OMOSEFE-AJAYI: Working To Bring Back Good Old Days Of LITFC
By Charles Okogene, ONNLive
MRS. Lucy Omosefe-Ajayi cut her teeth in the event organizing industry. In there, she was a household name; grooming models who act as ushers in high profile events.
While there she was adventurous, restless and never got satisfied with the challenges of that sector of entertainment business. She wanted more from life. And as a restless soul, she ventured into politics not minding the fact that people see it (politics) as a dirty game not fit for decent people like her, especially women. Omosefe-Ajayi turned a deaf ear to all that saying and plunged headlong into the business of politicking.
In there, she came in contact with the present president of Nigeria; President Muhammandu Buhari; the integrity personified Buhari wasted no time in spotting the trust worthy character in her, a goal getter and a hard working fellow; he bonded with her like a father will do to his only girl-child. The relationship grew so strong that when the president left the then All Peoples Party (APP) to the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), Omosefe-Ajayi was one of the people that followed the president with little or no persuation. She was one of the people who saw tomorrow today, who were convinced and stuck to their conviction that Buhari will rise again to become Nigeria’s civilian president. And their conviction came to pass in 2015 and may repeat itself in 2019.
And like they say, one thing led to another while she was in CPC and she was elected the woman leader of the party in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State before the it collapsed into the ruling party, All Progressives (APC) at its inception. Observers of the father, daughter relationship that existed between Buhari and Omosefe-Ajayi were, however, not surprised when she was appointed the executive director general of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex (LITFC) with the mandate to bring the expansive complex back to life among others.
When she was appointed, the complex which had in time past hosted the Lagos Chamber of Commerce trade fair, was still struggling to extricate itself from the tangles of a concession agreement which the past federal government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) entered it into with a concessionaire firm that only remitted nothing to the federal purse in nine years.
On assumption of office, the first Herculean task on Omosefe-Ajayi table was how to lawfully terminate the concession rights given to the concession firm. To do that, she went to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the supervisory ministry of LITFC and the senate and convinced the Senate with the help of Senator Olimlekan Adeola (a.k.a Yayi) of Lagos East Senatorial District the senate of the need to do away with the concession agreement. With the termination of the agreement signed and sealed, Omosefe-Ajayi set the ball rolling on how to bring life back into the almost moribund complex which was initiated and constructed in the military era.
Faced with many challenges such as pothole riddled access road to the complex from the Lagos/Badgary Expressway, invasion of the green areas by the ubiquitous street traders/hawkers, dilapidated structures inside the markets within the complex and lack of money to carry out some of the immediate repairs, Omosefe-Ajayi, decided to start from the less expensive which is the reclamation of the green areas hitherto occupied by the street traders and palliative rehabilitation of the access road to the complex.
Today, with no seed money or take off grant, the complex is wearing a new look. First, the beauty of the green areas have retuned as all the areas have not only been reclaimed from the illegal occupants, it has also been secured with American security wires to prevent the restless traders from overrunning it again; the access road, which had made it almost impossible for trucks conveying goods and services in and out of the markets in the complex, has been attended to while waiting for a total rehabilitation and reconstruction. All these she did with the support of stakeholders and members of his board chaired by Barrister Mela Audu Nunghe which embarked on the first tour of the state of the facilities in the complex on Friday, April 13, 2018.
Before the tour, the chairman of the board had told journalists during an interview that the complex “is a wealth lying fallow and which they are determined to unlock.”
Some of the stakeholders, the Lagos Chambers of Commerce, which had used the complex for its yearly trade fair before it deserted it for the main bowl of Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), is said to have expressed willingness to return to the complex, which was built purposely for trade fair and other trade exhibitions, by November 2018.
However, the most cheery news is the story that in just four months, the board and management of the complex have been able to contribute the some of N700 million into the government’s Single Treasury Account (TSA) as against the zero kobo the sacked concessionaire generated in nine years. This Mrs. Omosefe-Ajayi, said while speaking to journalists, was made possible through a cooperative board and a hard working staff.
Not only that, the complex is gradually regaining its lost glory and events organizers who had earlier lost faith in the complex are beginning to retrace their steps. Shows and events are beginning to return to the place like it used to be in the days of Poaston Easter jamboree of past years. And with the zeal and dedication of Mrs. Omosefe-Ajayi, members of his board and the ever committed staff members, it is just a matter of time before the complex returns to its good old days of the venue to be for any trade exhibition activity.