Architect (Alhaji) Ali Ukele Ojotu is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), in Kogi State. In this interview with AMUDA DAN SULAIMAN FAB, he speaks on his aspiration and agenda.
Sir, why do you want to become governor of Kogi State?
My motivation for attempting to be governor of Kogi State is born out of a passion for serving my people and leapfrogging the state into the league of developed polities across the world. Our state is endowed with infinite possibilities of greatness, and these opportunities need focused, prudent and accountable leadership to harness the prospects for the greatest good of our people. The world, including Nigeria and Kogi State, is at the edge of a new order. Hybrids like me will activate this new order driven by knowledge powered by technology. By hybrid, I am referring to technocrat-politicians whose grasp of the economy and governance are not only firmly rooted in their homeland but have a global resonance that will engender that much-needed interface between the homeland and the globe.
So much has happened in the last 23 years since the turn of the millennium, and a lot more is going to happen. The core of this is that we now need to do things anew. In doing this, we need new ideas that run with the times, new energy to cope with the exerting demands of the time.
So, what are you offering the people of Kogi State?
Good governance is essentially the efficient management of resources and accountability for the stewardship over those resources in a people-oriented manner. Development is about the people. So, our essential goal will be to factor the people into every government policy. I have done some deep thinking and quite a lot of reading to conceptualise how Kogi State can be developed. I took time to read the development aspirations that drove some of the regions in Nigeria in the 1960s. I discovered that similar aspirations took Singapore to the league of developed nations. Similar aspirations took Malaysia and Indonesia close to the margins of developed nations. I have worked in many places all and others that are popularly referred to as Asian Tigers. But the case of Nigeria has been arrested development. I have also looked at contemporary global reality and how the world is changing regarding knowledge and technology-driven tendencies. A perfect blending of the past with the realities of today is what Kogi State needs from 2023. Without necessarily reinventing the wheel, I am offering Kogi State and Kogites an agenda of modernisation. I am offering Kogi State and Kogites a new deal to fit into the new world order. By us, I am referring to the people of Kogi State. This new deal will be driven by industrialisation, power and energy, security, ICT, social infrastructure, embracing education, health, transportation, rural and urban development, and public sector reforms. I am offering a new vision in sync with the new world order. We must lift our people.
What do you really think are the development challenges of Kogi?
The development challenges of Kogi State cannot be taken out of the context of the problems of Nigeria. Some of the challenges appear intractable, but with diligent application of the intellect and rigorous commitment, these problems can be overcome for the good of our people. Some of the issues I have highlighted include poor power supply, absence of industries, insecurity, inadequate access to healthcare, inadequate social infrastructure, inadequate education infrastructure, lack of ICT, youth unemployment, low per capita productivity, and poverty. The present and previous administrations in Kogi State have done nothing in remedying the problems. What is needed at the moment is to leverage on the modest gains with new vigour, a new sense of urgency, new ideas, a solid determination to alter the paradigm to reflect contemporary realities and leapfrog our state into the league of modern societies.