Hon.Abdul Raheem Olajide Jimoh, the Executive chairman Yaba LCDA grants press interview..
The press interview was granted in reaction to a protest staged by the Concerned Mainland and Yaba Residents few weeks ago at the State secretariat of Action Congress of Nigeria. Issues relating to allegation of imposition of the chairman for the coming council election by the party,, abandon projects and false report on the achievements of the administration were clarified.
Details of the interview below.
Journalist: May we meet you sir?
Chairman: My name is Hon. Abdul Raheem Olajide Jimoh, the Executive Chairman Yaba Local council Development Area.
Journalist: How has your Three years in Office been?
Chairman: I thank Almighty God for being with us and I want to say that the Administration has done well and this had been acknowledged by different group of people within the Local Council; the N.U.T, N.U.R.T.W, (showing them various letters written by these groups).
Journalist: Could you please tell us your major challenge in the past three years?
Chairman: One major challenge faced by the administration on assumption of office was the low internal generated revenue (IGR). On assumption of office the Council IGR was N23 million yearly and immediately; the administration put in place some strategies and mechanism that will improve the IGR of the council and to the glory of God, there was unprecedented increase in the council IGR from N23 Million in 2008 to N99.5 Million and by God’s grace we are targeting N150Million.
Journalist: Yesterday some group of people called the concerned Mainland and Yaba Residents led by Hon. Adeola Konigbagbe complained about your imposition as the party candidate; they also alleged that most of the projects claimed to have been done were not completed rather they were abandoned. Can we say some people are behind them?
Chairman: As far as the Action Congress of Nigeria is concern, there is nothing like imposition but what the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other leaders in Lagos central senatorial district have done is endorsement and the party constitution provides for leadership to endorse candidates for elective positions. Let me also say that letters were received from various groups, Landlord associations, traders associations, Igbo community united forum, Nulge Executive, Party Executive from various wards in Yaba, National Union Teachers, giving their support to my second term ambition. More so, if the party leadership in Yaba under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Alade Grillo has not led anybody against him, whosoever does that does it out of context. Records also attest to the good work of the Administration in the last three years, the commendation given on Yaba in the Auditor General’s report for 2009, 2010, and 2011 is also there. A good politician must expect petition, criticism, protest; all these are allowed in democracy, however, it must be done constructively. Hon. Adeola Konigbagbe that led the protest is a member of board monitoring committee of the council and he is on the council pay roll (asking the paymaster to show the journalists the payment vouchers containing his name and signature). He is neither an Engineer nor an Accountant; he is not even member of the cabinet, so he is not qualified to say that projects are abandoned.
Journalist: What is the function of Board Monitoring Committee?
Chairman: They are to monitor the activities of other boards; submit the report of their findings and recommendations to the chairman.
Journalist: Are you now saying that there is no iota of truth in their allegations?
Chairman: Nothing is true in their statement. You go around and sample the opinion of the people on the activities of the administration, watch the documentary CD, go through the Auditor general’s report for the past three years on Yaba, even pay a physical inspection to some of the projects, they are all there for you to see. These people are nothing but detractors; and I am saying unequivocally that no abandoned project in Yaba LCDA.
Journalist: Is there any problem between you and the board?
Chairman: I have no problem with any board. Salary is been paid as at when due. I owe nobody and there is no debt in the bank. This local government is the local government that does not owe its Banker.
Journalist: We also heard that there was a faceoff between you and the Legislators. What do you have to say?
Chairman: Thank you for that question. Let me quickly correct the impression that there was a faceoff between me and the legislators. No. The faceoff is between the leader of the council and some of his members.
Journalist: There was also an allegation that you use Government fund to build magnificent houses in your village and that you sold Atan to private owner. What do you have to say?
Chairman: Let me say that before I assumed office, I signed a code of conduct declaring my assets and the documents are there; so if anybody sees or discovers any malpractices, I think the appropriate Government security operatives are there for them to lodge their complaint. Let them present their evidence(s) to EFCC and ICPC if indeed they are sure of what they are saying. On Atan cemetery, I believe in partnership and doing things through due process, nothing has been done singlehandedly; most of the approvals granted are done by the Executive management, so I have not sold any part of Atan cemetery to anybody. However, it was the past regime that sold part of Atan to Ebony and Ebony had been paying a ridiculous amount to the coffer of the council. The Administration then decided to correct the anomaly by demanding for 40:60 sharing formula and after much negotiations and deliberations, both parties agreed to 30:70 i.e. for every vault sold Ebony pays 30 percent of the cost to the council and this has boosted the revenue drive of the council. Similarly, when I came in, the council park was been handled haphazardly, the administration decided to franchise it and that became another source of revenue to the council. I have been taught, trained by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and I thank God that what was impacted on me is helping me today in the discharge of my constitutional responsibility to the people.
Journalists: Can you declare your assets?
Chairman: My document / form on code of conduct is here. I can give you to write whatever you want to write. I am ready at any time to defend its content.
Journalist: I want to believe you are returning for the second term. What area would you like to touch again?
Chairman: There is no area that has not been touched, but we are coming to improve on all that had been done. Recently, Fishermen were given Canoes and fishing materials, CDAs were given DSTV with T.V sets, Mechanics, Battery Chargers, Hairdressers, Fashion designers, Barbing Saloon operators were given various tools of their profession as a way of empowering them and making them to be self reliance and independent. We are going to improve and do more to empower the youths and to make them more self reliance and independent.
Journalist: Sir, what is your government doing to youth empowerment?
Chairman: Thank you for that question. Let me say that my administration has done a lot in the area of youth empowerment. 95 of our youths have been employed through SUBEB, more than 200 youths were also employed as liaison officers, Special assistants to the chairman, board committee members. As I said earlier, Poverty alleviation materials were given to different category of people from different profession. The administration also trained some Youths in skill acquisition and vocational job. I want to assure you that we would continue to see to the development of our youths.
Journalist: Sir, part of the allegations is that you owe the street sweepers some salary. Can you defend that?
Chairman: This Administration is not owing any staff any salary. When I came into office, street sweepers are been paid N7, 500.00 per month with three months’ salary outstanding. The administration paid the outstanding and also increased the salary from N7, 500.00 – N10,000.00 and their supervisors to N12,000.00. Some of the street sweepers confirmed the statement of the Chairman. Mr Adam Abeeb who was also interviewed said the chairman did not owe any sweepers salary as they are being paid as at when due and that their salary goes to their individual Bank account at the end of every month. Also, N5, 000.00 is given to most outstanding sweeper quarterly by the chairman.
Journalists: Have you been given money to Party Leadership for you to be endorsed?
Chairman: I have not given any party top officials or leaders any money for me to be endorsed. In fact, party leadership is against such practice, the constitution of the party does not make such provision and even Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu does not believe in that.
Journalist: Sir, what did campaign of calumny do for a nation.
Chairman: I want to say that it happens everywhere and some group of people are noted for that. As for me, I am always open to criticism; however it must be done constructively. What they have done is an opportunity for me to gain cheap popularity and publicity that was not paid for.
Journalist: Briefly run down some of your achievements.
Chairman: The Administration has done a lot in terms of project initiation and execution. In the area of Roads rehabilitation and construction, Wright street at Adekunle has been constructed and turned right, Omitogun Street with drainage, Igbore Street with drainage, Victoria Street in Iwaya, Yovi Street, Amusa Street, Ameen Street with drainage, Bailey Street and Spencer Street all in Yaba LCDA to mention but few.
In the health sector, the administration constructed Abule Ijesha PHC now named as Pa Alli Dawodu PHC, renovated Iwaya PHC, Oba L.A.Salami PHC, Ori-Oke PHC, Construction of Floating clinic for the people of Makoko with the first successful surgical operation done; supply of fully equipped Ambulance to State owned Harvey road Hospital.
Education sector, the Administration distributed fully equipped first aid boxes to all primary schools in Yaba, security operatives’ i.e, Police, Immigration, V.I.O, SSS, WAI Brigade etc. Also Schools were constructed and rehabilitated. Such as Talimum primary school at Adekunle, Army Children School, Myhoung barrack Primary School, All Saints’ Primary School etc. Customised bags and Exercise books were distributed to all primary schools, Boreholes sunk with 6.5KVA generator to power them.
In the area of sports, youths have been involved in sporting activities. The Administration donated two giants Table Tennis to Rowe Park for Asoju Oba Table tennis Competition; gate of the sport complex was repaired. The dead also enjoy dividend of democracy as perimeter fence of Atan cemetery was constructed and solar energy light installed. I have to give God thanks for helping us thus far. Thank you all.