NASS/INEC face-off, mere power play – Hon. Kasunmu

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    Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu (ARK) the lawmaker representing Ikeja II constituency and youths and sport committee chairman,Lagos State House of Assembly, in a chat with National Daily cited the import of the Lagos Access City Marathon on Lagos sports,he spoke on other sundry issues,citing his efforts in his constituency. Excerpt: 
    Lagos Access city Marathon the assessment/evaluation and what new can be added next year ?
    I want to believe that the Lagos Access City Marathon has become a yearly event that has come to stay based on the fact that this is the third edition of the  particular sports, relating to worldwide athletes coming from the nooks and crannies of  the world to especially Africa to participate in a competition largely hosted by Lagos State in conjunction with Access Bank. Who are the major financiers of the programme and I do feel that it was a massive turnout this time around compared with what it was last year,it was big and better,there were a few introductions into the race which included the 10kilometer race as opposed to the full 35-36kilometer that was usually done in the past few years and a few winners came through on that account and if you noticed quite closely,you would know that as at last year the indigenous winners like the first,second and third Nigerians to cross the finish line were given the meagre prize of 1million naira, which to me as Chairman House committee on sport, I felt was not as encouraging as it should be, base on the fact the overall winners walk home,go home or fly home with as much as $50,000 which ultimately sums up into a huge amount of money in our Nigerian currency,so if you would look at it in retrospect,it would be good for us to also celebrate our indigenous athletes, so  I took it upon myself during one of our meetings with the Lagos State Sports Commission,I discussed the issue and also suggested that the prize Should be reviewed upwardly. To my greatest surprise and delight our amiable Governor at the helm of affairs,Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was magnanimous enough to harken to that advice that I  gave from the house and I think the prize money went from about 1million to 3million even though my suggestions were between 3-5 million. Even if you start with 3million it is good enough and more encouraging for indigenous winners and that can spur some of them to perform beyond expectations and even compete with international athletes. If you listen to the Governor while delivering his speech on the day of the Marathon,what he said was ‘Lagos State would now begin to train indigenous athletes to make sure the likes of Ethiopians,Kenyans would become competition enough for them,so that they wouldn’t always be the ones to take away our prize money’,perhaps you never know if they train accordingly and effectively, a Nigerian could the first person to win the Lagos State Access City Marathon race come next year February 9th,which is the new date chosen for the 2019 edition of the marathon, I believe it would go a long way to interest some of our athletes particularly,the youths and their involvement in sports would be more encouraged because ever since  this marathon has started, we have situations where a lot of youths are given enough opportunity,is it in area of empowerment,in the short meagre employment where we have volunteers that would serve a agents, ushers, protocols, security and what have you during the time frame of the race, about seven hours maximum. I believe that in a nutshell the marathon in itself went effectively well,the prize money went to Kenyans in the male category and the prize money for the female category went to the Ethiopians. First, second third and vice versa and I believe that we can work effectively on it come next year, but on a rather sad note I must however, mention that the former chairman for the Lagos State Sports Commission,who had been saddled with the responsibility of making this marathon work effectively since inception passed on,he happens to be a brother of mine (my cousin), the late Deji Tinubu it was rather sad that he was with us last year when we had the marathon but unfortunately couldn’t be with us this year and I must say that we missed him dearly,he is our dearly beloveth brother and would continue to rest in peace. By and large everything went on fine and I believe that we would only have to ride on whatever evaluation that we make of it at the end of it all, so that we can better our best and continue to be the centre of excellence that we have always been known for because Lagos State in itself is a brand to the world. Mind you right now we are the fifth largest economy in the world.
    Season two’ signage embossed on face caps, now a common feature amidst your ardent foot soldiers,what is it all about?
    Season two, naturally what you know about seasons is a common feature in movies, where you have season one,two and all of that and it just continues,sometimes it is a never ending story so,relating to that I took a shot at it, say  well instead of bringing up the idea of second term, I would take this as my season one because it is a journey of progression and I believe that having gotten to near the final lap of my season one, the best thing to do is to however consolidate on the efforts on how to move on to season two hence the,inscription ‘Ark Season II’ came to fore which is still loading at the moment,as the best is yet to come to be honest but all I can say is watch out for 2019, we’ld know where the story goes from there, it is continuing and like Yorubas would say ‘season film ni won ni wo tan’.
    Jamb forms distribution to indigent students,as a lawmaker this is not your expected primary responsibility,what really drives you for such gesture?

    It is very true that my primary responsibility has a legislator is to deal with the issue of oversight in my purview as chairman and  other committees as well,the issue of legitimisation and lawmaking should be my major concern but mind you these are the people that I represent, so the collaborative efforts of the good people of Ikeja constituency II, got me to this office representing them in the capacity of an honourable in the Lagos State House of Assembly, so it is a way to also give back to the community. What they have given,even if they are not benefitting directly, then their children should benefit in terms of education,because one of the legacies that you can give to our children or youngsters in general is education and if you had the opportunity to create that avenue for hundreds of them why not? So that led to me insisting that I was going to put a smile on hundreds of faces who are looking towards continuing their education pursuit, the ability to forge ahead in their tertiary education having successfully completed their secondary education, so I decided that the best way to go is to give them free Jamb forms, that would help them secure a place in their tertiary world by obviously sitting for the exams,there is however no point giving them fish and not actually teaching them how to fish so I decided that I wasn’t going to stop at that but that I am also going to provide for them mechanisms that would be put in place to ensure they train effectively for that and that led to the innovation of the Honourable Adedamola Kasumu CBT software tutorials CD’s which have also been distributed to various beneficiaries,hundreds of them and mind you this particular software has as much the past eight years revisional Jamb questions that  may be used as a training tool in preparing for the examination. You have to lead them towards the light and right path and when they come out in flying colours they can also be people who would make more meaning to the society through what we had given and add more value to the community as a whole,giving back to the community what it has given to them and the kind of social values that we have given to them.

    Your food empowerment scheme proposal,is it another stomach infrastructure gesture,the type introduced by Governor Fayose or?

    Even the Bible alluded to the fact that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,but be that as it may, I wouldn’t consider it as doing stomach infrastructure,what would consider doing is as quickly as possible empowering them have the opportunity to get enough food security,why is about food security? It is because it’s not just about giving them the food,it is about actually creating a channel where they can work for more food if they are interested, they can through the channel expand on that through the Ark the empowerment food scheme and earn resources and further income for themselves depending on how they are able to show commitment and obviously forge ahead in their various endeavours.

    It is in collaboration with ‘Happy world molgate’ a channel that uses the medium to empower and create job opportunities for people in general,thus creating an avenue where they become food collectors and at the same time they grow a channel. A pool of people,youths and old can participate in it,it has no age limitations and the whole idea of it is the more people you get the more you are able to earn yourself. So it is like rewarding their own commitment based on what has been given but in the light of that I would say let me keep under wraps as it unfolds you get to know about it. I am all about seasons this particular year still loading. Because we are targeting about 5000 beneficiaries,we hope to meet that at the end of the year.

    Youths and social vices,how have you been able to use the instrumentality of your office as Chairman House committee on sports to tackle this especially within your constituency?

    Are you trying to find out more about the ‘Ark Cup’? (Yes) well let me tell you a bit about it, the Ark cup is in collaboration with world renowned international goal keeper Dosu Joseph (Mon)who decided in collaboration with my office to come up with a football competition that’s gonna wide spread across the five divisions  of the state (ibile). Whereby youths from the various nooks and crannies of the state can train and be a part of the competition to win the Ark cup at the end of the day and he was like fair enough to say that the competition would be between the 14th and 29th of March.

    Which should be coming up very soon so I believe that it is one of those ways that we can use to develop the youths this time around making them a part of the sport trend that is going on and the community as a whole would also beneficiaries from them  because we have the teams from the Ojodu and Ikeja axis who have also been duely registered under this competition,so I believe that may the best man win.

    What would be your best take about the cattle Colony saga and how best could it be approached and tamed?

    The truth about the matter is Nigeria is not animal farm but a country with a host of people, who are supposed to be working together united for the progress of the country as a whole,so I believe that as much as possible we should try not to lose focus. I am not saying the animals are not also important as they form basic livelihood for some people in a particular side of the country but at the end of the day where you cows all over the place gallivanting consuming other people’s sweat,it creates a digression from what we are supposed to be concentrating on which is the state of the economy, the issues of public interest and how we would make sure we consolidate on the efforts of the past administrations and also the present administration work hand in hand with the citizens because if we continue to complain that Nigeria is bad,Nigeria is bad is it the Nigeria as a word in itself that is bad? What makes up the country? The population,the people and if we work together in cooperation then we can achieve our common goal,we need to stay faithful,loyal and honest. As our anthem stipulates,so that unity,peace and progress be ours and ours to keep. So the focus has to remain the focus if Nigeria must stand.

    Electoral season loading, what would be your take on the unfolding imbroglio between the NASS and the INEC,with respect to electoral sequence alteration?

    Issues that bothers on national interest are definitely very important concerns but I believe that the INEC is a body on its own likewise the National Assembly an embodiment of the legislature, I believe both are institutions that have their dignities to protect and they have to be well respected. The Independent National Electoral Commission has its functions well spelt out in the Constitution,same with NASS which has constitutional responsibilities as well and it is a process that must be followed but we need to ensure that we have a way effectively for a suitable entry into 2019. So they have to work hand in hand to make sure everything work together effectively but at the end of the day if you looked into it in your retrospect it all boils down a bit of a power play. The whole political scenarios is full of political gimmicks but I want to believe that with the cooperation of the  institution things can look up again.

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