‘Why Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu deserve victory in 2023 Elections’
Khairat Animashaun-Ajiboye, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and founder of Peace Dynamix, Peace and Development Initiative (PD, PDI), recently got the support of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in an empowerment programme organised for youths in Festac Town, Lagos. In this interview with YETUNDE AYOBAMI OJO, she speaks on why Nigerians should support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to become the president come 2023, why Sanwo-Olu deserves a second term in office, women participation in politics and some activities of her NGO.
Are you satisfied with the present level of women participation in politics in Nigeria?
I am encouraged by the voicing out of President Muhammadu Buhari through the advocacy of our women leaders and supporters in the legislative and political chain, to bring more women into politics. I applaud and appreciate these moves. I believe that women’s innate nature gives us a natural advantage to be more fair, considerate and less damning in our actions and or inactions. I will be very proud if we can genuinely have more good women participate in politics as we move into another transition election.
Which of the presidential candidates is best suited to tackle the multifarious challenges confronting the nation?
I had made an attorney by raising my voice. Right now, I unequivocally support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, inspite of what the naysayers might be saying, to become the next President of Nigeria. I am also supporting Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to return for a second term in Lagos State. The duo have good hearts and they are always willing to put their best forward.
Tinubu, like I have said severally, is not necessarily a perfect human being as well as you and I, but he has more than one thing going for him in this critical state of the country; he can put us all together. He will break all the religious barriers of leadership aspirations and will target putting round pegs in round holes. He is someone who appreciates the truth and works towards it. Let us give him the chance. He has good plans for Nigeria. And in the political arena today, Tinubu’s records of achievements are second to none.
Your NGO focuses on empowerment and other youth development initiatives. What areas of empowerment would you suggest to Tinubu to collaborate with NGOs on if he wins?
Three keys are needed to help Nigerian youths today; they are reorientation, unlearning and relearning. Government needs to start massive orientation through local community leaders, trusted religious leaders, and educators, to go back into our communities to teach ethics and values while providing mentors in several sectors of growth within the economy and even internationally to show that it is possible. Nigeria must utilise older age parents before they are all gone, so that our cultural values will not fade with their generation. This community cultural education is what has kept many of us grounded.
Retooling and skilling of the youths is needed. Vocational studies and online programmes that can enhance their capacities and make them realise the good they are capable of is essential. We can send volunteer educators, who can also go into the communities to teach petty traders how they can be more productive. On another hand, we should endeavour to encourage and support good behaviour and reprise bad ones genuinely and fairly. This will motivate the younger ones to understand the value in doing the right thing.
How is your NGO imparting lives in the society?
Positive Dynamix, Peace and Development Initiative was created in 2015 to create a more egalitarian society to encourage girl-child education, promote peace, welfare and safety in our environment and among young people, to educate the youths on dangers of drug abuse and promote moral and ethical values in the society. We also work to ensure equitable development for both rural inhabitants and poor urban dwellers, especially women and children.
Other areas of interest is to equip the youths with simple employable skills for them to be job creators rather than job seekers, so they can also lead responsible lives. These and others were the aspirations of Positive Dynamix, Peace and Development Initiative (PD, PDI) which also gave me the opportunity to register a sister organisation in the USA.
We have been able to support grassroots people like farmers, both men and women, to identify the best seedlings for their planting seasons, empowering them with resources to help grow their businesses through the supply chain of agricultural produce through to its profitability.
We have been able to raise the hope for our localities by creating sub-teams to look into business creation and support for businesses. We identify those that need to expand current businesses and encourage them.
Why did you choose Festac Town for your intervention and for how long have you been in Festac?
Though I am originally from Lagos Island from the Animashaun Clan, I have resided in Festac Town since 1977 along with my parents and siblings. My primary, secondary and university education were not too far from there. I paid closer attention to many younger community brothers and sisters as well as the older ones this time around when I returned from the United States.
While I see recognisable faces, I also wondered how things could be different and get closer enough to what we had. We were very free to move around without any fear, how roads were good, we competed and celebrated in a good way too. The Yoruba will say that ‘Ile lati’n ko eso ro ode,’ meaning you start giving or taking of your wealth from home before you go to other areas.
What are those things that have changed in Festac that you would want the next government to address if Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu win next year?
Many things have changed, including the old unkempt structural looks. The bad and waterlogged roads, the unregulated use of commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada, the issue of noise and air pollution, especially due to use of power generating machines (generators), very low power supplies, and the incursions of elements that are misguiding our youths. The event we had discussed the need to communicate among all tiers of community leadership. Leadership should not always be about politics.
The Federal Government can start by fixing the bad roads and open up drainages and electrical hubs that have been blocked due to structures that were not in the master plan and more. We used to have gardens we called ‘ Love Gardens’ when we were young in Festac. Since the state also is a huge stakeholder, the people can be rallied to ensure this is possible. We need to construct/upgrade our fields into mini stadiums to give our younger ones some level of pride and opportunity to develop in other areas.
The garbage collection points can be converted to generate power and recycling zones to help empower our youths. The garbage points and the car sales and mechanic workshops should be regulated and placed in better locations while considering the workers. We should also find better options that will help resuscitate the aesthetics of Festac Town.