We’ll transform council administration in Kwara – Akano

Engr. Akano Ologele Shuaib hails from Ohagbagi, Maya Ile-Apa ward in Ilorin East Local Government. In this interview with ACTING EDITOR, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM, the former Youth Coordinator and ex-Senior Special Assistant to Kwara State Government speaks about his aspiration, blueprint and chances in the forthcoming Local Government election among other issues. Excerpts:
What is special about you contesting for the forthcoming Local Government election in Kwara?
Most of our administrators at the local government level failed to understand the pains and plight of our people in the grassroots. Instead of using the bottom top approach that will prioritise the needs of the people, what is obtainable is to give them what we feel is good. People whose pressing need is water, we give light, in what way have we impacted their community? I have lived most of my life in the grassroots and I understand the plight of the people better which have not been adequately addressed. That informed my decision to offer myself for service and I promised to transform whatever is on ground. Ilorin East Local Government is peculiar. Out of its twelve wards, six each are in the urban and rural areas and anybody that is going to govern such place must understand the terrain and not only be concerned about activities in the urban area alone. I will be the catalyst that will mend the loopholes between rural and urban communities in Ilorin East. We want to call the attention of the state government to those rural areas which have been left undeveloped. Almost half of Maya Ile-Apa land mass has been taken over by the University of Ilorin and yet we could not derive the dividend of such opportunity because those who would have addressed it don’t understand the situation.
What do you really think your aspiration can bring to your constituency?
If the welfare of the staff at the local government level is well taken care of with regular salaries, promotions, they will hardly be found engaging in other ventures other than the instruction passed down by the administration or engage in absenteeism. Today, very few council workers are present at work. With improved welfare package, there will be massive change in such attitude. We will focus on agriculture as a result of the ongoing pandemic which might reach a tsunami level in terms of food shortage if care is not taken. As a local government, we are blessed in terms of vast farm lands and we will drive the establishment of big farms by large companies to increase food production and enlarge the economy. Nothing should stop the local government replicating what the state governments is doing by providing aids to farmers in cash and kind at the local level to compliment effort of the governments. Majority of the deplorable roads fall within the rural areas and hardly will you found any tarred roads in villages of Ilorin East, but we are most equipped to address it and promised to embark on massive and continuous grading of roads to aid transportation of food to the market for the farmers. Although the University of Ilorin is located here, it serves the urban people more. There are some clinics and heath centres that cut across the various villages in the rural areas that are not functioning because of lack of renovation and staff. That is why the people prefer to patronise hawkers of drugs than going to clinics and hospitals. When staff and drugs are available, the rural people will patronise it. Some of these health centres and clinics in the villages are like eye sore. But we will redress it when we get there by God’s grace.
There are many aspirants in the PDP also contesting for the position; do you think you have the needed support?
As a former youth coordinator, I influenced placement of over 262 youths in KWABES during the last administration and over sixty percent of them were placed on permanent employment before I left the office. I equally impacted my constituency when I was SSA Service Matters. I have used my past appointments which spanned several offices to impact the people in my local government and I believe I am the best candidate for now. All the elders, youth and my contemporaries know me very well, what I have done and what I can still do. I am more familiar with the grassroots both in the urban and rural areas and I have made my contribution at the party level and as government appointee. Everybody is giving me the support because they know what I can do to transform the local government.
If you don’t emerge at the end of the day, what will happen?
God forbid! But if per chance I failed to emerge, I am ready to support whoever is coming as I have been supporting others in the past. Since 1999, there is no local government council that did not have my support. But I believe this time around, they will all reciprocate the support.
You are contesting under PDP when the APC is still the ruling party and even won the last by-election? Aren’t you contesting under a wrong party?
Thank you very much for this question. During the last election, the APC lied to get the people to vote against the PDP and they get away with it because of the peculiarity of the circumstance we found ourselves then. But the truth has revealed itself. In the last few weeks, Kwarans have started seeing the reality. The last one year of APC administration in Kwara, if you happen to listen to radio programmes, you will know that people are tired. They were not prepared for governance, they just met themselves in government and they started fighting themselves. 60 percent of those who voted APC where members of the PDP because they believed the lies and propaganda they were told then. The people have come to realise their mistakes and are now confessing. Today PDP is in a better position in Kwara and that is why we believe by the time the election is held, other parties will even vote for me.
Do you still believe the election is going to hold, some people have raised reservations?
While APC aspirants are preparing, it will be a mistake to fold our arms and wait till when the governor announced, by then our preparation will be nothing but shabby. So if the governor decides to conduct election, we will go ahead and participate and if he decides otherwise against the constitutional provision that elected officials should manage the council at the local government, then we are watching.
Your message
Kwarans should be very vigilant and pay close attention to what is going on in the state presently not to repeat the mistake they made the last time. The APC has shown us their capability and capacity. Hardly will a month pass during the last administration without announcement of the statutory allocation and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in Kwara. But that is not the case today. What we hear now is that billions of naira has been spent on projects without knowing the source of funding. Our IGR and federal allocation now are both higher than what we used to have but we only see little impact. Recently, the government told us that it spent over N1.5bn for Covid-19 while the people are lamenting the distribution of palliatives. So the action of the APC administration tells the people more about them. The state is not a private estate of anybody, they should let us know amount of the money coming in and what they intend to do with it, it is public money.

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