Evangelist Niyi Pirisola is the Caretaker Chairman of Okitipupa Local Government. In this interview with CoastalNews, he bares his mind on how he has brought sanity into the Local Government and other sundry issues.
Coastalnews: Can we meet you sir?
Pirisola: I am Evangelist Niyi Pirisola. The Caretaker Chairman, Okitipupa Local Government.
Coastalnews: You have been Chairman of Okitipupa Local Government for quite some months now, can you tell us one or two things you have done since you assumed office?
Pirisola: I don’t believe in self – praise, but as journalists, if you go round the Local Government, you will see for yourself what we have been able to put in place in this short period of our stay in office.
When I came on board the whole council was in shambles. In fact, the first time I entered the secretariat, it was as weedy as a thick forest. Immediately I summoned the workers of the Local Government and I told them my vision and my mission. I told them that I am on a rescue mission, and that I never lobbied to be Chairman of Council. As a matter of fact when my name was mentioned I initially wanted to reject the appointment but I saw it as a call for service and a divine call to liberate my people. I saw it as an honour bestowed on me by Mr. Governor and if I reject it, he will be disappointed.
There was no discipline in the council because workers were coming to work at their own pace, in fact punctuality was at a zero level.
Since I came on board, I want to say categorically here that workers of the council resume as early as 8.00 am in the morning and if you get to Okitipupa Local Government by 4.00 pm you will still meet workers of the council in their offices.
They are now working impressively. When I whisper to them they listen to me; they are now working at my own pace.
For about three or four years now, there was no environmental sanitation, but when I came on board, I visited the Iya Olojas, I visited the artisans, I visited the drivers, and I told them my mission.
The first environmental sanitation exercise I supervised, I was able to prosecute 28 environmental law offenders, in fact as at 7.00 pm I was still in court, and I want to thank the presiding magistrate, she was very upright and by the second exercise we were able to prosecute only 6 environmental law offenders and that was how we brought sanity into the environmental sanitation exercise in the Local Government. I told them that for me to bring sanity into the system I will step on toes, but I don’t mind in as much as I am doing what is right. If you get to Okitipupa Market, you will see that there is a whole lot of difference between what used to be and what is now, and you will discover that the place is as neat as you can imagine as against what obtained in the past.
There was a place they called lawless society in this local government before I came on board. I got there myself and told them that will not be possible in the present day Nigeria and as I speak to you now there is nobody in that place because I have made the place inhabitable for lawless people .
When I came on board, the road around the State Specialist Hospital was in bad state and we tried our best to pass the potholes. As a matter of fact I personally supervised the project, so also was the Adeniran Estate to John Kay Street.
The problem there is a conventional one; it comes every year, you fill the potholes today, they will re-occur again. However some of these problems on the roads are man-made too. At times the owners of these fishponds will evacuate the water in their ponds and the water overflow to the roads and because of the chemical substance on the water ,the asphalt on the roads will be destroyed thereby causing potholes on the road. As I talk to you we have been able to stop that anyway because we were able to take some of them to court. So also we have cleared a lot of drainages in the local government.
I have visited students where I was able to put smiles on their faces.
I want to tell you that we are expecting money from the state and as soon as that is done we will execute a lot of projects across the local government.
I want to say that people have started comparing our government with past governments, and when you talk to the people they will tell you a lot of good things we have done since we assumed office.
CoastalNews: There are insinuations that the Governor is likely to conduct local Government election in 2014. Do you have interest in contesting for the chairmanship of this local government?
Pirisola: Well the one I am doing right now, I am praying to God to guide me so that I can leave landmark achievements. And if the Governor is conducting local government election in 2014, I cannot say if I will run or not. It is the people that will decide. If you say you want to run and the people say they don’t want you, they will run you down , and they will do a lot of things to frustrate you.
If my party says I should come and run then I will come and run and I must tell you that I know what even those who are not members of my party are saying, the road is smooth for me but I will just have to listen to the voice of God and the people.
Coastalnews: The recent commissioning of the Omotosho Phase 11 plant was applauded by many people. How does Okitipupa Local Government stand to benefit?
Pirisola: We have to thank the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Either you are alive to what the man is doing or not, I want to say the man is performing wonders in the area of power sector. At a point in time over 90 percent of Nigerians have lost hope, but the President is bringing back that lost hope and we really commend him for this. I want to say that we stand to benefit a lot because a lot of investors even foreign investors will come and invest in this environment and you know what that means to the youth in terms of employment, business men and women.
Coastalnews: What is your advice to the people of Okitipupa Local Government?
Pirisola: I want them to do what is right in the sight of the law and always keep their environment clean.
As a matter of fact, I want to use this medium to thank my people for their level of understanding and support since we came on board, I want to really appreciate them.
They are co-operating with us especially in the area of sanitation because hardly will you see anybody throw any dirt into the drainage again because of the fear that the chairman of council will not tolerate it.
I also want to promise the people of Okitipupa local government that I will continue to do the best I could until I leave the office.