We’re All Winners, New Suleja LG Chairman Tells Colleagues

Local government election in Niger state has come and gone. What remains now is the hard task of re-positioning the local councils for accelerated development. In this interview with the newly elected Chairman of Suleja Local Government Area, Honorable Ahmed Diko Kassim, he talked on the rehabilitation works in the LGA. The Chairman spoke with Abdullahi Abubakar, Suleja after swearing in his Deputy and 10 Councilors


You said during your speech that the local government elections were peaceful, so how peaceful was it?
Now that you are in Suleja you have every opportunity at your disposal to go round and see things for yourself. You will see that there were no houses burnt down by political thugs or any politically related killing, there is nothing like that, but as I said earlier, seeing is believing, please go round Suleja and see things for yourself and confirm what your eyes saw to the world.
Has here been any move to reconcile the aggrieved parties now that election is over?
I have started the process of reconciliation. After the swearing in ceremony of my Deputy and elected councilors of the ten wards in the area, I in clear terms want to extend hands of fellowship to other political parties to come and join hands with us in running this administration. We will have a roundtable talk with them on how to achieve this. What took place was a competition that saw All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party in triumph. Now it is no longer an APC government or winner takes it all affairs. This is an administration that will involve all and sundry, so that together we can move Suleja forward for the benefit of all.
Sulja is one of the oldest Local Government Areas in the state and the mantle of leadership has been handed over to you. Are you satisfied with the situation you meet on ground?
I am still studying the situation I meet on ground, but to be honest with my predecessors, there are always resources constraints in an attempt to develop the entire local government, but that notwithstanding, I will not be happy with some physical infrastructure in the area.
During the former PDP administration in the state, it left old NTA-Kaduna road and Suleman Barau road unattended to, what are you going to do about that?
When we have enough resources we shall immediately embark on the construction of those two roads with partnership from the state government, after all my people are the ones that will make use of the roads. If the state government said it will construct the two roads and in the next one year nothing is done, we will still remind them to assist the entire people of Suleja about the roads, but I know our Governor will do something about it. If we discovered that the construction of the roads is going to be delayed and we have resources that can execute the project, we will go into an agreement with the state government whereby we will construct the roads and later ask the state government to reimburse us.
Why is it that no other political party has a clear control of power in Suleja apart from the APC?
Suleja Local Government Area or Suleja Emirate right from 2015 has been absolutely APC. We have not had any party winning an election in Suleja Local Government Areas apart from APC. The only party that got the councilor seat in the area got it on technical ground not through election.
In the course of this interview you agreed to the fact that some politicians in other Local Government Areas train and maintain thugs. What will be the stand of your administration to discourage this?
Throughout my election campaign, I discouraged thugs and I will continue to do that. Go round the entire Suleja Local Government and make a vox pop as to whether I trained and maintained thugs. I don’t have thugs and don’t encourage it. Thuggery has a lot of implications, so l will not ask my son who is about entering university to go into thuggery because in the process, he may be killed. Since l cannot recruit my son into this bad behavior, l will equally not allow some ones child to go into such unclean behavior. Once you are a popular candidate; then do away with political thuggery. Political thuggery is alien to the development of strong democracies all over the world and politicians who genuinely want to serve their people should do away with it and give way for our nascent democracy to grow like other advanced democracies. One of the ways of discouraging this legally political trend will be development and youth empowerment programme by my administration. This will help take care of such behavior. A unit to be called youth orientation and reformation under my office will be created with the sole aim of discouraging bad behavior among our youths.
Are you satisfied with the take-off support from the people?
I appeal to them to rally round me with constructive advice that can move this Local Government forward. I cannot alone claim any expertise on how best to run the affairs of this Local government. It is just the case of first among equals. I want to tell them that the period of partisan politics is over and we are all winners. Let us resolve to close ranks on political, tribal and religious grounds and come together in unity and face the challenges of developing Suleja Local Government area for the benefit of our people. I appreciate the efforts of the electorate for voting me into power today. I promise I would not fail them in my effort to bring governance close to them


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