Hon. Hakeem Bamgbala is two-time former Chairman of Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area and current Secretary of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), in Lagos State. In this interview with The Gazelle News team, he speaks on the forthcoming local government election in the state and other local and.national issues. Excerpts:
Sir, how do you feel being the Secretary of the ruling party in the state?
I think is another life entirely, it’s about managing our party and our members’ affairs in the state, so it is an interesting position to handle.
All the while you have been a council chairman, what’s the difference between being a council chairman and a party secretary?
Well! Being a chairman of local government that’s running a government. As a chairman of local government, you are responsible for everyone in the council area irrespective of party affiliation.
You need to provide them with a lot of services: providing infrastructure, looking into their needs and providing employment where necessary, a lot of things you do as a council boss.
As a secretary of a party, you are responsible only for the members of yiur party. As a government man, you deal with lot of people from different backgrounds and party affliations but as a party official, you deal only with members of your party. That is the basic difference between being a council chairman and a partt secretary.
What are the challenges that face you when you assumed office as the party Secretary in Lagos State?
I think the greatest challenge was about crisis management, you need to reconcile, you need to settle, you need to attend party functions. Being the Secretary you must be at every meeting in the party, you must attend to the crises of involving party members at all levels in the state.
You receive visitors at will and represent the chairman at various functions. You also liaise with the government at all time.
So, it has been a challenging position. However, being a council chairman has really assisted me a lot and I’ve used my experience as a council to great effect here.and this has contributed a lot in moving the party forward.
How far have you gone in putting in place effective crisis management in the party?
We thank God, when I assumed office, one of the major assignments was reconciling aggrieved partybmembers in the various organs of the state.
We held meetings with them and settle the various grievances and today they have all realised the need fkr us to remain as one big family. You know that the local government election is coming and we can’t go into such exercise as a divided family. We thank God that we’ve settled our differences.
Last year, we had a by-election in Ifako-Ijaye Federal Constituency, we had the primary and we reconciled those who lost out with the winners and we were able to win the election which an indication that our effort was not in vain.
So we have done a lot because in any organization you continue to cement relationship. We have also done something about the leadership crises at various local governments. We realise that we must have leaders who will deal with party issues at various local levels to lessen the burden at the state level.
So we have done a lot about this and a lot have been achieved and now we know that we are one family and whenever the local government election comes we are going to go there as united APC family.
Are you telling us that in the coming local government election the party will reclaim its mandate from local governments lost furing the last election?
Yes, by the grace of God. I think we have realized our mistakes, that’s why I said a lot of reconciliation has taken place. Gaining control of the grassroots is very important for any givernment.
It is only when we regain the local governments we lost during the last election in the coming council elections that we can talk of winning back the House of Assembly and House of Representatives seats lost in the last election.
That’s why we must look at those that will be coming in to run the affairs of the local governments. We are prepared and set for the election,. We are just waiting for the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to come out with its guidelines so that we can set the ball rolling. I’m very sure we are going to win in all the local governments and the local council development areas. We have a government that’s performing.
The administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has achieved a lot in infrastructure development, security and general welfare of the people. The performance of the present administration in Lagos State has positively lifted the ratings of our partu and we continue to welcome defectors into APC from other parties daily. Nobody wants throw away a performing government and Lagosians are happy with us because the APC government is performing.
Look at the 114 roads recently constructed and commissioned in all the 20 LGs and 37 LCDAs in the state. Lagosians are happy that they are reaping bountiful dividends of democracy from the present government in the state hence their continued support for us.
How soon is the election?
Well, I can’t say but I feel like it would come this year. I know LASIEC have started preparing for the election, they are visiting various local governments right now to see level of preparedness by their officers in these local governments.
If LASIEC calls for the election today, we are well prepared and ready.