Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu popularly called The ARK is a member of Lagos State House Assembly representing Ikeja Constituency 11 and Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development. Currently spending his first term in the hallowed chamber, Hon. Kasunmu is a cousin to the National Leader of All Progressives Congress APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In this interview with City Rovers contributing editor, TUNDE OGUNMOLA, The ARK spoke on a wide range of issues.
Could you lead us into the world of Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu?
I am Hon. Adedamola Richard Kasunmu also known as ARK. I studied at the University of Wolverhampton, I trained as a lawyer. I served as an educational administrator for about a decade, I am a self-acclaimed psychologist based on my interest in cognitive reasoning and cognitive development and being able to sometimes read minds and use that ability to redefine life communication process and skills. Before now, I have always had an inbuilt passion for event management and planning. And I have a very kin interest in motivational speaking and development of the youth. I could tell you a little bit more about myself but I can limit it to the fact that I love exploring, I love to learn and this has made me a very highly spirited person, but extremely gentle, shrouded in my vocation and dealings because I take my time to have an in depth thought in core decision making so that I don’t make mistakes.
ARK is the acronym of your name, Adedamola Richard Kasunmu. Are there any other significance attached to this?
Truly, ARK is the acronym of my name, but embedded in it is God’s direction and wisdom. The ARK itself represents the covenant of God and it tells a story that no matter what happens in life, covenant of God still remains the same in one’s life. That’s what the Yorubas termed “Kadara”.
What’s your own definition of success?
My own definition of success is when I become known for what I have been able to achieve.
How would you describe your rise to your present status and what determines your nature as a man?
The composition of my family lineage made me who I am today. My parents and family contributed to what I am today and the man I have become.
Tell us more about your background and growing up days?
I grew up from a very big family saddled with the responsibility of getting to know everybody within my family. One of the major contributions to my life is that throughout my life, I learned a lot from my parents and they have helped me to develop myself emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially. Today, I can tell you that I grew up from a very strong foundation which is helping me.
What are those targets you set for yourself before becoming an Honourable member of the House of Assembly and have you been able to achieve any of them?
One of the key targets I came with to the Lagos State House of Assembly is my resolve to make a positive difference in terms of my contributions, actions and every achievement I can make in the Lagos Assembly. So far so good, I can tell you that I have been able to record achievements in some major areas. Ranging from award of scholarship, to educational sponsorship for students within my constituency and I have been able to have the opportunity to participate in ad hoc committees of the House discussing several sensitive issues that affect the State as a whole. And working in conjunction with domestic violence response team is one of the major things I have achieved because I am one of the campaigners for violence against women and children within the state. More so, I can say that in the last 8 to 9 months, I have been able to reach out to my constituency in terms of giving out gifts during Muslim and Christian festive periods. We have been able to engage in stakeholders’ meetings to feed my constituents back and able to find out from them what their needs are. Among others, facilitating the construction of pedestrian bridge around “Berger Oke” was one of my major contributions which His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode should be well commended for because he quickly responded to the clarion call. And talking about oversight function generally which is one of the major attributes of the legislators is something I perform judiciously, accurately and effectively, functioning as the Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development within the Lagos State House of Assembly. I have been able to try and work on presenting at least, two bills that affect my constituency and Lagos State at large. I can tell for a fact that employment opportunities have actually been created in recent times through this office because of the diversity of the House of Assembly in creating opportunities for every member to be able to bring forth a few constituents to accord them the chance to be skilled or to be employed in their areas of specializations.
I can also tell you for free that I have been able to influence several employment opportunities into the Civil Service.
An empowerment programme is on the way, the empowerment programme is going to spread across my constituency where women, youth, artisans, elderly people and students are going to be the beneficiaries. And as the years roll by, we will repeat this programme to make sure that the empowerment goes round.
“You will be where you are many years to come except for the people you meet and the books you read”. Who are those people that contributed to your being a lawmaker?
The list is endless, but there are major people who I cannot but mention for the success of my electioneering campaign and election into the Lagos State House of Assembly. They include the National Leader of our great party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he gave me the unflinching support; Chief (Mrs) Kemi Nelson who played a major motherly role to ensure that the electioneering was a success and all the party leaders within Ikeja. They all played prominent roles in ensuring success was achieved and we got the result. To the glory of God, April 12th, 2015, I came out victorious with 19, 909 votes. I can only give thanks to God Almighty and my leaders and the entire people of Ikeja 11 Constituency for my election into the Lagos State House of Assembly.
You are the Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development. How do you hope to turn things around in that Committee?
The truth is that I perform oversight functions in this regard. I believe that social welfare is paramount as the Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development. It’s ranging from the protection of youth to creating recreational activities in terms of Sports because they are from two distinct different dimensions, we have to be able to explore and create opportunities and create the awareness within the youth at large. As the leader of the pack, I intend to be of good use and of good benefit to the youth in general in Lagos State so that they can continue to be the pacesetter among other youths in the country.