My concern for the suffering masses in my area brought me into politics – Honourable Aloysius Okino

July 3rd, 2018

Hon Aloysius Adeiza Okino, was the immediate past Executive chairman of Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State. He contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in the 2015 election for the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency seat. He lost to the All Progressive Congress, (APC) in that election due to what many referred to as the Buhari Tsunami. He graduated from the Geography Department of University of Abuja,. He equally holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration. He is well exposed and widely travelled. He is currently the Senior Legislative Aid to Distinguished Senator Ahmed Ogembe representing Kogi Central senatorial district, at the Upper chamber of the National Assembly. Recently he interacted with journalists in Lokoja, where he declared his intention to run for house of Reps seat once again. Our correspondent Ibrahim Obansa was there. Excerpt

As a former chairman of Ajaokuta Local Government Area, what are your legacies?

As chairman of Ajaokuta Local government I tried my best to ensure that the resources of the local government was used judiciously for the people. Several projects which have direct bearing with our people were executed. The rehabilitation and construction of bridges on Ukpake /Adogu a forgotten axis was strategic. The people living in this areas are mostly farmers and fishermen who before then have been finding it difficult to convey their farm produce to the market. My administration equally embarked on the construction of health centers across the three districts of the LGA. This has brought healthcare delivery closer to the people. Electricity supply was equally improved with the intervention we gave to the PHCN by constructing the switch infrastructure from Ajaokuta Transmission to Adogo. Women and youth empowerment received a boost during our time in addition to scholarship and educational support we gave to several indigent students and pupils. We equally constructed 30 motorized boreholes across the Local Government with the highest concentration at the Ajaokuta Steel Territory because of its strategic importance to the economic growth of the area. Salaries were paid as and when due even though we had some challenges at some point due to dwindling revenue from the federation account. We intervened in the education sector with the rehabilitation and construction of Primary Schools and we paid the Counter part funding of MDG in other to benefit projects in Health and Education worth 200 million naira. We equally extended pipe born water to 500 housing units, which happened to be a State Government owned housing Estate. We had steady youths and women empowerment programs for our people and they were utilized in various schemes ranging from environmental to security management. But on the whole we ensured that the people were carried along and they were happy.

How are you work for resucitation of moribund Ajaokuta Steel complex located in your area?

The steel company is one of my priority area when elected. Studies have shown that Ajaokuta Steel Company is capable of generating 5 million direct and indirect employment for the citizenry. If that happens, my constituency will be the immediate beneficiary, there will be serious economic boom in the area. Nigeria as a whole will greatly benefit from its completion and optimal performance. The impact of steel in our economy cannot be over emphasized, in our daily life we need iron and steel and Nigeria currently imports over 3.5 million metric tons per annum loosing foreign exchange in billions of dollars in the process. We are lucky that the various technical audits of the plant has shown that its long abandonment has not affected the plant negatively. So I am going to initiate discussions and lobbying that will fast track the early completion of the steel plant with a lot of advocacy and lobby. Importantly the original Builders from the former USSR will be canvassed to come and complete the work and commission the project to the glory of God for humanity. It is in the interest of the generality of our people that the steel company is revived.

What are those things that actually propelled you into politics?

My coming into politics has always being to serve the people of my area. Today if you go round our Constituency you can see and feel poverty, infrastructural deficit and so many other problems facing our people. I am of the opinion that with the strategic location of the Local Government, given the abundant human and natural resources our people have no business with suffering. So basically, my coming into politics is to bring development closer to our people.

What do you have in the pipeline for youths and women in your constituency?

Like I said earlier as chairman we tried to empower the women and youth in our area. As a way of stepping it up, we are going to constructively engage the youths and women and the only way we can achieve this is to ensure that we create an environment for them to be gainfully employed. I am going to organize training and seed capital empowerment on small scale businesses for them so that they can become self-reliant. Those who are educated will be assisted to secure employment as I I have continued to do out of office using my personal contacts, while those who want to further their education will be accommodated in my scholarship programs which I am currently run as a personal concern.

Are you satisfied with previous representation from your constituency?

If I am satisfied there would be no need to contest. This is not just about me. Our people are suffering, we are not even benefiting from the Federal presence in our community. There is poverty everywhere, this is largely dependent on the quality of representation at the moment. We must prioritize the welfare of our people with quality representation. So my mission therefore is to give our people that quality representation which in the opinion of the generality of our people is currently lacking to galvanize human and capital development of Ajaokuta Federal Constituency.

How do you hope to draw Federal presence to your constituency?

I will advocate and lobby strongly for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company because it is the bedrock of industrialization of Nigeria therefore there is need for heightened advocacy and lobby for the political will of the Executive to be brought to bear on the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company. The political will has been lacking because we are witnesses to the joint funding of the National Integrated Power Projects which boosted electricity generation for the Nation was actually funded from the FAAC receipts as a contribution share by Federal, State and Local Governments in which about 8.4 billion dollars was invested on behalf of the three tiers of Government. I am aware and privy to the arrangement being a Local Government Chairman when share certificates were issued, so you see the political will is what is lacking if not, similar arrangements can be put in place for ASCO completion which cost far less than NIPP.

One other priority area is to advocate and lobby for the Ajaokuta Steel Company Staffs salary to be upgraded to CONTISS with their full allowance because those staffs are making a huge sacrifices by preserving over 6 billion dollars investments in ASCO, they run maintenance shifts and test run machinery to keep them in good state as well as running security shifts for the entire complex. For us to still be talking about ASCO today is largely due to the high maintenance culture imbibed by the staffs which made the plant still technically intact.

Another area of concern and interest is the Upake Adogwu Ogodo road and rural electrification as well as the Adu and Okuhaobanyi Electrification. The major dual carriage way we have runs between Itobe to Okene, I will work assiduously with my colleagues to ensure that the road is completely rehabilitated by ensuring that it is captured in the budget and implemented for the wellbeing of our people. Other areas I will lobby for is the provision of delivery kits to pregnant women and equipping of hospitals and clinics in our constituency. I will also facilitate support to the aged and ensure that our youths are gainfully employed in the federal service as I have done even as a private individual.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as that man who was willing to sacrifice his comfort for the welfare of his people. A man who will put smiles on the faces of the people of Ajaokuta Federal Constituency. Without sounding immodest, this is what I have always stood for and I am committed to.

As a politician what are your regrets?

Well my only worry is that politics is full of betrayals. Trust doesn’t mean so much to some people. It hurts when you are betrayed. But in all God has always been great.

What are your happy moments?

My happy moments in politics are those moments that I was able to make someone happy. I am always happy when I realized that I have been able to affect someone’s life positively.

Your advice to the electorates?

My advice to the electorates is that they should vote candidates who has their welfare at heart. They should not follow money bags, this has been the problem. Those who has nothing to offer come with money at the end of every four years to buy votes and disappear for another four years. The electorates should remember their future and that of their children. The youths whose constituency I belong must come out and follow the process by participating from registration of voters to voting and protecting their votes on election day in other to elect their very own representatives who will serve them for their advancement unlike the current situation of having elected officers riding on the back of President Buhari goodwill in 2015 elections.

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