The member representing Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency, Rita Orji, has promised to take the plight of people in the community to the United Nations if the government continues to neglect them.
Addressing her constituency in a town hall meeting, Friday, Mrs. Orji said she had started documenting video evidence of the extent of suffering in the council.
Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government of Lagos State comprises Ajegunle and Amukoko, two popular slums in the state.
“I want to meet the community leaders, there are areas in Ifelodun they said they sent hoodlums to stop them from recording the areas where we said we are going to work for you,” said Mrs. Orji, a lawyer and member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
“If you don’t want us to get the video clips for you, don’t say Rita don’t want to work. I want to work and I want evidence. Because with that clips, if government no wan answer me, I’ll go to United Nations. Because the name of Lagos is ‘Lagos is working’ but when I play this one the whole world will come to my rescue. So that’s the reason I want you to know that this is the job we must do together.”
The town hall meeting, held in a poorly-lit hall in the heart of Ajegunle, was the first time Mrs. Orji would meet her constituents since being elected into the House of Representatives.
The lawyer performed a heroic feat at the April 11 election, defeating Taiwo Adenekan of the All Progressives Congress who was the incumbent House member and a two-term council chairman of Ifelodun local council.
On Friday, Mrs. Orji told the people, in a mixture of English and pidgin, that she would take a different approach from that of her predecessors whom she blamed for the litany of poor infrastructure bedevilling the community.
“We are talking about where an average Ajeromi Ifelodun person will be able to access clean water in your house,” she said.
“We are talking about you driving into your own street without being blocked. We are talking about somebody not collecting nonsense levy from you just because you voted for him.
“The taxi man that brought me showed me another receipt, he said this one is known as ‘OK receipt.’ I said which one is OK receipt? It’s not tenement rate. It’s not hackney permit, it’s not road worthiness.
“Did you vote for people to go and make laws to kill you? Honestly, na prayers I need from you because the battle is ready. The battle is up and I’m very afraid that Rita will cause a lot of problems.
“You are entitled to federal projects in Ajeromi-Ifelodun because the local government is the number two gazetted in Lagos State. And you are entitled to a federal allocation and ten percent from state to empower your local government.
“So what I’m trying to say in earnest, they are looking at Ajegunle, I have said anybody that mentions Ajegunle in the House we will have a problem. My local government is Ajeromi-Ifelodun. Let us go by the name that is recognised by the Constitution.”
Scores of people in the local government defied the rain to attend the town hall meeting, which began in a dark hall due to lack of electricity supply.
Power, however, was restored midway into the programme but speakers continued to shout at the top of their voices due to the unavailability of a public address system.
But the people seemed unperturbed, cheering and clapping for their House of Representative member every step of the way.
Mrs. Orji returned the favour.
Although she noted that she was yet to receive “one Naira” from the National Assembly, she began by sharing bags of rice and cartons of noodles and milk to Muslim leaders in the community.
She also promised to ensure that all the projects to be executed in the local government would be undertaken by locals.
“I wanna assure all you people that are engineers, both young and old, any contract that will come to this local government will never go out of this local government,” she said.
“Let me give you the reason: when they bring people from other areas, whether they do it or not, they will go home. They will say they have awarded the road. But when I call you ‘Oga, na you go do this road,’ I will come here and tell people ‘Na this man I give am o. If he no do am make una go him house.’
”My own empowerment will not be done when election is coming around, my own empowerment will commence as soon as the budget is implemented for 2015, you will see everywhere. Because I have seen, I have gone there, I have studied. I don’t need one year to study, this is my job.
“When I was campaigning, I told you this is my job. I don’t need anybody to lecture me on legislation. I don’t need anybody to tell me what to put in the budget to favour the people of Ajeromi-Ifelodun. I don’t need anybody to draft the budget proceedings for me. I don’t need anybody to go for my budget to make sure that it is settled. That is because it is my job.”
Mrs. Orji expressed concern at recent developments in the country, saying that they weren’t the change people voted for.
“When you look at what is happening in Nigeria, almost everybody is tired. This is not what we voted for,” she said.
“What we voted for is that people’s life will change. One seed of tomato now is almost N200. Is that what you voted for? We cannot go from heaven to hell. We are looking at changes, where a poor man and a rich man will be able to live and live their lives. Where you don’t need to be a rich man to get comfortable water to drink. What is the meaning of governance if you cannot represent the people who voted you?”
The House member further stated that she would launch the first batch of her projects in the local government on her 100 days in office.
“The real programme for me in Ajeromi-Ifelodun will be launched in my 100 days in office,” she said.
“And we are going to put the people you will liaise with for commencement of the projects in different areas. And I want you to comply with them, please. I want you to comply with them because my own is to fight and fight and get what we are supposed to get, and they will be here to liaise with you. My coming again will be to commission these projects.”