By Oseni Owolabi Ajimomuya
With the huge heavy down pour the Almighty blessed our nature with on July 22 in 2017, little did the people of Somolu realized that the election held that day was to bring a man who will redefine the violent prone Somolu into a commercial hub which will be the envy of it’s neighbours, far and near.
The election had the ruling All Progressives Congress Chairmanship candidate, Abdul Hamed Salawu triumphed with over 10,000 votes, despite the heavy rain which resulted in flood, rendering many homeless, destroying several water sources and septic tanks just for one reason, the areas lack drainage system. Areas without drainage system, how will they have good roads? The people of Bolaji Omupo, Ajose and Onafowokan streets can’t forget easily as the Bashua Primary Healthcare Centre at Onafowokan/Oluwadare was consumed by the fatal flood.
Alas, the community messiah was sworn-in on July 25 and just as his campaign manifestos implied, the Council Chairman swung into action. As the saying goes that water is life, the Hon. Abdul Hamed Salawu led administration of Somolu Local Government started with new water sources. Ten clean and hygienic water sources were distributed to the eight major areas in Somolu.
While the construction of the well powered water sources were going on, the philantropist cum politician started his ‘Ijeun Agba’ initiative, a monthly welfare package programme for aged people of 60years and above residing in Somolu. It sounded unbelievable to many residents while his critics said it wasn’t achievable but over 1,500 elder people have been benefiting from the programme on a monthly basis. Giving out food to the elderly people in Somolu gave Hon. Abdul Hamed Salawu a smooth ride, during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, when Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu instructed the 57 council Chairmen in Lagos State to give food items to the people in their areas. Over 50,000 food items were distributed to vulnerable families in Somolu.
For decades long, abandoned Bolaji Omupo, the conspicuously forgotten Ajose and controversial Onafowokan, a new light brought a new song. Bolaji Omupo street, just the neighbouring Akinsanya street, new block of flats edifice and springing up due to the new roads laced with drainage systems. Yes, Bolaji Omupo street, the Somolu’s creek of those days, just like the Somolu born Prince, Dr. Sulaimon Yekini-Oludegun always say.
Almost 40 roads in Somolu are now wearing a new look of this new Sheriff in town who believes the true representation of people depends on the quality of things you give to them. The road networks are now superb as their is always alternative route for motorist trying to link Yaba from Gbagada through Somolu. The recent developments in Somolu make many to wonder and they keep asking “where is this guy getting his own money to develop Somolu?”
There it is, standing erected, spacious, well equipped with rich colour which only hospitality can give, the new healthcare center in Onafowokan/Oluwadare. The new Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu Primary Healthcare Centre is 95% completed. According to the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sunday Orebiyi, the facility will be running 24 hours service to the people of Somolu and its environs. Just like the well funded five existing Primary Healthcare Centres in Somolu, this new one will also have well stocked pharmacy and professional staff members.
His love for education is immeasurable as indigent students in Somolu got GCE and JAMB forms as well as bursary. Primary School pupils are not left out as two big coaster buses were donated by the Council Chairman to convey the pupils to their schools in the morning and back to their closest bus stops in the afternoon.
Periodically, they are also engaged in various well rewarding educational competitions. Recently, the hardworking Special Adviser on Education, Hon. Lateef Ashimi gathered pupils from the 17 regular primary schools in Somolu to participate in the annual Spelling Bee competition. The adults were also not left out in Somolu as there are now functional adult literacy centers in Somolu where they are learning simple arithmetic, communication and writing. Renovation of primary schools in Somolu is really attracting more parents’ interest to the schools as the educational edifices are wearing new clothes, brighter crowns and smarter teachers.
Many were shocked with fear recently, when Hon. Abdul Hamed Salawu’s Chief Press Secretary, Oseni Owolabi Ajimomuya announced that his boss is planning to build a fire station within the metropolis to combat emergency in the area. The Somolu born former LASEMA Boss, Adesina Tiamiyu could not hide shock when he learnt that the council Chairman of Somolu has purchased fire fighting truck and still expecting the delivery of ambulance to combat emergency in Somolu. Tiamiyu said… “I did not know that Dullar had began to develop Somolu until one night when from my Magodo base, the Somolu spirit in me came in and I drove all the way down to Somolu to buy one thing. Ewa aganyin. I got to Apata and called Remi Oyemola, Aremo and asked him to buy for me and meet me up at Apata. He said no sir, drive straight into Fadipe street from anywhere as the road is motorable now. Well, I had a Jeep and i knew it could still handle the rickety road I hadvleft behind when I lived in Fadipe years back then, but how shocked I was when I was driving through the smooth road only to see that where Lagos state did not do, Dullar did it all.
Aremo took me around some streets in Somolu that night and I was forced to call him to thank him for a good job. He didn’t pick. However, the good job has continued since then”.
He kept wondering, “From the Somolu platform, I have seen that he has delivered Onafowokan street, Eyo, Akeju, Sipeolu lane, Awe crescent and just this evening while I came without notice to buy my usual ewa aganyin to cushion the pain of the defeat of my team, Chelsea in the hands of Man City, I noticed that Efon Alaye is being done while Ajose street where my friend Segun lives has just been delivered.”
Adesina did not stop at that, he said “Driving home alone wondering what is the spirit behind this performance. Where did he get the money and who are his advisers? I came across another news item on the internet where it was said that he has bought two hi tech fire fighting vehicles as well as an ambulance to manage emergency situation in his Local Government. To be sure this is not a gimmick, I called Owolabi Ajimomuya who confirmed this and said they will be launched in due course.”
The hijacked ENDSARS protest dealt a big blow on Somolu as the two police stations at Alade and Onipanu were razed down completely, including their vehicles. The over six decades Alade market was also razed, turning goods worth millions of naira into flame. Traders of Olaleye market which was engulfed by wild fire months before the EndSars protest and affected Alade market traders were given Ten Million Naira by the council Chairman to cushion the effect of the inferno on the helpless traders. New patrol vehicles were also presented to the heads of the police stations as the mission to rebuild their station has began.
The area in Lagos State where refuse are picked and disposed properly on weekly basis, that’s Somolu. The workaholic Comrade Rotimi Oluyede, Special Adviser on Environment has always been on close supervision of the PSP operators in Somolu. Complimenting the state environmental officers on higher roads, the Somolu Local Government owned street sweepers are usually on the streets on Somolu, doing what they are paid for.
The Somolu known to be just a printing village is now getting more attractions to be a commercial hub and more people are thriving have property in Somolu. Residential buildings in Somolu are getting metamophozised into financial services, ICT company, photography studio, stationery stores etc. All for one reason, development.
In 2018 when he received the award of the Nigeria’s best Local Government Chairman award in Abuja, he was asked how he made the ever violent prone Somolu to be peaceful and accomodation, he said “he just keeps developing black spots in Somolu, making them to be motorable and the ‘good boys’ that are ready to work are engaged upon providing two notable guarantors”.
About the second term bid of Hon. Abdul Hamed Salawu, a very straight face Somolu born technocrat, Adesina Tiamiyu said, “When some of you say Mr Koseleri, I am persuaded to say you are right. I know those of the other people who will like to contest this seat with him are people I know, this is not enough not to say this as it is. Dullar is indeed a phenomena!”
Ajimomuiya is Chief Press Secretary to Abdul Hameed Salawu, Chairman of Somolu LG