PUSH NEWS INTERNATIONAL : November 6, 2021
Youths in Ikorodu West LCDA, under the eagis of Concerned Youths Front of Ikorodu West and Ipakodo Youths comprising majorly youths from Ward A and B on Thursday threatened to ensure a shutdown of activities of the Council over what it termed as the proposed reclassification of the only Youths and Vocational Center in the LCDA.
Speaking with Push News International on Thursday, a youth stakeholder of the group, who described the purported reclassification as illegal and undemocratic, called on the Council Boss of Ikorodu West LCDA, Hon Sulaiman Kazeem Olanrewaju and the Council Manager to rescind the decision in the interest of the party at the State.
The spokesperson of the group, Ahmed Ogbara, said that past political developments in the LCDA has not favoured the youths, “sad as it is, deliberate abandoned by successive Chairmen and the Ministry of Youths will return the LCDA to the bad old days of whittling down the Economic Enterprise of the Youths by a few greedy and privileged politicians.”.
Ogbara, who was flanked by other youth leaders, Mr. Olawale Adegboye and Abdullahi amongst others alleged that the previous administration under Mrs Olajumoke Jimbo hurriedly signed contractual obligations with a yet to be identified company to construct structures not original planned for the Youths center with the aim of benefit from such structures when completed. This he said is sad and was done in connivance with the Council Manager despite public outcry
“It is now glaring to every Youth of good conscience irrespective of ethnicity, religious inclination, political affiliation and creed that “OUR LOCAL DEMOCRACY IS BACK IN GRAVE DANGER”!. It is sad that we are at the verge of deviation from our long walk to youths freedom and economic reliance in Ikorodu West” Ogbara added.
Olawale on his own part lamented how a center that was to be the hub of the Youths economic empowerment has now become rodent infested, with all computers and electronics equipment destroyed and rot-away .
“Aside the fact that the contractual conspiracy to convert the center to a shopping mall was done in secrecy without going through due bidding process, we also understand that the current Chairman is been blackmailed to tie same part in continuing the project”
When asked how do they intend to achieve their aim, a member of the group Mrs Idiatu Benson stressed that they intend to explore all avenues within the division after which they may resort to a Save- Our- Soul protest to the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Office of the Executive Governor of Lagos State.
Pa Sholawon, a community leader and resident of over 4 decades decried how a facility at the heart of the community was so abandoned. He further attributed it to the prolong delay in installing the traditional ruler may have taken necessary steps to salvage the situation to such waste. Clearing the air on the ownership of the facility, Pa Okanlawon said that the land which houses the vocational center belongs to the community and any development other than the purpose of which it was released will be resisted by the original land owners and royal institution.
Push News International sought to get the Council’s reaction and was treated to an almost 1hr interview by the Council Boss himself , Hon Sulaiman Kazeem Olanrewaju popularly called (SKO), who hurriedly dismissed the claims by a section of the Youths as a cheap rumor and a figment of the imaginations of his distractors who are bewildered by his government modest achievements within three months in office.
“Building a youth center as part of youth development is an ongoing growth process in which our government will engage to help youths meet their basic personal and social needs to be safe, feel cared for, be valued, be economic reliant, and to build skills and competencies which allow them to function and contribute in their daily lives, the Ebute Youth Center is one of the platforms we intend to achieve this campaign promise”. Hon Sulaiman stressed.
SKO who boasted to be among the few council boss with a youthful cabinet in Lagos State insisted that there is nothing like reclassification, based on what was proposed by past governments there is need to improve on the infrastructure at the center particularly the construction of an all purpose event hall for the graduands, a modern public toilet amongst other Infrastructures aimed at complimenting the Center. Meanwhile, the Council boss added that his team have not officially visited the Center to ascertain it’s condition but his office has requested the Council Manager to advise on all contractual obligations hitherto. He further assured that whatever decision taken on the center it will be made public for stakeholders input.
Further assuring the youths …
“This government is premised on the realisation that Nigeria needs her youth, not only to be supported and developed but also to understand the dimensions of political developments, grasp national issues and consciously position themselves as co-builders”.
The main objective of my government youth strategy will be to explore critical issues in the agitations for more inclusive youth policies and create the structure and system for youths to participate and thrive regardless of the sector they choose to play in – politics, governance, tech, and creatives”.
“The Center will come to live in our government and will be a hybrid of educational, physical and virtual meetings”. SKO explains.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria Ikorodu West LCDA Cordinator Com Asoro told Push News International that since they assumed office the NYCN have continuously engaged the Council bosses over the renovation of the Center, they have always shown great enthusiasm but not much is usually achieved on a long run. Asoro while sueing for calm and patience among the youths says the NYCN believes so much in the current administration’s ability to work with the Youths in achieving a befitting youth center.
Meanwhile, a ranking Councillor in Ikorodu West LCDA who does not want the name mentioned in a WhatsApp chat with Push News International correspondent claimed they are not aware of any such reclassification of the Youths Vocational Center as it’s within the power of the Executive, notwithstanding, the legislative house may take a stand if any of the parties involved send a formal notice, until then they are convinced the executive will manage the situation.
Push News International visit to the Ministry of Youths could not yield much as the Officer incharge was said to be on another assignment, meanwhile, an official of the ministry Mrs Dawodu said they are aware of the situation at Ikorodu West LCDA having visited twice over the years but not much can be done as the Center is a community initiative and directly under the purview of the LCDA. She further said that there is always areas of collaboration between the State and Local government in respect to youths developmental activities.
Push News International visit to the Center shows no construction work is ongoing and dilapidated structures and near damaged equipments are littering around.
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