A former Commissioner in the State and Lagos East Senatorial aspirant, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, has revealed that his major focus as a Senator would be to bring attention to the economic potentials in the state and develop it.
Prince Ogunleye, a lawyer who for many years was the Business Editor of the Daily Times Nigeria and Editor of the Business Times, is vying for the vacant seat of Lagos East at the National Assembly in the yet to be announced bye – election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Senatorial aspirant, who is a Prince of Ikorodu, was the former Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives and Physical Planning and Urban Development during the administration of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos State, spoke about his agenda at a parley with selected journalists across the Lagos East Senatorial District on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, at his Erunwen house.
He told newsmen that part of his agenda for the District is to address infrastructural decay in Lagos East, attracts the attention of federal government institutions to the District and creates more investment opportunities.
Prince Ogunleye said that he is eminently qualified to fill the much coveted position which became vacant when the former occupant, Senator Adebayo Oshinowo died few months ago.
He said that the amendment of existing laws, lobbying and interaction with his constituents would also form parts of his Senatorial agenda.
“First and foremost, I am aspiring because there is a vacancy and secondly, I am eminently qualified”, he declared.
“I have looked at the other people that are also aspiring and there is none among them that compare to my level of educational diversification.
“As a lawyer and journalist, I have been engaged in interpreting the laws, propounding laws and the primary duty of a Senator is to make law. So, I know what it takes to make law”, Prince Ogunleye said.
“As a journalist, the profession gives you the knowledge to know a little about everything. There is no topic, subject matter on earth that I have not written about in the course of my career or that I do not have knowledge about.
“Journalism gives you that wide knowledge about virtually every subject matter. That is why I am at ease to discuss any topic. And that is the kind of knowledge that you need to operate at that level of Upper Chamber”, he added.
The former Commissioner said that his plan is to make the Lagos East Senatorial District a valuable source of income and driving force not only for Lagos but the entire country’s economy.
“I want to ensure that the full potential of the Lekki Free Zone is fully harnessed. This is one of what we have in the District”, he revealed.
“We have to develop the infrastructure of the District and expand the existing one. There is no way the State alone can do this without partnering with the federal government.
“In Lagos East, we are talking of five local governments, eleven LCDAs and about 90 wards. In addition, there are a lot of infrastructural deficits. The roads are bad.
“Where are the federal institutions? Where are the investment opportunities?”, Prince Ogunleye asked.
With his knowledge about the huge investments at Lekki Free Zone, having oversees it as Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Prince Ogunleye said that he will ensure that the federal government partners with the state government in expanding the infrastructures in the District to harness benefits of the investments.
“I was Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. Incidentally, I was the first person to handle the three portfolios. All my predecessors were Commissioner for Commerce and Industry without Cooperatives added to their portfolios.
“The Lekki Free Zone in Ibeju – Lekki in the District is the goose that lays the golden eggs. It covers over 16, 500 hectares of lands. That is a solid investments destination that we have in this Senatorial District of the State”.
While stating that he will not let out the cat from the bag fully because he is not yet the candidate of his party or elected Senator yet, Prince Ogunleye gave insight into how he intends to make his District the economic destination of the State and country.
“The full potentials of the Free Zone have not been tapped. I have the action plan for my aspiration and will just give a tip of it. As a Senator representing Lagos East, I will ensure that the full potential of the Lekki Free Zone is realised”, he pledged.
“There is the Deep Sea Port in that axis which is the deepest sea port to carry heavy vessels because of the industralisation that is envisage along that corridor and because of that, we need network of roads on that Lekki corridor linking Ibeju to Epe, Itoikin and Ikorodu.
“This would require the assistance of the federal government because, Lagos State Government cannot do it alone.
“Dangote is also in the Lekki Free Zone with Petrochemical, fertiliser and refinery complex there. Its refinery is aimed at giving 650, 000 barrels of oil per day which is more than the production of the four refineries that the federal government has”, the former Commissioner said.
“The total installed capacity of those four refineries owned by the federal government is 444, 000 barrels per day. The four combined do not even have the capacity of Dangote refinery that is here in Lagos East Senatorial District.
“With this refinery, we are going to be having heavy – duty vehicles along the corridor. We need to draw the attention of the federal government to these massive developments that would need infrastructural backup”.
He said that Lagos East needs an enlightened individual with diverse background and adequate knowledge of the economic potentials of the District to represent it at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
“In order for us to get the full potential of Lekki Free Zone, we need a forceful enlightened character who knows about it to be able to canvass such. If you don’t know what to canvass, you will not be able to do that”, Prince Ogunleye said.
“In Ikorodu, there is Rice mill which during our administration we increased its capacity from about 5 tons to about 32 tons per hour. In that same corridor, we launched the Industrial Park when I was the Commissioner for Commerce. The two are side by side in Imota.
“The Industrial Park is to provide an avenue for small scale entrepreneurs to do their business – manufacture and engage in productions of a lot of things. It is to help the country diversify and take attention away from oil.
“These are the essence of the Industrial Park and Lekki Free Zone.
“These are the areas that I want to draw attention to by canvassing that we need infrastructural developments to harness their full potentials and benefits”.
He said that other parts of the Senatorial District will also benefit from the huge economic potentials if properly tapped and harnessed.
He also pointed out that part of his Senatorial agenda is to canvass economic diversification through developments of huge investments in the District.
“This would also cover Kosofe, Somolu and other parts of the state and we are going to be the goose laying the golden eggs not only for Lagos State but the entire country.
“This is our drive and our campaign for the diversification of the Nigeria economy. We have the facilities and we need to develop them”, the Senatorial aspirant said.
While stating that there are a number of laws that needed amendments, Ogunleye also added that he is going to work with others to ensure that the 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state attain full status as a council.
“When I want to embark on an assignment, I don’t look at it as difficult. I always say that we can break heavy rock to bring out water”, he said while stating that he will pursue the campaign for full local government status for LCDAs in the state.
“The issue is political. When we created the LCDAs, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was everywhere but now, we are everywhere. Why can’t we get it done? We need somebody to canvass for it. With due respect, Senator Remi Tinubu tried some years ago when she raised the issue of Special Status for Lagos on the floor and everybody saw the politicking that followed”.
He said that as a lawyer and journalist, he has the wherewithal and capacity to network and get things done and adequately represent the people of Lagos East Senatorial District.
“We need to come up with concerted efforts. All the three Senators representing Lagos will have to engage others from other parts of the country.
“Getting amendments and bills passed requires some kind of engagement like lobbying. With my kind of person, because I will be the only lawyer cum journalist among the three, I have the tactics and the techniques to move things and collaborate with my colleagues to get things done.
“You need somebody that has diversified and deep knowledge about various matters. I am an active person intellectually and I have that ability to represent.
“I have had full engaging time in politics observing, occupying different positions and contributing to the development of the party, society and constituency and making sure that you leave the place better than you have met it.
“I served in two Ministries and records are there for people to see. I recorded many firsts in many ways. I am always guided by history”.
He also said that he is going into politics to serve based on ideas and principles.
“When you aspire for political positions, you want to go there and serve. Hence, use your God given talent, education and exposure to make a difference and not engage in violence.
“I believe in the politics of ideas, principles, getting things done for the society”, he said.