It is said that a gold fish has no hiding place. This altruistic expression is true in the case of Oromidayo Timileyin Balogun, a second-class upper political science graduate from Babcock University. Over the past years, Balogun has tenaciously worked mostly behind the scenes to improve the welfare of the people of Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Lagos. At the moment, he strongly believes “there is a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up” for an area he is passionate about, where the political scientist was born and bred more than three decades ago.
In this exclusive interview, Balogun lays it bare on why he has resolved to come out of the closet and take his vision for the people to the frontline, to a position where it is more palpable at the closest tier of Government. What you will find strategically interesting is the eight-point agenda that he has marshaled out as developmental blueprint. He also envisages remodeling the Local Council Development Area, among other things, when given the opportunity to serve, reports The Kosofe Post.
Kosofe Post: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sir. Could you tell us who Oromidayo Balogun is, what exactly is your ambition at the moment?
Say Baloo: My name is Oromidayo Timileyin Balogun. A graduate of political science from Babcock University. A businessman and a politician, currently, I am running for the chairmanship seat of my Local Government –Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, under the flagship of the All Progressive Congress ( APC) . I want to do this because of my passion for the people, for the welfare of the people and the fact that we just need to get things right in this country. Over the past years, while I have largely functioned behind the scenes, I noticed we pay a whole lot of lip services to the idea of remodeling our society, our country and all that. And of course, bad leadership, corruption, godfatherism, and all the vices that one can think of that have negatively impacted us as a people. What I’m saying in essence is that, the bane of Nigeria has always been ascribed to bad leadership, and inability of our leaders and people to put the right persons or people in political offices.
So, I’m a young person, I’m vibrant and, of course, I’m a political scientist. Above all, I am very keen about the masses with whom I have unalloyed support. The rate at which people are suffering is becoming more alarming by the today. In fact, the progression is now becoming more geometric. That is to say, we are breeding more impoverished people than ever, no thanks also to the COVID-19 pandemic that has worsened the situation.
I may not have the capacity to change everything overnight but I think, if we can start building ourselves, if we can start encouraging ourselves; of course the youths, learned people, people who can think, people who understand that, the basis upon which one is elected into a political office is to serve, I strongly believe there are no limits to what we can achieve. Much so when one has clear vision and the support of the people whose mandate he has been entrusted.
Kosofe Post: Why do you want to serve in this capacity?
Say Baloo: You know, as a political office holder, you must understand the fact that you’re going to the office to work. If you’re working in an institution, you’re supposed to have a job description. What’s a job description, you may want to know? It is very simple. What are you elected to go and do? First, is to perform your constitutional roles as stipulated in the constitution of the country.
So on this premise, I’m running for the position of the chairmanship position in my Local Council Development Area because, I understand the fact that the Local Government is the third tier of Government saddled with the responsibility of bringing about the dividends of democracy at the grassroots level. I have taken time to study and assess my competence and the outcome is; I have the competence to bring about transformational changes beginning from my LCDA. One of the functions of a the Local Government is to bring the people closer to the Government. Among so many other functions, the LGAs create jobs, no matter how little it is, in one way or the other, it helps to alleviate or reduce the level of poverty. There are some roads that are on the residual list, which is the Local Government responsibility, or which the Local Government has the power to fix or construct.
Kosofe Post: How prepared are you to change the fortune of the LCDA?
Say Baloo: I am very well prepared. You see, I have a simple, self-explanatory manifesto out there for people to know my level of preparedness to work to their satisfaction when given the mandate. The manifesto provides insight of what I’m trying to talk about here. Straightforwardly, I’m going there to bring about monumental changes. More often than not, we’ve had the kind of Local Government Chairmen that just go there to collect allocation and share the money. Some of them don’t even know what the function of a Local Government counselor entails. Ironically, some people have the perception that a Local Government is like an empowerment program. That’s what most of our leaders do, unfortunately. They use political offices to compensate their loyalists, jobs for the boys kind of, without recourse to thorough assessment of their capabilities.
Politics for me is in the blood. like some of you may be aware, my late father, Balogun , was an astute politician to the core. It means I was born into it. I grew up seeing my dad, you know, going for meetings, organizing or hosting political meetings, going for rallies and all whatnots. But what has actually endeared me to politics is the involvement of my father that I experienced firsthand while growing up as a boy. More importantly, is my unreserved personal sympathy for the masses and passion for effecting positive change in the society. This is the first reason for my foray into politics today.
Kosofe Post: What are you going to do differently? Answer: I have my manifesto, but let me just chip in some things. My manifesto is an eight-point agenda document that spells out without ambiguity my vision and mission for Ikosi-Isheri people when given the opportunity to serve as the LCDA chairman.
The focal points range from–education, health, general construction and infrastructural development. Others include: women empowerment, transportation, job creation, sports and recreation centers for youths, security, recognition of traditional rulers, etc. I must confess the manifesto is simple yet comprehensive enough in touching on all areas that need improvement in order to make life better for the people.
I’m not saying there’s nothing on ground . Where it needs to be done, we would build more at strategic places because, I’ve come to realize now that one of the reasons why we have high mortality rate in this part of the state, is mostly because hospitals and health centers are not close to the people. In this context, we can actually have new centers, even in all the Wards.
Part of the agenda also is to bring on board the idea of a-24 hour ambulance services where people can have easy access. The lower class and senior citizens, the downtrodden, can access ambulance services in cases of emergency. This will save lives. When campaigns begin in earnest, copies of my manifesto will be copiously made available so that people can have a glimpse of what to expect from me and how I intend to execute my plans upon ascension of office.
Kosofe Post: At what capacity have you served/helped the people of your LCDA in the past few years?
Say Baloo: I wouldn’t consider myself a total newbie in politics though since graduation, I have mostly worked behind the scene in putting smiles on the faces of people in my own little ways. However small you may consider that, in my undergraduate days, I was pretty involved in the school and departmental politics where I eventually served as protocol officer in the Political Science Student Association and later proceeded to lead the reins at departmental level.
In furtherance of this, I actually got involved in partisan politics in 2006 when I registered as a card-carrying member of the then Action Congress (AC). As at then, my dad was still alive and I was in the university. Fast forward to 2011 when I was nominated as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)party agent. The Action Congress to which I belonged had changed its name, and my polling unit was at #063 on Taike Street here in Ikosi-Isheri LCDA where we recorded resounding victory. Even when my dad was in the PDP, I recall, we have always won all the polling units in that axis by wide margins.
In 2012, I was a campaign committee member of the Ikosi-Isheri LCDA during the Local Government elections. Also in 2013, I was noticed and unanimously appointed by the landlords association in my area, being part of community participation, as vice chairman. During this period, I was very active and consequently made acquaintances with the LCDA leadership cadre. Eventually at some point, I was appointed as youth leader in the area. In this capacity as youth leader, I championed the successful planning and execution of some unforgettable music concerts in the area where we had A-list artistes including a one-time winner of the MTN Project Fame, AY and a host of others.
Over the years, I have also coordinated protest marches aimed at correcting some anomalies in the society like poor electricity supply. I was equally a party agent in the year 2015.
When we had an emergency situation on hand sometime in 2016 regarding flooding in the LCDA, when an important canal had been blocked and consequently wrecked unimaginable damage in the community, I was instrumental in involving the state commissioner for the environment who came to our rescue. The cost of the project was huge and since we couldn’t sort it as an LCDA, we needed the state government intervention. I engineered the hosting of the honorable commissioner-Dr. Babatunde Adejare at the site where the canal was dredged and the problem promptly identified and solved.
Before the run-ins to the 2019 presidential election, I founded a pressure group with the mandate to help ensure leadership transparency and accountability among civil servants. Known as Vanguard for Good Governance (VGG), this outfit became useful as well during the nationwide lockdowns in 2020. Some of my associates and I sat down and agreed on the need to reach out to the community in providing palliatives to help cushion the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy was stalled at the time and we could see that most people were in danger of starvation. It was our own little way of contributing our own quota. We gave out materials worth thousands of Naira to the needy.
In the last few weeks, Vanguard for Good Governance (VGG) has continued to dole out fasting aids to Muslim faithfuls observing their annual fasting. These are some of the areas I have worked in the past few years and I strongly believe if given the opportunity to steer the affairs of Ikosi-Isheri LCDA as the Executive Chairman, I will be able to do more because, I would have in possession more resources to cater to the welfare of the people. By God’s grace, if given the chance to serve, my main objective would be to make judicious use of resources while ensuring equitable distribution. By so doing, I’ve the conviction that Ikosi-Isheri will excel.