Ahead of the local government elections in Nasarawa state, the Executive Chairman of Nasarawa Local Government Area, Mohammed Sani Otto, has been speaking on his efforts to transform the local government and better the lots of his people.
In this interview with our correspondent, BEAUTY JOHN, the chairman spoke about the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nasarawa LGA, his achievements so far and how Governor Abdullahi Sule is delivering the dividends of democracy to the people.
Below are excerpts:
There has been a land tussle between the people of Karmo in Toto local government area and Kurudu in Nasarawa local government area, what are you doing to bring that to an end?
The people of Karmo in Toto need to retrace their history, that land has never at any point belonged to them but my people in Kurudu.
I didn’t get to know about the land tussle until Karmo petitioned my people at the House or Assembly, where the leaders of both communities appeared before the house.
As I speak to you, arrangements have been made for both communities to sit and reconcile. We are at the verge of a dialogue, afterwards, the land will be demarcated by relevant authorities to avoid any case like this from reoccurring. I believe a clear demarcation will solve the land tussle between the border communities once and for all.
Your re-election is fast approaching, are you worried?
My local government election is fast approaching but want to assure you that we are prepared to go into election. What actually gives me confidence to contest for this election is because of what we have put in place. The legacy I have built has further given me hope.
If elections are won by popularity, if elections are won by achievements, then I have what it takes to win my re-election without a hitch.
I say this confidently that I am a candidate to beat and whoever is coming to contest with me, will have to get himself or herself prepared because in my campaign promises, I have promised a lot and I have delivered on my promises to the electorates. Therefore, I am confident that my re-election will be a landslide victory.
Recently, even with the COVID-19 pandemic crippling our economy, I was able to construct a modern abattoir for my people. The governor came down and commissioned it on Thursday 23rd July in Laminga.
Having seen how unhygienic the slaughter house had been, it was necessary to construct a more befitting one for my people.
I have been able to solve water problems in most parts of my local government by drilling water boreholes and providing water tanks. Places like Rimin-Kofa in Loko, Onda and Kana are already enjoying that.
Meanwhile, some other places have been marked out for similar projects. It is my intention that every nook and cranny of my local government should have access to clean water before my tenure elapses.
To solve the problem of flood in our communities, we constructed drainages, single cell culverts and double cell culverts in many locations like Gunki, Loko, Kwotto-Onda road, Angwan Pawa in Nasarawa, Akum-Ogbo road, to mention but a few. We also constructed 1 kilometer road in Angwan Mallam. These are just very few that I can mention at the moment.
What is your take on governor Sule’s administration, how will you rate it?
So far so good, I want to say that Engr. Abdullahi Sule has proven to be someone who has the plight of the common man at heart, he has proven that he has come to deliver the dividends of democracy to the good people of Nasarawa state. The promises he made during his campaign are coming to fusion.
Having spent one year in office, he has put a lot on ground to showcase to the world that he has a lot to offer. And so far so good, he has done credibly well and I want to sincerely rate him on the high side. The electorates are not disappointed for giving him this mandate.
As for Nasarawa local government, I have seen a lot of projects spread not only in the metropolis but in the rural areas as well.
One among which is the construction of a 25km road which amounted to N3.6 billion naira from Udege Maraba to Udege Beki.
This road over the years has been unattended to. It is a road that has gotten so much attention in the past and a lot of economic activities had taken place there. This is where we have a mining company that has been in existence right from 1902 and mining has been explored in that area, but surprisingly, nothing has been done regarding that road but nothing has been done to relive the suffering of the people living in that area.
Engr. Abdullahi Sule during his campaign rally, made mention that if God so wishes, and he becomes the governor of Nasarawa State, he will do what is expected of him to relief the suffering of the people of Udege, and that has come to pass .
His administration kick-started the work three months ago, the road is under construction as I speak to you and we have a lot of projects ranging from health, water and other infrastructural development that have been put in place by his administration.
You are currently the youngest local government chairman in Nasarawa state, what is your take on youths in governance in Nasarawa tate?
Considering the array of youths currently occupying various positions right from the state level down to the local government, Engr. Abdullahi Sule-led administration has proven to carry youths along.
Myself, I fall in that constituency. Today, I am opportune to be a local government chairman. I can boldly say the youths are not disappointing, the youths are doing wonderfully well.
With the projects I have put in place, it is already giving me an edge above every other person I am contesting against next year.
There was an outbreak of COVID-19 that led to total lockdown of your local government for six days, how were you able to contain it?
When the first case from Nasarawa Local Government was recorded, although how we got to know there was COVID-19 in Nasarawa was when Hon. Sulieman died of the virus. He was the member representing Nasarawa-Central at the Nasarawa state House of Assembly. Later, some of the samples taken from the contacts traced turned out positive.
Before his burial, we embarked on sensitization of our people, trying to make them understand what coronavirus is and how to protect themselves and their loved ones from getting infected, we succeeded in that. At the burial ground, we tried as much as we could to see that we controlled the crowd and that was also achieved.
Later on when the first lockdown was imposed for three days, it was a bit difficult to comply with at the initial stage, but Alhamdulilah, the security agents were so cooperative and made sure that the compliance was 100%. We did the best we could to make sure that we kept them at home, so as to control the spread of the virus.
After the first three day lockdown, we began contact tracing and traced about 74 contacts. Unfortunately, some tested positive. We had resistance when they were confirmed positive, they dragged with us and the medics, especially when they were about to be taken to isolation centre.
There were a lot of challenges during that period but to God be the glory, they were able to understand and got convinced to go into isolation through the intervention of his royal highness, the Emir of Nasarawa, who responded marvelously well in the situation.
With the help of security agents on ground, we were able to enforce the six-day total lockdown without a hitch.
To us in Nasarawa local government, it was a teamwork of the leadership and security personnel that actually helped in controlling the spread of the virus, else, it would have escalated and would have resulted to a total disaster.