An accomplished risk management expert and the Special Adviser to Kogi state governor on Job Creation and SME, HON. DANLADI SULAIMAN AGUYE who is contesting for the House of Representatives seat for Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in this interview speaks of his vision for the constituency and the achievements of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Excerpts:
What informed your bold step to vie for the House of Representatives position
In Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency today, I believe the time for a change in our representation at the green chamber has come. With 2023 comes an opportunity for breaking the status quo; transitioning the current representation to a fresh hand to set the Federal constituency on a new vision of development, to build on what has been achieved thus far, and carry us further down the path of socio-economic advancement.
My ambition provides the opportunity to redefine and rejuvenate our representation. Therefore I urge that we strive to overcome the forces of inertia that will want to keep us where we are to maintain status quo. Let us collectively push for a fresh perspective, a new breadth of fresh air and a different paradigm to legislative representation.
What exactly do you want to accomplish if elected, in other words, what is your vision for the Lokoja/Kogi people ?
Today our needs in Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency are many. We desire the preservation and sustenance of our people’s lives, good health care, reduction and elimination of poverty, peace, security and stability for societal progress, improving quality of life, social development, and the rights to participate in the decision-making processes that affect our lives and livelihood.
Through the platform of the House of Reps in 2023, I seek to contribute to shaping these needs and to redefine Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency’s representation, to create more positive impact on the lives of the constituents. To redefine leadership and bring out its true essence, that leadership is not about self alone but about developing others; about creating effective successors; not to keep people down but pulling up as many to create the next generation of leaders.
That empowerment requires a methodical process of helping people to stand on their feet beyond mere distribution of hand-outs. To provide the right environment that caters for and allows all to reach their individual aspirations.
Specifically I will be looking at programmes, initiatives and interventions in key areas such as commerce and industry, agricultural transformation, education and training, infrastructural development in the two local government areas, youth and socio-economic development of the area, improved healthcare service delivery and other sectors.
Over the years, there has been this cry of disconnect between elected representatives and the electorate. How do you intend to bridge the gap between you and your constituents if elected?
To be truly representative, I will ensure that the constituents have access to information about parliamentary proceedings, legislation, and policy, and be able to engage in continual dialogue with me. In this regard, regular constituency briefing and town hall meetings will be a key feature of my representation.
The key principle here is inclusion and participation, ensuring that every Lokoja/Kogi person is able to voice his or her opinion and so contribute to the development of laws and policies thereby giving back power to the people. It will be about making laws and initiating policies that will be responsive to the values and interest of our people.
What is your assessment of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration?
My Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello is a man with the midas touch and I can say without fear of contradiction that Bello is the best that Kogites can hope for at this time.
This is a man that assumed office at a time the economy of the state was at its lowest ebb, but because of his prudent management of the lean resources accruing to the state, he has been able to demonstrate that infrastructural development, job and wealth creation, poverty eradication and sustainable economic growth and development are achievable.
Upon his emergence, Governor Bello carefully dismantled the unsatisfactory status quo and pursued hard reforms that restructured government spending to prioritize investments focused on growing the state and empowering the people, not a tiny group of cabals who had for long “held back the state from living up to its potential by draining resources through the back door.
Governor Yahaya Bello displayed the sort of courage that marked him out as an uncommon leader, especially in this clime. His insistence on not keeping power for the mere sake of it but to use public office in initiating meaningful changes and visionary developments, helped him stare down the retrogressive actors who believed that Kogi State existed to service their selfish needs and desires.
Because of his courage and vision, Kogi State has made the transition from its previous position of weakness to being a notable player in the country’s national economy. Hitherto underutilized, its strategic advantages, including geographical location, have all been expertly leveraged to create jobs, attract investments, and negotiate smart deals that spell good fortune for the state in the years to come.
No longer the hotbed of kidnapping and other crimes, Kogi State has won the confidence of economic experts and investors as one led by a serious leader who understands the role of government in creating the right conditions for businesses to thrive and unlock private capital. Nothing accentuates this fact better than the commendable feat recorded last year by Governor Yahaya Bello who, despite the devastation of the pandemic, was able to reduce the state’s domestic burden without failing in any of its mandatory government obligation. No state, not even the usual headliners, could quite manage the achievement.