By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Prince Bisi Yusuf, the Executive Chairman of Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Area under Alimosho Local Government Area has distinguished himself among his colleagues by building an ultra-modern public library for his community at Ayobo.
The library, according to him, is to serve students at all levels, including university students, adding that 25,000 volume of books have already been purchased by his administration for the library.
With 1,000 students currently receiving computer education free of charge at the council secretariat and many more benefitting from his skills acquisition programme, Yusuf says investment in the area of education is one of the top priorities of his administration. He speaks on other interesting issues relating to educational development in his area of jurisdiction. Excerpts:
What have you been able to achieve in the area of education?
I just celebrated the first 200 days in office and we thank God that a lot of things have been done. In the area of education I have been able to build new eight standard classrooms at St.Â Andrew Community Primary School, Ipaja.
We demolished the schoolâ€™s dilapidated structures and constructed new ones. We also built a modern toilet. I also established a new school at Baruwa, that is Community Primary School, Baruwa and also at Community Primary School, Isefun, new classrooms were also built for them. At each of these schools we sank borehole and build modern toilet.
Also, a public library was constructed by my administration at Ayobo which is named after Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. The library is not for students at all levels, where university students can go to carry out research. I have also purchased 25,000 volume of booksÂ for the library.
But are roads to these schools accessible?
Ayobo-Ipaja community is a completely rural area. If not because of the creation of the Local Council Development Area, development would have been alien to the area. But we thank the visionary leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who created the Local Government. We have problem of road but God is solving it.
First, I just completed the drainage of the College road that will serve as an alternative route to Command road. The road is about two kilometres and we have already commenced construction work there.
The road cuts across almost five villages. The singular endeavour should convince the Federal Government that a lot of development is going on in Lagos State. Also we are doing the drainage of Megida-Alaja-Olayemi road and construction work is on-going there right now.
Even the Lagos State Government has awarded the contract for the construction of Ipaja-Ayobo-Ayetoro road to Hi-Tech. Work is also on-going on Aina-Obembe road which will serve as access road when the construction of the Ipaja-Ayobo-Ayetoro road commences.
Aina-Obembe road will then serve as an alternative route that will link Ayobo to Baruwa and from Baruwa to Gate Bus stop.
We manage to execute these projects through our Internally Generated Revenue like money we collect from parks, rates from lock up shop and tenement rates.
Inspite of these on-going road construction works, I lay more emphasis on education as education is very important because if you build road and you donâ€™t empower the people with quality education, they will destroy the road in future.
What informed your decision to construct a public library?
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria which I attended has a standard library. That is Ibrahim Kasim Library, the biggest library in the South of Saharan. And this library at ABU, Zaria inspired me to place education on my priority list whenever I find myself in position of authority.
There was a novel I read written by James Hadley Chase which says the world is in my pocket. So, if you have education, you have the world in your pocket.
When I came on board as the Executive Chairman of Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Council I discovered that the reading habit of students is poor, which is partly due to the inability of their parents to purchase relevant textbooks for these children. So the idea of building the public library came to my mind as a way of making books available to the students and to encourage them to cultivate the habit of reading. So, the public library is to mould the character of the youths.
What is your response to the view of some people that you should have expanded the facilities in the existing primary schools in your council area instead of establishing a new primary school at Baruwa?
Children from Baruwa were trekking about ten kilometres to Community Primary School, Ipaja because there was no public school in their community.
Their own case is even better. Those of pupils living in Olorunnisola is worse and that is why I made the building of the school at Baruwa a priority.
These children are our future and we must cater for them. Look at President Barack Obama who hails from a poor country of Kenya but is now the most powerful person in the world. It is education that made that possible for him.
And that is what Iâ€™m doing for my people here. Some of these children are leaders of tomorrow. So, I think investment in quality education is better than road.