Hon. Setonji David from Badagry Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly is not leaving any stone unturned to better the lots of his people.
The civil engineer-turned politician believes that the people of Badagry are ready for development and that he is in position to sort things out for them.
In this interview Hon. Setonji of the All Progressives Congress (APC) granted us recently, he speaks on matters affecting his people, Lagos State and Nigeria.
Can we know more about you?
I am Honourable David Setonji, a civil engineer by training. A member of the Nigerian Civil Engineer Association and a former chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Society of Engineer (NSE) and a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Civil Engineers. I represent Badagry Constituency 2 in LSHA.
What is your opinion about the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States of America?
The visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States of America is very appropriate. It came at the right time, if you talk of democracy in the world today, the U.S is very key. They have been contributing to democracy all over the world and Nigeria too has been very key to democracy in Africa and we have played a very good role. It is very good for the PMB to have visited the U.S as an important nation in the world. We have many areas of collaboration, so the President visiting the U.S is very good and it is in our best interest. We need to seek the support of the President of the U.S, Barrack Obama on many issues like our economy, we are just developing, and they have been there for over 200 years, so we are just coming up. So, visiting the U.S at this time is very good.
To what extent do you think the U.S can help Nigeria to fight terrorism, especially Boko Haram?
You know that the U.S is the leading country in terms of military and the economy. They are the world power at the moment, we used to have two world super powers, the then Soviet Union and the United States of America, but today, we have only the U.S. It is very good if the America can fulfil their promises. Coming to the aid of Nigeria on terrorism would help a lot because they have the wherewithal to help. Talking about economy, they can help us in several ways, the U.S is the leading economic country of the world.
Can we draw a line on this assistance?
As long as it does not disturb our sovereignty, as long as we remain an independent nation, we should not be too shy or pretend as if we know it all. Whatever they can do for us to make us a better nation, I am for it once they would respect us as a nation.
What is your remark on the Lagos-Badagry Road, which Governor Akinwunmi Ambode just visited and promised to complete?
It is a wonderful development, Badagry Expressway is the number one road to my constituency and the Lagos State Government has turned it to one of the biggest roads in Africa. The completion of that road is my number one priority and I would give the Governor every support on it. That is one project that we are all yearning for its completion. It is the gateway to my place and to Nigeria and we are pleading with the Governor to complete it. We all pray that he would live up to his promise and once it is completed, Badagry would be transformed into development.
The Governor also promised to build a port in Badagry, what do you say to that?
It is a welcome development because Nigeria is the largest economy, not only on West Africa, but in Africa, so having a port in Badagry would reduce the pressure on the ports in Lagos city. It is a good development, whatever it would take the Federal and the state governments to collaborate on the project would be good because the economy of Lagos State would be affected positively, Badagry would also be affected positively.
Execution of the project would lead to relocation of some people to Badagry, what kind of attitude do you want the people to have towards this?
Every project is meant to serve the people; both the local people and others. Every project must have human face, you must provide for the people, which is why some projects fail. That is why the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has changed its strategy, they believe that they must discuss with the people and let them buy into the project, when they buy into it, they would find a way to accommodate it, and they would not be alien to it. You must not treat the people as if they are not important. Whatever you want to do, you must carry them along, educate them and let them buy into it. I want to tell you that the Lagos State government will bring the people into the project and they would embrace it and collaborate with the government on it. Every project is for the people and they must be carried along and they would appreciate it.
In what ways would you come in as their representative on education and enlightenment?
Badagry people are forward-looking, they are progressive-minded, they are people, who love the state and Badagry and anything that is meant for the progress of the state and Badagry, they want it and I want to assure you that talking to our people or appealing to them would not be a problem. The issue is that don’t take advantage of them negatively, whatever you want to do, let them buy into it, and we would ensure that they buy into it and ensure it is done. We are ready for development, Badagry people are progressive-minded people, they are very accommodating, they are ready for anything progressive as long as the state government brings us into it and we know what is going on, we are available.
What are your developmental programmes for youths and women in your constituency?
One thing is very clear, the programmes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are people-oriented, all our programmes are meant for development. We are lawmakers and we ensure that all the programmes of the APC are implemented for our people such as good health services, good education, rapid development of our areas through provision of roads, and emancipation of our people. I am here to ensure that the various projects are done to ensure that our people would have the benefits of democracy. We will tell the government about the needs of our people. There are so many areas in Badagry, where we don’t have enough secondary schools, some go to as much as 10 kilometres to get to secondary schools, there are areas that don’t have primaries schools. So, we expect the state government to give us more schools in Badagry.
What attracted you into politics as an engineer?
It is for the love of our people, I am a civil engineer by profession, but I know the yearning of my people, I was born there, I know what they want, they have been calling on me to represent them for a long time. When the urge was much I had to agree with them based on my experience in governance.
What is your attitude to godfatherism?
We are in democracy and what we practise in Nigeria is party politics, we came into positions through our party. My party has programmes that I must adhere to, is that what you call godfatherism, when you listen to the programmes of your party, you follow their path and they have leadership. You must follow and listen to them, you must listen to your leaders and you must be subservient to your party. If I listen to the directives of my party and you call it godfatherism, I don’t care. I must adhere to the rules of my party so that we can move this country forward.
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