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Politics should be about service – Sulaimon



Politics should be about service –  Sulaimon

Hon. Jelili Sulaimon is the Chairman of Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State. He recently visited the Corporate Head Office of New Telegraph Newspapers, where he spoke on sundry issues about his local government and the state. Balogun Alabi and Elizabeth Ogunbamowo met with him


It’s over two months that you took over as the chairman of Alimosho Local Government Area, what has been the experience so far?

First, I thank God for the strength and opportunity to serve. We assumed leadership on July 25 and the mandate was given to us to ensure that we make Alimosho the pride of Lagos State in the areas of infrastructural development, adequate welfare package of the council staff and of the people that we are representing and equally in the area of the economy of the local government. So far, we’ve been trying to ensure that we fulfill the mandate given to us in these directions. Presently, in the area of infrastructural development, when you come into our council premises, you would see that we are short of office accommodation, so we quickly swung into action by ensuring that we commence a two-storey building of nothing less than 50 offices. This is to ensure that our councilors have a befitting chamber and offices likewise council staff.

In the area of education, we recently had a fruitful parley with all school proprietors in our local government and the essence of the meeting was to ensure that we know what they are doing, what they are giving to our children and their challenges. We are equally extending the educational promises we made during the electoral campaign. We have met the Rotary Club and we had a discussion with them on how they can assist our children in public schools. They gave us an e-library, which is situated at the Rauf Aregbesola and Abati primary schools. We are having another upcoming programme to train teachers in all the private schools.

What about the health sector?

We have always ensured that drugs are constantly available in all the health centers in the local government. Prior to when I was appointed as Executive Secretary of the local government, we only had one functional health centre. But, immediately I assumed office, I facilitated the building of a health centre, which has never been in the history of Alimosho. On staff welfare, I ensured that those working with me get what its entitled to them and we have a symbiotic relationship to ensure that the work is not dragging at all. You know it is when they are happy that you can see good result. So, if you don’t make them happy, automatically you won’t see anything, they won’t be productive. We have cultivated a good working relationship, we always have constant meetings and we also ensure that we operate an open door policy, so that people can present their respective opinions.

To firm up our cordiality, we organised a stakeholders’ meeting during which we interacted with the Community Development Associations (CDAs) and the landlord associations in Alimosho Local Government on what they need and what they want us to do. For us, governance should be bottom-up and not otherwise. The 2018 budget that we are about doing now, will have their demands embedded in it. So, it is going to be a community based budget.

Is the sterling performance and governance style of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in any way a drive for you as the chairman of Alimosho council?

Firstly, it might interest you to know that I share in totality, our highly cerebral governor’s vision and attitude to governance. You can see what he has done within the short time he took over as governor of Lagos State. Governor Ambode is my mirror and model, he believes in both human and infrastructural development. This is the kind of mindset you see around progressives. You will see such in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, same in the governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. I so much believe in his pro-activeness towards handling human development and capacity buildings as well as infrastructural development. They are my role models and I share in their vision in ensuring that there is smile on the faces of the people of Alimosho.

What is your relationship with stakeholders in the local government?

The stakeholders in my local government see me as their son and one of them. If I don’t have a good working relationship with them, if I am not part of them, they would not have voted me in as the executive chairman of the local government and if they are not with me, I wouldn’t have been able to do all these that I’m doing. Secondly, I was born and bred in the local government; had all my education there except higher education. I know the terrain, I know my people and my people know me, so I will continue to give them what they want.

What is your relationship with the legislative arm of the council?

My relationship with my councilors, within the short period that we have spent together is cordial. There is a working and harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislature and I want to say that we must adopt the principle of give and take to ensure that we have a good environment for governance.

How did you get into politics?

I got into politics through inspiration and through motivation by Governor Aregbesola. I was the leader of the House in the council for two terms. I was equally the Executive Secretary of the local government before I was elected chairman.

For youths who want to go into politics, what is your advice to them?

I will encourage them to go into politics with vision and mission. There must reasons for going into politics and they must understand the principle of teamwork. They must have native intelligence, they must be cultured, have good attitude, ready to learn and be submissive.

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