12th October, 2010
Mr. Yomi Onakoya-Williams, the pioneer Supervisor for Works, later Secretary to the Council and now Supervisor for Health, Apapa/Iganmu Local Council Development Area speaks with PAUL SANUSI on theÂ Dr. Adesola Adedayo-led administration and plans to effect more changes.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a graduate of Philosophy, Lagos State University (LASU). I am the Supervisor for Health, Apapa/Iganmu LCDA. Before now, I have been the Secretary to the Council and pioneer Supervisor for Works in the LCDA. I will say that I have been in government since the creation of the LCDA in 2003.
Apapa/Iganmu LCDA has been described as slum, what have you done to improve the situation?
I must tell you that the situation of Apapa/Iganmu LCDA is unique. Unique in the sense that the only resource we have are the people; that is, the LCDA is densely populated. Also, the level of literacy is very low when compared to other parts of the state.Â This is the major challenge facing the council. The council is predominately dominated by artisans and since the coming of the Dr. Adedayo-led administration, a lot has been done to re-engineer our human resources. People now have a new orientation and new focus. Though, nothing good come easy and people do not change easily, we are moving forward.
But the administration’s antagonists are not happy with the revolution this administration has brought to governance. Before now people believed that the best they could get from the government are handouts, which they get when election is approaching. But now, people are self reliant and have a sense of belonging.
The LCDA has constructed a state of the art secretariat, given loans at zero interest rate to artisans, construction of several roads, free skill acquisition for women, free medical services, job creation for the youths of the area and many other things.
What about youth restiveness?
On the allegation that the chairman is giving money to boys in the area to fight each other, this is a grievous allegation. The chairman is one of the stakeholders with multi-million naira investment in the area, even before he was elected. How it is it possible for him to give money to the boys to fight each other.
The chairman has been able to give a lot back to the community. The problem of youth restiveness is not only associated with our council area, it also happens in Shomolu, Bariga, Mushin, Fadeyi and several other places in the state.Â This is an age-long issue, even before Dr. Adedayo became the chairman of the LCDA.
The current regime has been able to nip restiveness on the bud by making sure that youths in the area are gainfully employed, but this is what the antagonist are not happy about because they know that those boys would no longer be available for them to use as thugs.
How do you think the slum problem can be tackled?
The chairman is a workaholic who is doing everything possible. In the nearest future, the area would witness a lot of infrastructure development; we have receive good response from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); it has assured the council of taking up some of the roads and drainage system. This would reduce flooding in the area. We are also working with the state government on the problem.
How would you compare this administration with former ones?
The situation is that before the present administration in the local government, the past two administrations were handicapped due to non-release of funds by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and that is why I have lots of admiration for the Governor Emeritus, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his doggedness. The problem we had in the past was funding; though, we did our best but the situation is better now.
What is your advice to the so-called antagonists and the youths in the area?
For those who do not like the revolution that is happening in the area council, if you can’t beat them, join them, I am happy working with the man that has vision and focus.
Those who do not want the status quo to change should realise that it is no more business as usual, because for this local government to move with the mega city projectÂ and for the dividends of democracy to reach everyone in the local government, the status quo must change and they should stop blackmailing a government that is determined to uplift the welfare of its citizens.