My generation will be proud of me -Itesiwaju LG boss, Niyi Adeagbo
Tuesday, June7, 2016, Caretaker Chairman of Itesiwaju Local Government, OyoState, NIYI ADEAGBO, along with 32 others of his counterparts appointed by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi to serve their respective councils are marking 90 days in office. In this interview, ADEAGBO assesses the journey of the past three months, his experiences, the challenges and presents his scorecard. Excerpts…
What do you have to say about the last one year of the second term of Governor Ajimobi?
?Deliberate is the word that comes to mind. A lot has happened in the last one year globally and locally. Oil prices have crashed, the global economy has taken a bashing, Nigeria’s economy is on the brink of recession, Naira has tanked against the dollar and revenue from federal allocation is a fraction of what it was in his first term, too many economic factors to deal with. A lot of people will say nothing is being done, but I know for a fact that our amiable governor Senator Ajimobi is being strategically deliberate and for sure we will begin to see the results of his work behind closed doors
The Governor has given you and 21 other new chairmen a rare opportunity to showcase your abilities, what will you say about that?
?It is indeed a rare privilege to be given an opportunity to serve ones people and have a chance to make a difference in people’s lives. This is an opportunity that I will eternally be grateful for. The way I know how to show this gratitude is to put the best of my abilities to work to deliver, in real terms, the dividends of democracy to my constituency and make my boss proud indeed.
Can you please describe your 90 days in office so far?
?It has been very hectic I must say. We hit the ground running by taking stock of what is on ground, engaged all the necessary stakeholders and formed an assessment that was to be synchronised with our agenda for the council. We have sorted a lot of the immediate issues that we met. And work is continuing. Hectic is the word I would use.
What has been your experience so far as a caretaker chairman? ?
It’s been a very interesting ride thus far. When you occupy such a position, especially in a local council with a variety of challenges like Itesiwaju, the expectations of the people are unbelievably great. You are equated with a saviour and they expect miracles and they expect it now! And you cannot blame them because they have been denied quality grassroots programs that improve their socio-economic condition in real terms. I am talking about sustainable economic programs that empower them and their households, programs that put disposable income in their pockets.
One must above all rely on God for wisdom to navigate the affairs of this office so that one is able to deliver meaningful dividends to them and somehow bring sustainable change in their lives.
You were known to be a social commentator and critic before now, can you describe your? perception to governance now??
I must confess, it is a different world entirely when you are inside than on the outside. As an outsider you tend to be an idealist, but when you get inside reality dawns on you. As a politician, your must be able to play the balancing game. There are internal and external stakeholders that one needs to put into consideration. The complexity goes further into varying opinions and expectations among the external stakeholders. In all of this you have to be focused on your agenda/vision for the LG with a view to delivering dividends to the people. Truth is one has to learn how to employ compromise while keeping things within the bounds of ethics and the Law.
It’s been 90 days of your administration; please can you share your scorecard???
Sometimes in this journey so far?, we have been hopeful and we have been hopeless. We have been happy and unhappy. I have shed tears on two occasions, one when I visited the house of a young lady who lost her husband to the lone petrol tanker accident in Okaka and the other at the state hospital at Okaka where the victims of the insane mayhem which happened after the 3rd place Match of our much celebrated unity cup.
For us, we have a choice and of all the choices, we will stay on the path of greatness, unity of purpose and a dream of a better tomorrow for our good people.
Firstly, we thank Almighty Allah who has kept us thus far. Also we thank our dear father and leader, Governor Abiola Ajimobi for his support, trust, fatherly advice and rear privilege given to me to serve my people, we will be forever be grateful.
We came on board exactly 90 days ago with so much plans and determination, although we are not where we envisage but we were able to record little successes. We are undoubtedly committed to the progress of our land, the Itesiwaju of our dream.
Believing that health is wealth, we are not relenting in our bid to make sure anything relating to medical care is given special attention. In fact, it was one of the areas we started from.
We can confirm that we have been able to redirect and reposition ?the working attitude of our medical staff as they are now responsive and responsible, more than ever before.
Added to this ?is the fact that we? have been promised additional medical doctors by the National Youth Service Corps, Oyo State. ?In Itesiwaju, as at now, we have just one doctor each at our primary and secondary health centres. This was made possible courtesy of the NYSC, Oyo State.
Also, the attitude of our people has now changed; they now visit our medical facilities and the feedback has been tremendous. They ?don’t need to buy exercise book anymore before they can be registered; we have provided needed cards for such purposes as we have printed and donated medical cards to all our maternity centres.
On a monthly basis, just like before, we have not failed to buy and distribute drugs to all our maternity centres, for free use of our people.
We have also purchased ?10 rechargeable fans for 5 hospitals that are located in areas without adequate supply of electricity.
We have also taken personal responsibility for many secondary medical bills that are beyond our primary health care facility.
The incinerator donated by UNICEF for the purpose of disposing medical wastes- for the use of medical centres in Iseyin/ Iwajowa/ Kajola and Itesiwaju ?Federal Constituency has been successfully installed at our medical centre in Otu, the council headquarters.
For the purpose of monitoring and distribution of drugs and other medical needs, we have bought a motorcycle for the health department.
Under our watch, through Senator Fatai Buhari, free health service was carried out in itesiwaju and about…. citizens benefited from it.
In a few days, we ?will commission ?7 out of the newly built block of 3 classrooms by the last administration which we have furnished with chairs and tables in 7 communities of Itesiwaju with chairs and tables.
Overtime, we have always been ?faced with dearth of teachers in compulsory subjects like Mathematics, English and some other Science subjects. To solve it in the immediate as the country is in financial crisis, we approached NYSC and graciously, they granted our request. Skilled corpers in those subjects have been posted to our council as we write.
Already, we have distributed about 10,000 free exercise books to our students in Itesiwaju.
For the first time in 10 years, history was made. We hosted Children’s day wi?th our best students – a male and a female becoming one-day chairman and chairperson respectively. They were made to preside over the ?match past and funfair.
From every part of the world, people, especially our kinsmen in diaspora can get to know what is happening at home right away. ?We have created a website for her and complimented this with social network? platforms, especially through our website: www.itesiwaju.oy.gov.ngü Already, 5 out of our 8 damaged tractors have been repaired and they are now on the farm, working.
To encourage our young people, over 1000 of them have been registered, some of which have already started farming.
As required by the State Government, over 200 out of the 10, 000 hectares have been bulldozed and cleared for the first phase of AgricOyo -100 each for maize and cassava which have been planted already and we can confirm that we have ploughed the land twice.
To ease registration of the teeming youth population for the AgricOyo, we have also purchased a brand new laptop and Internet service to ease the online registration.
On our own #AgricItesiwaju?, we have also done the first and second ploughing of the 20 hectares acquired for the project. We will plant cotton on the land.
To support individual farmers, ?we have assisted a couple of private investors acquired large acres land for their agribusiness and also speaking with two international companies which in turn, have created a lot of jobs for our youths.
We are at advance stage with Niji farm in signing partnership memorandum of understanding for itesiwaju cassava farm.
To make water available in areas with boreholes but without ?electricity, we bought 5 generators to power the pumping machines. We also provided 2 sections for two sections of the council secretariat. We donated another generator to the council guest house at Okaka as we have just repaired the borehole. For smooth running of the offices within the council, we also purchased 5 rechargeable fan. We have also repaired the toilet behind Okaka maternity. Also, we have ?renovated and we are in the process of allocation now and shall commission it in few days time the Ipapo market built by the last administration.
We have ?graded about 6 kilometres of road in each of the 7 major communities of Itesiwaju, covering 10 political wards. We have also dredged three disaster-prone rivers as we are already in raining season to prevent flood. Please input them at appropriate headings or create if necessary while we have repaired the damaged hand pump borehole with other accessories at IWOYE primary school, Otu. We have also done reconstruction work of damaged line drainage at AYIBA IGBOJAYE, construction of block wall retaining at both approaches of exciting culvert including back filling with good laterite and grading at AGORO SANGO ROAD OKAKA, flushing and complete repair damage hand pump borehole at ALAGA, rehabilitation of some roads in Otu.
How do you describe or rate your ?performance?
All I will say is we have tried our best. The people are the ones that can truly determine whether we have delivered or not.
You are one of the youngest in this team of 33 chairmen, have you made your generation proud?
?I hope so. Like I said, on my part, I have given it all I have got and besides we have just begun. So, whether or not I have made or will make my generation proud is left for posterity to judge
How do you describe your appointment especially as the youngest chairman in Oke-Ogun?
?I believe it’s a challenge. Some will expect new age ideas because of my age and some will expect failure because of my age as well. You can’t please everybody. At the end of the day, it’s not about age but about delivering for the peoples. One just has to be focused on the important things and leave the rest to God.
Your campaign of unity among your people, how do you intend to sustain it?
?Governments and administrations come and go but the people will remain. If it is indeed a genuine effort for the people then it must be about the people and by the people. If there is no buy-in from the people the program is for, then it is just a waste of time and resources and it will definitely fail. Once it is about the people, then their input must be priority and ultimately it must be handed back to them for them to manage it. That is when such programs take on a life of their own and outlast generations.
What message do you have for the good people of Itesiwaju as you always stated?
They should be rest assured that I will continue to bring development programmes.
What should the people be expecting as this ?tenure winds down?
We will try to complete everything that we started. We will not leave a string of abandoned projects that wont impact their lives.
What are your future developmental plans?
?We have narrowed our priorities to 4 major segments. IGR drive, Economic stimulation, Hospitality and Human capacity development. Most of our future activities will be centred on these major headings.?