AJIBOLA Disu is seeking to win the Eti-Osa 2 Constituency in the Lagos State House of Assembly at the election scheduled for March 11. Disu, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), shares his thoughts with The ICIR’s Marcus Fatunmole in this interview. Excerpts:
Tell us about yourself and why you’re contesting for a seat in the Lagos state house of assembly.
Disu: I am Ajibola Disu, an indigene of Lagos Island. Seeing people succeed in an otherwise impossible situation is one thing that drives me. I am passionate about community development and believe people can thrive in an enabling environment. There is no such thing as a lazy or bad Nigerian youth. Our system is not conducive to economic development and must be corrected to allow people to fulfil their potential.
Over the last ten years, I have volunteered in many charity organisations and successfully led teams where I raised funds to send 100 children to public schools and fed hundreds of people in various areas of Lagos. These experiences have fueled my passion for inspiring change in my constituency, which is why I am running for the Eti-Osa 2 Lagos State House of Assembly on the African Democratic Congress (ADC) platform.
I’m 35-years-old, and I graduated with a master’s degree from Queen Mary University of London in Investment and Finance. I am a finance professional with over 12 years experiencing working across several reputable financial institutions.
Do you think you’re the most qualified for the seat in your constituency? If yes, tell us why.
Disu: Yes, I am. To be an effective legislator, you must possess the following abilities: Competence: You must understand the constituents’ needs and the legislative process. I am currently enrolled in the (School of Politics and Governance (SPPG), and I have taken many leadership courses to understand the legislative process of government and how the House of Assembly functions.
Relationship building and collaboration?
Disu: Passing bills will mean you have to collaborate with other policymakers and involve persuasion on your point of view. I have worked in many civic organisations where I was a team member that provided public goods such as free education to local indigenes. It involved a lot of collaboration and conflict resolution to get projects done, and I played a significant role in meditation.
Developing a legislative agenda that addresses the needs of the people is key: The lawmaker must have a legislative agenda that address the various issues of the constituents in Eti-Osa 2 and will improve the people’s standard of living.
The lawmaker must respond to the constituents’ needs by being closer to them through town hall meetings etc.
I am the best candidate for this position because I have demonstrated all the above. I understand the needs of the Eti-Osa 2 constituency, and I have developed a seven-point theme known as the EAGLETS agenda. The acronym means ‘E’ for Economic Reform, ‘A’ for Acculturation, ‘G’ for Government Reform, ‘L’ for Law and Order, ‘E’ for Economic Reform, ‘T’ for Technological Advancement, and ‘S’ for Support Community Projects. I have also taken many leadership courses to understand the legislative process and how the House of Assembly functions. Lastly, I have worked in many civic organisations and helped provide public goods such as free education to local indigenes. It involves a lot of collaboration and conflict resolution to get projects done.
What would you do differently if elected a lawmaker in Lagos state?
Disu: I plan to improve the quality of the standard of living of ETI-OSA 2 constituents by implementing the seven-point policy agenda through EAGLETS.
I plan to improve the quality of the standard of living of ETI-OSA 2 constituents by implementing the seven-point policy agenda through EAGLETS.
I will focus on empowering our youth. I will provide youth development centres that will serve as platforms to train youth in sellable skills such as IT development, creativity, communication, and skills like soap making and baking cakes. I will pioneer a jobs portal loan and grants to small business owners in Eti Osa 2. I will do this by partnering with the private sector. I will set up a creative sector and small business council to discuss challenges in the industry and how we can resolve them.
Under my education reform plan, I will partner with the private sector to get grants to overhaul the education system. This is essential as, in 2030, most jobs will require IT skills. Hence our school curriculum will need to emphasise learning technological skills heavily.
Moreover, I will work to increase teachers’ pay from an average of N58,000. My target is that such an increment will be 100 per cent. We will ensure that teachers get annual bonuses based on student performance in school. I will initiate a council to ensure that all schools in Eti Osa 2 operate with the minimum standard below:
- Library with copies of Lagos State-recommended textbooks suitable for all levels.
- Sick bay with two (2 ½ by six single) wooden beds
- Well-stocked first aid box with a certified paramedic or a first aider and a weighing scale.
- Functional ICT equipment, a quality science laboratory, the headteacher’s office, and nine classrooms (three pre-primary and six primary classrooms).
- A sizeable multi-purpose hall that can be used for in-door games. (Optional)
- Functional source of power.
- The schools must be equipped with at least six toilets with water closets.
- Portable water and wash hand basins in strategic places in the school.
- Adequate provisions to be made for specially challenged pupils.
- Waste bins with cover in strategic places.
- Additionally, we will have a teachers’ day to celebrate teachers in Eti Osa 2 once a year. We will also fete the most outstanding student and make such a student stay with us at the House of Assembly for a day.
How do you intend to disrupt the All Progressives Congress (APC) dominance in the state and win in your constituency?
Disu: I’m currently campaigning and visiting door-to-door in many residential estates as well as markets in Eti-Osa 2. A lot of people are very tired of the dominant party and upset due to the harsh economic conditions. They are very open-minded, not just to parties anymore but to viable candidates. They want things to change for the better and seriously lament about the old order. Many are delighted to see me come out for the election. I have heard them say in many places that I am giving them hope that things will get better.
Could you tell Nigerians, especially Lagosians, the sources of your campaign funds?
Disu: The sources of my campaign funds are my personal savings and contributions from friends. The funds are not enough, but we have managed to use what we have effectively and sufficiently.
In what sector in the state will you be willing to sponsor bills?
Disu: I will sponsor bills in the following sectors in line with EAGLETS Agenda. They are education, economy, technology and government.
What contribution(s) have you made to developing your constituency or Lagos State?
Disu: I am enthusiastic about community development, and I actively volunteer with several charity organisations to empower the grassroots. I give food items to various slums in Lagos. We are also planning a nutritional program to assist nursing mothers who give birth to newborn children and additionally introduce them to food banking, where they can grow their food in their community and feed themselves., I have been integral in raising funds to send 1,000 poor children to primary school.
We also plan to ensure that they can maximise the benefit of their education by mentoring them and helping them out on subjects they find difficult to work with in school. Additionally, we’re working on improving the quality of school infrastructure, where we raise funds to facelift public schools to ensure that the schools are conducive to learning.
Many Nigerians believe state legislatures are executive’s stooge. What’s your view on this? How can this change, if true?
Disu: Yes, this is very true, we have had a dominant political party for over 20 years, and they have a monopoly on the kind of leaders they sponsor for the state House of Assembly and governorship. Hence it can’t really be called a true democracy.