BY Ene Yusuf
When the history of local government administrations in Benue State is written, one name that will be generously and prominently scripted in gold will be the name of the current Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Council, Chief George Alli .This can be gleaned from the fact that since coming on board, his performance has dwarfed the most common and popular notion that nothing good can come out of local authorities in Nigeria.
Previously before the emergence of Chief Alli as the local government administrator of Otukpo Local government Council, the general perception was that local government only existed in name and not to be seen in the purview of infrastructural development. And peradventure, that was why local government authorities have been shying away from physical development of their territories.
But these tales changed to a positive discernment when Chief George Alli mounted the saddle of leadership of the local government administration in Otukpo few years ago. For the first time in the history of council administrations in the country that people saw a Chairman who was practically determined to extricating his people from the clutches of hopelessness to hopefulness, criminality to peaceful habitation, poverty to wealth creation and underdevelopment to development.
It was to George Alli’s credit that for the first time in the history of Benue – South that a fire fighting station was located in Otukpo. Chief Alli after successfully lobbying Chief Anebi, the then Controller – General of Federal Fire Services; and in order to exhibit commitment, the Chairman built and donated a structure to the Federal Fire Service to serve as their office. This ingenuity brought to fruition the existence of the organization in Otukpo today. This singular effort had in the past rescued some persons and institutions from the menace of inferno which may have gutted their premises especially during the harmattan period.
Taking cognizance of the importance of road network to the economy of the local government, Gburu – gburu as he is fondly called by his fans around Otukpo and its environs graded and tarred roads in some parts of the local government area especially the Och’Idoma – Secretariat, Ugboju, Otobi – Akpegede, Asa Camp amongst others.
Following incessant fire outbreak at the Otukpo main market, the Chairman decided to remodel the market in consonance with the advice of the former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbe. Ogbe during his visit to the market last year and a disastrous fine incident at the market has recommended that the market be upgraded to upstairs. Today, Otukpo main market is only market owned by the local government that is upstairs. He also established a vegetable market at Eupi. This feat no doubt the positively contributed to the economic status of some the residents of the local government area.
Chief in the same vein built an entrepreneurial center at Akpegede – Otukpo. The centre had trained the youth and women the techniques of soap making, tailoring, perfume making, garri processing and shoes making.
In order not to allow the people to perish for lack of knowledge as espoused in the scripture, Alli like a stallion swung into action by constructing Primary Schools in areas where they were lacking. Before his intervention, some primary school pupils were studying under tree sheds. His intervention reversed this ugly trend. Some notable communities that profited from his administrative munificence were Akpachi – Otukpo, Ondo-Ugboju and Aaya – Adoka amongst others.
Alli knowing the importance of health to humankind also constructed and equipped health centres in Otobi – Akpa that was previously without any. He ensured that beddings and other medical equipment were provided in all the clinics and Health Centers owned by the local government. He also in collaboration with former Minister for Special Duties, Dr (Mrs) Grace Ogwuche provided free eye medical services and glasses to some of his constituents in need. Also, in order reduce the menace of covid 19 in his local government, the chairman provided several safety kits such as face masks, Hand sanitizers, soaps, detergents during the raging periods of the pandemics. With the availability of Covid vaccines, Chief Alli in conjunction with the Benue State government made the vaccines available to Several thousands of people in his locality. He was the first to take the Covid Jab so as to encourage the people to embrace it. With his inoculation, people started flooding the various centers for the vaccines.
He also resuscitated the long abandoned environmental sanitation exercise in the local government area. Ene yusuf, the Supervisory Councilor In Charge of Health and Human services while throwing light on the rationale behind this, disclosed that the aim was to make Otukpo town the citadel of cleanliness in the state. In his quest to decontaminating Otukpo, the chairman committed Otukpo local government council to partner with the management of ‘LEXIE GLOBAL SERVICES LIMITED’ for the purpose of evacuation of refuse and came up with the slogan “KEEP OTUKPO CLEAN”. And expectedly, the general populace has embraced these laudable efforts with the catchphrase, “Otukpo na our Lagos”.
After a familiarization visit to Amla village shortly after he was sworn into office as the executive Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Council, he carefully appraised the development need of the people and observed that the community was without electricity since its existence. He therefore decided to hook them to the national grid. It was like a case of, “let there be light and there was light”. This singular act nicknamed George Alli as the “Talk and Do Chairman”. Others, nick named him “Capacity Chairman”.
But as the Chairman was putting in his modest best towards attaining the desired development of Otukpo Local government area, then came colossal commotions – cultism, armed robberies and Kidnappings. Like a comet from the blues, killings and kidnappings pervaded the land. Hardly was there a day without these vices in Otukpo. The magnitude of bloodbath in Otukpo became so irritating that the Chairman became vexed himself and took pragmatic steps towards stanching the hydra headed monster from the trado-political capital of the Idoma nation. He summoned an emergency security summit where a pragmatic strategies aimed at combating the menace was deviced. He proceeded to developing and unveiling a security model that had been embraced by the rest of the local government areas in the state.
In his quest to stanching the anti – social vices from his domain, Alli to the admirations of many adopted the carrots and sticks approaches which today had culminated into the reduction of cultism in Otukpo in addition to the establishment of neighborhoods watch in all the nooks and crannies of the local government. Today, kidnapping and armed robbery is gradually fading out of the town.
He also provided vehicular and other supports to the security apparatchiks in Otukpo local government in addition to mobilizing the traditional institutions, the Church, sociocultural organizations as well as Community based organizations to the fight against cultism, kidnappings and other ancillary crimes in Otukpo and its environs. And the efforts appeared to be paying off greatly as there appears to be a reduction of crimes in Otukpo of recent.
In order to keep the Youth busy and take their minds off crimes, the Chairman encouraged the youth to develop active interest in sports and sporting activities. He provided most boys in the local government area who organized themselves into football team with sporting wears and balls. He also organized a Football tournament christened “Chairman Cup” which was competed by communities in Otukpo local government. Some current and former national players were invited to the grand finale of the tournament to spurs the youth into sporting activities. Today, there are a lot of football teams in all the villages in Otukpo local government area.
Based on the sterling performance of Chief George Alli, communities in his domain are beginning to prove the scripture wrong by giving him home recognitions. The Bible said Prophets have no honour in their home town. But that was not the case with this elegant who is an epitome of development as he has been accorded various garlands by his people than any Chief Executive Officer of local Government Councils in Benue State
The Otukpo traditional Council gave him a Honorific title of Idoga K’Otukpo. Several communities in Akpa, Adoka and Ugboju have also given him titles. Other titles and awards garnered by the chairman are as follows:
*Best Local Government Chairman consecutively for three years in Benue state.
*Best Local Government Chairman, North Central of Nigeria (2018-2019)
*Senate Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters Award, as Best Local Government Chairman, North Central.
*Secretary to the federal Government of Nigeria Award as Best Local Government Chairman in North – Central, Nigeria.
Rt.Hon George Alli is a recipient of the follwing traditional tittles:
1) The Idoga K’Otukpo.
2) The Odejó K’Agbókó
3) Ebe Neigbogwu K’Ewulo
4) Omojiji K’Akpachi
5) Ugbojikpururu of Igede land
6) Majekobade of Ajasa, Lagos.
After going through this array of achievements, it becomes imperative to succinctly ask, “Who is this magic man” in view of the fact that he appears to be doing for Otukpo what Napoléon couldn’t do for France? George Augustine Alli, hails from Akpegede in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue state. He was born and raised in Lagos State.
His educational voyage started with Army children school, Apapa Lagos after which he proceeded to Apapa high school, Apapa, Lagos for his secondary school education. In his quest to gain higher education, he sought and obtained admission to Benue state polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and the famous Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Lagos State. Alli who is a FELLOW of the Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria also capped his academic qualifications with a Master Degree in Public Administration from the Benue State University, Makurdi.
His working experience started with the first Indigenous cable company, micCom Cables and Wires Ltd, Lagos. At the point of his voluntary exit from the company in 2002, he had risen to the position of National Sales Manager from sales Representative.
Based on his managerial acumen, the company became a top brand and was popular with many construction companies and Engineering firms in Nigeria and some West African countries particularly Ghana and Sierra Leon.
Due to his knowledge and understanding of the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of various types of electrical Cables in West Africa, Alli swerved into electrical Engineering where he functioned as the Business Director, Techno Power Nig Ltd between 2004 and 2006. He eventually set up and became the Managing Director of Zaginas Concept Ltd, from where he voyaged into partisan politics. He was first elected as a member of the Benue State House of Assembly, Care – Taker Chairman, Elected and Re – Elected Executive Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Council.
BY Ene Yusuf