood every house around here. These are the issues we are looking at. Are they going to tackle these issues? We are not feeling the impact of the dividend of democracy in this area, which has to do with human capital or infrastructural developments.

“So, we want to drill them and hear from them, hold them accountable in case, maybe, they are re-elected or new persons come onboard and they carry on as usual.”

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