Written By Dedeigbo Ayodeji
Posted By Admin
The Honorable member representing Badagry Constituency 01 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Olarewaju Ibrahim Layode, in this interview with Ayodeji Dedeigbo publisher Town Crier News Nigeria , Judith Onwuemene ,Managing Editor Town Crier News Nigeria ,Jennifer Nwosu publisher SkyNews and Toyin Akinleye Babs Publisher of Street wise News speaks on salient issues including his indelible marks as a state lawmaker.
Question. Can we meet you sir?*
Ans. Well, I think my sister here knows me, and my auto biography has not changed.
The only thing that has changed there is that the last time we met was my second term.
I have been in the House at least for the second, third and the fourth term and my name remains.
By the grace of God, I am Honorable Olarewaju Ibrahim Layode.
I am representing Badagry Constituency 1 in Lagos State House of Assembly.
Going through my biography from there, I was born in Badagry in the early 70s in Layode’s Compound where I also grew up.
I attended my Nursery and Primary school in Badagry. I also attended Ansar u’ deen Grammar School. I think I should draw curtains because all my signatories are still the same. I don’t want to be repeating it. That is why I said everything is still intact. From Badagry Muslim Primary School to Ansaru Deen Grammar School. Thereafter, I proceeded to Lagos State College of Education, now Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education,where I obtained my NCE certificate. After that, because of my quest for good education, I did my direct entry into Lagos State University, LASU.
Since then, I have been on my own as a business man. Meanwhile, I have been involving in politics right from my secondary school days. I was involved in the Students Union politics and that gave me more courage to participate in our own Local Government political game since 1999. When General Abubakar (Retd) handed over to the civilian, I was involved as one of the vibrant youths of our party, AD then to AC, ACN and finally to APC. Youth wing then, we have about four of us representing the party from 89 to 99 till around 2000 when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu came as a Governor and I was a member of the campaign team. I represented Badagry ward at the state level and I became the Chairman of BATCO, Badagry. So because of my activities, in 2006 I was called upon to contest for House of Assembly. Not that I was just called upon from nowhere, they knew my activities, my role in Badagry in the progressive caucaus made leaders to stand with me till now. I am praying to God that in 2023, I will progress to the House of Representatives.
Question. Looking inward to what you said that you have been a serving House of Assemby member for four consecutive terms, how did you manage to maintain that seat ?
Ans. There is one thing about politics, it is not about you, it is about the people of your constituency. No matter the criticism you get from different angles, just remain focused. You can testify yourself.
(You can flash back to 2007 at “Ile Pako” there where you people came to the House of Assembly, you made mention of my being humble. If you are coming to my constituency also, people always say that am humble too)
To me, I don’t take my office as my own but for those people who sent me there. I have been making sure, they are truly represented. So far, it is Almighty God who has given me the strength to continue serving my people right. Also, I have been doing the little things I can avoid, given back to the electorates.
Question. What have been your challenges?
In politics, challenges are many. During my birthday, someone called me on phone and said, Honourable, what is your challenge? I said I don’t have challenge. But in a politics, you will have to know that there are challenges. Like I said, I have seen a lot of people criticizing me from left and right. A neutral person rose up and challenged the people and asked them if they actually wanted to contest and knowing what the person is going to do is different. So, that is why we are having problems in Badagry. We don’t normally push ourselves forward. If not Kolawole Taiwo in our area that was pushed down, Badagry Division would have gotten a speaker. Do you know that what we did for Kolawole Taiwo, we are now facing it?. People will just be saying is he the only one? Go to US, you will see a member of the house that has been serving for as long as 32 years. Joe Biden was in the house for thirty something years. Obama was there long before he became the president. In UK, you will see lot of representatives and honourable members who have been there for decades. It’s a pity that the people we say we are copying, we don’t copy good things from them.
I pray we will get to that level soon because of the political mentality in our area. What I have done so far in the history of Badagry, no one has ever done that.
Kolawole and I are the ones who broke the jinx in Badagry Division.
How would you describe your experience.?
The experience is much more and so far so good it has been good although very challenging and cumbersome. Like this morning now, it was someone that woke me up on a Monday morning to ask me, what I promised to give him. Can you imagine? very early morning call without any greetings.. Some people will come and tell you his wife gave birth and will believe it’s the honourable that must be responsible for all the expenses. So many people cannot differentiate between the functions of the legislature from executive and don’t want to believe we have challenges at all. Some will be asking what project have we done? How can we do a project when I don’t have red biro? I don’t have that kind of power which will make me embark on a project. The only thing I can do as an Honourable member is for me to facilitate projects. Go back to the records, since 2007, all the ministries that I have been chairing their committees, I used everything I have to facilitate projects in the communities in my Constituency. Those records are there. A whole transformer was even delivered to a community. Also, community hall too. On the youth empowerment for students, I am the one who started it. It has never happened in the history of Badagry prior to that. What of our education support scheme, whereby we buy over 250 GCE form for students annually ? It has started since 2007. Someone who has never thought he can go to school, collected my free GCE, he got 5 credits and went to university, he is working in bank now, he sent a message to thank me that he has traveled to America. It’s a joy to me. These are the things that some of our people don’t know about the challenges we have and they intend to run us down with their bad comments. Okay someone came to me last week and he said, I am a Muslim that Alfas are angry with me, that it is only the traditional worshippers I do give support, yes because those people approached me and I gave them what they requested for. During Ramadan, when I gave them ram, clothes and other things they didn’t remember that. There’s always jealous between them like the case of a man marrying two wives. But the only thing is that I have to know how to manage such a scenario. These kinds of challenges can’t be taken as a big one, but the majority of the people don’t understand the difference between the legislature and the executive arm of government.
Question. There is this rumour in your area that your constituency office is not always open or not active. What can you say about that?
Ans. Well, this thing happened in 2011 when some of them refused to go to constituency office. They always look for me at home. It still happening till today. They will come and say ‘Honorable, I want to see you and drop a letter for you’. I always tell them to go to the constituency office and drop it. I have a constituency office and at the same time my business empire. If you go to my profile, you could remember I told you that I am a business tycoon and when I became an Honourable member, I have a registered company, also have people working for me. When I became a Honorable member, I can’t kill that my company. It will still continue surviving because the company specializes in clearing and forwarding, auto sale and transportation services, and that is where people come to see me even before I became honourable. For instance, I was there through out yesterday.
The mentality with my people is that once they say, ‘Honourable I want to see you’, the letter they want to submit which must follow protocols, they will want to give me by hand. And when I checked the letter, it might not be actually letter but sometimes an invitation for harvest and stuffs like that. So I used to tell them, if it’s me you want to see come to office in Ikeja and not in Badagry. That is when the person will say, we got to the constituency office we did not see you.
People are there now, but people don’t drop their letters there because of the notion that the letters will not be delivered and approved soon.
Every weekend, the letter must be treated because they will be copied and send to me here. Some will sit in Badagry to get a reference letter based on the letter submitted even outside the government. How can you get a reference letter from Badagry when you submitted the application letter in Lagos ? This kind of a situation, I expect them to call my PA and he will explain better to them. Even a lot of people who are not from my constituency still manage to come to me too because of my open-door policy.
Question. You mentioned giving out free GCE form, aside that, what have you impacted in the life of your people?
Ans. Even am planning another second phase now. I did one not too long where I picked 90 women across our constituency. I met a woman, she was crying, and I asked her what happened. She said some agencies were dragging her because she took microfinance loan popularly called LAPO. That was the time I heard about LAPO. The woman collected ₦30,000 and the interest had accumulated to about ₦60,000 because she couldn’t pay on time. So, I helped her to pay the money. So, somebody just brought the idea that why can’t we do something like that for them at zero-interest level. So I did for almost 90 of them. Widows were also benefited, I dashed out 4.5million naira. This is just about 2 or 3 months ago. I am planning another one for December to see if I can give out from the range of 5,000 to 50,000 to the petty traders to encourage them. In fact, I have lost count on some people that got help to alleviate their business loses from me. I also encourage the drivers too. Some are helped to get cars for Uber and Bolt driving. I usually don’t like mentioning names. But
politics of today will not be complete if not documented. So, I have it in brochure here.
Because of this attitude of bringing people down. I don’t know you, don’t abuse or disrespect your parents, elderly people and your teachers. If you do is a curse.
He should live his life.
Question. What measures have you put in place to curb this social media platform ranting on your office?
Ans. Badagry, I think they need to checkmate it. Because the way and manner the person are using it is not good at all. I think there’s a law one can use to sue them when passing defamatory information about someone that is fake.
Question. Lagos State Government has embarked on Badagry road and the work is going faster than expected. What do you have to say about that?
Ans. Not only Lagos State. The Federal Government also. We have our own part. Lagos State started from Ericmore to Okoko. Lagosians are aware that we have been on it ahead of the Federal Government’s aspect. During the Governor Babajide Raji Fashola, late President Yar’adua approved it to 10 lanes. From mile 2 now, you can see the beauty of the road. Governor Sanwo-Olu also has been able to put more money into the project, which make the aspects of Lagos State going so fast and is almost at 80 or 85% completion stage. They are also working on the rail system. We want to build a rail system where you can board from Okoko to Apongbon, Marina side of Lagos State. I want to thank Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for having it in mind that such a project will be completed and not tagged an abandoned project. With the challenges of the state, the limited availability of fund, they still try more to help us in that area. It helps us the people of Badagry to relieve hardship on the road. From Agbara to Badagry is very terrible. What we are facing is much more. The journey of 30 minutes will turn to two hours, even not the time alone, the stress one going through is very disturbing. We raised it in the House. Today, they have heard and come to our aid and the work is going gradually to like 30 to 35%. We pray they should not stop. We extend our appreciation to the Federal Gaovernment for their kind gesture. I want to use this medium to say we are sorry and to thank the people of Badagry for their support and patience all along. If it were to be some places, they would have turned it to violence. I can assure you we are going to enjoy good road soon and good things will start coming to the our land.
They should do more in supporting the government for good things to be actualized in our area. I know Badagry will soon turn to Island of today because, we have a lot of tourist attraction centers there.
Question. What is your relationship with your political leaders and your expectation from them comes 2023
Ans. Well, it is a good relationship, there’s no rancour of any sort so far.
The only rancour I see is the political interest of every individual. My own interest might be different from yours and that other person will be different from mine too. At the end of the day, what normally happens is that during the primary, there might be fight and clash of interests but at the end of the day, we will still solve it and come back as one family. I am contesting 2023 House of Representatives, you can ask a leader and he will say he doesn’t want to key into that idea. That is why i said the interest might differ. I am appealing to them to vote for me come 2023 to represent them at the House of Representatives. I promise to do more for them if elected.
Question. When going through my Facebook page there is a guy called Labobo criticizing you unnecessarily, what relationship do you have with such fellow sir?
Ans. I will not say it is only Labobo or whatever he called himself
At first I’m not on Facebook because what Facebook are main for, people are not using it that way, that is why I backed out.
I prefer to remain on WhasaApp.
So many people are managing my Facebook page, putting me there.
I was surprised when people started calling me that they saw me on Facebook because of the way and manners Labobo is using the Facebook not right .
Not only him, so many of them.
But particularly that person you mentioned I don’t need to answer such a person, because people have played #endSARS protest Video that I said they did not kill anybody in Lekki Phase 1 that they should throw me inside the water, lot of reports about this Labobo, but I still tell people that will come and give me report about him to forget about him.
(You have your own opinion to say and Baba Lai Mohammed came out and counter it , did you newsmen killed him b the answer to this is no it is not possible).
Anyway that is just my own opinion.
If CNN can apologized to Nigeria that they didn’t see anybody.
Labobo is like a Junior to me, we went to the same Badagry High School but because of this type of his attitude, he didn’t finished his education in Badagry.
He is a boy to me of course.
That boy now go on Facebook saying unnecessary thing on Facebook, so I need to forgive him.
I have known him for long with the attitude
Whoever had been beating teacher, that is impacting knowledge into his life is a curse .
Whoever could raise up his hand to beat his father and his mother is a curse and same to the teacher that is impacting knowledge into one life.
The only thing he need to do is just to kneel down on his kneel and beg for forgiveness.
Person who have been beating teacher, but if Labobo Can beat his teacher then who am I before him.
Is it that person I want to be replying on Facebook?.
So many people have called me to reply him,but I keep telling them I have nothing to reply.
Let me go to this Scenario.
Let’s take for instance, that I go to the village and I see a big river.
I undressed to swim and someone now come and pack my cloths, do you expect me to start running after him naked? if I should do people will see me as a madman.
I will rather remain in the river and put a call to my family to bring me another cloth for me to change.
The best thing is for me to leave him to his own palaver, because you don’t need to answer such a person ,the only thing is that he should go and pray and beg for forgiveness.
Question. Lastly on my Question: What measures have you put in place to stop this menace on social Media Platform?
Lai Mohammed did everything to stop it ,but they turned him down,even president Mohamadu Buhari tried it also Nigerians said no way ,that twitter can not be banned.
People are against banning of Twitter, I think they need to checkmate it.
The information I gave at the House of Assembly, he edited the video turned it upside down so to annoy people watching it on Facebook, to see me as a bad person
Mainwhile, all those posts he posted on Facebook against me none is real,and no one passed good messages.