Abimbola Akosile

Concerned stakeholders of Okun extraction in Kogi State have called on indigenes of the federal constituency to build synergies between the Legislature and bureaucracy in a bid to bring long-awaited development to the people and communities.

The call was spearheaded by a two-time Senatorial Aspirant in Kogi West who served in the Presidency between 1999 and 2007, Mr. Tunde Olusunle, in his remarks at a dinner/interactive session with top civil servants from Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, hosted by Hon Tajudeen Ayo Yusuf, fondly known as TJ in Abuja recently.

Olusunle, in his remarks titled ‘Building Legislative-Executive Collaboration for Sustainable Development: The Example of Okunland’, enjoined attendees at the interactive session to join hands together for the upliftment of Okun and the various communities under the federal constituency.

He lauded Hon TJ for the hosting of the session and went down memory lane on the various successful and failed efforts by sons and daughters to ensure the development of their homeland; and also mentioned the unfulfilled promises made by immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to create a federal university in Okun-land.

At the Abuja event which also drew stakeholders from Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, Olusunle hailed Yusuf for “being at the centre of serial efforts to bring our people in the erstwhile Oyi Local Government area, which, following several geo-political reconstructions in our contemporary historical experience, has since spawned the five local government areas in Okunland, together.”

Yusuf was also commended for rallying his colleagues, Hon. James Faleke and Hon. Sunday Karimi, representing Ikeja and Yagba Federal Constituencies respectively, to begin remedial works on the Obajana-Kabba road.

“It is gratifying that ahead of a formal, structured intervention at the level of the federal government, heavy earth-moving equipment have already been deployed to make the road passable before the outset of the rains.
“The Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Egbe road and the Omi Dam in Yagba West local government area issues remain germane to the socioeconomic wellbeing of our area and our people. And more than ever before, we need to work together towards the exhumation of these issues before they ultimately become fossilised in the distant recesses of our collective memories.

“We need to worry about the rising incidence of unemployment and under-employment of our people back home. With shrinking revenues from all sources for the federal and state governments, it is unthinkable that government will be able to accommodate our people on a sustainable basis.
“The reality of the time calls for the reorientation of our people and for fresh ideas that can help mitigate the scourge of unemployment and the tangible and creeping poverty in our area. How for instance, can we all work towards the establishment of more mineral and agro-based industries?

“After the state government, the Dangote-Obajana Cement Complex remains perhaps the largest sustainable employer of labour. Can we have more cement plants in our area on account of the abundance of limestone deposits?
“How do we get our people to consciously go back to land and farm, a vocation which was our original preoccupation, and wean our youths from the tails of pretender-politicians, where they function as thugs and hangers-on, their maximum aspiration being to be appointed Personal Assistants or Protocol Officers?

“We will not be able to find answers to all these issues at an inaugural event as we have tonight. It is important, however, that our consciences are genuinely pricked and agitated by these concerns as we all seek a new template for collaboration between these critical arms of government for the overall development of our people”, Olusunle added.

He challenged Hon Yusuf to “engender a new rapprochement between all our elected representatives from the West in both chambers of the National Assembly, irrespective of political party affiliation, in the over-riding interest of our people. Yes, we must break the hedges of partisan politics if we are to promote novel amity and collaboration between our leaders and representatives for the over-arching development of our area and our people.”

“Once this is achieved and enthroned on a sustainable basis, we can equally have the extension to this experiment, which will seek to bring our parliamentarians and bureaucrats from the West together, to discuss and give life to issues of mutual development”, he added.