Since assumption of office, the administration of Hon. Sulaimon Kazeem Olanrewaju in Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria, has, indeed, been changing the common narratives that lack of funds is hindering councils in Ikorodu division to embark on projects.
Hon. Sulaimon, who is a former Vice Chairman of the Council and a chartered accountant, has within three months of assumption of office, embarked on rehabilitation of three major roads that were in deplorable state.
Also, rehabilitation of the Ipakodo Primary Health Centre (PHC) and construction of drainage at Majidun are also ongoing.
In addition, the Council helmsman also revealed projects that his administration intends to do to mark the first 100 days in office and those he plans to execute before the end of this year.
The Council boss, in an interview with THE IMPACT, further revealed that the council has mobilized contractors handling the projects with 30% of the contract sum and encouraged them to source for loans in the banks, stating that the council would be paying the contractors monthly from the monthly federal allocations.
“We are embarking on the complete rehabilitation of roads at Apena Jimbo street, Olayinka Jimbo street and David Crescent, all in Ward A in Ipakodo and also constructing drainage at Akinreti Street Majidun in Ward B”, he said.
“We are also rehabilitating our Primary Health Centre in Ward A, Ipakodo”.
Speaking on sourcing for funds for these projects, Hon. Sulaimon said that he has been using the council fund for the projects.
“If you know my background, there is something that we call, ‘free some fund by managing the fund effectively’. When I got here, I saw a lot of things that we needed to spend money on and I had to feel my fund first”, Hon. Sulaimon said.
“Even at that, I had to encourage the contractors to go to the bank and source for funds for the project. The arrangement is that we are going to be paying them every month from our JAC and we plan to finish the payment within three months”, he further said.
When asked about the Apena Jimbo road which was awarded as a Ward project about a year ago, the Ikorodu West LCDA Chairman said that there was nothing on ground when his administration came in.
He added that the Council Manager would not have allowed his administration to embark on the project with the Council fund if it had earlier been awarded.
“There was nothing on ground and our people were calling on me to do the road, more so, it is a strategic road. When I got into the office, I did ask my Council Manager and he didn’t tell me that the road has been awarded”, Hon. Sulaimon explained.
“I want to tell you that if such a contract exists, the Council Manager will never allow us to embark on it. He is in position to guide us on what to do. If such exists as I mentioned earlier, the Manager would not have encouraged us to spend public funds on it again.
“The Apena Jimbo road is being financed by the Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area.
“All the monies that we are using in executing the ongoing projects are from the Ikorodu West LCDA purse”, he further stated.
“We have given the contractors 30% mobilization fees with the mandate that they must complete them before my 100 days in office”, he said.
“The rehabilitation is not patching, rather, it’s going to be tarred. I told them that the road must be solid, durable and that it must be intact for the next four to five years. We are not doing something that people will manage but a solid rehabilitation”, he assured.
On the vocational centre in Ipakodo which has been abandoned for several years, the new Council boss said that the council is awaiting communication from the state government to begin its rehabilitation.
“My predecessor awarded the abandoned vocational centre about a month before I came into office and nothing has been done till date. The contractor that the place was awarded to for rehabilitation just left my office a few minutes ago (on Thursday).
“Officials of the state government have visited the vocational centre and we are expecting approval from them to begin the rehabilitation of the place”, he said.
Revealing his plans for his 100 days in office, Hon. Sulaimon said that his administration plans to distribute 5 big notes each to 8000 pupils in the eight primary schools across the Ikorodu West LCDA.
“We plan to distribute five big notebooks each to all the pupils in the eight Primary Schools in Ikorodu West LCDA. We have about 8000 pupils altogether. Initially, the plan was to give them 12 each but for our financial situation”, he said.
While appealing to residents to pay their levies to the council for more projects to be executed, Hon. Sulaimon also stated that his administration is also planning to rehabilitate Fola Ahmed Street which is a major link road before the end of this year.
“My people have not yet seen anything because we are just starting. We still have many things that we want to do before the year runs out”, he said.
“There is a road called Fola Ahmed Street which is another important link road within my council and we have asked the Council Engineer to go and cost it. I pray that we are able to do that too this year. The road is very vital and it has gotten worse. I didn’t know about it because I don’t pass through it”, he revealed.
“It is a road that must be done as a matter of urgency.
“We also plan to look into all our Primary Health Centres and others too.
“We want to do projects that would have direct impact on our people and make people know that there is Ikorodu West LCDA somewhere. Hopefully and with God on our side, we will deliver, but I am begging the residents to also do the needful on their own part by paying their levies”, he appealed.
He also charged the residents to continue to trust him to deliver the dividends of democracy to them.
“During my tour of the five Wards in Ikorodu West LCDA, I told them to trust me and that only God in His infinite mercy can make things happen”, he said.
Hon. Sulaimon, who denied any plan to probe his predecessor, also registered his disappointment over the situation he met on ground when he resumed office.
He assured residents of Ikorodu West LCDA that his administration is capable of surmounting challenges in the council.
“I don’t intend to probe anybody. It is true that I am an auditor but it does not apply here because that is not what I was elected to do. I was elected to solve problems and not to create more problems”, he said.
“We need to keep moving forward and not looking backward. I only invited my leaders to see what I met on ground and one of my leaders said that, “they have seen the opening balance and they are waiting to see the closing balance.
“As of today, my leaders have seen what the council is all about. They were aware of the situation on ground when I resumed.
“I didn’t expect to see what I saw on ground when l resumed office, I expected to see something better. When I came, I couldn’t sleep for a week because of the situation I met on ground because it would slow down my job.
“At the same time, I cannot complain because I was elected to solve problems and not to add to them and I’m confident that we will solve all the problems. They are not even problems but challenges. Governance is all about that and the more that you solve some, the more others will resurface.
“We will not relent until we make Ikorodu West a better place for all to live in and God will help us”, Hon. Sulaimon said.