Mr. Salawu Nuhu Ozigi (FCA) is the Director of Finance, at the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) National Headquarters, Abuja.
In this interview, Mr. Ozigi gave insights into why the National President of ALGON, Hon. Alabi Kolade David was unanimously re-elected, alongside his management team for a three-year tenure.
He also spoke on ALGON partnership for implementation of National Anti-Multiple Taxation Scheme (NAMTAXS) and National Transit Insurance Scheme (ANTIS) in Nigeria as well as ALGON’s efforts to create jobs and harvest talents at the grassroots level through sports.
How would you assess the leadership of Hon. Alabi David in his first tenure?
At the ALGON national headquarters, ALGON is repositioning with a new trajectory to make sure that it is more effective and efficient in the delivery of services to the grassroots. And you can see that a successful General Assembly has been held and there was unanimous re-election of the National President and his team; all of them (re-elected). That shows that ALGON is on a better footing and there is peace and tranquility in the management of ALGON national secretariat.
Specifically, can you highlight a few of the reasons why the ALGON National President was unanimously re-elected for a second term by the General Assembly?
Hon. Kolade Alabi David has put all his skills and experiences into place to make sure that areas of gaps in terms of the administrative aspect of the association is actually resolved or almost resolved.
Like you heard in the hall (during the ALGON General Assembly meeting), the only legacy of ALGON (the national headquarters office) that he was able to recover. That’s one. And administratively, if you go to ALGON headquarters on 10 Zambezi Street, on the old WAEC building, you will see a new branded ALGON.
As far as environment is concerned, it’s very conducive for the working for the staff and the executive to do its work, with all the modern facilities that are required to make sure that all activities of ALGON can be propagated in all the 774 local governments and area councils of Nigeria.
And, again, corporate good governance ethics, including accountability, is put in place. I think, these and many other reasons would have made them to re-elect Hon. Kolade Alabi and his team for the second term.
What other things are in place as the new tenure begins?
Very importantly, ALGON is beginning with the unity that has come into ALGON through the leadership of the National President; a lot of national projects that are local government based, at the grassroots level, have been developed.
For example, there is going to be a national ALGON Youth Cup Football Competition coming up very soon. The President has just signed the MoU with some Italy based companies for the coaching clinics, with a Nigeria based company for the competition.
So, this will enable ALGON to fish talents; you know the important of sports in the development of the youths. That’s the only avenue where you can have peace as far as Nigeria is concerned from the youths’ perspective. Some of them that are talented and skillful in football, we want to catch them young at the grassroots level and push them to national and international levels.
The coaching clinic is going to get about 20 or 30 people from each of the local governments that will be coach and certificated by an Italy based football coaching academy.
That means that if you have at least 20 coaches in every local governments they would have been taught the intrigues of picking talents. And we now advance it to the state level, and from the state level to regional level, as well as national.
That’s how talents were gotten in those days in Nigeria: school competitions, youth competitions, and all of that. So, that’s on the line right now.
Then, the other one which is very, very important is that new national mechanism to make sure that illegal road blocks are eliminated from the Nigeria.
I will give you an instance: moving agricultural items from Sokoto to Cross River, you will discover that you will pass through over 90 checkpoints, dropping N2, 000, almost N200, 000. And by the time that is added to the cost a trailer load of yams, or a trailer load of beans, or whatever food items or goods that is being transported along the same Nigerian roads, you know how much the person to add to the cost.
It has affected prices of goods, especially from 20017. The prices of goods got escalated and the people cannot afford to buy, where a tuber of yam is almost going to N1, 000. So, how many Nigerian homes can afford that kind of price?
So, this new scheme is a very good way of cutting inflation, drive down prices of foods, and general goods, as well as provide succour to the business community, while sustaining the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
There is an Inter-Ministerial Planning and Implementation Committee of the Federation, comprising the offices of the secretary to the Government of the Federation, about 11 Federal Ministries, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), not fewer than 18 Federal Parastatals and over 25 organised Private Sector Groups that is working to support the full implementation by ALGON and its Partner’s Economic Palliative called National Anti-Multiple Taxation Scheme (NAMTAXS) and National Transit Insurance Scheme (NATIS).
With them working together because of the facilities that have been put together to monitor the implementation, you discover that employment opportunities will be generated and there will be sanity. People have been killed or maimed. Some of the transporters have been kidnapped along the way.
The risk of transportation of goods on Nigerian roads is very high and that led to another scheme by ALGON; ALGON also decided to bring in a project they called National Transit Insurance Scheme (NATIS) for movement of good that is worth a minimum of N50, 000 at just 1 or 2 percent premium. If your goods are not up to N50, 000, you can consolidate with others in a vehicle to take advantage of the insurance scheme as it takes part of the risk. As time goes on, the schemes will be unveiled in the new ALGON you will see very soon.
The national transit insurance scheme and the National Anti-Multiple Taxation Scheme are quite innovative, coupled with the 5-year strategic plan…(cuts in)?
Yes, the 5-year strategic plan of ALGON has also spelt out the various areas and objectives we are going to achieve, and the techniques and methodologies with which to achieve them so that ALGON can be positioned among the comity of municipal councils and local government in Africa and the whole world.
And what do we want achieve? If you look at the whole plan as in the developed worlds, the local councils are the ones at the centre of developments and other tiers do supervision because if you’re constructing roads, it’s within a local government council.
If you’re doing housing, it’s within a local government. You come from a particular local government and I come from a particular local government. We have to develop those areas and, collectively, Nigeria will be much more better for it.