Odunmbaku (DOS), on Wednesday, met the leading industrialists in Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) as the council remains focused on spurring economic growth amid the aftermath of the pandemic.
Odunmbaku asserted that his administration is ready to partner with the private sector to deal with the issues of multiple taxation and documentation. “There’s need for us to reach out to the public sector, gone are the days of doing it alone is gone, where the council chairman sit in the office and expect magic to happen, not even in the face of blink resources, inflation is going through the roof, we are just coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s time to bring the community together, we need each other. I’m aware as well that the private sector is going through a rough time, we can work together and make this easy for all of us.”
“Our IGR has been decimated, we are not even been able to get 50% of what we used to have and the public expect us to still carry on with our statutory duties, in our visibility study researching activities, we found out that you also key, we can’t do most of these without you, that’s why we are here, we must set up partnership that will work and strive, and issue that affects the private sector as well, multiple taxations, documentation and some other area you might find it difficult to get to the State, that’s why we are here. We need your expertise, we need your experiences, we need your resources to help us get to the Ojodu of our dream, I’m pretty sure with this administration and this move we have taken it will be a reality to the upcoming generation.”
He highlighted some of the projects his administration has worked on within the last 100 days. “In our short 100 days, we have been able to do some roads projects. Currently, we are working on Muibi street, which will connect and decongest Ogunnusi Road, Sonala Street is there and Ayo Alabi Street, we’ll continue working on others too,” Odunmbaku said.
“We have been identifying the core needs of the community, with my team and our campaign manifesto which stands for health, education, youth and women empowerment, social services and infrastructure. It’s my pleasure to let you know HEYS agenda is in tune with the T.H.E.M.E agenda of the Lagos State Government, this was intentional, I was privileged to be part of the campaign team of the governor, I was the Deputy Director ICT, so most of the programs that were rolling out especially the Fiber-optic internet, I was part of the plan.”
On the other hand, the council chairman said his administration is working rigorously to make sure Apata and Aguda PHCs work 24/7. “Talking of our facilities, all our PHCs need upgrades, presently we are at Apata and Aguda PHCs, when I say upgrade I don’t mean the regular whitewash, I mean we want to make them 24 hours facilities. Presently, we do not have any 24 hours facility within the community, the one that we have is at the outskirt of the community, it’s not adequate for the yearning of the people, that’s why the Apata PHC is critical, we must get it right this time.”
He continues.: “We’ll get more doctors in to help with child delivery, we’ll get the people that will assist them with the workload that will be coming and also to make it 24 hours sustainable facility with alternative energy, which is solar energy, at the current rate, we can’t sustain powering six PHCs diesel, as am speaking to you now, diesel is about N320 per litre, that’s more reason we have to look out for how to sustain these PHCs and for them to work efficiently and effectively as well.”
On Sustainable Water project, Odunmbaku said talks are ongoing to get clean sustainable water to the PHCs and the community at large. “It’s difficult for our Primary Healthcare Centres to have access to clean sustainable water, we are partnering with some agencies to be precise ‘Water Aid’ in conjunction with State Government, it’s not just about digging boreholes but to be able to teach them how to sustain those boreholes, we are working with the CDC, CDA and members of the communities on that.”
“The reason why we tally with the State is to have synergy between agencies and the State. But this era, Mr Governor has said, we want that partnership to strive where the local government will seek partnership with relevant agencies. In our case, the Lagos State Health Care Board is on board, education, we have SUBEB, youth empowerment, we have the Ministry of Youth & Wealth Creation, social services, we have WAPA and that’s what we have done, we have been able to identify these problems.
Talking of capacity building and empowerment, the council chairman says. “For key professionals, not just our doctors alone, even our staff, we have been able to create an avenue where we can train and retrain our staff, talking of the alternative power, not just in our PHCs, even here in our council. We have spoken with our CDC, CDA and traditional rulers, we are looking for land to erect a vocational site, we want more markets for our women so that we can get them off the street.”
While delivering his speech, the council chairman launched the Ojodu Nutrition Assistance Program (ONAP), a program that aims to achieve “zero hunger”. “There’s a database where we’ll pick people at random, regardless of party affiliation, race, religion, we want to get it to those who need it most. It will be food stamps that we can give to the people on a regular basis at random, we are partnering with supermarkets within the community Hubmart, Addide, Shoprite where they can go in and use the stamps.”
“The Grassroot Benefit also include scholarship, grants, soft-loan, for our market women and SMEs and so much more, the important aspect of the program is to have a database of our people, as am talking to you, we started last week and we have gotten close to 700 people in our database and it’s growing.”
On the DOS education agenda, Odunmbaku said: “We have back to school program, the primary schools are our statutory responsibility as you know, there’s a lot we can do like I keep saying if the state has SUBEB, there are still other services we can do, most of these schools don’t have a computer system, most of them don’t have after school training, they don’t have books and bag. But for these 100 days, we are providing about 250 bags, books and other learning equipment to our children. We have provided more than 150 GCE forms, I have promised the committee that next year, we’ll double it to 300, we are still going to provide JAMB for our students as well and most importantly, out of secondary school students, children that have left secondary school and lost, they don’t have directions, there’s nowhere to run to, they can’t afford JAMB anymore, we’ll start a program in December where we’ll retrain and mentor them till they become responsible citizens of the community.”
“We have an ICT centre which we want to upgrade to a hub, the hub will allow our youth to train with the latest technology if by now someone is still learning desktop publishing, we are no more in the 90 and 2000, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Social Media Optimization and so many more in trend in the 21st century.”
On youth empowerment, the council boss said: “As we are talking about AI and the rest, we did not forget the barbers, tailors, shoemakers, they are part of my dream, but our main dream is for them to learn with trending equipment, during the empowerment, we’ll give out some machines to this sector as well. Single mothers, widows and women are not left out. So, I want intervention from you all to take Ojodu LCDA to a greater height.”
The council chairman during the breakfast meeting heard suggestions from at least a dozen industry captains, who represented some of the top business establishments from the council area. He made note of some points, while he replied to some points.
Idris Adetutu, Regional Manager of Ecobank, asked the council chairman for a Landmark project for the people of Ojodu in 2022. “Well done for the job done so far. I want to ask if you already have a commitment from the State government for a Landmark project next year. If not, do you have any in mind.” he added.
Victor Mordi, Director, the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Zone 2, presented his views pertaining to the menace of Okada riders within the community. He stated that the situation of the Okada riders calls for an evaluation of the transportation structure within Ojodu LCDA, while highlighting the council chairman’s speech about bridging the gap between the government and the people.
Lauding the council chairman on his 100 days achievement, R Festus, Manager at MTN Nigeria, requested to know where his company can come in to support the council in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Another guest, identified as Mr Seun, pleaded for a school bus for the students of Ojodu LCDA.
While responding to the questions, Odunmbaku said work is ongoing to get the kids a small bus. “We understand that it’s a difficult thing for some family to send their wards to school, in our last meeting with these ladies, we are looking forward to providing a small bus that will take their kids to and from schools and for the persons with disability, we are making provision for them and they are part of the empowerment program as well,” he said.
He added that: “We are also looking for a way to channel our divided communities.”
On the ban on Okada riders, Hon. Bunmi Oluyadi, Vice Chairman Ojodu LCDA, said the council is curtailing the excesses of the Okada riders within the council area. “We are aware that the State government has placed a ban on the Okada riders within the State capital, so we as government, for the past few years make sure we address and curtail their excess.”
Other businessmen who participated in the meeting with the council boss included Mr Tayo Orekoya, former Director, LAMATA & APC chieftain Ojodu LCDA; Mr Koye Adejumo, Chairman Empowerment Team; Mr Joshua Ayodele, SME Officer, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF); Olapeju Bello, ME Officer LSETF, representative of United Bank for Africa (UBA); Managers of Jover Hotel and Hubmart Stores.
Also in attendance at the meeting are Ojodu LCDA’s Elders Council led by Chief J.O. Famakinwa, Leader; Elder Kolawole Oludare; Elder Aliu Helen; Elder Olalere Olabisi; and councillors from the six wards in the council area.