Dear esteemed Editors, it gladdens my heart to welcome you to this parley to give a record of my stewardship in the last 14 months in the saddle as the Senator representing the good people of the Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
Recall that I was sworn-in on the 15th December 2020 as the Senator of the Federal Republic. I came in at a critical period in the nation’s history. It was a time we were slowly coming out of recession, which was also worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has indeed been a trying period for many households and the nation at large. What we as the Trustees of the Peoples’ sacred mandate have tried to do, is to deliberately and continuously keep the hope of the people alive by working assiduously to deliver on the promises I made to our esteemed constituents during the 2020 Lagos East Senatorial By-election electioneering campaign.
In fulfilment of our legislative agenda, I have sponsored many Bills and motions which cover different sectors including banking and financial services, the economy, copyright, health, infrastructure and the provision of the legal framework for the reduction of the cost of governance. We have also endeavoured to offer our possible best towards providing effective representation for our people.
EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION OF CONSTITUENCY
As a member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, one of my primary responsibilities in the National Assembly is that of effective representation. In this light every matter that concerns my constituency has received its deserved and prompt attention and has always been treated as such, like the petition I recently presented on the floor of the Senate on behalf of the Magodo Residents Association over the invasion of the estate by security agents from the Office of the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation.
My commitment to our people and indeed Lagos State is that I will continue to provide effective representation.
I am of the firm belief that holders of political positions are in and hold a position of trust and must therefore fulfill the people’s aspirations. In the course of my campaigns and interaction with our people, I made promises as to my legislative agenda and I have within the limits of this short time tried to fulfil them.
In October 2021, I was made the substantive Chairman of the very important Senate Committee on Industries whose jurisdiction shall include:
a)Standardization and quality control:
b)Industrial development matters generally;
c)Incentives for, industrial development;
d)National industrial planning;
f)Aid to industries;
g)Heavy industries set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria;
h)Participation of small business enterprises, procurement and government contracts;
i)Promotion and administration of technology transfer programmes;
k)Privatization and commercialization:
l)Industrial Training Fund;
m)Annual Budget Estimates.
I have within this period brought to bear my background and experience in the discharge of my responsibilities as the Chairman. Already the Committees intervention is yielding fruits as the importance of industries to national development as a driver of industrialization through creation of jobs, generation of wealth, diversification of the economy, import substitution and enhancement of exports among others is gaining prominence in our national life and receiving attention.
I am committed to working assiduously collaborating with the leadership of the Senate and the National Assembly, Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies under the purview of the Committee to continue to sustain our journey of transformation and attain our goals of industrialization
BILLS AND MOTIONS
The primary function of a lawmaker is to make laws. The expansion of government services and functions has contributed to an endless procession of ideas for laws. During the campaigns and at the commencement of my tenure in the Senate, I set a legislative agenda highlighting my core legislative interests.
The Bills and motions in focus for my legislative tenure which are already before the Senate for consideration and passage include the following Thirteen (12) Bills and Four (4) motions:
1.Copyright Act repeal and re-enactment Bill, 2021 (read the second time)
2.Dishonored Cheques Act Cap D11 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2021 (read the first time).
3.Federal High Court Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 (read the first time).
4.The Federal Polytechnic Epe (Establishment, etc) Bill 2021.
5.The Utilities Charges Commission Act (Repeal) Bill, 2021.
6.The Control of Delegated Legislation (Control and Procedure) Bill, 2021.
7.The National Boundary Commission, Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
8.The National Economic Intelligence Committee (establishment, etc) Act (Repeal) Bill, 2021.
9.The National Economic Reconstruction Fund Act (Repeal) Bill, 2021.
10.The National Productivity Centre Act (Repeal) Bill, 2021.
11.The National Metallurgical Development Centre Act (Repeal) Bill, 2021.
12.The Energy Commission of Nigeria Act (Repeal) Bill, 2021.
1.Motion on the ban of cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
2.Motion on the urgent need for the rehabilitation of the Ikorodu-Shagamu and Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe roads to further bridge the infrastructural gap and enhance economic growth in Nigeria.
3.Motion on the need to position Nigeria and Nigerian businesses for continental growth through the African continental free trade zone (Afcftz)
STATUS OF BILLS AND MOTIONS
All the bills have been read the first time on the floor of the Senate while the Copyright Act (repeal and re-enactment) Bill, 2021 has been read the second time with the public hearing concluded and is awaiting presentation of the report on the Bill by the Committee.
Also, sequel to motion I moved calling on the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the Ikorodu/Sagamu Road and Ikorodu/Itoikin/Epe Epe Road, our intervention with necessary follow-up and leveraging on our network has yielded positive outcomes as the Federal Government has included the funding of Ikorodu-Shagamu, in the SUKUK Financing program and the Ikorodu-Itoikin in the 2022 budget.
THE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Our leadership approach is modelled around Human-Centered Design. This approach mitigates against assumption of People’s needs and planning of solutions without their involvement.
Therefore, shortly after my inauguration, I commissioned an extensive NEEDS ASSESSMENT survey to ascertain the most pressing challenges facing respective communities under my district.
The scientific study supervised by competent Researchers revealed startling and disturbing facts about the state of public infrastructure, and socio-economic conditions of our people at the grassroots.
Based on the findings of the NEEDS ASSESSMENT , in January 2021, I kicked off the COVID-19 Relief Scheme for the vulnerable people in the Lagos East Senatorial district and it has been running since then. The beneficiaries include widows, women, unemployed youth, aged and people with physical disabilities drawn from the 98 wards in the 16 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas. As of today, we have about 2,500 vulnerable members of the society being catered for.
In Ikorodu Central, Aga Primary School located in Borokini area was overstretched due to high enrolment of pupils. The four classrooms in the schools had become distressed and inadequate. I facilitated four blocks of 24 classrooms equipped with complements of furniture and 16 toilets and Solar-Powered Borehole. The infrastructure has greatly improved learning outcomes in the school.
In Ibeju-Lekki, two blocks of 6 classrooms have been completed at RCM Primary School Iwerekun, Ibeju-Lekki. In Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, 1 block of 3 classrooms have also been delivered at Ajelogo Primary School. An ICT centre has also been facilitated at the Igbobi Junior High School, Somolu Lagos.
The yearnings for health facilities by esteemed constituents were also heeded. I facilitated the construction of a 40-bed Health facility and Dental Centre at the Ikorodu Campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), now known as the Lagos State University of Science and Technology. A 200-solar-powered street lights were attracted to the institution.
In the same manner, another 30-Bed Health facility at Mascara Health Centre in Agboiyi Ketu LCDA was also provided to the people. Likewise, another 40-bed is under construction at Isiu, Ikorodu North LCDA.
In Epe, a 960-spectator capacity mini stadium was also facilitated for the benefit of people, especially the youth. The two-pavilion sport facility is equipped with Basketball and Volleyball courts, and is almost ready for commissioning.
Equally, the popular Oluwo Fish Market in Epe has also been remodeled. I have rehabilitated the entire market and increased the number of shops from 259 to 319 comprising of lock-up shops, open sheds and 48 toilets.
To further empower businesses to thrive through the creation of enabling environment, we facilitated the supply and installation of transformers in several locations in the District including:
1.Ito Progressive CDA, Ito Isiu
2.Igbopa Ifesowopo CDA, Ijede
3.Ire Ifelodun CDA, Igbogbo-Bayeku
4.Magodo Community CDA Oke Ota Ona, Ikorodu
5.Ikorodu GRA 2, Ibeshe Igbogbo-Bayeku
6.Ifeloju Abule Eko,Ijede Ikorodu
7.Sekungba CDA ikosi Ejirin
8.Isale Agoro CDA, Epe LGA
9. Ideraoluwa CDA, Eredo LGA
10. Olugayan CDA, Imota
The supply and installation of transformers to other communities like:
1.Idegun CDA, Imota
2. Gbaga Olorunda CDA
3.Adamo (Ikorodu North)
4.Agura Central Gberigbe ( Ikorodu North)
5. Garden Estate (Agboyi Ketu LCDA)
6. Agunbiade CDA ( Somolu)
TOKUNBO ABIRU CONSTITUENCY TEAM FOUNDATION (TACT FOUNDATION)
Education and Youth development being part of the cardinal areas in our constituency services, through my Foundation, TACT(Tokunbo Abiru Constituency Team) Foundation, in October 2021, six hundred (600) brilliant but indigent students also benefited bursaries from the endowment instituted.
In a deliberate move at spreading prosperity across the Lagos East Senatorial District, my office in partnership with The Fate Foundation and Chartered Standard Foundation organized a Business Workshop/Clinic for 1000 MSMEs across the Senatorial district.
The training which attracted Executive Leadership of business-related regulatory agencies and partners like; BOI, SMEDAN, CAC, LIRS, NAFDAC and LSETF greatly enhanced the capacity of MSMEs in the district.
In addressing the dearth of knowledge which is one of the major reasons why MSMEs fail, a knowledge pack containing seven valuable books covering areas like; Financial Management, Human Capital, Legal, Strategy, Marketing and Communication, Digital Technology and Tax Management authored by reputable corporations including Deloitte, KPMG, Verraki among others were given free of charge to all trainees.
Participants also received Enterprise Development Certificates after the training.
I went further to announce a N100Million (One Hundred Million Naira) Constituency Intervention Revolving Loan at a very low concessional 6% interest rate per annum, which will be topped by additional N100 Million from the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund(LSETF) has also graciously pledged to add N100Million totaling N300Million.
The N300Million Constituency Intervention Revolving Loan Scheme will be unveiled next month, April for the benefit of MSMEs, Artisans and tradesmen in Lagos East.
In the same manner, I have set up a Community Innovation Space known as Senator Abiru Innovation Lab (SAIL) in partnership with a renowned technology and Social Enterprise company, The Co-creation Hub (Cc-HUB) in Lagos to train youths in the senatorial district on relevant digital and innovation skills, and build the best entrepreneurs that can compete in the ever-dynamic global economy.
The Center is currently situated in Ikorodu within our district, starting from the constituency office but planning to move into a bigger facility by July 2022. Five (5) pilot programmes have been put together with a view to proffer solutions to some of the challenges identified and many of our youths have started applying for opportunities to participate in the programmes.
Over Four Thousand (4,000) young people across the Lagos East Senatorial District applied for the SAIL programmes. Currently, over One Hundred Fifty (150) students are participating in the Five (5) Pilot Programmes at the SAIL Centre in Ikorodu while over One Thousand (1000) eligible applicants will be trained online.
The programmes are as follows:
1.Lagos East Teachers’ Fellowship – a programme aimed at equipping Educators with new skills that would lead to better learning outcomes. It is for Teachers who are interested in inquiry-based learning, and want to use technology in their classrooms to the benefit of their students.
2.Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education for Senior Secondary School Students – a programme designed to introduce students between the ages of 13-18 years to the concept of physical computing.
3.Business 101 for Artisans and Creatives – this programme is designed for creative startups in the fashion, crafts, or design sector in order to upscale the approach to business in a fast-evolving world. This training will help creatives better understand how to use technology to improve their businesses.
4.Tech Talent Development – is aimed at identifying young people who are interested in a career in technology. Selected candidates will be taken through a learning plan that will transform them from complete novice to entry level software engineers in 6 months. At the end of the training programme, they will be fully qualified for an entry level job or internship.
5.Startup Accelerator for Businesses – is for young people who have business ideas that can be amplified by technology. The aim is to accelerate their growth with hands-on business support. For those who have a prototype, we will help them with product-market fit as well as build their capacity to be able to attract funding and support for their business. For those who don’t yet have a prototype, we will support them to develop their ideas for the testing phase.
These programmes shall run for between 3 – 6 months and more applicants shall be admitted in the subsequent classes after this pilot phase.
For this year 2022, through collaboration with the leadership of the Senate, the National Assembly, Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies, we are determined to facilitate people-oriented projects in our other LGAs/LCDAs in the areas of; Health, Education and other required infrastructure.
I have been able to facilitate projects worth over 1 Billion Naira in key areas for our constituency in the 2022 Appropriation Act. (Attached)
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I will be the first to admit that the economic and security challenges facing the county are daunting. Indeed, at no time in our recent past has the nation’s economy, well-being, peace and unity been so vigorously and persistently challenged. I however urge you not to despair but to remain hopeful. I believe that as we work conscientiously and openly, and together with unity of purpose and solidarity and with God on our side, we shall overcome all these challenges facing us.
The next few months is a time to strive to be better people and to also leverage on the lessons of the preceding months. Importantly it is not a time to be wasteful or careless about our economic activities, rather a time to harness every economic growth that the realities of the past years have thrown in our hands.
As we also know that 2022 is the penultimate year to the general elections of 2023, it is important to begin to assess our individual aspirations towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes a better place and this can only be achieved by ensuring that we all get registered as eligible voters and prepare to exercise our civic responsibilities without fears.
In conclusion, I pledged that we will work even better this year to provide better and more robust effective representation for the people of Lagos East Senatorial District and “ensure greater good to a larger number of people”.
I assure you that I will not let our people down. In 2022, the tempo of #DoingGood won’t wane. We will not be distracted nor deterred. Expect More!
God bless you all.
Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, FCA
Lagos East Senatorial District
Chairman, Senate Committee On Industries
Saturday, 19th March, 2022.