-Your generation has a role to play in ensuring harmony – Hon. Agunbiade
The youths of Ikorodu, under the aegis of Ikorodu Division Youth Movement (IDYM), has parleyed with the representative of the Ikorodu Constituency I and the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, towards finding solutions to some of the challenges facing the division politically, socially and economically.
At the parley, which was held at the Hon. Agunbiade Constituency Office, located along Awolowo Way, Ikorodu, on Sunday, May 12, 2019, the youths raised issues bothering on their inclusiveness in governance and community development, synergy among elected political office holders and other political leaders, traffic congestion, especially at Lagos road and Ikorodu garage roundabout, and the cultism crisis that has pervaded the community.
The movement is the promoter of the #NotTooYoungToRun in Ikorodu Division.
Comrade Samson Bisiriyu, the Executive Director of the movement, speaking on behalf of the youths, congratulated the lawmaker on his recent reelection to represent Ikorodu Constituency I at the Lagos State House of Assembly for a record fourth term and wished him a successful tenure.
“We are here, first, to congratulate you on your recent re-election to once again represent the good people of Ikorodu.
“Secondly, we are here to advocate for youth inclusiveness in governance especially, in the coming administration in Lagos State”, he said.
Bisiriyu narrated how the #NotTooYoungToRun bill was presented at the National Assembly by the representative who is presently representing Oshodi/Isolo federal constituency at the Federal House of Representatives and its subsequent passage and eventual signing into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also stated that Ikorodu youths want a situation where other youths are being given the opportunities to represent their people at the National and State Assemblies in other parts of the state and country is replicated in Ikorodu.
“As youths, we have seen youths in other parts of the states and country where youths are taking up vantage political positions. We want such to be replicated in Ikorodu.
“We also want to seek for synergy among all our elected representatives, other elected political office holders and other leaders in the division.
“On this issue, we have met with other political leaders – Asipa Kaoli Olusanya, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun and the former Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunsanya and you are the fourth person that we are meeting.
He enjoined the leaders to speak with one voice in presenting demands from Ikorodu at the state level.
“Our expectation is to see to it that the leaders speak with one voice this time around unlike before that they worked at crossroad. We want our leaders to be in agreement in terms of who represent Ikorodu in the coming administration in the state’’, he pleaded.
“As youths representatives, we are also concerned about the killings in Ikorodu by the cultists. Many of the victims, either innocent or members of the rival cult groups, are youths like us. I read in THE IMPACT newspaper about the recent killings where two innocent people were killed and one of them was an accountant. More so, the ugly incident is affecting the image of Ikorodu negatively.
“We want to know what you are doing about it as our elected representative and what the government is also doing about it or intends to do about it”, he added.
“The issue of traffic congestion at Lagos-Ikorodu garage axis is another challenge that we also want to address with you. The nauseating scenario is causing a lot of hardship to the movements of people in and out of Ikorodu on daily basis and it needs to be tackled quickly.”
The representative of the Ikorodu Constituency I, Hon. SOB Agunbiade, who listened with keen interest to the submissions of the youths representatives, responded to each of the questions raised.
He praised the youths group for finding it necessary to interface with him while also enjoining them to make the interaction with him and other representatives a regular exercise.
In his response to the issue of synergy among elected representatives and other political actors, he stated that :
“In my course of responding to your questions, you might get bruised but you have to accept it as my candid response. You might not like it but if at the end I am able to satisfy my conscience, then, I am pleased”, he stated.
“I am not a regular politician that want to satisfy everybody and I will always tell the truth and it doesn’t matter if you accept it and like me for it or not”.
While commending the youths for the initiative, he stated that:
“Sincerely, I must commend the youths for the initiative. You should feel free to engage me on any issue at any time. “
The lawmaker stated that Ikorodu is blessed with human and natural resources which he said are wasting away due to attitudes of its residents.
“Ikorodu is a town that is blessed with many talented people and resources. We are vantagely placed not only among other parts of the state but the country as a whole.
“Ikorodu is power-based for her abundant human and natural resources but unfortunately, we are the enemies of ourselves”, he stated frankly.
“We created enemity among ourselves out of naked and sheer selfishness.
“Some people fought and placed Ikorodu where it is today consciously and unconsciously. Unfortunately, the generation after them tried within their own capacity to recreate the selflessness and dedication of our past heroes for the development of Ikorodu.
“Our own generation is now in the saddle and we are contributing our own quota consciously and unconsciously too and we are being assessed by your own generation.”
He stated that the generation that constituted themselves into the youths movement might be the worst going by their attitudes.
“My fear is that your generation might be the worst because you have introduced anarchy and divisiveness into the polity”, he stated.
“I was not brought up to call a spade any other name than spade. My training is to speak the truth at all time. If you are condemned by human beings while doing that, be assured that God will take up your battle and give you justice. “
He challenged the youths to be ready to offend those that want the status quo to remain while also warning them not to pursue their cause stupidly.
“If you want to serve your community, you must be ready to step on toes but don’t do it stupidly. You need some measures of discipline and respect in dealing with others”, he warned.
“There are lots of injustice in Ikorodu not done to us by the people from outside but by ourselves. “
SOB’s Reactions On The Issues Raised By The Youths Group
On Synergy Among Political Leaders & Youth Inclusiveness:
“If political office holders are not united in Ikorodu, it’s simply because our youths caused it”, he alleged.
“Many of you go about telling different lies and canvassing wrong positions to these elected representatives against the others because you are seeking unnecessary political relevance”, he stated while indicting the youths.
“It is your generation that has perfected the act of going to a political office holder to seek for his/her assistance and to achieve your aim by disparaging others who have been assisting but told you that he cannot offer the assistance you are seeking from them at the moment.
“I will not mention names, but I have among you that have benefitted more from me but when they brought one proposal or sought for assistance which I was not disposed to, they go about pursuing campaign of calumny against my person. “
He challenged the youths to be ready to improve themselves and work towards uplifting themselves instead of waiting for anybody to do that for them.
“The situation in the country is hard but don’t think that anybody can help you. The hard situation should push you to develop concept for economic prosperity for yourselves and your community.
“I passed through hard times. I sold groundnuts, paint plastics and other things in this community. When I started my political career, I had to campaign in every place that I had hawked and beyond. “
He revealed that he had been denied opportunities by many influential people in Ikorodu while in school and after his graduation when he was looking for where to work as a lawyer.
“In craving for greatness, I have been denied opportunities by prominent Ikorodu indigenes but I hold no grudge against them.
“In actual fact, they succeeded in pushing me to work harder to become what I am today. Their rejections made me to work and prepare myself for the future.
“Most of those that I facilitated employment and other placements for are youths of Ikorodu.
“I am accessible at all times to engage you but you have to be mindful of my primary duty as a legislator which you gave me the mandate to represent you and the enormous task attached with my office as the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
“My approach in achieving my aim of taking Ikorodu out of the wood is silent revolution.
“Note that I can only help our youths and our division if I am empowered. Unfortunately, many people in Ikorodu, including your platform, were used to work against my fourth term in the House of Assembly.
“We cannot talk about inclusiveness if we don’t support our own that are strategically positioned and placed in the position of authority”, he said.
He warned that youths should not only be concerned about political appointments as the only empowerment that they are after.
“Inclusiveness in terms of political appointments into cabinet should not be the sole agenda of the #NotTooYoungToRun.
“As growing youths, you must first have clear conscience and purge yourself of some negative attitudes because you are still going to become us and even greater than us.
“It is then that you would understand the contradictions that are inherent in our society. You are abusing us today but the generation after you are more aggressive and just pray that they don’t do more than you are doing to us today”, Hon Agunbiade stated.
The ranking lawmaker stated that power is not served a la carte, adding that some youths cannot be recommended for any position of responsibility.
“We should stop saying ‘awa lo kan’ (it is our turn), rather, we should work for whatever that we deserved. People make available their resources every time there is an election. What have we been contributing in Ikorodu?
“Power is not served a la carte. In Agege, they did not wage war against Obasa’s fifth term ambition. The people of Surulere know what they have been benefitting and what they will still benefit in returning Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to the Federal House of Representatives for the fourth term. God willing, he will emerge as the Speaker.
“But in Ikorodu, rather than supporting their own with potentials to emerge as the Speaker of the State Assembly, it is war that we are waging.
“Frankly speaking, I know some youths that I cannot recommend to represent Ikorodu or assist into any position because of their attitudes. Such youths, if given position of responsibilities, would bring bad image for Ikorodu.
“Let’s be patient in moving Ikorodu forward. Don’t go out changing the system with the aim of destroying others”, he warned.
On Traffic Congestion:
“There are lots of issues in Ikorodu which people are not talking about except to engage in unnecessary and endless political arguments”.
He enjoined the youths and the generality of Ikorodu residents to know more about the duty of their representatives.
“Many do not even have the knowledge about the duties of the elected representatives that they gave their mandate to. At our end, we have made enabling laws to tackle traffic problems in the state and if there is any vacuum or need to amend those laws, you can bring it to our notice.
“Our youth groups should engage our council chairmen and councilors on the traffic situation. The problem needs enforcement. It is their work.”
“I want to assure you that we have had meetings on this sad development that is also affecting other parts of the state. Just yesterday (Saturday, May 11), I was at a meeting with some people in a bid to find solutions to the situation.
“There is a law on cultism in the state that we are working to review. We are going to see to it that the penalties that are in the law are reviewed upwardly to effectively deterred these gangs.
“The same way we used the force of law to curtail land grabbing activities, these new law, when eventually reviewed, would curtail the activities of these gangs parading themselves as cultists. They should just say bye to their families once caught and prosecuted.
Speaking further on the issue which has permeated the fabrics of the society, Hon Agunbiade stated that:
“The issue has degenerated and it will be very difficult to eradicate it. To address the menace, we must all work collectively to stem it.
“It is a collective responsibility. The antidote is not to cast them away but to make them see reason that gangsterism will lead them to nowhere but to perdition.
“If you kill by the sword, you will die by the sword”, he said quoting the Holy Book.
While also blaming the youths and the society, Agunbiade stated that most cultists are known to their friends and families but they are not doing anything about them.
“It will be difficult to pick two innocent people out of ten youths in Ikorodu that are not involved in cultism. If the remaining eight are not directly guilty, they would be guilty indirectly.
“Many of those guys are your friends and relatives whom you know about their involvements in cultism, what are you doing about it?”, he asked.
“Like ritual killings, Badoo and others that we have faced in recent times, cultism is another challenge that we have to deal with. It will fizzle out like these other challenges if we collectively rise up to it as a people”, he challenged.