BARRISTER Saheed O. Kolawole Shillings was a former teacher, ex-General Secretary, Ikorodu-Oga Development Association (IKODASS) and the immediate past chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu branch. In this interview with Kunle Adelabu, Publisher/Writer-In-Chief, THE IMPACT Newspaper, at his office in Ikorodu, he bears his mind on many issues.
IMPACT: Congratulations on your successful tenure as Nigeria Bar Association, Ikorodu branch Chairman
Barrister Shillings: Thank you
IMPACT: Sir, can you please take us through the challenges and achievements of NBA during reign.
Barrister Shillings: I thank God for given me the opportunity to serve at that level and my colleagues for the confidence repose on me. The greatest challenges were that the fulfillment of promises I made to the people and by the grace of God I was able to achieve some of them. I was able to achieve the promise of providing the body a well furnished Secretariat. As a body we were also able to participate in the activities of the National body. We also laid the foundation for many things, for instance the new legal year in Ikorodu was held unlike before when we go to Lagos Judiciary to celebrate with them. I also promised that Ikorodu Court will be opened which also came to pass. Even though one can say it’s coincidental, but we insisted that it must open for judicial activities and the Government acceded. For five years, we were just going to Lagos, not forgetting that this is a court that also serves the entire Lagos East Senatorial district with exception of Shomolu and Bariga and that means we can not afford to keep it perpetually locked. We were also able to give our members souvenirs for remembrance. In term of representation we gave a quality one, but the biggest challenge was time. I am into litigation practice and goes to court, but some times I have to send junior lawyers to work for me to meet up the demands of the office as the chairman. Though, I’m not used to taking excesses in court, but few times I have to, especially in matters I have to take personally. So the greatest challenges are time and fund, but were able to managed our little resources judiciously. We were also at the verse of completing registration of our co-operative system. By and large, I was able to discharge duty to my learned colleagues.
IMPACT: one thing that has been agitating the minds of non-legal persons is why an administration is trying to consolidate on its achievements, you will discovered that the tenure has ended without opportunity of coming back. Is it constitutional that no re-election must be sought?
Barrister Shillings: Yes, at the national level too you don’t seek re-election after two years tenure in office. And I think the entire nation should borrow a leaf from that, especially those talking about consolidation, because I do not see any government that is spending an extra term and has been able to achieve better than its first term. The reality of it is that people just want to stay in office.
IMPACT: Lastly on NBA, how will you describe the state of Ikorodu NBA?
Barrister Shillings: Perfect. Even one can see the impacts of the new administration that came after me. I believe they are in good stead and we shall continue to build on it.
IMPACT: Sir, what is your perception about the issue of Ikorodu for Governorship agenda in 2015?
Barrister Shillings: It is a matter of right and constitutional if you look at section of Nigeria constitution that says that values in any society must be shared on the principles of equity and equal participation and when you look at the administration of the civilian system within the IBILE forum, all four other divisions that formed Lagos state had their turn except Ikorodu. Incidentally the governorship is now coming to the Lagos East may be balance of agitation since 2007 on the platform of Conference of Leader of Leader of Ikorodu Division (COLID) when I served as the secretary. If other parts of the divisions that formed Lagos State -Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos and Epe had had their turn including Epe which is part of Lagos East, equity demands that is should be turn of Ikorodu. But I do not like the way we are going about the campaign as if we are looking for Governor for Ikorodu not Lagos state. I am not too comfortable with the way we are going about it. I was in Epe recently and discovered that banners of aspirants from that axis was less presence there but are more pronounced in ikorodu and other parts of the State, but our candidates are no where. I think we should look into this critically. We are talking about Governor of Lagos state and not Ikorodu. Is it that we don’t have money or what is the problem? Even the issue within East senatorial District, I’m not sure we are taking the front role and I am not happy about that. I thought that we should be improving on the effort we made in 2007. Like I always said, if you look at some of the indices of development, Lagos State has 56 court rooms, we have two in Ikorodu and that two is also serving Epe, hope you can see development from my perspective. Ikorodu is also strategically positioned that all the other components of Lagos East Senatorial district. There are also 5 Magistrate Courts in Ikorodu and one in Epe. Socially and culturally, I doubt if there is any part of the state that can compete with Ikorodu.
IMPACT: Sir, recently the Eminent Group called for entries and screened governorship aspirants of Ikorodu extraction, we are still awaiting the result of the screening, but sir, do you think its strategic for Ikorodu to be presenting multiple aspirants rather than presenting governorship aspirants?
Barrister Shilings: I think it’s rather late for us to have too many aspirants. What we should be doing right now is to identify the most formidable candidate among the lots and support such with our resources. I am actually working with some interests and we are consulting stakeholders on this, because if we missed it again in 2015 only God knows when the slot will come back to Lagos East. To this end, I see Hon. Abike Dabiri’s rumored deputy governor pursuit as anti-system. If anything, we must fight together for the ultimate prize.
IMPACT: You contested for the Federal House of Representatives seat in the last election and rumour has it that you are back in the race for the 2015? If true sir, on what platform will you be contesting for the Ikorodu Federal House of Representatives seat?
Barrister Shillings: Of course, I’m in the race and contesting on the platform of our great party, All Progressive Congress (APC). I will soon make my public declaration in this regard known. As a legal practitioner and someone close to the grassroots, I want to give my people adequate representation at the Federal level and I want to mount a solid challenge in the House of Representatives race and with the mandate of the people help in correcting imbalance in the system. For instance, there are twenty-four House of Representatives members in Lagos State and Ikorodu has only one. Same with local government where we have only one and I think All Progressive Congress (APC) members in the House of Representatives should take advantage of the present balance in the House to make choate the inchoate Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the state.
IMPAC: What are your programs for the people?
Barrister Shillings: My programmes include working towards making the Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) full-fledge council in order to bring meaningful administration to the grassroots people. It is also part of my agenda to champion derivation principles for Lagos State and also to ensure that Ikorodu is given more representation in the House among others. I have plans to give adequate and effective representation to my people in Ikorodu, Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.