Honourable Ekundayo Alebiosu is a former member of the House of Representatives representing the Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos. The lawmaker, who is also the former House Committee on Treaties and Protocols in this interview by The Kosofe Post, speaks on his achievements while in office, business, education, politics, and 2023 ambition, among others.
It is almost seven years since you left office, what have you been doing within this period?
My business, education and politicking; all those are things we have been doing. I have made it a point of duty to develop myself even before we left office. I went back to school, did a few degrees and at the same time put in a lot of effort into my business and also politics. I have used the last seven years to develop myself, to reinvent myself and to re-establish myself.
We have many of your contemporaries serving as governors, senators and ambassadors today. So why did you decide to run for the House of Representatives again?
I have always asked God to place me in a position where I will be of good use in my constituency. Remember I was born in Kosofe; I grew up in Kosofe and live on Kosofe. The only time I had to leave Kosofe was when I was developing myself, when I had to travel abroad for a while and I came back after a while. I have always told people that in politics, you should always pay attention to your terrain, your political terrain and also what fate has thrown your way. If we look at it, Senator Bayo Osinowo passed after just a year in office and we had a replacement. I decided to re-run, having spoken to some people, of course, this is my political base and I saw that the direction I was also being beckoned to run was the House of Representatives. So, going back there would mean that I would be a cognate member; the experience is there, the understanding is there, the known colleagues with whom I have worked with in the past. So, it’s just taking it from there.
Would you say your two tenures in office have been surpassed by the incumbent House of Reps member?
I wouldn’t say so in any way; he did his bit and I did my bit. I have chosen my words carefully by not saying I have done my best. I tell people that you must first know what to do before doing your best. For us to be able to work to that level while in opposition, we were able to establish and maintain a fantastic relationship when it came to legislation and oversight. I had a very fantastic relationship with the previous speakers even though they were on the PDP. They even visited my constituency as members of the opposition, they saw the working relationship and the acceptance not just by party members but by the constituency at large and we were able to really bring home the things that were needed then; transformers, and all of those things, projects worth over half a billion. We are grateful to God for that. We couldn’t have gotten to that extent without their support and that’s just by the way. The major duty that we were elected to there was to make laws and to legislate which we were able to do fantastically well. We were to able do fantastically then because of the good relationship we had with other members; PDP, ACN (we were ACN then), CPC later on until we metamorphosed into APC. You remember we were the ones that fought for APC in this country. Then, it was my set that convinced our colleagues to switch, to come over and it was like a world championship bout where the whole nation sat at the edge of their seats, paying attention to how many people had moved to APC from the ruling party and we kept on pushing until the acceptance spread from the center to across the rest of the states in the country. I would say that we had a fantastic win. The situation then is completely different from the situation now. Today we are in the ruling party; our representatives are in the ruling party. We never sponsored a motion that failed. If you remember, a lot of the motions that we moved even as member of opposition, we were able to get the support of all the members of the PDP.
Some are alleging that your under-performance, coupled with not being a good party man, contributed to the reason you were rejected in 2015?
How do you explain rejection? What is the meaning of under-performance? What is the definition? That’s what we need to know. It was simple plain politics. At the end of the game, we got a short end in stick of the game. We didn’t lose. We all know how it played out. And for you to say that we over-performed. You see, in life, there are two things you see. You either see the devil or you see the angel. Some watches you and see the devil, some see the angels. Remember, I still have the highest number of votes not just in the constituency but in the federation. How did we get all of that? You remember when I didn’t return or get the ticket, it affected our vote drastically. When you say under-performance? Is under-performance making sure that Lagos Ibadan expressway concession agreement where lots of women and children died; was revoked? Is that under-performance? The serious fight we had rather than losing all Nigerian thirty two villages inclusive of Bakassi under-performance? There has been lots of plane crashes before I went to the house before I became the chairman of treaties and agreement and it was while we were there that Dana crashed and we were able to put Montreal convention to place, we were able to get a hundred families compensated. Even Dana didn’t want to pay them a hundred thousand dollars, we made sure that they were compensated at the current exchange rate of the IMF currency structure to the dollar; each family member got a hundred and seventy one thousand dollars, is that under-performance? Is under-performance making sure that our youths, our children in a presumption that I saw that fatalities of tobacco consumption would come from Nigeria, the highest in developing nations. Which nation tops the league of developing nations? It’s Nigeria of course. We are the largest black nation in the world. Against all odds, against all blackmailing, we have the law – the tobacco law in Nigeria today. We rose up against caffeinated energy drinks. The consumption was targeted at young people and not old people. We fought it to a standstill, the consumption; you can see that it has even affected the distribution today. Is that under-performance? The bird flu, we curved it to make sure that the spread is not as fatal as this COVID 19, when it was still seen from afar. The motion was mine, to make sure that we move as quickly as we could. Is that under-performance? I can go on and on. The question is, how do you gauge under-performance, for those who think that we under-performed, how do they gauge under-performance? And then when you say not being a party man, what is the definition of a party man? We had our differences in the party, like human beings would have their differences. Every social animal would have their differences and at the end of the day, whatever played out, played out. So, some chose to see the devil, some chose to see angel. We had motions that were not just for young people, but old people. The Intercontinental Bank, Access Bank takeover which eventually led to the issue of Honourable Hembe and Ms. Aroma Otteh of SEC, that incidence, that motion was mine, to have it looked at because a lot of people who had their retirement benefit invested in it, were seeing it going down the drain, so how do we protect them? Is that under-performance?
Is transfer of liability bill where you live in a house and when you leave with owed money, they now tell the next tenant to come and pay under-performance? We started it and thank God Gbaja (Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila) completed it. He took it up. If we had returned to the house, we would have completed it. I still have some of the bills that I did not complete. The Aluu 4 students who were falsely accused and killed, I made sure that I got justice for them. To make sure that this jungle justice had to stop. All these accusers needed to do was accuse you and you lose your life. We fought from Kosofe here and made sure that justice was served. The court passed a judgment, they were convicted and sentenced to death if found guilty. We can go on and on. I respect their opinion but their opinion is not my reality. The major issue of electricity, they said it was generation then it was transmission. When we came out, we went to every community and ward, it was the same problem we had – transformer. Every ward got a minimum of three transformers because we were able to bring forth. As a matter of fact, there were projects we fought for in the 2015 budget which we concluded in 2014 but because I did not return in 2015 our people still enjoyed those projects through the current member. So he served but I just believe that I have a better experience to serve the people of Kosofe not just about what I stand to gain but what I stand to give.
Did you mean half a billion Naira?
Yes! Very well over half a billion attracted to Kosofe, even while in opposition, so you can imagine what we would do as a Rep from the ruling party. That’s how you gauge performance!
Do you want to read them out?
Yes, we will send them all to you. I remember they were quite a lot they are something you cannot count at the top of fingers. It’s only when they are few you can count on your fingers. There’s the full list of things that we have done. You can verify them and not just take my word. In Anthony village ward, there’re two transformers there, the third one was repeated in the 2015 budget. That is what you will have to ask the current person. In Mende, then we have one at the estate here where I live. I know you will ask why my estate? They also voted for me and one must take them into consideration. There’s nothing as terrible as losing your polling unit when they are not happy with you. So as you are making everybody happy, you also make them happy. If you go to Ojota, there are three transformers there. There’s one on Kujore Street. Even at Gbagada, there’s one at Adetunde Brown. We even have water projects there. In Mende, if you remember, the water project was worth over ten million Naira; it was a mega project. In Gbagada, we even have a 27-KVA generator connected to water project, to make sure that there’s constant water. Remember that every of these projects are tailored to needs of that particular time.
Some constituency members believe that the mini buses, motorcycles, tricycles, grinding machines and giving grants are the best tools to measure performance. How would you rate the current representative’s performance?
For me, we were not elected to do those things. The role of a legislator is to make laws and to legislate. But outside of those ones we still were able to do things like the transformers I mentioned. Remember, our traders who trade in drinks couldn’t even get ice-blocks on those days, if you have cold rooms there was no light to power it, hairdressers and people who have shops had issue of power. Restaurants, bars, hotels even those who were into manufacturing had to connect to those transformers and that is how we were able to identify those things. Please note, when I ran for office, I ran on party’s platform but I was elected by the entire people. I became the representative of the entire Kosofe and my focus was for everybody. There are things you also enjoy when you are part of the ruling party I guess but in our time we didn’t have those things. All of these things that are being distributed are in the budget. So we are attributing those things to individual performances. For ‘korope’ buses and all that, we should say thank you to President Buhari, the same thing was done in Ikeja, in Somolu, Ikorodu, all over. The three hundred and sixty representatives enjoyed that. I think what President Buhari has done now through the various agencies, especially the SDG under former deputy governor; Adejoke Orelope, is alleviating poverty like he promised through the Senators and House of Representatives. Not everybody will be a transporter; however we will do things differently. Some have queried me for not giving the grinding machine we were given because it’s really not what I believe in. It’s still there intact in my office. Some have insulted me for not giving them out. It’s because we want to be able to sleep well at night. If my wife put one of those grinding machine at our front gate and start to grind pepper, and we make enough money to feed our family, then I will start giving it out but if not? I will do unto others what I want God to do unto me. This is what I believe in. There are other ways to do that. Maybe with ‘Korope’ (mini buses), we will form a delivery company, establish a business. We can call it Kosofe delivery and provide jobs. We have retired professors who can be put on the management board and start something which also generate employment for our people in Kosofe. But I still thank President Buhari for sending those things our way. Sir, if given the opportunity, what are you doing differently this time?
Don’t forget that seven years ago, Nigeria was not this developed; give us a brief of what you’ll do.
I’ll tell you for brief without sounding arrogant; I can humbly say that I am one of the best legislators in Nigeria. I will rank amongst the top five in this country. My past records show that. For the last seven years, I have studied in one program or the other; I have sharpened and prepared myself. People have asked me why I have done programs. I have been to Harvard; I have studied Leadership and Decision Making. I have been to Northern Island University where I studied a degree entirely and another degree in Leadership and Management. I have been to Warwick University, Newcastle and have several leadership courses. I am not doing those this because of the certificate but to keep myself abreast. I am employing Western legislation, don’t forget we are talking about policy making which is what I love, it makes any country: wherever you go. How do you stand the test of time? You can imagine going to oversight someone like a Babatunde Fashola you don’t know. How do you know what you are over-sighting? Iron sharpens iron and not wood. I just gave an example of what I will do with mini buses; we would set up a company. Don’t forget that last year, we have increase in online shopping, it moved from thirty to forty to fifty million pre-COVID. A lot of people don’t have to go out but can work from home. How do we do that? Does it make sense to say that we ordered food or something else through Jumia and it is delivered within Kosofe? We are the second largest local government in Lagos. Education is a very serious area that I am looking at. When we talk agriculture, we think it’s all about planting. How do you even maintain a healthy citizenship? Have we sit down as a people and say; “Are we doing things right?” There’s a rise in the cases of cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. When you minimize these illnesses; you discover that the streets would be relatively healthy. Then it was discovered that soursop cures it. Before the discovery, soursop was inexpensive but after the discovery, soursop is now one of the most expensive fruit which has taken it away from the hands of the poor people and now handed it over to the hands of the rich. Are you saying that a poor man can no longer have a decent life? How do we come with the policy to allow governments regulate this? It’s hard for government to regulate what government didn’t contribute to? When you are contributing something, you should be able regulate it. For instance, if you agree to go into soursop farming, we will fund you but we will buy your stock from you. That way government can regulate it. You can have soursop in your house three times in a week at a ridiculous price. That way, you will know that you are not the one that has written invitation letter for ill-health to come. You have done that part and government has contributed. Education is something that we’ll need to determine where we are starting from and where we are going. India is exporting education and technology. Technology is a part of educaare n but we seem to want to separate technology from education. When people come and say that we need money to go into education, I asked to do what? Are we getting the results? There are so many things we can look on like health.
Sir, we have two federal wards in Kosofe and Agboyi. For the past twenty years they’ve been promised a link bridge but as we speak, the design is yet to be conceived. Secondly, annually we have flooding at Ajegunle axis. On several occasions, we heard that the Federal delegation visited that environment. If elected, what are you going to do towards addressing it?
I acknowledged the fact that you saw their presence there. It was a fight we put up there. Some things were sent from Ogun Osun River Basin. They even contributed to what is helping us there today. There are various factors causing the flooding and those reasons need to be revisited. I am sure if that area were Ikoyi, they would have sorted it out. We tried a lot when we were there. We visited, the governor visited and we found out that we had unusual rains during that period, effect of global warming plus man made issues; building along drainages and blockages. I think this is a time where we have to look at that much more seriously. The two wards that you had mentioned, things have changed. Of recent, even the Council Chairman in Agboyi Ketu had to do some projects in those places. So, there are signs that they are not being neglected but some things are coming our way. There are some areas we need to hold on to the federal government. It’s a good thing that today the party in government in Lagos is the same party in government at the center. I am aware that the current member through the SDG is building a health center for us in Ojota and Agboyi as well. Hopefully, we should get it before the end of this tenure. It shouldn’t be just health alone but the same kind of representation of schools there, so they’ll know that they are not being abandoned. I believe by God’s grace, when elected into office next year, it would be a top priority getting those things sorted.
I think there’s an abandoned primary school (Ajegunle Primary School) the school has to be looked into.
Absolutely, I agree with you. I think we have to accept blame sometimes for taking some things too thick but it’s all in quest to making our presence felt. While we were in office, we got a block of classroom, VIP toilets and all of that at Expressway Primary School, we had the same seamlessly in Oworonsoki, and we had another one in Agboyi too. But with hindsight, if we were able to have a good working arrangement, I mean a good understanding; we would have done them in batches and not spreading little portions. You can imagine if we had those three blocks in one place, it would have really solved a huge problem rather than how we had done it then. This problem didn’t arise then, had it been the case then, we would have known how to resolve it. I agree with you that we need to look into that.
Sir, the federal constituency since the last two general elections, recorded a general apathy. What do you think can be done to improve in the coming election?
We just need to pick the right candidate. Like I said, I enjoyed tremendous support while I was in office, on both occasions if you remember, every election had been done twice. My first election on 2007, I did it twice, the second twice, even the primaries was done three times and my worry would be people’s turn out, it was amazing. I believe that was why we were able to record the highest number of votes. I had a fantastic relationship inside and outside of the party. Take Magodo for example, I will just cite that, I responded to what they wanted. It was the then DPO who had written that there was security issues there and a lot people were attacked and we were able to influence streetlights valued at 40 million naira. When the street lights were installed, we extended to smaller areas down to NEPA.
Sir, you just mentioned something now on your past primary elections, now that election is drawing nearer and your last two participation was marred by violence, what advice would you give to your party?
I would never be party to violence, I have never yelled at anyone. I am human being, I look for other sources, I have never done that. My party does not engage in that, yes some people were engaged in it, but they were individuals. I don’t think anyone would try that now. No one is playing around with that anymore. Some intentionally make it violent to keep good people at bay, but their right must be protected. But we know those who involve, it’s a community. People are smarter now; their right must be protected to cast their votes.
What is your role in the reconciliation of the party leaders?
I grew up in Kosofe; that is the home town that I know. I would be a mad person to see Kosofe go down the drain. I have children, I have daughters, it is my duty to protect them. Some of the things we are doing is to reconcile all party. It is good seeing our GAC members being reconciled. I like peace; that is only when we can make progress. It is good Baba Bush and Baba Sosanya are on the same page. It is also good to see all the elected and appointed officials are on same page, so we can be united. We started a little over a year ago, at Raddisson Blu, it broke down, thank God it is been resolved again, everyone is happy, I am grateful God has used me as a tool for reconciliation.
What’s your message to the party delegate for the May 19 National Assembly primary?
The important thing is to put Kosofe in focus. Our slogan is; ‘Nigeria on my mind, Kosofe in focus.’ Now it is Nigeria on my mind, Kosofe still in focus. This is where we live, this is our abode, this is where we play and practice politics. It is where we raise our children, it is important we raise the right people to represent us.
In the midst of chaos, I see opportunities; can you break this quote down?
It is how God has done it. In the midst of COVID 19, some millionaires are made. In the midst of Political chaos, there was opportunity to reconcile the Elders. Today they are reconciled, I thank Allah for that, it is also good it happened during Ramadan; that means God has a hand in it. I thank Mayor Dele Osinowo for starting when the talks broke down again. We have two stubborn old men, I respect that fact that they are stubborn, but they recognize the need to reconcile. I am happy about that. I hope I don’t run into troubles for calling them stubborn.
In one minute, can you summarize the man, Honourable Dayo Bush?
Absolutely, to be honest, I would have thought that you would be able to summarize Honorable Dayo Bush from where you see him. When I look in the mirror, first of all, I love knowledge, secondly, I love peace and thirdly, I am God fearing. For somebody who was said couldn’t survive ten days, eleven years ago to be alive today, eleven years after, it means God has a reason for keeping me alive and God knows why He kept me alive. I will do that which God wants. I am pretty much a liberal person, some have wondered if I am truly a Muslim. Yes I am. I am an Alhaji and the Muslims have wondered if l am a Christian. You know, there’s a saying that don’t send your child to Caesar for training and wonder why he has come back a Roman. I went to Christian schools all my life. My maternal grandfather was a deacon in the church while my paternal grandfather was an Islamic cleric (Alfa). You can imagine where I am coming from, a chip of the old blocks. I look at things dispassionately; I believe there’s a solution to every problem. I am a non-violent person; I will not condone violence anywhere. I am a good listener, I am a team player, I believe in what I believe in. You all know that I am an easily approachable person, it’s like a handshake, we must always meet in the centre. With knowledge and fear of God, a lot of issues are resolved. Knowledge is what is required at the National Assembly where policies are being made not physical show of muscular strength but knowledge and what God has blessed with is the ability to think, ability to reason rationally and ability to deliver. I’ll say that’s what I pretty see when I serve. I have surrendered to knowledge, so that I can be useful to my community and to my nation.