Subsidy Hardship: Ojodu LCDA Chair, David Odunmbaku Gives Insights Into Mitigating Approach, Exemplary Leadership Style

The ongoing brilliantly necessary economic reforms of the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal government have come with unintended effects, manifesting through temporary hardship on businesses and the downtrodden in the country.

Since May 29, 2023, the 16th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria hit the ground running and his first action, expectedly, was to revive the woeful economy inherited from his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari.

His first step was his now-famous ‘Subsidy is gone’ pronouncement made on his inauguration day. According to President Tinubu, “The subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of effervescence resources. We shall instead rechannel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care, and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.”

This decision was widely applauded by economists and policy analysts across the country and beyond.

Justifying his decision in his maiden democracy day speech on June 12, President Tinubu said. “This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.”

As projected, the subsidy removal and other economic policies such as the naira floatation will boost the federation’s revenues, freeing more funds for the federal, state, and local governments to undertake meaningful developmental initiatives.

Already, fuel subsidy discontinuation has increased Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations to federal, state, and local governments in 2023 by 29.05% when compared to the figure for 2022.

Yes, foregoing policies have their gains but they haven’t been without their negativities including astronomical spikes in fuel prices, devaluation of Naira, and soaring rise in the cost of basic commodities among others. The untold hardship on the downtrodden can only be imagined, necessitating intense clamor for social intervention, especially at the grassroots to sustainably cushion the effect of the hardship.

In this media chat with Theliberationnews editor, Damilola Kushinmo, the Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon. David Olusegun Odunmbaku, who in recent times had been the recipient of unsolicited positive editorial reviews from reputable national newspapers and notable television stations spoke extensively on his laudable efforts in governance. He is no doubt a leading light amongst council chairmen in Lagos state.

Theliberationnews however beamed its searchlight on how he is effectively helping the downtrodden navigate through the current temporary hardship and some of his administration’s giant strides, so far.


• How have you been able to mitigate the effect of the negative consequences of the ongoing economic reforms?

As a conscientious government, our approach was to nip in the bud the effect and ensure that our policy is far-reaching. Our social intervention has been robust and institutional. It ranges from subsidized sales of food items which was part of the activities to commemorate our second anniversary in office to many development initiatives. We set up a bazaar where residents bought food at a subsidized rate.

We complemented this effort by deploying a door-to-door approach to distributing food items to the vulnerable in the six wards of our council area.

We’ve done palliative and we did it using a new and most effective approach. What we did was to rally our councilors, and the excos with whom we went Ward-by-Ward to distribute 5kg of 500 food items per ward and we ensured it got to the vulnerable. We went from street-to-street and what we actually noticed was that we were able to meet people that ordinarily would not come to the council. This is not about you being an APC member or about any political or religious affiliation, it’s just about you being a member of the community who really needs it. The feedback we got was that it was a success and we intend to roll out more. We did all the wards, and we have 6 wards with each having about 5 to 6 zones, I won’t say we were able to touch all the streets but we touched the significant areas. Our plan, as agreed at the exco meetings, was to do a second one that would touch the streets that we hadn’t touched before. So at the end of this month, we will roll out the second one and I hope we will be able to touch all the streets we couldn’t yet touch.

• On Transportation:

Our free buses are still ongoing, we pick up kids from school from 1:30 pm and assist people going to work from the hours of 7 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 7 pm. It doesn’t affect the kids and I can tell you that it’s a holistic approach and it’s for free. We maintain these buses.

Outside the council, you’ll see a repair centre so that we can monitor these buses and to ensure that their repair processes when necessary are devoid of the use of fake parts that can cause havoc. We ensure proper monitoring of these buses.

• Increased Imprest For Police Stations, Traditional Rulers:

Yes, another thing we’ve been able to do is, you’ll hear people say that the money has been increased but people also forget that there’s inflation as well. The inflation will erode your purchasing power meaning that what you buy for N2 before is now N10. The high increase in money is kind of negligible but that being said, it’s still something compared to what we used to get.

The increment has enabled us to reach out more on our social programs. In the area of imprest, we’ve been able to increase the imprest of police stations to support their operations and to boost security within our jurisdiction. Also, we’ve reviewed the imprest of our traditional rulers upward to make them more effective in their traditional engagements.

• Staff Welfare:

We pay wage awards to our NULGE and our non-pensionable staff. They get monthly wages which is a FG scheme that we’ve keyed into and through which we pay our staff N20,000 every month. Our workforce is over 400. We started in January and we are to do it for six months. We heard that the state is doing N35,000 and the problem here with local governments is that some local government areas cannot even afford the N35,000 because the monthly wage is meant to be that amount. Some LGs like Ikorodu, Alimosho cannot afford such an amount so we agreed amongst ourselves that we should keep it at N20,000. If need be that we increase it, we would. At the moment, what is realistically feasible is that we are paying N20,000 to our workers.

• Religious Bodies

To the religious bodies, we’ve done palliatives as well and I’ll be going around mosques this Ramadan period along with my excos to talk to them and give them reasonable support as well. Talking to them is to intimate them of some of our policies and appeal for their continued support, especially in this difficult time and assure them that the government is not shying away from making things convenient for our people especially those below the poverty line.

• Youth Empowerment:

We’ve given them training in Solar engineering works and I’ve secured a letter for advanced solar training for those that showed exceptional enthusiasm in the first one. I’ve approved it and they are going for the second one.

We have a loan scheme through our partnership with a microfinance and the payback is up to a year. It’s an interest-free loan. We have over 100 applicants already from all over the wards, l mean from Ward A to Ward F.

And we should start disbursing any moment from next week Monday. On the start-up, I’m more particular about it, especially about the youth and the reason is that you finish from the university, you can’t find a job and you have this idea. You’ve been doing this while in college, you get out and you’re looking for house rent. These are things that will discourage you. We are looking for ways we can assist with those ideas. If they’re valid enough, we will support them with money and mentoring so that they won’t miss that road. This means if you don’t have a CAC, we will register you for free and we will empower you not just financially. That will spur you to kick-start your dream. You’re not meant to pay back because it’s a start-up.

And bursary as well is for the indigenes as well as the scholarship. We want to partner with consultants in Italy and the Netherlands for the Schengen Visa. There might be instances necessitating that we should come up on time and give them names of successful youths. This is not the Japa, it’s not about Japa, it’s for you to go, develop yourself, gain more knowledge, and come back to the country and impact just like I did on my part. If you’ve learned, you should be able to work anywhere.

• Recreational Activities:

We have a sports complex coming up very soon. When you look at Ojodu as a whole, there’s no sports centre. We’ve acquired the piece of land and very soon, groundbreaking exercise will take place and it will be a dream come true for me to have a sports complex in Ojodu LCDA.

• Education:

We have a bursary scheme for our indigenes. Recently, we have shared 600 chairs and desks to our primary schools and secondary schools with 50,000 exercise books which means each school will get about 1,000 each and each pupil will get about 10 books each. We support teachers too.

Annually, we do teacher empowerment where one million naira is shared among the teachers. It’s an online quiz and the prizes are N250,000, and N150,000 for the winner and two runners-up and 10 other participants get N50,000 each as consolation prize. This is our way of keeping our teachers encouraged and motivated. To top it up, at Ogba Oluwole, the street of our approved piece of land for secondary school, there used to be a secondary school there before but it is now Enahoro Housing Complex. Most of our kids go to Agege, Ikeja, and other neighboring communities for school and you can imagine the transportation cost and the safety. With the collaboration of the Ministry of Education, we’ve gotten a land and they’ve given us the go-ahead to commence the construction to bring back secondary school to Ojodu. We tend to adopt one of the primary schools. We partner with WaterAid and they help us with wash facilities in our schools, especially with our girl child. With our partnership with Water Aid, we have been able to have wash facilities in some of our schools and marketplaces.


We have 7 Primary Health Care Centers, PHCs, across the council area. One more than what WHO recommended.

They are functional and because of the energy issue, we’ve decided to start investing in alternative energy. We’ve done three and left with four.

There should be no reason why a PHC should be in the dark or why there should be no light. The PHC is the closest to the people.

In the Western world, like England, they have the NHS that is the closest to the community. Yes, the government is groaning on the cost of running the NHS but it’s the last hope of the commoner.

Very soon, we will launch a patient card and that means that if you go to ward A, you’ll see a doctor, when you go to ward D, you’ll see a doctor. They don’t need to ask a doctor in Ward A before they know what’s happening to them because the card will contain information about their health.

• Moving forward, what should your constituents expect from you?

Moving forward, they should expect more of what we’ve been doing. We don’t intend to rest on our oars. They should expect more people-centered policies and projects. The budget this year is community-driven and it means the people should expect more projects and developments in their communities from roads, community halls, and streetlights to more laboratories in our PHCs. They should expect more.

• The media chat is a Governance Monitoring series; an initiative of Theliberationnews to torchlight the activities of Council chairmen, especially Lagos, and their policies to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn on their residents.

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