Saturday, August 31, 2019 7:27 pm
By Okon Bassey
Having seen different administrations pass in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos, one is justifiably qualified to comment on the efforts of the incumbent administration therein. It must be clearly stated that this opinion is by no means partisan and, certainly, not set to lavish praise on anyone unnecessarily.
Rather, this intervention is that of a resident observing public accountability in a way not shown by previous helmsmen in the management of Surulere Local Govt.
It is heartening that everywhere one turns in Surulere nowadays, either a road project or drain reconstruction is taking place. More gratifying is the fact that engineering standards are adhered to, as the roads appear suited to withstand wear or tear for a long time to come.
Noticeably, majority of the road construction works have interlocking paving stones laid on them. The rectangular-shaped bricks in no small measure gives the affected areas some unique appeal. Aside providing vehicular and human accesses, the new roads tends to create a multiplier effect seen in the rising property value and increased business patronage. The foregoing validates the argument that sustained investments in infrastructure is essentially a growth factor along the curve of economic production and social wealth.
Few weeks ago, I chance upon the council chairman, Mr. Tajudeen Ajide, having a chat with some residents in my neighbourhood at Onitolo axis of Surulere. I would later learn from a neighbour that the chairman came to assess the parlous state of the road, which hosts the Surulere campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic. My interest in his mission ended there, because I had been sufficiently disappointed by crass ineptitude of previous managers of the council.
Surprisingly, within days of the chairman’s visit, heavy-duty machinery arrived the area and work began immediately.
Six weeks or so down the line, the road stretch is no longer the dusty, abandoned street it used to be. From the information gathered, such laudable efforts are being replicated in several other neighbourhoods of Surulere. What would strike me more was the revelation that the council chairman had purposed 70 rehabilitated roads before the end of his tenure and that he had already done over 30.
Further enquiries I personally carried out revealed other mass-oriented policies and programmes of the Tajudeen Ajide-led administration of the council area. These include the building of a customary court, series of medical outreaches, capacity building for teachers, sport and youth development, and environmental protection, etc. Not once, or twice have I encountered refuse compactors being run by the local government evacuating garbage from road medians and kerbs. Whether true or otherwise, a council official I met in the past week said the chairman will soon add the construction of a modern hospital to other projects he had done. If this turns to be true, we, Surulere residents, are therefore lucky to have all of these.
Importantly, I must say that of all that Mr. Ajide has done or reputed to, his act of giving stipends regularly to the aged and women, especially widows, shows the depth of his human compassion. Different from this, the council chairman reportedly organises social empowerment programme every quarter, from which hundreds of people have received financial and other forms of assistance.
In summary, Mr. Ajide, through his activities, has performed creditably and, at the same time, convinced many that good governance and tangible democratic deliverables are the entitlements of citizens. With the spate of ongoing development, Surulere would have been completely regenerated by the time Mr. Ajide rounds up his tenure. Undoubtedly, should Mr. Ajide get another term, if he wishes to stand election again, Surulere would be better for it. Indeed, Mr. Ajide’s efforts should not only be emulated by other council chairmen, it should be the performance benchmark for current and aspiring council chairmen.
– Okon Bassey, a lawyer, writes from Onitolo in Surulere.