Hon Mohammed Ali, Chairman of Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State was recently elected Chairman of the Northern Local Government Chairmen Forum. Considered as one of the most vibrant young politicians to have emerged from the Confluence State, Mohammed Ali is on the fast track of political metamorphosis. In this interview with The Banner’s Andrew Odiba, the ebullient Chairman exfoliated his plans for Dekina and the embryonic Northern Council Chairmen Forum.Excerpts.
Mr Chairman, how has governance been in Dekina since your assumption of office?Hon. Mohammed Ali
It is quite interesting and intriguing. We are well prepared for the task. I have a roadmap for the development of the Local Government Area which is a subset of the elaborate plan of our dynamic governor, His Excellency Alh. Idris Wada to transform Kogi State. We are doing our best to fulfil the promises we made to the Dekina people.
Have there been challenges so far in running Kogi’s largest Local Government Area?
There is nothing we do that we would not grapple with challenges. Our ability to face those challenges determines our success. We knew there would be challenges and we are prepared to face the challenges. We are not elected to run away from challenges. The main challenge we have now is how address the level of poverty in the Local Government. By the time the people start reaping our strategic intervention, Dekina will witness tremendous development. We are also determined to improve the revenue profile of the Local Government Area in order to be able to provide quality services to the people.
Can you tell us any achievements by your council so far?
We have achieved some feats already but we don’t want to start mentioning them now. Wait for the details during our first 100 days in office. We will declare poverty persona non gratia in our Local Government Area.
How will you rate the Alh. Idris Wada’s administration in Kogi State?
Our governor, His Excellency, Alh. Idris Wada is God-sent to continue the good work of our father, Alh. Ibrahim Idris and also improve on that. Those who know our governor well will tell you he is a man who always strives to achieve success. The governor is doing his best to improve our roads, hospitals, schools and food production capacity. He is an organized administrator with the will power to transform Kogi State. Look at all he is doing to advance industrialization in the state. When all his efforts start bearing fruits, Kogites will realize they made a good choice in our dynamic, pragmatic and visionary governor.
Many in the state feel the Joint Allocation initiative is suffocating the councils. How true is this?
It is unfortunate that some people feel that way. It is great disinformation. There are so many positives about the Joint Allocation. It enables the councils to imbibe fiscal discipline and uniformity of action towards development. The initiative is beneficial.
The opposition alleged that the last Council Poll in the state was rigged in favour of the PDP. To be modest, do you subscribe to such allegation?
I have read such insinuations in the newspapers but I think they are baseless, imaginary and a rape on sportsmanship. An election is to be won or lost. The winners must be magnanimous in victory while the losers must show great spirit. I don’t want to make so much comment on this but will suffice to say we need to bury the animosity of the past and come together to develop Kogi State. Elections are over. It is time for development.
How are you relating with your Legislative Council?
I relate with them with great respect. It is an independent arm of government and we are trying to make our model in the state. The councillors are of great minds. They are all working for the development of Dekina and we will work with them respectfully to achieve that aim. I am not ignorant to know that the Legislative Council is highly representative of the people. We are working together through robust engagement and cooperation.
You were recently elected the Chairman of the Northern Council Chairmen Forum. What is your agenda for the Forum?
It is a Forum of people with equal status. I am only elected to be their servant; their messenger so to say. I have accepted the responsibility and will work towards making the best of it. As a peer review group, we will hope to take stock of what is going on in the various Local Government Areas in order to see how to improve life at the grassroots. We will also see to how we can improve education in the North as well as healthcare, agriculture and other developmental issues.
The Forum will surely impact on our respective Local Government Councils in the North.
What is your advice for the Dekina people?
I want them to keep believing in our administration’s resolve to make life meaningful for every Dekina person as well as expand opportunities for our youths and women to achieve their dreams of self-sustainability. The youths and women deserve our support because they will determine where we will be in the near future.
Thanks for your audience
You are welcome. I also want to thank The Banner for standing by us right from the electioneering period.