Apapa Local Government is currently being driven by a focused, experienced and energetic team headed by its Chairman- Hon. Ayo Joseph. The team is saddled with a vision to re-generate Apapa as the commercial and tourist nerve centre, attracting people not only from within Lagos State but all over the country and the international community. Chinyere Okoye spoke to the LG chief on his development mission in the area.
Ayodeji Joseph is a graduate of Geography and Planning from Lagos State University (LASU). He also holds a Masters’ degree in Geographic Information Science from the prestigious University of Lagos (UNILAG). Prior to joining the service of Apapa Local Government Council as the Executive Chairman, he had worked variously in different organizations, including The Lagos State Civil Service as Research Officer in the Ministry of Physical Planning. He joined the Banking industry in the 2004 working with the highly rated Guaranty Trust Banks. At GTBank, he rose through the ranks with diligence and high level of expertise in the deployment of various tasks. Between May 2004 through March 2005, he was GTBank Representative, Process Re-engineering Team with Price Water House Coopers (PWC).
In March 2005, he became Head, POS installation and support unit, (E-Business and Card Services group of GTBank Plc) coordinating the activities of Point Of Sale Support and Installation unit nationwide ensuring product functionality, growth and usage.
As the Executive Chairman of Apapa Local Government, (The Golden Council), he is directly responsible for the smooth running of various governmental affairs aimed at bringing the dividends of democracy closer to the locales.
“I have worked in both the public and private sector” Ayodeji said. “While in the public I knew how things were done and in the private there is a whole new difference. In the private sector, a lot of things will go well when the environment is conducive. I have being trying to inject some of the ideas I acquired from the private sector into the public. I have also discovered that the best way of wining the heart of the cooperate society is by integrating them into the work plan that way they will know how much they are needed in the development stakes. Thus if you are able to win the confidence of the private sector you must be able to provide a good working environment for them. This and many more strikes the balance between the two sectors”.
The council boss while speaking to THISDAY on how he intends to achieve his goal as the chairman of the golden council said the educational and environmental sector is his main target by 2010. “I will love to make a difference in two major areas which is in education and restoring the environment back to its former clean state. In 2010 I will seriously focus on developing education. We have just about eight primary schools in Apapa and I think I can easily monitor them in terms of quality and output. Quality will span in the area of what pupils get, provision of equipments like computers because when the children are equipped and exposed learning becomes easy and interesting for them. I intend to establish an Education Enlightenment Campaign Team with the responsibility of bringing the reality of the importance of child-education to bear on the minds of the grassroots Apapa communities, and to inform them of the possibility of school enrolment and attendance. I will love to make the school environment girl-friendly by ensuring the provision of adequate modern learning tools decent toilet facilities and others. Heavy emphasis will be laid on Computer Literacy and re-introduction of Civics as a Subject in Schools curriculum through the State Universal Basic Education Board”.
“In my tenure as LG chief, Ayodeji stressed I will love to teach the people of Apapa to be clean. It is their duty to clean their environment. Sadly they have not being doing it, I will do it for them and will not tolerate a dirty environment from them”.
Speaking on government assistance to the projects at hand Ayodeji expressed his disappointments as Apapa Local Government hosts the foremost maritime port in Nigeria. As such, Apapa is the major industrial, commercial maritime/shipping, oil & gas business hub for Lagos, Nigeria and most West African States. “It is a pity that the government has neglected the development programs in Apapa council. Over 40% of the nations income is gotten from port which is located in this council yet we get nothing for remuneration for damages caused to the roads by truck drivers and motorists who ply the road almost twenty four hours every day. Most of the federal institutions in Apapa don’t pay tax which makes it a little difficult for us. We generate fund internally through motor parks, okada riders and the market. Well I must tell you that what we receive is way to small compare to the load of work here but now that the Lagos State government is trying to develop her local government areas may be more responsibility will be given to us in terms of money”.
Speaking on the rapid development in Apapa the LG chief argued that one must not wait until billions of naira is generated before doing something positive. “we did not spend any billion we were able to spend some hundreds of thousands. It is not all the construction that you see we did, a lot of individuals are seeing that the local government is doing well so they partner with us and we have few projects like that wherein people have assisted us to do. Since we have decided in this administration that we want to leave a mark in Apapa Local government, we channel all the resources we get to the development of the LG. thus we want to start up that change everybody is crying for. We have learnt not to blow our trumpet, but I must tell you we get commendations and it motivates me to do more”.
Still speaking on his development plans for Apapa LG Ayodeji identifies education, environment, health, infrastructure, road maintenance and rehabilitation as areas to watch out for in his administration by 2010.
Further speaking on the current state of security in the area due to the festive periods the LG chief said that measures have being taken by his government to avert all forms armed robbery and violent attacks on innocent citizens. “last September I had a meeting with all the security members in Apapa to avert the earlier mentioned problems. The police have being very helpful as they have deployed two patrol vehicles in the area to maintain law and order. We have also asked for more traffic officers be deployed in the area because we have not gotten full control over the tanker drivers who are ready to carry out a strike action if any of their members have his vehicle towed and it may end up affecting the whole nation. But we promise that by 2010 more will be done to ease the burden of traffic in Apapa”. Ayodeji further speaking on his development stakes he stressed that Apapa cannot achieve all it wants by 2010 without the sincere assistance from the federal government because they rely on the area for their smooth business transactions with the international community.