THE people of Ukum,Katsina-Ala and Logo Federal Constituency elected Barrister Emmanuel Udende to represent them at the Federal House of Representatives. Since then he has embarked on several development projects in the constituency. Recently, our reporter, DEKERA NICHOLAS spoke with Barrister Emmanuel Udende on the level of rural infrastructure in Ukum, Katsina-Ala and Logo Federal constituency.
Rural Infrastructure development is key to the transformation of any society. As one has been in touch with the grassroots for years, how have you been able to impact positively on the lives of the people in your constituency?
The main aim since I was elected is to empower the rural folk in my society .Since our society is agrarian based we need to improve on the road networks and other basic infrastructure.
In the first budget ,I was able to award contracts for 35 boleholes each for the 35 wards in my constituency. Luckily for me, the contract has been awarded and work is on going. So far they have drilled up to fifteen bole holes and am anticipating that they should be able to finish before the end of the year.
I also considered an intervention programme in education, you know in the 1970s and 1980s, our parents set up community schools to complement government because government schools were inadequate.
Now, the zeal is no longer there and the schools have been abandoned, even though government has taken over payment of salaries, these schools still need more structures.
So, I decided that it was time for me to intervene by constructing and furnishing class room blocks in the community secondary schools in each of the five major clans in my Federal Constituency including Ukum, Ugondo, Shitile, Tongov and Ikurav Tyev.Contracts have been awarded for Ukum, Ikurav Tyev and Ugondo community secondary schools. It is only for Tongov and Ushitile community secondary schools that the ministry is still working on the programme.
Also, the Government Technical School for the past five years has been without electricity, so I donated 500kvaTransformer to the school and is now serving.
I am also working on a scholarship scheme for tertiary students, the committee on the scheme has finished it work and am waiting for the governor to give me a convenient date for the flag off of the scholarship scheme.
What has been your relationship with the governor?
My relationship with the governor dates back to the time I was practicing ,I met him by chance in 1997 and since then we have been good friends and all the things I am doing now is to complement him, he is doing well.
Suswam has been nicknamed ‘Mr. Infrastructure’. Does he merit the name?
I think people nicknamed him ‘Mr. Infrastructure’ because when he came in he decided that he will touch on rural infrastructure. It used to take about two hours from Zaki-Biam to my Village but now it takes just 30 minutes courtesy of Governor Gabriel Torwua Suswam. He has also touched on several aspects that improve human life, namely, education, water, electricity and employment.
During the recent LG polls, PDP won all the seats in the state. What do you think informed this overwhelming victory?
Well, I just told you what the governor has done well for the state, so, I think that was why the people queued for PDP
What message do you have for the local government chairmen?
You know the mentality of the people at the local level is to forget the people who elect them. So my advice to them is that they should stay with their people and ensure security of lives and property. They should also ensure that meaningful projects are executed in their local government.
The issue of insecurity has been attributed to poverty and illiteracy, how have you been able to work with the governor to tackle this issue?
Yes, his Excellency has also been doing well in the area of security. He has been buying vehicles and other gadgets for security operatives. So far, there are no cases of kidnapping, and armed robbery has been reduced to its barest minimum.
Do you think the creation of state police will solve the present security challenges?
No, Nigeria is not ripe for state police .State police can easily be manipulated by some self-centered politicians. Look at the state electoral bodies for instance, any state where you find A.C.N in power, all the local government seats will be won by A.C.N. The government should instead holistically revamp the police force by training them and properly providing security gadgets for them.
What challenges have you faced in office?
Some people look at us at the National Assembly as money makers, so they always expect that we should share money to them. Secondly, poor budget implementation has been another problem. As we speak here the level of budget implemented is less than 45 per cent.