A Lagos lawmaker has cited the importance of grooming leaders in the evolution of a better society. The lawmaker representing Ikeja Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu believes that the development of the state was made possible by the progressive government that has been governing the state since 1999.He spoke with Olanrewaju Adesanya recently in his office declaring that PDP is dead in the state and that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would continue to rule the state from 2019. Excerpt:
Would you say your expectations have been met in the legislature and what would you consider being the challenges of the job?
Anyone who wants to rise in his profession, anyone who wants to move forward should be ready to face challenges. The future belongs to
those who prepare for it today according to Malcolm X. That tells you that if you fail to prepare you prepare to fail. I would like to
mention a mentor of mine, who is also my father, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We built upon his foundation. He has given us an opportunity to do what we are doing. He has built leadership through examples and he has taken us to a greater height.
It has never happened that a sitting Governor would not be given a second term as it has just happened in Lagos now. What lessons do you
see in this?
Government is evolving, power is transient. By hardwork, commitment, perseverance and a lot of others you will achieve. If you are in an office today, remember that you will not be there tomorrow; next tomorrow you might be somewhere.
In what areas have you impacted on your people in Ikeja Constituency 2 as a lawmaker and what are the differences between the executive and the legislature?
You cannot quantify or measure impacts, but we try as much as possible to get across to the people. We ensure that the old, the young, the
fatherless, the motherless, widows and others benefit one way or the other either directly or indirectly.
I have been able to secure jobs into the state government for about 70 youths in my constituency and they can testify to this. We have been able to develop a lot of talents in terms of sports development. There was ARK Football competition, where 32 teams competed and three of them that got to the finals got various prizes that were beneficial to
them. Apart from that, we have been able to influence the passage of two major bills that have helped sports development in the state.
These will encourage sports within the youths. This will help in improving capacities in various ways.
A sport is a tool that can be used to develop talents and mental abilities. We will continue to seek the support of our people to develop what we have started. It is something that we will continue.
The difference between lawmakers and the executive is that the lawmaker makes laws, represents a particular group of people and
oversights the executive. We perform oversight functions across board on the ministries and agencies. The executive arm of government has the constitutional power to execute the laws that we make, they build roads and carry out other functions. We collaborate with the executive and use our influence to develop our constituencies. A good example of this was how we organise town hall meetings across the 40 constituencies in the state on the same day. This has been successful over the last three years and it is the precious baby of Speaker Mudashiru Obasa to satisfy the needs of our people. We try to give empowerment to our people. I have done some empowerment for women, children and students who wanted admissions into the universities.
Between 2015 and now, we have assisted over 27 students into the Lagos State University based on their academic performances. We bring succour to our people and we make laws as well as perform our oversight functions effectively. The judiciary is also there to
perform checks and balances.
What have you done to carry your people along on leadership training?
As a youth, I have been able to sponsor youths to leadership programmes. I assisted a young man for training in the United States of America, I assisted another one to Scotland for leadership training. There are a few other ones that have benefitted one way or the other. We give them avenues for capacity building to give them a better future. We have students that come in for mentorship and trainings. We expose them to the rudiments of legislation. We have assisted some of them to the youth Parliament of Lagos State and one of them is the Majority Leader of the Parliament based on the training we have given them.
Your party lost eight seats to the PDP in 2015 and there are still issues now, do you think your party would perform better in 2019?
If you look at the history of Lagos State as far back as 1999 and the progressions of the party with the election of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state in 2015. The coming in of eight PDP members into the assembly was not a threat then. You would see that with the
leadership of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, seven of the PDP members have since joined the APC because they admire the leadership style of the Assembly and the progression of the party.
They admire the fact that they should distinguish between party politics and public interest. Anything that would be deliberated upon on the floor of the House has to do with public interest. So they had no choice than to join the moving train and the winning team that has been existing from 1999 till date.
Going by the usual trend, there is a particular candidate the opposition party fields every four years. We see him every four years, he has come back again and the same thing would still happen. APC has a stronghold in Lagos State because the party knows how to play its
game in the state. Other states in the country use us as pacesetters and as the yardstick for performances.
Also, Lagos State remains the official commercial nerve centre of Nigeria and definitely whoever that takes over would make this more convenient for the people. This has even helped to improve the economic growth of the state. In 1999, our Internally Generated
Revenue (IGR), which was N600 monthly, has improved to billions of naira monthly. That would prove to the common man that the party that was able to achieve this and move the state further to this level would have to keep being in power. Lagos State is dynamic, things are changing, things are moving. You can even call Lagos State a mini-Nigeria because a lot of people come here to transact businesses.
Even from outside the country, we are recognized. Presidents and Prime Ministers see Lagos as the commercial never centre of the country. The economic policies of the party have developed the state. The structure is a model for other states. With all of these records, we have weakened the opposition. Within the executive, APC has done well, in
the legislature, we have moved beyond the common standards of excellence such that our Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa is
the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers. The relationship between the executive, legislature and the judiciary has been strengthened. There is cohesion among the three arms of government. Also, the press has helped to project the image of the state. Of course, opposition is dead in Lagos State.