2023: Tinubu’s the man to beat — Bamigbetan

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Frontline journalist and former Lagos State Commissioner for Information, and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Oladapo Bamigbetan, is aspiring to go to the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

In this interview, Bamigbetan, who was chief press secretary to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Lagos State governor, and  two-time chairman of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, spoke on why he wants to represent Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency II, and why Tinubu is the man to beat in the 2023 presidential race.

Why are you vying for House of Representatives?

Nigeria has what it takes to be the next global super power if we get the leadership right. And you can’t get it right if you keep pushing people who want to use the House of Representatives as retirees’ quarters.

Sponsorship of bills is one of the duties of the legislator. This requires research and creativity. Research is to know the problem and its dimensions. Creativity is to develop lasting solutions to the problem in a way that its impact can be evaluated and expanded. But these are just basic skills. Most important is networking and lobbying to let people see the obvious benefits of your idea.

 These processes are dynamic. For example, take our local government creation system. Since 2004, the process for the listing of the 37 additional local governments in Lagos State by the National Assembly has been truncated or rendered inchoate.

Other states such as Osun and Ogun are affected by this inchoate situation. It has taken raw political will of the leadership of these states to continue to sustain the additional local governments as Local Council Development Areas despite occasional threats by federal agencies.

The time has come to break the jinx. I have worked as the chairman of Ejigbo one of the LCDAs in Lagos State and witnessed the irrationality of the denial of this fundamental right of Lagosians to expand the democratic decision making structures for good governance and be recognised as a unit in the third tier of government that should have access to the resources of the Federation Account.

I know that if Lagos State succeeds in legislating the 37 tried and tested LCDAs to bona fide LGAs, the funds available to the third tier in Lagos State will be tripled and more resources to build schools, roads, health centres and take our people out of poverty will be available.

I take significant notice of the coincidence between the need to break the jinx and the aspiration of my leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for presidency. I think God has decreed that the people living in the LCDAs in Lagos have suffered federal neglect enough. We have suffered deprivation enough. We have suffered this punitive regime of non-recognition enough. I believe that is one of the reasons He is bringing Asiwaju Bola.

Tinubu, the same man whose administration created the 37 LGAs but was forced by the intransigence and lack of vision of the Olusegun Obasanjo regime to make them LCDA, has come out for presidency to right the wrongs done to our people. That is why I urge landlords and residents in the 37 LCDAS of Lagos State in particular, making sure that Asiwaju becomes the president so the process of liberating us from 20 years of oppression can start. It is in our best interest.

As far as this issue is concerned, I have put my hands on the plough and shall not look back. I have the strategy to make it happen. Making me the next member, House of Representatives for Oshodi-Isolo Constituency II is the best decision party members will make at the primaries.

His other plans

Look at youth employment, we intend to train 100 youths per ward per quarter in computer appreciation, coding and digital skills. I am convinced that only a technology-driven solution, using the passion of youths for devices and programmes, can drive them to training and make them value creators. Once you build the youth, you will build a new, better, more productive nation.

Sadly, the federal and state authorities in Nigeria have not shown enough vision and passion to preparing the leadership of the students unions, the next generation of leaders for leadership. I will push and address this problem in a holistic and long term manner. 

In the course of a month of consultations, the citizens in Ejigbo and Isolo desire more development in six major areas. These are electricity, roads, water supply, markets, youth employment and business empowerment.

I hope to promote alternative energy sources such as solar to liberate our people from the exploitation of electricity suppliers.

Water supply is also critical. Several bore holes water supply constituency projects have stopped working. The first task is to reactivate them. Luckily, we have the advantage of the Oshodi-Isolo Masterplan so we have the statistics of the demand and supply for drinking water. We will map the constituency and then ensure that as many communities as possible get access to drinking water.

On his chances

I believe my chances are very bright. I ran for this same seat in 2015 and I was persuaded by the party leadership to allow the incumbent, Muniru Abiodun, to run. So I understand the terrain and the process.

The political situation is more conducive than 2015 because of some historic developments which have changed the structure of alliances in the constituencies. The capacity of this alliance was tested during the local government elections when the incumbent House of Representatives member set up his own platform of contestants in Isolo and Ejigbo against our own. To God be the glory, our candidates for chairmanship and councillorship defeated his own.

I believe what is helping my case is my unparalleled record of performance in public office, consistent loyalty to the party, network of destiny helpers and my popular-democratic credentials. By God’s grace, victory shall be ours.

On criticisms against Tinubu’s presidential aspiration?

It is the constitutional right of all Nigerians above 35 years to run for president. And he has exercised his right to contest.

It is such a great pity that a lot of his detractors wallow in self-denial. They choose to believe the rumour when the truth stares at them. Asiwaju Tinubu is a magician who uses creativity to turn waste to wealth, and opportunities to prosperity. There are so many examples but I will choose two.

READ ALSO: PDP Aspirant Assures Non-Indigenes Equal Opportunities In Nnewi

Take the Eko Atlantic City. We were in this Lagos when the Bar Beach was being massively eroded by the sea.  Remember that the road and houses overlooking the beach were already threatened. Asiwaju did his research and brought in a South African company to retrieve the beach. They went further; they not only reclaimed the beach but also sand filled a vast land on which the Eko Atlantic City now sits. The American Embassy has just decided to invest $ 531million to build its newest and biggest Consulate there. That is waste to wealth.

Secondly, take Dangote Petrochemical Complex. Dangote merely complained to Asiwaju that he wanted to set up the complex in a state I won’t mention but that they were asking him to pay an incredible amount to access the land. Asiwaju saw the opportunity and asked him to site it in Lagos at a much cheaper cost. Today, his vision has converted opportunity to prosperity.

So who among those contesting with him for presidency has a similar gargantuan track record? We are not talking of maintaining legacies. We are talking of setting unimaginable standards, achieving miraculous transformation, turning Nigeria into the true economic super power of Africa.

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