•Hon. J.S. BABATUNDE, ORILE AGEGE LCDA Chairman
Honourable Johnson Sunday Babatunde is the Executive Chairman of Orile/Agege LCDA. He was a 3 time Vice Chairman of the same local government. He was elected as an honourary member of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1997 during the Abacha regime and has remained in politics since then.
This man of virtue is an Area Pastor in The Redeemed Christian Church of God and in an interview with City People, SEYE KEHINDE and FAGBIYE ADEOLA last Wednesday, he spoke on his political experience, what his administration has achieved since he came into power 3 month ago and his experienced during the election.
Can you share with us how it has been since you settled in?
We just want to thank God. God has been so faithful to us by the virtue of the fact that we came in through the grace of God, through his help, he raised helpers for us.
I just want to justify that. So, immediately we came in there was a lot of problems on ground, challenges.
What were the major challenges?
Well firstly, the issue o0f funding is a major challenge. We look at it and discovered that there are so many things we want to do for the community and without money we can’t achieve that. So, we decided that, within the limited resources at hand, we should make maximum and judicious use of the funds. So, as a result we looked at the problem on ground, we visited all the 24 primary schools we have within this LCDA, Police stations within our local government.
Apart from that we visited our markets so see things ourselves, we visited most of the communities, we got to know some of their problems and aspirations and we planned in 2,3 weeks on how to take off and since then, we took off from that place.
Can you share with us your achievements since you came into office?
Well, first of all, when we were sworn into office 3 months and 15 days ago, we discovered that at Mulero Junction that there’s a manhole there, within two weeks we were able to fix it. Then at Mulero there is also a beautiful canal constructed by the government but people were pouring refuse there but we carted away the refuse and called in the Honourable Commissioner for Environment to come, and see what he can do for us and he came in, saw what we did and agreed to assist us. There is also a drainage at Akintoye that was yet completed.
We completed it there at Akintoye Street, Alagba. We also discovered that at Omotoye Estate junction there was a serious pothole better described as a gulley there and the road was so bad, and I think for the past 25 years, those people haven’t witnessed the presences of the government. So we decided to tar the road after tarring the road, we moved to also tar Coker Street and people were happy and they applauded us saying that they haven’t witnessed this kind of a thing before.
Then, in all the 6 wards in the local government we were able to sink about 6 boreholes, at Fashola, Ajiboye, Ashipa and others streets respectively. At Ajiboye we also fixed the drainage in collaboration with the youths in the environment.
There is also this partnership that we went into with this Burani Brothers, we consulted and partnered with their them and constructed 8 blocks of classrooms at Ideal Primary School, another 8 blocks of classrooms at Ibido Primary School and there’s also a toilet there for the children that has collapsed during the military era and nobody fixed it so we decided to fix it up, we them move on to distributed 15 GCE forms to our students, in order to help them and coming to us here we renovated the legislative building we put their offices in order and also, we renovated the Vice-Chairman’s office and bought a brand new bus for our councilors within 3 and half months that’s exactly what we’ve done.
What do you think prepared you for this position?
Well, I’ve been a Vice Chairman for 3 consecutive terms and while in that position, I was under studying the situation and while I was a Vice Chairman the distance between I and the chairman was like that of the sky to the Earth although in my case I don’t want that to respect itself.
So, I wasn’t really given a major role but I was understudying the situation and decided that if I get the opportunity I’ll swing into action, let people know that we can make and effect the change and basically that is exactly what we’ve been able to do coupled with the performance of the present state governor. Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who has performed wonderfully well to the surprise of many people. So, immediately I came in, I decided to compliment his efforts so that if people are praising those at the state level they would have it at the back of their mind that there’s somebody here doing something.
Can you share with us the relevance of local government?
Well, it takes the grace of God for me to have done the little I’ve done and please as a journalist I want you to go round and verify my claims whether I’m just saying it or not. Well firstly, local government is the closest to the people and you have a lot of requests and if you are not focused those requests from the community will just take you off and make you loose focus but in my own situation I decided not to loose focus, I was determined that I want to write my name in Gold and that’s what propelled me to do all I’ve been doing and even if there’s a construction on going, you’ll see me on the site, my presence is always noted that is why I can walk freely within the community, I have within the community, I walk, I stroll around when I want to. People see me at construction and help take care of me because of what my administration and that’s part of the things propelling me.
Can you share with us your story?
Well, my name is Honourable John Sunday Babatunde, I was born and breed in Alagba Orile-Agege here and my father worked with the Lagos State Water Coporation, I attended Zion African Church Primary School, Alagba, I went to Niger Secondary Commercial College now Estate Grammar School, Baruwa and then I proceeded to the Pioneer Computer Science Students of YABATECH in 1986 then to the University of Lagos where I studied Accounting and by his grace I’m Pastor in
The Redeemed Christian Church of God and I’m married to my angel Deaconess Mojisola Babatunde and we have 4 children together. I was elected as an honourary member of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1997, during the Abacha era and after the demise of Abacha the whole process of democracy was truncated and then I waited I couldn’t get into office until 2003. when I was appointed Deputy Secretary of this LCDA and in 2004 I contested for the post of the Vice Chairman then ever since then, I’ve been a Vice Chairman and to the glory of God in a Miraculous way I became the Chairman of this local government.
Why did you go into politics as a pastor that you are?
Well, let me tell you, at first in ever had interest in politics but sometimes ago within our locality there was this woman called AG mother, she went around with Awolowo, then later she was referred to as Iya Shagari” the woman said one day that there is nobody from the Alagba extraction in politics and the gathered some of us and choose me because I was educated that I should go into politics in 1988, I should go into politics in 1988, I wasn’t even born again them but I was a “Moralist” but I wasn’t going to church but later on I got married in 1993 anyway. “Iya Shagari” was the woman that drew me into politics because of the concern of the dominance of the other side and that’s because this local government comprises of Orile Agege, Magbon, Ola Bua, Alagba, Papa Ashafa and others. So, they believed that we should rotate power within the communities. So, that was what actually drew me into politics and love and passion for the people.
Sometimes ago, when there is traffic jam, you see me helping to make sure the road is free, and deep inside me, I realized my passion to serve the people and the best way to do it is to come into politics to prove a point and nothing else, you’ll reap what you sow and if you think politics is a dirty game, you can bring sanity into it by making a difference. You should serve as an example.
How do you managing your role as a Pastor and a Chairman?
Well, to God be the glory, He has been so faithful. Strength comes from God and he has given me the strength even though I have an able assistant in Church, some of the weekly services she’s always there then Sunday too. I also get invitations to other churches but its just the strength and grace of God that has been keeping me and for years, I’ve been the one organizing the “Lets go a Fishing” where Daddy G.O, Pastor E.A Adeboye attended at NYSC camp, Iyana Ipaja.
Can you share with us your experience before and during the elections?
Well, I give glory to God for his grace. By the time we finished the 2nd term in office, our then party leader, Chief Diekola Abanikanda wanted me to be chairman and everybody believed I’ll be the next chairman because he believed that my then Chairman would proceed to the House of Representatives but the political equation changed he couldn’t go, it was given to another person that is the present Commissioner for Environment Samuel Babatunde Adejare.
So the man went to plead with Asiwaju but he told us his hands were ties, he told them that I had served 2 terms as Vice Chairman but they still made the then Chairman, stay in that position for another term and while in office in ever questioned his authority. So, after the 2nd term he contested again.
So, when I decided to contest for the post of Chairman, the then Chairman didn’t support me, they even brought the secretary to the local government to come and be chairman at my own expense and I and a friend traveled to the U.S and I told my chairman about it and that was when he told me that when my name was listed among those up for appointment, Obasa present speaker of the House of Assembly said no! JS is not asking to be a Commissioner but a Chairman so, don’t put his name.
And after them, to the glory of God Obasa became Speaker and he said I should be lifted up and be supported, he also supported me and when we had the primaries at Surulere at TBS I was chosen as the flag bearer of the party.
But on a fateful Sunday, while I was a Church I got to know that they had gone behind and removed my name and I got to know about it on Monday. Then Honourable Yinka Ogunjimi called and told me to be prayerful that I had even substituted.
So, I requested for a miracle from God, there’s nothing I can do and we were on it for almost a month and God told me to fight a spiritual battle if I wanted to win the battles. So, I started fasting and praying, I never visited and herbalist or Alfa I only fasted and prayed in the church and God to me my mandate would be restored and the Holy Spirit revealed that my name has been restored but a “Prince of Persia” was holding on to it and that was when I knew that Asiwaju has sent a text to Senator Afikuyomi but they didn’t restore it and time was going but on the Sunday before election.
I pleaded with God to help me but we were still campaigning and they attacked us, we fought back there were gun shots, I was invited to the police station in Area G. command and on that day, I was called to proceed to the Governors Banquet Hall and there I was given the flag as the “Flag Bearer’ of the party and I began to thank God and it was just 3 days to the election and I would say that because of me the constitution was amended.
A bill was passed in 10 minutes because God arised for me. He broke protocols for me to be a beneficiary. Thank you.