My peace loving people of Otukpo,
It is with great joy that wish all of you at home and abroad a happy new week on behalf of myself, my family and Otukpo Local Government Council.
This month of June makes it one year of my assumption of office as elected Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Council for the second term. I was sworn-in for a second term as a democratically elected Chairman on June 22nd, 2020. A rare privilage that I cannot take for granted. This trust you freely gave me has afforded me and my team the opportunity to take stock of what we have been able to achieve in Otukpo local government this one year and the grounds we need to cover, going forward, in the overall interest and development of our dear people.
Let me begin by first thanking the Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel I. Ortom and his Deputy, Chief. Engr. Benson Abounu, for their fatherly love and supportive role which has enabled me as Otukpo Local Government Chairman to achieve all that we have accomplished since we came into office.
For us as a Council, the journey so far has been more of good than bad in the sense despite the many challenges, especially with regards to insecurities and environmental sanitation we have been able to square up to them as they come. And so far, by the mercies of God we can safely say we have made tremendous progress. Progress against all odds.
Although it has not been uhuru for us; but we are ever determined to see that we leave the council better than we met it. Since I assumed office my energy has been geared towards carrying you, the people who have entrusted me with your mandate along and to stay true to my electoral campaign promises to the people of Otukpo Local Government.
In security, we took over office at a time when kidnapping, robnery and other crimes was on the rise across the nation. Not long after the ugly menace began to gradually creep into our domain. Immediately, Council initiated the community policing in line with our campaign promises to the people.
The crisis of insecurity bedevilling Otukpo almost took the wind out of our sails as kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery and other forms of crime stared us in the face. Confronted with these challenges, we quickly mapped out a collaborative strategy with security agencies, traditional rulers, Benue state Vigilante Service, Homeland Defense as well as constant engagement with other stakeholders.
I and my team went further to organise an expanded security council meeting on Friday 30th April 2021, where distinguished top police professionals, intelligent personnels, retired military Generals and security experts where brought in to brainstorm and bring solution to the insecurity ravaging the people. We mobilized the indigenous Otukpo LGA security outfit known as Community Volunteer Guards (CVG) and Docare Foundation to flush out criminal elements and reduce cultism to the barest minimum.
We ensured the outfit were carefully selected and provided with vehicles, technical back ups and the political will for an effective take off and efficient operation. The culmunated effect of this is that residents of Otukpo and its environs are living peace and harmony currently.
Permit me to also mention that Council under my watch also waded into the lingering Ugboju crisis which led to loss of lives and destruction of Properties by reconcilling all the warring factions. Ugboju now enjoys peace and harmony. We were able to replicate the same peace feat in Otobi-Akpa
Our effort in the area of security did not go unnotice. The Benue state, commissioner of police, Audu A. Madaki, during his town hall meeting on his one day working visit and stakeholders consultation stated and I quote; “I am happy to mention that the Chairman of Otukpo local government has done a lot of community policing. He has interceded onbehalf of the police to settle so many crisis especially those involving farmers and herders within the community. That’s a very good one. It means he is not only playing the role of the chairman alone but also the Chief Security Officer of the local government. I urge other local government Chairmen to emulate the Honourable Chairman of Otukpo LGA”.
We therefore came up with some resolutions and adopted the slogan: “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING”. That has been a great blessing. Our people responded positively to it. As a result Intels were provided which led to series of arrest
The other area of my administration’s policy focus is on enviromental sanitation. The fact that Otukpo is the traditional headquarter of the Idoma nation comes with its blessings and challenges. One of the greatest challenges confronting us as a council is the poor sanitory condition of our environment. We have to admit it, our environment is dirty and we all need to do something about it. We have always preached to our people that “cleanliness is next to godliness”. Being conscious of the fact that a clean environment makes for healthier, happier people, we again initiated efforts aimed at engendering the culture of cleanliness in our people.
To tackle this, council came up with a bill on sanitation known as Otukpo local government council sanitation bylaw which the Hon. Enokela Alegwu led Otukpo Legislative Council, graciously sat and deliberated on, public hearing done and passed into law in October2020
Council also took further steps by bringing in some profesional waste management companies to help with cleaning at a subsidized fee to be paid by members of the public. It is sad to note that due to lack of corporation on the part of our people, so much still needs to be desired in regard to environmental sanitation in Otukpo and its environs.
Therefore, I call for cooperation of all of us in Otukpo Local Government Area to embrace the need for a clean environment which we can all be proud of.
PERISHABLE GOODS MARKET:
I personally feel a sense of modesty and fulfilment to note that part of our effort to keep Otukpo clean included the successful relocation of the Tomatoes, onion and other perishable goods traders who where plying their trade dangerously on the ever busy, narrow Federal road outside the Otukpo main market into the now more secured and comfortable space which they are occupying at the Eupi mini market.
Follwing the incidents of fire disaster which destroyed some section of Otukpo main market, council decided, following calls from members of the public for the relocation of the market. In the interim, as we search for a strategic land for the relocation of the market, we have been able to successfuly partner with those traders whose shops were affected by the market fire disaster, to rebuild most of the shops. We also redesigned the shops with a view to eliminate or minimise recuring incidences of fire outbrake. Some sections of the market now wears new look; haven been decked and with access road to allow for passages of heavy duty vehicles and fire fighting trucks in the event of fire outbreak. By God’s grace the remaining ones will be completed in no distant time.
YOUTHS UNEMPLOYMENT/FGN SURVIVAL FUNDS PROGRAMMES:
We are mindful of the huge problems of youths unemployment confronting us as a nation. We have a swelling, ever increasing numbers of unemployed youngstars in the land. Also, the economic impact of the Corona virus (Covid-19) global pandemic dealt a huge blow on the economies of the nations of the world. Nigeria’s economy was also badly affected. This further led to paucity of funds that accrues to council for execution of meaningful projects. As a result, it led to youths restiveness and increase in crime rate and growing tension in the land.
To reverse the ugly trend, council decided it was right to take advangate of the Federal Government’s Survival funds for medium and small enterprises MSMEs. The Survival Fund Program includes Payroll Support, Guaranteed Offtake and MSME Grant. The programme includes helping with the digital registration, onboarding and management of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for the program.
With eyes wide open and our ears to the ground, we deployed resources and mobilized personnels to assist our people to fully benefit from the programme. I am proud to say that even people from neighbouring LGs thronged to our council Secretariat to benefit from our set up, to the glory of God.
Painfully, the programme had time limit and could not cater for everybody. My advise to those who are yet to benefit from the survival fund programme is to keep hope alive and keep the fire of optimism burning like an unquenchable flame. Do not let the wind of doubt blow it off.
The social and economic impact of sports on youths cannot be overemphasized. It helps the youths as it were, to lead healthier lives, to develop new skills for employment and to engage with their local communities and foster unity amongst the young. Being aware of this we decided to use sports as a vehicle for positive engagement with the youths. We were able to sponsor Apa Flames basketball team to a one week tournament in Lagos. Although they did not win the tournament That notwithstanding, we are proud that they gave a good account of themselves at the tournament.
We took a further step by hosting the maiden edition of the OTUKPO CHAIRMAN’S CUP competition in April, 2021, which was won by Ojali FC. The tournament finals attracted wide interest and scouts were on grounds to pick talents that could be nurtured for individual and societal good. We intend to make it an annual competition by the grace of God.
“Health is wealth”, they said. It is easier to govern a healthy people than it is to govern a society plagued by diseases and pandemic. Again, the Corona virus (Covid-19) global pandemic brought untold harship on the entire world. To protect our people from the rapid spread of the dreaded Covid-19, we were able to procure and donate hand sanitizers, facemask, water dispensers, etc to our people, aside sensitisation campaigns which we embarked upon. We distributed facemask to St. Annes secondary school,Ewulo Collage, Otukpo Police station and Otukpo main market in march 2021.
Only two weeks ago, precisely on the 16th to 20th May 2021, we took our free medical outreaches of free eye test and distribution of optical glasses to poor rural dwellers in Otobi, Akpa and Akpegede, all in Otukpo LG.
Coumcil also donated relief materials to victims of fire disaster in a Village in Allan, Akpa.
We are burdened by infrastrucal deficit. even though we have challenges of funds like any other LG council in Benue State, we were able to grade and compact a few roads in off Otia and in Ugboju Otahe to ease human and vehicler you movement in the two communities.
As I conclude, Iet me use this medium to call for unity of purpose, tolerance, justice and peace. I also urge our people to remain dogged and resilient in the face of the political, economic and other challenges facing all of us.
It is my hope and prayers that God Almighty grants us all the strenght to overcome all our fears. Thank you all.
Rt. Hon. George Alli,
Executive Ch airman, OTUKPO LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL.