Abiru: I’ll Set up Endowment to Alleviate Poverty

Mr. Tokunbo Abiru

• Pledges quality representation, youth engagement

By Eddie Alegbe

The candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the October 31 senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru Wednesday disclosed his plan to set up an endowment to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment in the senatorial district.

Abiru, a former Commissioner of Finance in Lagos State, equally pledged quality representation for the people of the district, saying he would promote legislations that would improve the quality of life for the people of Lagos East if elected on October 31.

He made these promises Wednesday at a meeting with stakeholders in Ikorodu Central Local Government Area (LGA) and Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area (LCDA) on the next senatorial bye-election in Lagos East.

The stakeholders at the meeting comprised leaders and members of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), National Union of Road Transport Workers, National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities and Community Development Association (CDA) and National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).

At the public engagement, residents including community leaders, traditional rulers and youth leaders asked diverse questions about the deplorable state of roads, public schools and what they described as an unacceptable rate of poverty among the people nationwide.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had, in 2019, put poverty rate in Nigeria 40.1%, which by implication over 82 million in an estimated population of about 206 million live on less than $1 dollars per day.

Responding to their concerns one after the other, the APC candidate acknowledged the sorry level of poverty in the country, which according to him, could only be effectively fought from corporate, individual and pubic fronts.

When elected senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on October, Abiru promised that he would set up an endowment “to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment in Lagos East, even in Lagos State.”

Besides setting endowment that would focus on poverty alleviation, youth empowerment, employment generation and gender balancing, the APC candidate pledged his would-be constituents quality representation.

Citing different instances of result-oriented representation he offered while working in the banking sector, he explained how he led the management team that rescue Skye Bank Place from outright collapse between July 4, 2016 and August 30, 2020.

Consequent upon strategic leadership he provided within this timeframe, the APC candidate disclosed that the transformation plan he executed at the bank saved the jobs of over 8,000 personnel.

He, therefore, assured the people of Lagos East that he would, first and foremost, prioritise their welfare and wellbeing, while acknowledging the outstanding performance of all the senators that had represented the senatorial district.

Abiru disclosed that if eventually elected on October 31, the performance of the district’s previous senators “will be a yardstick the people of Lagos East will use to measure his own performance.”

He said: “The welfare of Lagos East will be paramount to me. The office of a senator is not an executive office, but I will work hard to lift up people from poverty and address their socio-economic concern through the instrument of legislation and lawmaking.”

Abiru explained that he would take advantage of his relationship with the Minister of Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu “to ensure the completion of all ongoing road projects in Lagos East and prevail on them to initiate new road projects.

“We will keep reminding the federal and state governments about the concern of the people in Lagos East. As the ongoing road projects are completed, we will prevail on the governments to initiate new projects and programmes for our people.

“That is why we have been advocating special status for Lagos as the cornerstone of my campaign agenda. There are a lot of facilities that are attracting people to Lagos after Federal Capita Territory (FCT) had been relocated to Abuja,” Abiru explained.

In response to an inquiry by Baale of Ojogbe, Chief Olukayode Olomo, Abiru acknowledged that resolving the challenges of public schools in the senatorial district “is not just about providing chairs and desks for the pupils, but also about using modern technique of instruction and teaching.”

Abiru said pupils “are now using information and communication technology (ICT) to learn globally. This is the modern technique we must encourage in all our public schools. I have worked under complex structures before now and I know how I can break barriers. But I need your votes to actualise this vision.”