INTERVIEW: 2015, No hiding place for PDP –Senator Ashafa
Bareehu Olugbega Ashafa represents Lagos East Senatorial District at the Senate where he is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Lands and Urban Development among other Committees. He met with some newsmen in Lagos, and asserts that the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC), is a tool that will cement the unity of a project called the nation. RAZAQ BAMIDELE, brings the excerpts:
Alarm over third mainland bridge
The alarm I raised over the frightening state of the third mainland bridge in Lagos is neither false nor with political motives to score any cheap popularity. You know the bridge is plied by people of all tribes across the globe and not Lagos residents alone. The alarm raised was as a result of a report by Professor JHT Kim, Head of the Concrete Structural Engineering Laboratory, Yousel University, Seoul, Korea, who came on a research in December 2012 and conducted an underwater examination of the structures holding the bridge and said the damages to the structure was worse than what he had been briefed.? Since disaster does not discriminate, the alarm is imperative for something to be done urgently to avoid avoidable catastrophe, which when it happens, will be too overwhelming to bear.
I believe, like any other well meaning individuals that it is better to organize than to agonize. Take for instance, if somebody had raised such an alarm before Dana Airline embarked on the ill-fated flight that ended up in disaster last year, the agony caused would have been averted. So, this warning must be heeded to forestall a repeat of the Dana episode.? However let me express appreciation to the leadership of the Senate over the prompt action taken, by setting up an investigative committee to work on the alarm, and submit its reports within two weeks because of the urgency the matter deserves.
Formation of APC
It is the best thing that has ever happened to this country in her almost 100 years of existence. By next year, this country will attain the age of 100 years. And I can assure you that this country will not break up according to the wishes of some people. And the evidence is in the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
APC has been accepted by the masses of this country having realized its rescue mission mantra. In 2015, there would be no hiding place for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as it would be thrown out of office by the Nigerian people through the ballot boxes. The importance of the APC transcends electoral victory. With its formation, the unity of this country has been further cemented.” Some pessimists have been saying that Nigeria would break up by 2015 at about the age of 100 years. But going by how the APC came into existence the caliber of the members across the country in it, it is a pointer that the party has become a saving grace. I am confident that the new party would survive. It would also interest you to know that other parties, like the United Peoples Party (UPP), are also coming on board.
Ashafa and Lagos 2015
What you read in a newspaper publication was also read by me the way you read it. It still remains a rumour, and speculation, and we should allow it to remain so for now. I think it is too early for anybody to start aspiring to be anything in 2015.
2015 is more than two years away and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), is doing a wonderful job in the state. He started where Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stopped, and he has been a good Ambassador of this state. He needs our support and should not to be distracted. All of us have a lot of work on our hands. Why can’t we concentrate on that, and leave 2015 in the hand of God?
And to answer your question that if I am called upon to serve as governor in 2015, what would I do? Well, my simple answer is, why can’t we wait till then? When our great party reaches the bridge, it will decide how to cross it.
On my electoral promises
Whilst contesting for the office, my electoral promises were centered around a Four Cardinal Agenda, with an acronym EYES. Effective representation, Youth Empowerment, Educational Enhancement and Sustainable Agricultural Development. And I can tell you without being immodest that I have not disappointed my people and my party. On effective representation for instance, I have sponsored and co-sponsored many Bills and Motions, among which are: Income tax holiday Bill for Corporate Companies (Sponsored)?Bill on the creation of an Agency which would cater for the promotion and preservation of our local languages (Sponsored), Same Sex Marriage Bill (Co-Sponsored), Motion on the Lagos Flood (Co-sponsored) and Motion on the creation of unemployment Data and creation of job centers in the Country. (Co- sponsored).?others are Motion on the solutions to terrorism in Nigeria (Co-sponsored), Motion on the deteriorating Services of GSM operators in Nigeria (Sponsored), Bill on Treaty-Making Process (Amendment Bill), Bill on Criminal Code (Amendment Bill), Social Housing Bills (Co- sponsored) and Motion on the imminent collapse of the Third Mainland bridge, Lagos.?
On Youth Empowerment
Well, just let me mention a few items more because the list of our modest achievements in all other sub-headings is endless. A total number of 230 young men and women have benefited from the Monthly free ICT program. 27 Brand new computer sets with printers have also been awarded to participants that excelled in their final exams?. Many graduates – within and beyond the Lagos East Senatorial District – have been employed, through my influence, into some federal parastatals; like the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Civil Defense Corps and the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Prison Service, Nigeria Television Authority etc.?15 Graduates have just concluded their training in a 6 months Youth Energy Career Program._
Financial assistance to constituents across the Senatorial District to assist them to expand or create small scale businesses in order to cut down on the number of unemployed persons within our area._
There are also the purchase of phone calls gadgets, Barbing tools, Vulcanizing tools, GCE Forms for some young males and females in the Senatorial District while 20 people were assisted to get employment with Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI).