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He needs little or no introduction. Mention his name anywhere within Yaba and its environs in Lagos and those who know will tell you that Hon. Kayode Omiyale, the Executive Chairman, Yaba Local Council Development Area, is a man who commands enormous respect within the LCDA and beyond. And this is not just about the fact that he is the Executive Chairman of the LCDA, but because he is also an extremely focused administrator who does not joke with the wellbeing of the people within the LCDA.

He is always working round the clock, looking for ways to bring the dividends of democracy ever closer to the doorstep of the people. And they also appreciate the fact that, unlike many other politicians, Hon. Omiyale will never promise you what he cannot give to you. When Omiyale promises, he delivers. Under his watch, Yaba LCDA has experienced tremendous changes in the area of road rehabilitation, improvement of its health facilities, clearing of drainages to reduce the perennial flood problem the LCDA has been battling with for years, and he has been a blessing to the young pupils whose parents are unable to procure GCE and JAMB forms for them. Every year, he sets specific funds aside to assist the parents to procure these forms for their wards and strives to ensure the kids are adequately prepared to meet their educational aspirations.

Without a doubt, Hon. Kayode Omiyale is hugely loved by his people. They don’t joke with him. And he does not joke with them either. One of the reasons why they love their chairman to bits is the fact he is unbelievably humble and never looks down on anyone. He welcomes everyone to his office. He is very accessible, he does not like to hear his people complain that they have difficulty in reaching him. He believes it is wrong for the people to have problems reaching him as a politician because they voted him into the office to help them make certain things available for them in the community and so, when they try to reach him to make one request or the other, he has absolutely no reason shutting his doors against them. This, he said he learnt from his national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Two weeks ago, WALE LAWAL was a guest of this very unassuming and God-fearing administrator who holds very dearly the principle of fairness in everything he does. Hon. Kayode Omiyale’s love and admiration for Asiwaju is well known among his peers. They all know how passionate he is about the Jagaban. We got him to talk about his thoughts on the possibility of an Asiwaju presidency come 2023 and the future it portends for Nigeria. He was more than delighted to speak with us. Enjoy the excerpts.


The national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has formally declared his intention to run for president come 2023, how excited are you about this long-awaited declaration?

I am extremely delighted at the news of the declaration of his intention to run for president. It was a huge relief to many of us his disciples who had been quite worried about his prolonged hesitance and the fear that he may just choose not to run. But we were all so excited when Asiwaju finally came out. We are very thankful to God for giving him the courage to come out. He represents hope, not just to his teeming disciples but to Nigerians as a whole. It also came as a big relief because we were hoping we could put forward a candidate that will be easy to sell to Nigerians. Asiwaju’s name is a household name. He is known virtually everywhere in Nigeria and even beyond the shores of Nigeria. So, it’s a big confidence booster for us as his followers and as a party. His own case is like that of MKO Abiola, who was known throughout the world, I only pray he won’t end up like MKO did. This will make it easy for us to go the length and breadth of the country and campaign for him without any fear of rejection. Believe me, his decision to contest is the best news we have received in a long while. 

From your response, it is easy to tell that you’re extremely passionate about Asiwaju. In just a few minutes, you have spoken so passionately about him. Tell us, what is the one thing about Asiwaju that you admire the most?

To begin with, Asiwaju is an embodiment of everything that is good, character-wise. He is always cheerful, I like that about him. He is also extremely intelligent and strategic. Many people don’t also know that he’s a workaholic. I have had the privilege to be at his house on several occasions, not only during the day but also very late at night. Do you know that from morning till about 4 a.m. the next day he is still attending to people? He is forever busy attending to people and helping people. It’s from him I learnt that a politician must be highly accessible and that is a major quality we, his disciples, inherited from him. He taught us to be there for our people, supporting them and serving them as best as we can, that is baba for you. And that’s working for him now because he’s always ready to accept people and support people, irrespective of tribe, colour or religion, whether you’re poor or rich, he will make himself available to you. That’s why he’s a man of the people because he knows how to come to your level, no matter how highly or lowly placed you are. He’s always ready to go the extra mile and I am personally hoping the Lord will give me the grace to emulate him. 

You just said something very instructive right now, which is that Asiwaju can be up all night, attending to people. Many of those we’ve spoken to have also said the same thing about him. How do you feel when you hear people talk about his health and wonder if he has the capacity and sound health to carry the burden that comes with being president of a country like Nigeria?

For me, I do not see how his health could be a problem for him in any way. The man is enjoying good health for a man his age. To be the president of a country like Nigeria, what he needs the most is experience and he has it. Whoever wants to rule Nigeria must be highly knowledgeable about the country and its people. He must be highly experienced. He must have tested leadership qualities. And as far as I’m concerned, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has all of these qualities and much more. Don’t forget he was at the Senate before he became governor. He has formed various political parties that were very successful such as Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress down to the APC, all of these have helped him to acquire the experience to relate with Nigerians from different parts of the country and proffer solutions to problems. He is a man that is close to the Yoruba, he is close to the Igbo, he is close to the Hausa. He is well accepted by Nigerians and that’s why we feel baba is the one that can come up with ideas and solutions that can take Nigeria to the next level. And that’s the most important thing. As for his health, it is only God that can determine how healthy we are or will be in the next few years. How many people that are younger to Asiwaju can you count that have died as a result of ill health in the last few months? So, it’s only God that determines one’s health. Don’t forget, in the Bible, God called Moses at the age of 80 and Moses and Moses led the Israelites from the age of 80 to the age of 120 and that was when he died. So, I believe that this is the time God has called baba and he will give him the strength, the knowledge, the wisdom, to carry on. God will surely give him everything he needs to lead us to the promised land.

Many believe that Nigeria is possibly in its worst situation ever in terms of insecurity, terrorism, banditry, economic downturn etc. How would you advise Asiwaju to go about solving these issues God willing he becomes president come 2023?

Let me first and foremost correct the people’s impression that we are in the worst situation ever in terms of insecurity and poor economy. I want to disagree with that perception. I believe that the only time you can describe a situation as worst is when that situation has no solution in sight. The security challenges in the country can still be addressed. Hope is not lost. Right now, the government is doing its best to tackle the problem of insecurity as well as revive the economy. We need somebody who has the capacity to continue from where the present administration stops. I want to believe that Asiwaju already has a blueprint of solutions and strategies in his hands to tackle the myriads of problems the country is currently facing and God will strengthen him and give him the necessary wisdom to scale through. He is a brilliant man. He is strategic. The God that has called him will not let him down. 

What are your concerns, sir, regarding some of Asiwaju’s loyalists and closest aides who are not standing by him at this critical time? Do you think this might work against him during the elections come next year?

To tell you the truth, I do not believe that any of his aides will not work for him. I am very positive about this. See, even within the family, it gets to a point when the children will want to have some certain privileges. As a primary school pupil, your child won’t come to you asking for permission to go to a disco party. But by the time he’s getting to the university, he will ask. And you as a father will have to give him some considerations. So, it’s the same thing with the close aides of Baba that people think are not with him at this time. When the chips are down, you will see how they will rally around him and carry the banner of Asiwaju and the party with their heads held high. I am sure of this because I know they will never forget their benefactor. They will not disappoint him. They will remember who they were when they met him and what they have become today. Don’t you worry, when the chips are down, things will change and you will see the performance of these people and what they will contribute to the success of baba come 2023?

Let me ask you pointedly, sir, are you one of those who believe VP Osinbanjo will not run against Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

He is not going to run. People will be shocked. Those who are just pressuring him to run are wasting their time. Thank God he is a mature and sensible man. He is a man who knows his onions. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a man of God. He’s a pastor. He will not disappoint those of us who are coming behind him and baba. He’s not going to disappoint us. As a man of God, I have followed his conduct closely and I have lots of respect for him. He will not betray Asiwaju. All of those people shouting Osinbajo, personally, I do not think it’s the vice president that contracted them to do what they are doing. Take it or leave it, Osinbajo and Baba are inseparable. When the chips are down, everything you’re seeing right now will change. He can never disappoint Asiwaju. 

So, you’re saying we have nothing to worry about?

Absolutely nothing to worry about. We are all together. The house is intact. There is no divided house in Asiwaju’s camp. 

Some people are worried that this is starting to look like the Awo and Akintola situation that we had on our hands decades back…

God forbid, it will never happen to us again for the third time. Never in the history of the Yoruba will we have a repetition of Awo and Akintola again. We will not have that scenario, be rest assured.   

Yaba is very key to Lagos state and very key to APC, what are your plans to ensure it plays a critical role in the coming presidential election and…?

To mobilize, that’s our primary goal. And like I said, when you have a good product, people will definitely buy it. People know a good product when they see one. And they will appreciate it. Asiwaju is a good product any day, any time,. So people will accept him and massively vote for him. In fact, the kind of voting that has never happened in our local government will happen this time around because this is a good product. It’s a product that’s been accepted worldwide but never the less, we will not rest on our oars, we will still go from house to house, street to street, ward to ward, community to community and mobilize the people. We will not be overconfident and we will not underrate the opposition. We will subdue the opposition by galvanizing a mobilization that has never happened before in the Yaba community and bring out our people to vote for baba. 

Yaba is a very cosmopolitan part of Lagos. It has lots of non Lagosians from nearly every part of the country, talking about Igbo, Hausa, Edo, you name it, they are all domiciled here. Now that the big one is drawing closer, how do you hope to carry all of these different communities along and get them to align with the party’s candidate?

Oh, that’s very simple. In fact, for us that are at the helms of affairs of the local government, we believe that Yaba Local Council Development Area can be divided into two communities, the rural area and the urban area. When you talk of Alagomeji, Gbobi up to Jibowu, those are the urban areas. Then, when you look at the riverside, that’s Makoko, Iwaya, Abule Oja, we regard them as the rural side, and that is where we have the larger part of our population. The urban centre is dominated by commercial activities, where you’ll see offices, corporate bodies and so on. In fact, these days, we don’t have much of our population domiciled in those parts. But still, we will leave no stone unturned. We will reach out to everyone. Like you rightly, we have lots of tribes here with us, especially in the rural areas. The Egun people, Ijaw, Igbo, in fact, there is one of our communities called Ijebu quarters and we will reach out to all of them. Thank God we have made quite an impact on all the nine political wards here, either in the area of health, education, roads, you name it, the dividends of democracy has been brought to them. And thank God, we have a good candidate that we can sell to them. We are sure that they will be on our side because we have never let them down. We listen to them whenever they reach out to us. I run an open-door policy here in my office. The market women, the artisans, the members of the Community Development Association (CDA) all have their roles to play and specific days that they all meet with me. The Igbo people, the Arewa, we are all together. So, we don’t have any problems mobilizing all these people. 

Finally, sir, you are just settling down for your second term in office. During your first term, you were very busy trying to meet up to the various needs of your people. What are those things or projects that you really wish to execute this term for the benefit of your people? 

Well, this term, we want to improve on our first term performance. The first term when we came, the whole terrain looked new to us. But we were able to get over it within the first couple of years of our tenure. And we were still able to do quite a few things. This time around, we have been able to take off from where stopped the last term. We are going to put all of the experiences we have garnered into good use. We are going to be much faster in terms of our response to the needs of the community. For instance, right now, we do not have our Exco in place but we still had to go ahead to put our budget in place because we realized that we cannot afford to waste time and take our people for granted. So, in terms of education, we intend to increase the number of GCE forms and JAMB that we give out to students. Last term, we gave out about a hundred forms, God willing this time around, we will increase it, depending on the resources available to us. We should take it to something between 150 and 200. Also, before, we would go round and give stipends to about 80 aged and 20 widows. This time, we could do 100 aged, 50 widows. In the area of environment, in the last term, we were able to clear some canals and drainages in some communities. This time, we will ensure we do everything within the next three years. It’s something that we have to do consistently because we are very prone to flooding here. Last term we had environmental defenders who went from one community to the other to sanitize the people and also apprehend those that were not doing well in terms of discharging their solid waste. This term, we are going to add what we call the drainage gang to these environmental defenders. The drainage gang will clear the drainages and desilt the gutters. And this time around, we now have the equipment to cart away the heaps of garbage immediately they desilt the drainages. These are some of the things we didn’t have in our first term. 

What about roads, are there any major roads that you have in mind?

Of course, there are. In our first tenure, we did about three to four roads in Makoko, while at Iwaya, we could only do one road there. And both of them are more or less the same thing in terms of population. But now, we have started working in Iwaya. We also plan to work on Mosalasi street, which is already about 30 percent completed. God be on our side, by the time Lagos state is finishing Iwaya road to Okoagbon, we also would move to Owodunni, from Church junction to palace of Iwaya. Ditto Abule Ijesha, we did only Opayemi during our first term, but with God on our side, we will work on Akinsola and some other roads and Abule Ijesha. Last term, we touched all the nine wards with one road or the other, but now we want to balance it so that those who did not feel our presence enough last term will get to feel us and enjoy the dividends of democracy this second term.  


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