Hon. Dayo Bush-Alebiosu is a House of Representatives member representing Kosofe Federal Constituency in Lagos State. In this interview with SIMON ATEBA, he says that the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and its members, have delivered the dividends of democracy to Lagos residents and deserve to be re-elected
What is your assessment of the just concluded voter registration exercise conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC?
The time frame, I believe, was not just enough for a population of 150 million people. The aim was to get as many people as possible to come out and register, but this was not completely achieved. However, I wouldn’t completely blame INEC. We, also at the National Assembly, have some share of the blame. If we had put some things in place at the right time, this would not have been experienced. However, they did announce an extension of a week for the exercise, but even that was not enough because a lot of people had already been left out. It is true that a larger number of people than four years ago have now registered but, let’s see how it goes.
How do you think these registration deficiencies will affect the April election?
I don’t believe it will affect the general elections completely. It’s just a matter of some people being deprived of their constitutional rights; people who were willing to register and for some reason or the other were unable to. However, I am made to believe that the Direct Data Capture, DDC, machine could only register certain number of people on a daily basis, but we still have more people who registered this time than they did for the 2007 general elections.
What have been your major achievements at the National Assembly that benefited the people of Kosofe?
First of all, I am grateful to God and to the people of Kosofe for allowing me to be a part of history by representing them at the National Assembly. We need to understand that the three arms of government have their various functions. We have the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. There have been cases where there have been misunderstandings about the functions of the legislators. For instance, there have been cases where the legislators have been accused of not fixing the roads and you know fixing the roads is the function of the executive whether at the municipal level which is the local government level or at the state level. We have been accused of not doing certain basic things such as the provision of street lights, and the function of the legislators is to oversight, to make laws and to legislate. These are the three basic functions of the legislators. Have I been able to do that as a federal legislator representing Kosofe Local government? Yes I have. We have, however, had to lobby for certain things to be done. And some, I have taken it upon myself to do it. We have delved into the area of education. For example, I have given Jamb and GCE forms with a promise of some form of scholarship based on the best results achieved. We have supported in the provision of furniture, we have supported in the area of classroom blocks construction, some have been completed, some are still under construction. We have also supported in the provision of text books and water projects in areas where the people needed such boreholes and so on. We have supported in the area of health by providing for certain basic drugs in health centres. We have supported in the area of power supply. For instance when we first got into office, we went round and asked what exactly the people wanted us to do regarding basic infrastructure and one thing that kept coming up was about supplying them with transformers. We were able to secure funding approval for about 14 transformers, out of this number, nine have been put in place, we are still expecting the others. There is another project in an area called Kotomala in Ojota under my constituency which we are still awaiting the construction. We have written to PHCN in Ikeja and they have been very supportive but we still need more work to be done and we have always been available to listen to the people. We have been home on a weekly basis. These are just a few things I have been able to do for my constituency.
How do you keep the lines of communication open with your constituency? We are made to understand that some of the federal lawmakers after winning an election move to Abuja and ignore the plight of their people. How do you ensure that you do not lose touch with your base?
I am a grassroots person. I am home every weekend. Over the past four years, I only missed two weekends. I have 21 wards and I have people all over the 21 wards. It will be impossible to interact with everybody but you need to have a structure in place to know what is going on in your constituency. And one thing we also did is that we introduced a system where before any decision is made, for example, a case where we are to vote on issues on the floor of the House, what we do is that, we send out about 50,000 text messages to people explaining the issues to them and asking them what they will rather do. I represent almost two million people and we discovered that when we hold town hall meetings, there are about 500 people in attendance. The objectiveÂ is to sample people’s opinions and ensure true representation and I believe that 500 people are representative enough. Technology has made things easier. So we send about 50,000 text messages and we collate responses and based on the result that we get, we vote. It makes me very comfortable knowing that I have done the right thing.
PDP seems to be staging a comeback, especially in the last bye election. How does it make you feel and what do you think are your chances to be re-elected?
Let’s put it this way, we have 40 State Assembly seats and if PDP should win one, is that statistically an indication of them picking more seats?Â I think that will be the biggest joke of the century. However, they are a political party, naturally they should try to pick more seats but at the end of the day, it comes down to the people whose right is to vote and I believe we have done well in Lagos State. We can make mistakes, but the most important thing is to learn from the mistakes and right whatever mistakes we might have made. I believe I have done well, we have projects running into millions of naira that speak for themselves. I also believe that we need a fairer representation in Kosofe. If you look at it, Mushin is not half the size of Kosofe in terms of the population and they have two members of House of reps, Surulere is also about half the size of Kosofe and they have two legislators at the House of Reps. In Isolo similarly they have two, Lagos Island, they have two, but Alimosho is the largest and Kosofe is the second largest Local Government in Lagos State in terms of population and we still have one representative at the House of Reps. I have always been an advocate of a second constituency in Kosofe because then we will be able to deliver greater dividends of democracy to our people but the situation in which we have found ourselves has been difficult but God almighty has been very helpful. I am very passionate about Kosofe, it is where I was born, my mother grew up in Kosofe, it is where I fathered my children. I have had a wonderful childhood in Kosofe and I also want my children to have a great childhood here. I have no other place. It’s the home town that I know and I have no choice but to make sure that it works.