For a greater Lagos, we as a people have to face some challenges – Hon Adedamola Richard Kasunmu

Hon Adedamola Richard Kasunmu, Honourablr representing Ikeja Constituency 2 and the Chairman House Committee for Lands, Lagos State House of Assembly.

Recently, yours sincerely Tayo Aderinola on the Lagos Panorama interview column FACING FACTS engaged the eloquent and youthful representative of the Ikeja Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Distinguished Hon Adedamola Richard Kasunmu (ARK), nephew to the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in an incisive and robust interview which highlighted recent developments which included the recent restriction of commercial motorbike (Okada) and tricycle (Keke-NAPEP) by the Lagos State Government, his recent appointment as the Chairman House Committee on Lands, and expectation of the members of his constituency for the year 2020.

Please enjoy excerpts from the interview:

Lagos Panorama: For the benefit of our wide readership, please introduce yourself.

Hon ARK:  I am Honourable Adedamola Richard Kasunmu, Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Chairman House Committee on Lands.

Please permit me to use this medium to wish my dear mother, mentor and distinguished leader Chief Mrs Olukemi Nelson the Southwest Women Leader of our great party the All Progressives Congress and a member of the Lagos State APC Governing Advisory Council (GAC) a healthy and blissful birthday. Her birthday comes on Sunday 9th February.

Ma, you’re such a fantastic role model and thank you for your distinguished selfless service and inspiration to us members of your constituent, Lagos State, Southwest and the entire humanity. I pray we have many more years of your quality leadership and motherly care. Age gracefully Mummy.

What is your take on the transition from the Chairman House Committee for Youths, Sports and Social Development to Chairman Committee on Lands?

For me, it was a huge leap from Chairman House Committee for Youth, Sports and Social Development to Chairman House Committee on Lands.

As the Chairman for Youth, Sports and Social Development committee, I did my best to make an impact. I must tell you that as Chairman House Committee on Lands, it involves a lot, quite challenging and tasking dealing with land matters across the state. Attending to petitions from various parties and interest groups but as someone who enjoy doing his job diligently, I find it very interesting though challenging. Attending to issues from different constituencies across the state, mediating over several pressing issues.

The House of Assembly recognizes that every Lagosian has the right to peacefully protest, therefore part of the House of Assembly’s responsibility is to ensure that the citizens’ rights are protected.

So this new role offered me and other members of the Lands Committee the opportunities to address all sort of protests and salient issues. Some in petitions and others peaceful protest solving them without any bias or prejudice is usually our priority.

We have to attend to several petitions and peaceful protests far more than when I was the Chairman of the House Committee on Youths, Sports and Social Development which was relatively quiet. So as a young man with lots of vigour and energy, the new challenge encourages me to do more for the good people of Lagos State.

This take a lot of focus, patience, commitment, dedication and responsibilities. I thank God for having a good and eager to work team.

So summarily, the present assignment is more tasking and challenging and it offers me the opportunity to serve my people more.

The Lagos State 8th Assembly enacted a law to outlaw the rampant issues of land grabbers popular known as Omo-Onile in Lagos State. Since your assumption of office as the Chairman for Lands have you being entertaining complaints on this issue? And do you think the Executive is doing enough to implement this law?

That is exactly where I want to take it from. Before this 9th Assembly that we are presently in, since the law was enacted by the 8th Assembly the issue of land grabber popularly known as Omo-onile had reduced tremendously. Our people are now aware that they’re safe from issues of Omo-onile since the law came to fore. And of course in as much you go through the right means of purchasing land, you pay your land rent, you pay your development levy and what have you. You must authenticate enough before you commence development for whatever use you want be it commercial or private.

So the issue of land grabbing has reduced drastically and since my inception as Chairman, House Committee on Lands I haven’t exactly had issues concerning Omo-Onile. Maybe settling family issues arising from compensation from government acquisition and other land related issues but definitely not Omo-onile issue as far as this 9th Assembly is concerned, there has been no Omo-Onile issue. Land grabbing issue is now in the past.

The recent restrictions by Lagos State Government on commercial motorcyclists otherwise known as Okada and tricycle also known as Keke NAPEP from major highways/roads have received several criticisms both for and against. What is your take on this?

For a greater Lagos, we as a people have to face some challenges, better still, the comfort and welfare of the people is of paramount to me most especially as their representative. The Lagos State Government has the responsibility of protecting residents and visitors to the Center of Excellence. Security is the major reason for wide restriction. Major security issues cannot be discussed in the public purview. So the decision was in the larger interest of the people.

A significant quality of a good leader is to take the people where they ought to be and not necessarily where they want to be because where they want to be at times unknowingly to them maybe dangerous to their wellbeing. I am sure if those protesting against the restriction are aware of the inherent security challenges and complicities already known to the government through intelligence report and surveillance I am sure they would subscribe to outright ban of the commercial okada operations.

It would be a collective responsibility to determine how to go about this vis-à-vis how to please the people and also abide by rules as stipulated by government. We can only come to a roundtable to discuss the merit and demerit so far and the practicality of it since the law came into effect on the 1st of February. A lot of advocacy is required.

This law has been in existence since 2012 under the administration of Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) so it must have been existing in the minds of the people before now but because a lot of the people have issues with facing the realities of the implementation and of course, one way or the other we will naturally have these issues. We can only enjoin our people to be law abiding.

The major concern right now is to ameliorate the issue of transportation within the intra-city road networks. To this end, the State Government had responded, promising to deployed more buses to the route mostly affected by the restrictions. Change is not easy but the end justifies the means.

Recently during the yuletide you extended your welfare package to 1000 household within your constituency with a branded food pack. Is this a one-off or an indication of things to come?

In the survival of man and humanity food security is actually very important so my theme for the end of the year 2019 was Securing Family Values through Food Security which informed why we packed about 8 different pasta food items which could feed a family of four for about 2-3 weeks. It is believed that considering the seasonal yuletide expenses in December that January is usually cash crunched so in a way to alleviate the situation we had to support our people to start the year on a bright note. Our next phase of ARK Family Food Security maybe 2000 or 3000 families depending on the buoyancy, I am targeting to reach out to at least 10, 000 families every year.

So it’s not a one off thing. Beside we have been reaching out to our people long before now but now we decided to brand with ARK as you may have known ARK stands for Adedamola Richard Kasunmu, in a way so our people will appreciate it more and I have received so many appreciations and encomiums from the constituents. We are always encouraged to do more for them.

I must confess that times are hard, so we need to continue to ameliorate by giving succour to put smile on their face and doing as much as we can afford to help our people. This is very important.

What should be the expectations of members of your constituency from ARK for Year 2020?

The Year had actually started on a bright-note. In fact the 9th Assembly started on a bumper note with the different programmes I have already done since the commencement of the 9th Assembly. Most especially our youths and women have benefited more in the last 5-6 months.

I also initiated a programme for our younger vulnerable women on menstrual hygiene. The idea behind this, if you intend to stop some form of problem or challenges one has to take it from the root cause. So what is the remote cause for unwanted teenage pregnancy? It’s because our younger females of today do not understand the rudiments of how to take care of their mensural hygiene. So in as much as that is taking care of. Obviously we can help reduced teenage pregnancy. And also educate and skilled up both the younger boys and girls to be more useful and resourceful for themselves and family. Create awareness for them to know that education is key to better their lives. So if they are useful for themselves then the future is definitely brighter.

Through our ARK Initiative we have also reached out to the older generation. We had given succour one way or the other to them contributing to their livelihood and that we hope to also continue.

We are also expanding our support for the widows, less privileged children and also to make an impact in the lives of some homeless youths within the constituency.

We also want to bring diaspora closer to the constituency through initiating programmes. In recent past we’ve had people from Denmark, United Kingdom, USA and a host of others. So we hope to improve on this exchange programmes. We also hope to collaborate with corporate organizations for job creation for our teeming youth.

And more importantly ensuring that our leaders are not left out of our programmes and seeking their advice and support at all times.

So as a whole the ARK Programmes for 2020 will be an improvement of previous years and it will be far reaching.

Hon Adedamola Richard Kasunmu (ARK), Publisher/Editor Lagos Panorama Tayo Aderinola and Cameraman Lateef Idris during the interview at ARK’s office at the Lagos State House of Assembly.

WOW! Thank you so much, it’s a delight having to talk to you again.

I appreciate talking to Lagos Panorama and keep the good work going.


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