I Can't See A Ray Of Hope


Executive Chairman, Coker/Aguda Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Hon. Aliu  Kazeem says Nigeria cannot afford another four years of rudderless administration of  the PDP and they must be voted out. He speaks with P.M.NEWS on other salient issues.

How would you describe the state of the nation?
I believe we are not in the best of times in Nigeria at the moment, or what can one  say of a country where bombs are exploding everywhere and kidnappers are on the  loose. There has been utter chaos and lawlessness and the list of anomalies is  endless. I still can’t see a ray of hope that will change the status quo and that is  why more than ever, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, must be voted out of power in  the 2011 general elections. The Nigerian nation can no longer afford another four  years of the current leadership, which has failed to apply the country’s resources  to improve on the living condition of the people. The political terrain is presently  very unstable, and we are faced with so many problems.

What are your priorities presently, and do you think you have justified your  mandate?
The present administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has done  well, and my priority has been to work in tandem and also emulate what the state  government is doing in my council area. The best thing one can do is to support and  encourage the good job Fashola is doing and at Coker/Aguda, that is what we have  been doing. I have tried to surpass what I did in my first term. We have been able  to complement the efforts of the state governor in his quest to quickly bring the  dividends of democracy to every home in Lagos and what we have done is to mobilize  and complete many of the projects on ground, and so far, we have completed over 50  such projects. They include staff training and infrastructure revolution, provision  of drainage system, rehabilitation and construction of schools. We have been able to  rehabilitate 17 primary schools and also provided the pupils with school uniform,  school bags and other materials and through our school support initiative with the  single aim of ensuring our children  have access to free and qualitative education.  The primary health care centre in the council area has also been renovated and  upgraded to meet modern standards. Government is an ongoing business and we shall  not shirk our responsibilities.

How do you see the victory of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Ekiti State?
The ACN is a party of progressives and despite the landslide victory recorded during  the governorship elections in 2007 by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Peoples Democratic  Party had stolen that mandate through massive rigging, violence and intimidation. It  is a big victory for democracy and the Nigerian judiciary, but the biggest victory  is for Fayemi who has shown perseverance and resilience and also placed his faith in  the judiciary. I congratulate him for the hard-won victory and I also congratulate  the people of Ekiti State for their patience. I want to congratulate our leader,  Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for this hard won victory because it was the grace of God  and the doggedness and purposeful leadership of Asiwaju that made this victory  possible.

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Nigeria recently celebrated her 50th Independence anniversary. Is Nigeria worth  celebrating?
Definitely yes. Nigeria is a very great and wonderful country, and its citizens are  hard-working people. What is not worth celebrating is the government at the centre  because so far they have no plans for the citizens. We need good leaders to take  over the reins, people who are very much educated, dedicated and who truly love the  country and its citizen. Nigeria’s freedom from the colonialists on October 1, 1960  was because our founding father were passionate about the country and fought  tirelessly for its independence and I salute their tireless efforts. We have great  heroes like Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir  Ahmadu Bello, Alvan Ikoku, Chief Moshood Abiola and Gani Fawehinmi among many others  to pick one or two attributes from and actually emulate.  It is not too late for us  and an opportunity to right all the wrongs has presented itself with the coming 2011  general elections and we must get it right by voting for honest, trustworthy and  reliable people. .

What would you say are the gains of democracy in the last ten years and what are you  doing to see that the dividends of democracy get to the grassroots?
The gains of democracy in Nigeria differs from one area to another because of the  government at the centre. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which touts itself as  the largest party in Africa has been controlling the nation as it deems fit. I would  say we are yet to feel the gains of democracy because the bulk of the nation’s  wealth is being controlled by a few. In Lagos State, the state government has  impacted so much on the lives of citizens, and the 57 local governments and local  council development areas, have now brought great development to their area. The  gains of democracy in Lagos are glaring for all to see. More than any list of  achievements, the government in Lagos State, both state and local have been very  attentive to the needs and the yearning of the people. We are passionately striving  to fulfil and deliver the dividends of democracy through provision of enabling laws,  construction, renewal and expansion of infrastructure across diverse sectors. At  Coker/Aguda, we have identified with the Lagos State government’s 10-point agenda to  bring about economic development, especially at the grassroots. We are committed to  doing our best for the people through poverty alleviation and empowerment programmes  and seminars and workshops on self sufficiency.

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