THE REMOTE AND IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF AJAOKUTA LOCAL GOVERNMENT DOWNFALL FROM MY OWN PERSPECTIVE BY Ojeje Isah Abdulrahman.
Firstly, the abandonment of Ajaokuta iron and steel company. The company was established and commissioned by Alhaji Shahu Shagari's administration in 1983, and it was abandoned by the subsequent government. The Ajaokuta iron and steel company would have been a major source of income to the local government and the country at large. It would have generated a lot of employment opportunities which could have reduced the level of unemployment to zero level and again it would have facilitates rapid development and enhances the standard of living of the people of Ajaokuta local government area. Although, it is not primarily the fault of Ajaokutans but the negative effects of the iron and steel company's abandonment has led to the regression of our dear local government. As far as am concern, whatever might be the reason that led to the abandonment of the company, the entire people of Ajaokuta LGA are at the receiving end because we really felt the retrospective effects.
Secondly, high level of illiteracy: This is another challenge that has affected our dear local government. The rate of illiteracy in this local government is still very high and this makes it extremely difficult for us to juxtapose between right and wrong which has makes us vulnerable to be cajoled into doing something wrong or taken wrong decision that could eventually leads us to great damages, because majority of us lack the mental capability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Thirdly, poor leadership: Another major problem that has befallen Ajaokuta LGA is poor leadership. Leadership can be seen as the will and ability to hold office and manage the affairs of a group of people, village, town, state or country. The general opinion wrongly held by many people is that leadership is a very simple call that carries power, pleasure, prestige, enjoyment, opportunity and comfort. But contrarily, leadership demands courage, hard work, fairness, discipline, intelligence and knowledge, with ability to manage. Hitherto, most of our leaders and politicians had no compunction about pillaging our dear local government for personal gain, they subordinate the general interest of the people to their personal interest.
Fourthly, bad followers: This is another cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of our dear community. Attributes of good followers such as submissiveness, readiness, supportiveness, loyalty, and dedication etc are lacking in our community. I rated this particular problem (bad followers) over poor leadership because their is a saying that "every groups deserves their leaders" i.e, good followers will definitely have good leaders and vice-versa. Hence, there are several instances to substantiate the fact that bad followers has created more damages to our community than poor leadership. Some of the instances are; The issue of "not on p.v" during Hon. Aloysius Okino's administration. I had made several enquiries about this particular problem and i was able to understand that most of these incidences occurred without the knowledge of Hon. Aloysius okino and that most of these unscrupulous act were either carried out by his followers who had access to pay voucher (PV) or he was disturbed and pressurized by his followers to partook in such act. Hon. Aloysius okino is an indigene of Ajaokuta LGA who didn't grow up or reside in his home Town, it was obvious that he doesn't recognized most of the people that were victimized during his regime. For example; those who were victimized that resides in Ebiya district were only victimized by those followers that also reside in Ebiya district either directly or indirectly because Aloysius doesn't know your full name or your political affiliation.
The second instance is the issue of electricity project between Hon. Muhammad Sadiq and Hon. Aloysius okino. Hon. Aloysius okino attempted to complete the electricity project that was initiated by Muhammad ( Lawyer ) to ensure the stability of light in order to improve social and economic development of our dear local government. The project had been eventually hijacked by the then house of rep Hon. Muhammad Sadiq due to bad followers who instigated him to averts the project. The followers that were supposed to benefits directly or indirectly from the project mobilized themselves and went all the way to Abuja to urged him to stop the project. Although, he disagreed with them at first attempt but he eventually succumbed to their plea as they were able to convinced him that if he allows Aloysius to complete the project it would guarantee him good legacy that would last for long and it could makes Aloysius to win his election. Thus, for the fact that those who were benefits directly or indirectly from the project had sacrificed their time and resources to convinced Muhammad lawyer to stop the project, then he was left with no option rather to grant the demand of his followers. Therefore, I believed if the followers demands for maximum good would also have no choice than to grant them the maximum good.
Lastly, misconception of politics and party politics: this is another major challenge that has overwhelmed our dear local government. There are several understanding of politics, but the colouration of the different definition nothwithstanding, politics is a social and relational process. A single person cannot play politics. I have observed that majority of Ajaokutans failed to understand the concept of politics, therefore, they took it personal and create enmity within ourselves which has landed us in a state of mayhem.
Party politics equally tend to obstruct the functioning and good performance of our dear local government. There is no doubt that under the present Democratic dispensation, local government councils are constituted through elections conducted on the basis party affiliations. Unfortunately, party politics has negatively affected our dear local government. Among other things it compels the local government to derail or abandon their cardinal objectives in preference to party programs or interest. The constant struggles among party members in our local government also leads to divisive that developmental efforts become stalled. Party politics also breads rancour, acrimony, violence, antagonism and disunity within our local government. It tend to polarized our local government. This creates problem to the local government in terms of effective Mobilization of the communities for rural development projects.
Another problem that has surface with its negative effects on our local government stems from internal staff disagreement and hostilities over sometimes minor or trivial issues. Such issues could include the sharing of post or portfolios, rotational issues among the three districts etc. All these tend to take people's attention away from real development issues.
We must acknowledge that not much has been returned to the people as value for the big money received as federal allocation. Indeed, there is surprisingly very little to show that our local communities are better off than they would have been without the local government institution. Is it not sad and intolerable that most of our local communities-men, women, children are almost at the end of this century without sure sources of good drinking water, without sure and steady source of electric light, no good roads, no reliable medical facilities, no stable primary education system etc? .... Yet, those asked to oversee the affairs at local level are basking in much wealth.