HON. IDRIS NDAKO is the Majority Leader of the Kogi State House of Assembly and a two-term legislator representing Lokoja 11 state constituency. In this interview, the House of Representatives aspirant spoke on his desire to move up to the national assembly as the representative of the people of Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency in the lower chamber and his activities as a state lawmaker since 2015
Why do you want to represent Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency in the House of Representatives after two terms as a state legislator?
This constituency is where I come from. I live among the people and I understand them very well. I also feel what they feel because I have been serving state constituency as a legislator since 2015. Now, the same people who had sent me to the State Assembly twice want me to go to the House of Representatives as their legislator. My passion is to serve my people always. As such, in any capacity they want me to serve them, I will be willing to do.
Relatedly, politics is now very dynamic and sophisticated. Under the new dispensation, Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency, which comprises Lokoja and Kogi LGAs, of Kogi state needs a representation that has ideas. They need a representation that has the willingness and ability to make things happen. They need a representation that will go to Abuja and bring back the dividend of democracy. They need a representation that is very close to the grassroots. They also need a representation that is part of the government at the state and federal levels.
What is your agenda for your constituency?
My legacies as a member of the state assembly speak for me. I am still working hard even now to bring the good life to my people. We have struggled to identify what our people need and we have been doing that. We have used the mandate given to us to bring dividends of democracy to our people in the past years and we have not stopped doing that.
As a legislator, I had also given back to my society, I have learnt that you have to consult the people to know what they want and such provide for them. Right from my first term, I started free coaching classes at Felele and I am happy that till date, the programme is still on for all students that are taking their GCE and WAEC examinations. I have renovated health centres. We have also worked on Mother and Child care among other things.
After examining the traditional birth system in my constituency, I had to bring in medical doctors to train the traditionalists. We also gave them safety kits to deliver babies. I also renovated and built new block of classrooms.
We also initiated free eye surgery to cater for our elderly and also gave out free glasses. We have been running a free ICT centre for our youths and other interested persons for years now.
Are these achievements the basis for seeking their support for your ambition?
It is in view of these and many more that I have done that the people are now saying I should represent them. Having done so much for my current constituency and the state as the Majority leader, they have the confidence that I can add value to their lives at the law-making level. To actually do more for my people, I need to go to Abuja, to ensure that all the activities and infrastructures that are being distributed all over the federation will come to Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency.
The people in the constituency do not have access to these facilities at present. All we hear is that the constituency gets constituency projects which are never actually done. This time around we are going to ensure that what is due for our people are brought to them. Again, there is what we call quality representation, which is contributing to the affairs of the nation. Everybody is talking about corruption in the nation; everybody is talking about lack of infrastructure. The constituency will maintain an office where the people can go and make their complaints which will in turn make representation in Abuja.
These and many more need to be addressed. The Federal Government must give Kogi State what it deserves. I believe I can add my own voice to it and push for what we deserve in the state and my constituency. The voice of Lokoja/Kogi must be heard. There are so many things we need to ask for as a people. There are so many opportunities we need to take advantage of. These are the reasons why I want to represent my people at the national assembly.
What were the roles you played in achieving peace in Lokoja which was hitherto witnessing Cultism?
Honestly I want to say that is my greatest achievement as a representative of the people in government. This is so because youths are very important and we are trying to keep them busy by engaging them in various ways. As a legislator, I was involved in changing the orientation of our young ones. I remembered sometimes, I had a very massive empowerment programme where I distributed a lot of things just to make sure we encourage them to venture into different trades and vocations.
At another time, I brought in people to come and train them. But the most important factor that was responsible for the reduction of crime is Governor Yahaya Bello’s resolve to tackle criminality headlong. Offenders were being punished for their offences and nobody was a sacred cow. This forced our youth to shun violence and engage in profitable ventures.