The people of Lagos State have been given an assurance that houses would son be available for them from the government.
The new Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Housing, Hon. Bisi Yusuff believes that the government can do a lot to provide accommodation for the people.
Yusuff, representing Alimosho Constituency 1 spoke on his new committee as well as issues relating to culture in this interview he granted us recently.
We will like to know the plan of the state government on housing. You are the head of the Committee and people believe that there is much to be done in this area. The executive would do the work, but you are to guide them. How are you looking at it. In the last administration people were asking about Lagos Homs, is it going to get better now?
I got the mandate of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa to head the Housing Committee. But the Speaker only mentioned the Chairmen of the Committees, he has not mentioned the members. Once our members and the secretariat are in place, then we will start work. A good leader does not impose his own ideas on the Committee. I have an idea of what to do, but we have to work together as a team. Even in a desert there would always be oasis. So, committee depends on who is operating it. Like you said, housing project is important. We have our own agenda and the people of Lagos State would be happy for it.
What would be your relationship with the executive on this so that they would be put on their toes?
Lagos State House of Assembly is not a rubber stamp, we are proactive and our Speaker is also proactive. Our Speaker likes someone that is active. There would not be any confrontation, but we will do our job the way it is expected.
What of the issue of cost. With the new government, how would you ensure that the houses are affordable to the masses?
I have not seen their books so I cannot determine whether the houses are affordable or they are not. When I have that and the committee starts work, we will know what to do. What I know is that we will do something that is unique.
Culture, they say is people’s way of life. Let us look at the major aspect of culture? Language is an important aspect of culture, what is the house going to do to preserve the Yoruba Language?
To me, culture is just an identity, it is a way of life, the way we drink water and the way we eat are part of our culture. The way you sleep, the way you breathe are part of our culture. As you said, language is a vehicle of culture. In the Lagos State House of Assembly, we have realised this, which is why we are embracing the language and our leader believes that once we preserve our identity through our language then we will go far.
About three years ago, we celebrated Yoruba Day in the Assembly and invited all the custodians of our culture such as obas, baales and others. If you go to foreign countries, the people preserve their language a lot. When you translate a message from Yoruba Language to English Language you would miss some ingredients. Yoruba is so rich that there is no way you can translate it to other language except Yoruba. We have non-verbal communication in Yoruba Language. But nowadays we are losing it and when you lose your language you would lose everything. Even economic development, we are losing it and we don’t care again. Go to Germany, they speak their language, Chinese, they speak their language. They speak their language in every developed country. It is the most important and it is so rich. Even science could be done in Yoruba Language. But now, we cannot speak it fluently. None of us could speak Yoruba Language without interjecting it with English Language and we need to be very careful about this. When a child greets the father and mother at home, he will say “good morning,” what is the meaning of that. In Yoruba Land, you prostrate or kneel to greet elders as the case may be. There is a way of greeting by parents too, the mother would greet the sons or daughters in an emotional way and tell them their origin and tell them to know how to behave. What we are losing now is what the white men are coming to learn. They destroyed it in the first place. If you say this thing is not good, another person would take it, which is what they are doing. They are bringing the third colonisation. The first was colonisation, then we had neo colonisation, the post colonisation is what they want to do now. When they come now, they would learn our language and come back to teach us thd language.
What is the way out?
That was what we started today by passing a motion that we should speak our language regularly.
Is our culture not being affected by western religion?
Religion is different from culture. Religionis about the concept of the supreme being, and invisible being. The traditional people have their own belief, it is quite different from culture, but they can be interwoven. That was why I said that people should not mix religion with culture. They are two different things. You may be cultural without believing in traditional worship. That is why I dress like a Yoruba man regularly and I am proud of it. But I don’t worship God in the traditional way.