Interview with Hon. Luqman Adelagun Odumosu

The Africa Signal News Magazine had an exclusive interview with Hon. Luqman Adelagun Odumosu. Friends and associates call him LAO. He is the PDP flagbearer representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1 in the forthcoming Lagos State House of Assembly elections. He talked about his ambition and passion, problems confronting the people and other matters. Excerpts…

TASN: INEC has just rescheduled your election for next weekend. How do you feel?
LAO: I feel quite relieved. You know the use of BVAS has brought sanity to our accreditation process. The relative confidence we have today is that thanks to BVAS, you can no longer sit at a corner and just write up an election result. Given the injunction that held up INEC, we were worried the machines may not be available for State elections this weekend. Fortunately, the order was discharged and INEC in its wisdom was transparent enough to appreciate the process has become pressed for time. So, we accept the postponement in good faith and will be happy to have it on Saturday, 18th March 2023.

TASN: You seem quite refined compared with the image of a typical Ajegunle person…
LAO: You are stereotyping my people and that makes you prejudiced. It is unfair. That is part of the problems we have had over the years. Government at all levels have been acting as if Ajeromi-Ifelodun is a backwater community that could be neglected. I am vying for Office as a Lagos State Legislator representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1 to change that systematic stigmatization, impoverishment and underdevelopment of our community and people. We have some of the most talented and exposed people making us proud around the world. That has not disconnected us from our roots. For instance, I will always be the “Ibile” and “Omo Adugbo ” brand everybody knows me for. Everybody you know that comes from Ajeromi-Ifelodun has his/her own brand identity. We are very authentic because it is our nature.

TASN: Let’s talk about Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency 1…
LAO: We have the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency that has been divided into 2 State Constituencies. I am the PDP Flagbearer for Constituency 1 Ifelodun, but our people across the entire Ajeromi-Ifelodun have the same story of neglect, exclusion and deliberate underdevelopment. Our right and access to good housing conditions, healthcare facilities, potable water and sanitation, freedom from molestation, sports development, good roads and infrastructure, security and crime control, local content empowerment and entrepreneurial support have been serially violated and denied by successive Federal and State administrations. Our former Federal Legislator Hon. Rita Orji at a point tried to escalate our plight for the attention of the United Nations. The truth is we cannot make much progress without taking back our destiny at the level of State Governance because that is where the real power to make local measurable changes actually reside. So, my message to our people is that Abuja may be so far away but Alausa is just at our backyard here. If they vote me to represent them at the House of Assembly, it means we are in it together so I cannot tell them stories that touch.

TASN: Why do you think you have been neglected by government?
LAO: It is not what I think. Rather, it is our reality. The Administrative Division (Establishment) Edict of 1968 broke Lagos State into Five Administrative Divisions. Badagry was one of those Divisions and Ajeromi-Ifelodun with its diverse ethnic groups, was one of the three district councils created under Badagry Division. It is home to Ajegunle and Amukoko, the most popular slums in the heart of Lagos.

Ajegunle’s 550,000 population consists of 57,276 inhabitants per square kilometer, makes it perhaps the most densely populated area in any part of the world. The average population density in the whole world is 45 persons per square kilometer. The ideal population density for a country to be ecologically sustainable is 50 – 100 people per square kilometer. In fact, the population density in Nigeria today is 226 people per square kilometer. But when you come to Ajeromi-Ifelodun, you have a completely different story. You can now imagine how terrible it must feel for over 57 thousand people to live in a space 226 people would live in other parts of the same country!

But that is not all. When you pass through Araromi, Awodi Ora, Cardoso, Layeni, Onibaba, Orodu, temidire and Tolu, you will feel sad and confused. These are towns, big towns in our local government. Even Ajegunle popularly referred to as “AJ City” by everyone was the boundary between Nigeria’s defunct Western Region and the Lagos Colony. Apapa Wharf and Tincan Island, where two of Nigeria’s biggest seaports are located, border the community on the west. Can you now tell me how the living conditions of my people doesn’t reflect neglect by Constituted Authorities?

TASN: You think you are the best man for the job?
LAO: Ajeromi-Ifelodun needs people who understands the essence of call to service, and I do. Part of our challenge is that the people we have assigned in times past felt overwhelmed as soon as they assume office. One reason for that is that they didn’t properly understand their expected roles so they could not formulate effective strategies to deliver on people’s mandates. Consequently, it was convenient for them to flow with the tide and forget about people’s agitation for development. I don’t have that problem, and everyone here can testify to the fact that I have always honoured my commitments. They know the ruling APC have tried in so many ways to make me decamp but I chose to stand by the people.

I am a philanthropist and community leader. When I become elected as a Member of Lagos State House of Assembly, I will represent the specific interests of my Constituents and our Local Government. I have pledged to consider our needs as a whole regardless of our diverse political outlooks. I will make sure appropriations are properly analyzed and resources are efficiently distributed in such a way those in need are put in priority and judiciously utilized. Our laws must also be practical and implementable over a long period of time, and petitions filed by my Constituents will no longer be delayed and denied. Citizens’ rights must be protected at all times, and I will ensure we discharge our Oversight Functions properly.

TASN: What would you like to tell the good people of State Constituency 1?
LAO: I would like to assure everyone that there is no need for violence. This is our home, and we must collectively respect and preserve our right to choose our leaders through democratic means as provided by law. I need everyone to vote for me and my Party PDP massively, and I have promised to provide honest and effective services as a Legislator. I have travelled far and wide so my vision of a good life for our people is vivid, practical and legitimate. I have always provided welfare assistance and security support for our people. I grew up here, and will really appreciate their continued support and overwhelming votes as their next House of Assembly member come 18th March 2023.


(Edited by: Samuel Odebowale)

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