Published On: Tue, Aug 30th, 2016

Edo APC governorship candidate to introduce e-governance, block leakages

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Alhaji Abdulmalik Ahmed Usman, Chairman, APC, FCTAlhaji Abdulmalik Ahmed Usman is the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. In this exclusive interview with Paul Efiong he speaks of his party’s plans to ensure that all council chairmen elected into office through his party deliver on their campaign promises to fast tract grass root development in the territory.

What is your impression of the performances of your chairmen at the six area councils here in the FCT, in terms of projects execution since assumption of office more than three months ago?
I am impressed, because when we came onboard all the area councils in the FCT were owing workers salary except Gwagwalada. The PDP- led government refused to pay their workers and since our assumption of office, we had to clear all the salary arrears in less than 100 days in office. We also completed some uncompleted projects with direct bearings our electorate. Iam very impressed on their performances but we can’t talk more on this because we have put up a committee that will assess their performances and ways through which they may improve for better performance and service delivery to the electorate. We had earlier told them that the party will play a supervisory role so as to guide them in their projects projection and implementation. The committee is going round all the six area councils to see what the chairmen and their council have put in place for the betterment of the electorates. what they have on ground. We are monitoring them closely to ensuring that in 2019 we will have an easy ride again based on promise kept as well as provision of democracy dividends to the masses.

The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE) in the FCT is alleging that some area councils within the territory still owe their staff salaries till date which is contrary to your claims, what is your reaction to this?
NULGE claims might be politically motivated but statutorily speaking all the area councils in FCT to the best of my knowledge have paid their workers unless NULGE wants to be specific and tell me that a particular council has not paid, then I will how to react to their claims. Let them state clearly a LG Council in the territory that has refused to address staff salary, I am not talking of welfare packages like allowances and other entitlements but the constitutionally allowed workers salaries.
APC leadership in the FCT might have prevented their chairmen from observing the usually celebrated 100 days in office, what is your take?
We did not but let me tell you that some projects take times and resources to finish and commission within 100 days. 100 Days in Office celebration is no more fashionable because people’s oriented projects might take more than 100 days to start and commission within that short range. All the council chairmen here in the territory are working tirelessly to meet up with such projects for the benefits of the people who voted them in into offices. I can beat my chest and tell you that all the six area councils have tangible projects on ground that will impact on the electorates. We believe that 100 days in office celebration is autocratic not democratic. It is not an issue that should bother people. If the Federal and States can take up till six months before they stabilize, how much more for the Local councils? 100 days in office celebration is a military mentality, but in a democratic setting like ours, 100 days in office celebration does not mean anything. Remember that those military Head of States were appointed and they used to celebrate their achievements immediately after 100 days to show people what they have done in order to gain their favor and acceptance. The sharp difference between then and now is that in a democratic set up like our own electorate elected their leaders whom they know and trust that he would deliver on their campaign promises to the people.

So, where are we, could it be that you are planning to celebrate it in a big way as we heard from some chairmen?
Yes, we are on it because our party wants to make sure that all the chairmen delivered on their campaign promises to those who elected them into offices. We must make sure that they do so in order to establish us as a party that stand in for the wishes of the people, our change mantra is what we stand for because we want to make sure that they fulfill their campaign promises to the masses. As I said earlier, a Committee has been set up for that reason, their mandate is to move around all the area councils of the FCT to ensuring that every council deliver on it campaign promises, they will visit all the nooks and crannies of the council across board with a view to making sure that meaningful projects to the electorate are conceive and executed for the benefit of the people in those areas. Shortly after their visit, we shall now come to address the world on projects found on ground within all the council. As a party we had told all the councils chairmen that we shall work with them closely so as to monitor their projects plan and execution. We shall also guide them on the way to go so as to affect electorate positively.

Upon assumption of office by your party both at the national and at the states and local government many had high expectations for your government but now some Nigerians are beginning to complain owing to promises not kept, does this disturb you, and which way forward?
Not just in the FCT… but let me advised that the current economic problem along with others should not be blamed on the APC leadership but on the PDP-led government which has ruled and ruined the country for many years. How long has the party been in power? At the national just 1year and few months while we are less than 5months in the FCT. People must remember how the economy was before we came into office, they should as well know how insecurity problems were staring at our faces in this country. Imagine this scenario; you got a car that has been used by another person and the engine was completely knocked, tires were completely warned out, what would you do under such condition? You immediately have to look for a mechanic, the vulcanizer etc to assist you fix that car. That was the situation in this country and as a party we decided to fix it back, to put it in a good shape so that Nigerian could enjoy again. We have been into the fixing mission since and soon Nigerians shall begin to enjoy. We have started with the issue of insecurity, now you hardly hear of big time terrorism here. The economic problems are equally being addressed, I tell you with time most of this problem will vanish away.

The dwindling oil prices has impacted negatively on the Nigerian economy and in the councils in extension, should they continue to wait for the Federal allocation ,what are you doing to impress on the chairmen on the need for diversification in order to boost their Internally Generated Revenue(IGR)?
Truly as you really pointed out there is an urgent need for diversification in the council, we have been talking, we have been talking to them for instance we always advised them to venture into farming because here in the FCT people are blessed with vast land which is good for agriculture. We have also impressed on them the need to venture into fish farming which could as well salvage them from the ongoing economic recession in order to boost their IGR. Apart from those once we mentioned, we also have mining sector which are not fully tap in the FCT here. These are some revenue generation avenues that the council should venture into for regular additional income generation to enable them develop and fast tract grass root governance and development. These I believe they all are working together to achieve.

Inauguration of cabinet in the council could assist to fast tract development, why is it that most of the chairmen have deliberately refused to constitute their cabinet?
The Abuja Municipal Area Council(AMAC) as well as Bwari have inaugurated their cabinet, Kuje Area Council has equally done that, Kwali and Abaji has gone half way to doing so, and very soon, they shall join others in doing what is needful. Remember too that those appointed shall not go there and stay empty handed, they are always entitled to their wages soon after they are sworn into offices. We had discuss this issue with them as a party because when they came on board, their predecessors refused to pay workers salaries and so what we did as a party was for the new administration to clear the debt of the council staff that were being owed by the past administrations which they immediately complied with. We should always remember that those appointed into those offices must surely be paid and going by the ongoing economic recession, where does the money comes from?

You mention farming as one of the viable means of income generation to the councils and individuals, where would the grass root dwellers farm when herdsmen and their cows keep destroying their farm products in the FCT?
This issue between the farmers and the herdsmen is being over blown by some people because right from the time immemorial, there has been a cordial working relationship between the farmers and the herdsmen for the common good of human existence. All of them are from the same family and so, there should not be any dispute among them. All are farmers, one said I wants to rear animals while another one say I will farm. To some extends here in the FCT, we have a way of settling problem between the farmers and the cattle owners. I mean is not only the Fulani man that is rearing cattle’s and cow now, many people have ventured into the business for one reason or the other. My chairmen are equal to the task because recently the Abaji chairman, Alhaji Abduraham had called for a meeting between the cattles rearers and the farmers, the same thing in Kwali, Joseph Shazin has also done the same among others.

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