By Salihu O. Umar
Three weeks ago, traditional rulers and elites of Bassa community visited President Muhammadu Buhari. During the visit , they articulate and presented the issue of common interest of their community to the president.
While watching the event on network news, what came to my mind is ANEBIRA, my own people. My people that enjoy grumbling, name calling, lamentation but will never sit to find a common position to present their case.
Some years back, Dr Joseph Ozigi Akomodi started writing and publicizing on why Ajaokuta steel company should be revived. Infact, apart from his scholarship scheme through EVI, what made some of us to be interested in who is JOA were his articles on Ajaokuta Steel company.
Then came IAAI (INITIATIVE FOR THE ACTUALIZATION OF AJAOKUTA/ITAKPE ) founded by Alhaji Bashir Sanni. The IAAI also did a lot of writings and public awareness until the founder decided to contest for Senate. Thereafter, little have been heard about their efforts.
By the year 2015, the youth who have always wanted Ajaokuta to work started hearing about Natasha Akpoti about her efforts of Ajaokuta Steel company. She has been making various efforts including public presentation at the NASS and public awareness on why completion of Ajaokuta steel is very important.
When the Senator representing kogi central decided to constitute a comiitee on Ajaokuta, neither Alh. Bashir nor Natasha was deemed fit by Ogembe to be members of that committee. The outcome of that comiittee report till today is not known to this writer. While Ajaokuta Steel company have succeeded in producing many heroes, the project have always been at zero level.
While all these were going on, the Ministers appointed for Steel always find means of enriching themselves using the project. Example is the last Audit exercise said to have been carried out with N 2Billion.
We should start asking ourselves why we like working at cross purpose and all claim to be working for Ebira.
The Governor who incidentally is Anebira meet with the President almost on weekly basis, Our Ohinoyi and his son held a meeting with President Buhari last year, Natasha have been at the National Assembly and even made efforts at the Ministry of Iron and Steel. What makes it so difficult for Our governor and the Ohinoyi to lead other leaders in Ebiraland to the President and present our position on Ajaokuta Steel and Itakpe? Why are we interested in our names than the project? Why are we shying away from the fact that making Ajaokuta work depends majorly on the interest of the president. In an attempt to hide behind a single finger, we blamed Fayemi for not allowing the steel works, six months after his resignation and Ajaokuta is still not working, we should know that Fayemi is not our problem.
It is high time we stopped deceiving ourselves and do the needful. Rather than abusing the governors and other political leaders, what we need at this point is to make use of our current opportunity in ensuring that Ajaokuta becomes a reality.
We should stop allowing ourselves to be deceived by various fake news like “Ajaokuta back to life after 40 years”, ” President Buhari approve TPZ to complete Ajaokuta”.
1. The governor should please convey a stakeholders meeting and have us take a common position on the steel project as Anebira.
2. Leaders that cut across traditional, political and academia lead by the Governor and Our Ohinoyi should as a matter of urgency have a meeting with President and present our position.
3. A follow up team should be constituted to ensure whatever discussed does not end at the said meeting.
4. Our steel experts should start working on what we can produce from the raw materials from AJasteel that can help in establishment of cottage industries that will engage our youths.
Today, Anebira have the golden opportunity that must never be misuse. We should forget our differences and ensure we produce a brighter future for our children.