SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEMI GBAJABIAMILA AT THE LAUNCHING OF GBAJA RIDE ON FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2018 AT THE TESLIM BALOGUN STADIUM, SURULERE, LAGOS.
It’s a pleasure to stand before you who have elected me to the National Assembly to legislate for you at the center. Your mandate under my watch has been guarded jealously. I am constantly in touch with the constituency and you have kept faith with my leadership.
As you all know that the mileage we have achieved today in Surulere became possible through the coordinated effort of all the critical stakeholders in this Constituency. From the Councillors, Surulere Council Chairman, our State Lawmaker and my humble self we have been working tirelessly to ensure that the dividends of democracy spread to greater number of people in our constituency particularly ensuring that Surulere reaps the full benefit of having their own son as Majority Leader in the National Assembly. We have provided jobs, federal political appointments, and federal projects which as Majority Leader I was able to attract to Surulere. In 2015 Surulere wanted a higher position but God in His wisdom opted for the position of House Leader. We are here today to witness yet another empowerment programme for the youth of our Constituency – the multi-layer transportation system, Gbaja Ride. In this programme we will be given out 30 new buses, 25 tricycles and 160 motorcycles. This programme achieves two things:
1. Makes life easier and more abundant for residents by easing transportation
2. Provides Economic empowerment to beneficiaries
From the Gbaja Ride project, about 2,000 young men and women divided into groups of 5 to 10 have been empowered. Because I believe with everyone person empowered you have indirectly empowered a minimum of 5 people including parents and family, it becomes clear that when you do the arithemetic, this project potentially touches the lives of 10,000 residents.
This Multi – Layer transportation initiative has beneficiaries that cut across the 9 wards in Surulere 1 federal constituency, our Community Development Associations, Youth Associations, Women Associations, Artisans, Socio-Cultural groups (Arewa, Igbo Coalition and South South group). It is important to also let beneficiaries know that adherence to all the transportation laws of Lagos state government is paramount to the safety of users of these buses, tricycles and motorcycles. The buses and tricycles can ply all routes within Surulere, while the motorcycles are restricted to inner roads within the constituency only.
As your representative, I am saddled with the role of lawmaking, oversight function and representation. Such representation requires that I attract as much federal presence to this constituency as possible during every budget cycle for implementation by MDAs apportioned to do so under the Appropriation Act. While some of them are yet to be implemented or implemented in part by the MDAs, you can be rest sure that as your representative I will continue to ensure that no agency of government denies the people of Surulere. I am glad that greater citizens’ participation has reinforced many independent project monitoring platforms across the country and these platforms must be encouraged if we care about ending the trend of abandoned projects in Nigeria. I am proud to say that we do not have any abandoned project under our constituency outreach in the 8th Assembly.
For me, Surulere 1 federal constituency remains the No. 1 constituency in Lagos State and Nigeria. As you are aware the rehabilitation of Karimu 1 and Karimu 2 road network in Ward E1 and Ward G, commenced immediately after Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode Commissioned the Modele/Mathew Road which I facilitated. We are currently Installing 26 new solar water plants at Olawale Daudu Street; Shitta area by Akerele; NTA avenue, Tejuosho; Tejuosho Modern market; Mathew Street; Abati Barracks; Ishaga road; Adebola Street off Adeniran Ogunsanya; Ilegogoro by Council Secretariat; Alapafuja beside Super Cinema; inside Onitolo Community Secondary School and other areas in the constituency. We have also installed Home Solar System in 400 homes in Surulere, just a tip of our numerous projects. In tracking our programmes, you can visit www.gbaja.com and my various social media platforms. You will also recall that we conducted a tour of resident associations in the constituency where members of our community complained bitterly about the ridiculous estimated bills being charged by Eko Distribution company without providing them pre-paid meters even when payments had been made for the meters. Consequent upon that I sponsored a Bill to Criminalize Estimated Bills issued by power distribution companies in Nigeria and to compel the provision of prepaid meters to homes. The Bill was overwhelmingly supported by all my colleagues in the House and will be open to members of the public and critical stakeholder on June 5, 2018 for debate at the House of Representatives Complex.
As part of my oversight activities, I led the adhoc committee of the House that prevailed on the federal government to employ family members of victims of the 2014 Nigeria Immigration Recruitment disaster and automatic employment for injured victims who were still alive, I am glad to inform you that they have all been gainfully employed amongst many other interventions.
Under my leadership of the Ajaokuta Revival committee of the House we have visited Ajaokuta Steel Company and Itakpe Iron ore company and will conduct a public hearing on June 4, 2018. Our visit and committee work is already yielding positive results and I can assure Nigerians that under the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, Ajaokuta Steel Company will rise again to stimulate the country’s economy. However, here in Surulere, we will be embarking on several programmes in coming days to enable us expand and reach even more constituents.
I enjoin all constituents to participate in government at all levels. Such participation allows us to determine those we elect into offices. Therefore we all need to register to vote. Its our right, go to INEC office at Small London or Nathan Primary School. For those who misplaced their cards or have their PVC damaged just apply to same office for replacement. Let me also commend APC members for their peaceful conduct in the last party congress. We have re-engineered our party at grassroots and will repeat same at the next APC National Convention in Abuja.
At every point, I have so many reasons to thank God for the loving constituents I am blessed with and whenever I look back at yesterday, where we are today and project into our future, I can only pray that never again will Surulere retrogress in ranking in the National Assembly or have the number of projects accruable to the constituency downsized. It’s a choice we have to make. As Minority Leader in the opposition, you (Surulere) led the National Assembly, specifically the House to becoming the Majority party and I say to you forward EVER backward NEVER.
Congratulations to the people of Surulere on the arrival of this new transportation initiative – Gbaja Ride, I pray that the protection of God shall be on all users of Gbaja Ride .
Leader of the House of Representatives