16th September, 2011
Â Olorogun Gbolahan Bagostowe, Chairman, Somolu Local Government Area, Lagos State, Nigeria, spoke with PAUL SANUSI on his challenges, achievements and plans.
How has it been so far?
When we assumed office there were lots of challenges, lots of things needed urgent attention, but we thank God we were able to attend to them. Apart from dividends of democracy, which had eluded my people for long time, I tried my best to introduce new developments to the local government. We constructed 20 roads with drainage channels, we constructed a vocational centre, we also created a sports hall and we are currently constructing a recreation centre at Ojo Square. In the area of health, we bought two building for public health centres. The ones at Fadeyi and Anifowose are almost completed. I intend to build health centres in all eight wards that make up the local government; we already have three. All these health centres were renovated and equipped with standby generators so that they can render 24 hours service. We have 18 primary schools, all these schools were constructed by the first executive governor of the state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and since they were constructed no renovation had been done on them. My administration was able to reconstruct and renovate nine within two and a half years. In my second term, I will complete the remaining nine. Apart from that, all these schools were equipped with chairs and benches. School uniforms, GCE forms and bursary were give to some students. On environmental sanitation, we try to encourage my people by introducing raffle draw on a monthly basis for the cleanest streets and markets for residents and quarterly basis for the traders, where people won fans, pressing iron and many other things. This has helped in keeping the local government clean. We also discovered that the youths in this local government are good in table tennis, which made us to create a sports hall at Agunbiade Primary School, so that more talents can be discovered not only in table tennis but in other sports too. That is why we created five-a-side football at Ojo Square. To make life meaningful for our people,we installed street lights, eight 500 KVA transformers were also bought to contribute to stable power supply in this local government.
What were the challenges faced by your administration?
We didn’t face any challenge except in the area of sanitation. Our people keep dumping refuse in the drainage channels and canals, and when it rains, it becomes a problem. But we overcame this by sensitizing our people and telling them the dangers and health hazards of dumping refuse in the drains and canal. But now that has changed. We also keep teaching them how to maintain what the government has provided. For example, we told mechanics the effects of using the roads as their workshops and parking of articulated vehicles on the road. We did the same for commercial motorcyclists who flaunt the traffic laws, but we are not resting, we shall continue to do it. On payment of levies by residents, we have tried not to make the payment difficult for them, that is why we told them that they could pay the backlog bit by bit, especially the backlog of tenement rates.
Now that another election is here, what is your next step?
The first thing to do is reconciliation within the party, we are trying to bring together all aggrieved members of the party and let them know that it should not be a winner takes all affair. Then we can now sit down to plan how our party will win the election, so that the good work my regime started can continue.
What is your message to residents of the local government concerning 22 October local government election in the state?
I call on them to vote for our party, ACN, because this is the only party that can deliver; they should not vote for a party that cannot give us electricity and the dividends of democracy. Everyone can see it, both our governor and chairmen are working. I also urgee them to make the election a peaceful one, free of violence.