Hon. Bisi Yusuf is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, he represents Alimosho Constituency 11 in the hallowed chamber. Currently spending his second term, Hon. Yusuf, in this exclusive interview with Happenings talked about his recent attack and the laudable programmes he has implemented in his Constituency.
Please tell us about your experience as a member of Lagos State House of Assembly?
This is my second term in the House and it has been a very interesting and equally challenging experience, an experience that can never be written off. It is deeply rooted in the process of making Lagos State what it is today. I met the 7th Assembly; I met a House that is above the common standard and on that premise I placed my aspirations and objectives. In fact, as a young legislator then in the chamber. I was the first person who moved a motion in the 7th Legislative Assembly concerning the illicit activities in Kuramo, and today Kuramo has never been the same again.
Kuramo then was a shame of the nation, but today, the Lagos State Government, based on the motion I moved sanitized the place. Again, if you could recall vividly, I was the chairman of the House Committee on Transport in that same 7th Assembly, a new traffic law was passed in that same 7th Assembly, the traffic law before it was re-enacted and it was passed in 1949 when the population of Lagos State was barely a hundred thousand. And by the 7th Assembly, Lagos State had assumed the status of a mega city. So, how can a law passed several years back be relevant in the current status of Lagos State. So, the new traffic law was passed under my chairmanship. There were several other motions, debates and committee activities, I have engaged in, which time will not permit me to mention here.
Now, talking about my constituency, I share my constituents aspirations and desires. I live in the midst of my constituents. I receive torrent of letters everyday and I address them. When they write petitions to the Governor, I also use my letter head paper to follow it up. I have brought a lot of infrastructural development to my constituency through lobbying. Few weeks back, the Governor came to open 21 roads in my constituency. I give kudos to the Governor for that feat. When you talk about our political value, we, in Alimosho are proud that we have a constituency that is more than seven states of the federation.
Our population in Alimosho Federal Constituency is more that about seven states in Nigeria. And when you talk about political value, Alimosho is where who wants to be the Governor is being determined. That is our own asset at Alimosho, and we cautiously guard it. We are politically sophisticated. Thus, because of the peculiarity of my constituency, I floated what is known as Prince of Hope Foundation where I render help to people irrespective of their political affiliations. The third edition of the programme has just ended, and the fourth edition is coming up this August. During this programme, free surgical operations are being done for people and drugs are distributed for free also. Just last year, about 400 surgical operations were performed. I can beat my chest and conveniently say that no legislator in Nigeria has ever done that, either in the Senate or House of Reps. Aside that, few months back, I donated drugs worth millions of naira to Lagos State Government for a ‘Deworming Exercise’ through my Foundation. Six hundred thousand children were dewormed, in the ‘Deworming Exercise’.
In the area of education, I am so passionate about education, but you can’t give what you don’t have. Education is a means to a target, not the target itself. If you have education, you have the world in your pocket. This year’s JAMB, I bought 350 JAMB forms for students in my constituency and I also got seasoned teachers to give them tutorials on how to pass the JAMB exams. Today, I am happy because the students made me proud. All of them passed the JAMB exams, those who scored 300 and above were many. And this is not the first time I am doing that. Mind you, this was done for the two constituencies in Alimosho. I had to do that because I am not just a leader in Alimosho Constituency 1, I am a leader in Alimosho as a whole, because of that I take care of everybody in both constituency 1 and constituency 11.
Even my health programme, people came from near and far for the surgical operation, not only in Alimosho alone. People who have goitre, hernia we operated them for free. I brought 10 doctors from America for the operation. We also operated one of the twins whose fingers stiffed together. The twin we operated is okay now. The other twin will be operated this August, 2018. Although, their father ran away because of their abnormality, I also established their mother in a trade. I can go on and on.
Having done all these laudable programmes for the people of your constituency and beyond, why were you attacked recently in a meeting when you announced your intention to run for a third term?
Of course, you and I know the attitude of some of our people. Some people have a preference for stomach infrastructure than all these things I have done. This is a country where we sacrifice merit for mediocrity. I can only liken that attitude to egocentric, self-centred and unrefined politics which is the bane of Nigerian politics. They do not care about the life of other people, they are only concerned about their own lives.
You were quoted in some dailies that in the coming elections, you will give Governor Akinwunmi Ambode above 1 million votes in Alimosho. How do you hope to achieve this?
Why not? As I talk to you, we have started that already. You know Alimosho is highly- populated and structured. We have established what is called Contact Committee where we move from house to house to canvass people to go and register for the voters’ cards everyday. While our opponents and political jobbers sleep, we are seriously thinking and coming up with lofty ideas on how to improve our constituency. This is an idea we have been implementing in Alimosho. When you generate ideas, you generate wealth. These are people who are barren of ideas. We will give Gov. Ambode over 1 million votes, we really mean it.
Still talking about your attack, how have you been able to address it, so as to prevent its reoccurrence?
To me, it is nothing. Jesus Christ was stoned, Prophet Mohammed (peace be unto him) was stoned as well. These are innocent people of the highest order, yet they were being stoned for saying or doing the right thing. So, if these highly revered people were attacked, then who is Bisi Yusuf? I am an activist, I am not just a politician. As an activist, things of this nature are nothing. It was only minute elements, that were involved in that shameful act, and not the generality of people. I walk freely in my constituency, I don’t have any security men who escort me.
Have you ever received any threat messages not to contest for third term?
No, that will be childish. There is a way we determine those who will contest, I can’t force myself on the people. The leadership of our party in my constituency will determine that. And the leaders have not taken any decision. If by today, they say enough is enough and I should step down, it is fine with me.