17th September, 2010
Mr. Bosun Agoro is a Maritime business guru. He is aspiring for the Mainland Constituency 11Â seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly. In this interview, he spoke on his vision, how toÂ attract investors through his knowledge of the Maritime industry and other national issues
Can you give us a brief background about yourself?
I am from Lagos, a Business Study graduate. I currently work in the Maritime SecurityÂ andCement Industry. I sit onÂ board of several companies. My hubbies are meeting people,Â travelling and I like to keep abreast of current affairs. I am a businessman and aÂ visionary. I was born in Liverpool in the United Kingdom but I grew up here, I am from LagosÂ Island; I am from Isale Eko, I come from the Ojon Chieftaincy family of Lagos. I am from aÂ maritime family, my father was a maritime guru; my mother is from Ekiti State while myÂ father is from Lagos State. My grandfather was a ship builder in the olden days atÂ Ebute-Ero.
Why did you decide to contest the Mainland Constituency II seat in the Lagos State House ofÂ Assembly in 2011?
My desire to contest the State House of Assembly was borne out of the need to contribute toÂ the development of the state. Having worked within an industry that is so unique, it becameÂ evident that legislations are the only way that could bring about certain progression. NotÂ that the people in the legislative House are not working; not that the people in governmentÂ are not working, there is need for continuous development and for you to have a continuousÂ development, you continue to inject new blood into the system. Donâ€™t forget that we haveÂ Cabotage law; where is the government coming into play? It is not their fault; NIMASA isÂ there and it is sending hundreds of people, 600 precisely, to go and train in the MaritimeÂ industry.
The Niger Delta Region too; they are all looking to take away their youth into the MaritimeÂ industry in order to get employment. I was fortunate because I attended a programme in GhanaÂ with the World Maritime team in conjunction with the Maritime Authority in Ghana and I wasÂ fortunate to rub minds with people from different parts of Africa on issues about SeafarersÂ as we call them. There is a shortage of seafarers because if you look at the Cabotage law,Â it is to protect indigenous participation but you must have the required qualification; theÂ required experience to work in the industry.Maritime is international and is not regulatedÂ by Nigeria. Therefore, if we do not have the basic qualifications and requirements, then howÂ can we say we want to participate? I have a vision. I feel that I can contribute to theÂ development of my community and my society where I live.
How do you want to impact your community?
Fortunately, in my community, we have a riverine area. In places like Makoko, Iwaya, we areÂ facing problem; if you look at those areas, there are lots of unemployed youths. It is notÂ about money alone; money has a part to play but you must lay the necessary foundation forÂ you to be able to move forward and in order for you to entice people that will provideÂ funds, you need to have the basic infrastructure. So, the intention is that by the time oneÂ is at the House of Assembly, the bills that one will propagate will be in line with that andÂ it is possible that within four years, we may not be able to achieve what we want. But weÂ have started a foundation that will elevate the thinking of the people so that they canÂ benefit. It pains my heart when I see that in the Maritime industry, I look at our location,Â Lagos is surrounded by water, yet, how many people, with the population, how many of theÂ youths know really what Maritime industry is about? It can create lots of employment butÂ they need the basic education. Sometime ego, I approached the Executive Governor of Lagos,Â in conjunction with a friend from Ghana who happened to be a rector in the Regional MaritimeÂ University for him to think of setting up a Maritime Academy, Maritime Institution toÂ empower these youths. It has an economic effect. If you look at the far East, countries likeÂ Indonesia, Malaysia, they export their manpower in the Maritime industry and that is whatÂ they live on; that is their biggest export, which is the labour. S
What are your visions for Lagos Mainland Constituency II?
My vision is empowerment; I am not a money politician.
Makoko has been a slum for decades, how do you think you can tackle this?
First of all, Makoko being a slum is borne out of the fact that the people do not haveÂ befitting accommodation. It is unfortunate that we have not been in partnership, if we hadÂ been, the development of that area would have had stages, where government and the privateÂ participants would have seen the progression level. These are man-made problems; theÂ intention is to provide something that will empower them in order to make the place aÂ wealthy community. There are lots of fishing activities going on there; a lot of trade goingÂ on but it is not regulated. However, there is no regeneration or succession planning; it isÂ not the fault of government and it is not the fault of the people; it is just the way theÂ system is. Our own intention is that we should be able to give a vision. The vision may notÂ be in our time; I hate to feel that people think we need a magic solution. There is no magicÂ solution anywhere, and the intention is for us to develop; but like they say, anything withÂ good foundation has a good ending.
Do you have faith in ProfÂ Attahiru Jegaâ€™s INEC to conduct a free and fair election nextÂ year?
It is the choice of the people; they will determine that. Jega is just one human being inÂ the midst of so many other facets which are controlling the system, so the issue of having aÂ free and fair election, I believe that if it is properly handled, properly managed, thereÂ will be free and fair election, but that will be at the instance of the people. You know,Â one million people are stronger than 5,000 people.
What do you think are your chances of winning?
I donâ€™t have any fear about incumbency because I have a plan and vision already in place;Â the whole saying is that if you donâ€™t plan, you plan to fail but if you plan, you plan toÂ win. So that is where I stand.
Can you unfold your agenda to us?
My agenda is simple; if you look at my posters and everything, I said I am committed toÂ serve and I think that explains where I am going and what my vision is. It may be possibleÂ that other members of the Assembly have the same vision that I have, which makes it easier;Â the reality is that this change has come, it is for the people to embrace it and for us toÂ take the state to the next level.
How do you think we can curb this cash-and-carry politics?
I think it is the peopleâ€™s choice, they will determine that; you can see how the ActionÂ Congress of Nigeria, ACN has transformed Lagos State; from the inception of AD to AC and toÂ ACN and I am sure the people are seeing it. That is why the other parties canâ€™t do anything,Â the performance is an intimidating one. It is intimidating in the sense that it is theÂ people that are choosing; they are deciding where they want to belong and they are alreadyÂ saying it before the election.
Has Fashola performed well?
Off course, he has performed. Donâ€™t forget it is not a one man show; the party is behind himÂ to ensure that he performed well. It is a team effort, I donâ€™t believe that Fashola is theÂ only one doing the whole thing because if he did not have the right team in place, he canâ€™tÂ do much, an individual cannot change the state.
What do you think are the chances of ACN in Lagos?
I donâ€™t think there is any rival; Fasholaâ€™s performance is there. It is the style ofÂ governance that is speaking; you can see that the other parties are indirectly supportingÂ the government of the day. There is no point investing in an area that you know the progressÂ is already there and is still going at the right pace. This government as far as I amÂ concerned is very progressive and as long as it is progressing, it is the people that willÂ continue to shout praises; this is not propaganda, it is the reality on ground.
What advice do you have for Lagosians?
They should be steadfast; they should allow the system that is in place to continue. WhereÂ changes must occur, it must be the people deciding it. Lagosians have a good system inÂ place. We are not violent people, this is a peaceful environment; my prayer is that theÂ coming election is also peaceful. It had been peaceful in the past and we should maintainÂ that peacefulness to achieve our aim.
What is your opinion about Tinubu?
Tinubu is a great leader and a visionary. Tinubu has not derailed; he has been upright inÂ his decision making. I pray that he has long life and continue to show interest in theÂ system.