Hajja Aisha Ahman Pategi is a chieftain of All Progressives Congress(APC) in Kwara state.

Hajja  Aisha Ahman Pategi is a chieftain of All Progressives Congress(APC) in Kwara state.

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She was also  a former Commissioner for Local Government under Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and resigned her appointment based on her disaffection on how the state is being governed. Recently, Hajia Ahman Pategi spoke  with our Correspondent  in Ilorin on  the local government autonomy, President Ahmed Bola Tinubu one year in office, state police, among others. Her excerpts;

What is your general assessment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led administration?

For me, President Tinubu  is doing exceptionally great. We all need to keep in mind sustainable change doesn’t happen overnight, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  And I  tell you for free this local government autonomy the present administration is embarking on would enhance the day to day good governance at the grassroots if implemented properly and  we all  will rejoice as a nation. President Tinubu’s  renewed hope  has changed the socio economic development of the nation for better. And I want also to add that, with the good intention of the APC led federal government to address the issue of  local government autonomy, this  is what will hit the nail if it is achieved by the President Tinubu. This approach indeed has the potential to address fundamental issues from the grassroots level, fostering a bottom-up development strategy. Empowering local governments can lead to more efficient governance, enhanced service delivery, and stronger community engagement. This method can significantly contribute to economic growth and societal transformation, leading to a renewed sense of hope and a change in mindset across the nation. Honestly, If  LGA autonomy done and implemented properly, it will give us the domino effect.

There is agitations in some quarters for the establishment of State Police in the country, what is your comment on the issue?

The establishment of state police is a contentious issue. While it could enhance localized security and ensure that policing is more in tune with community needs, its effectiveness is contingent upon the successful implementation of local government autonomy. Without a solid foundation of autonomous and accountable local governance, state police might not achieve the desired outcomes and could even exacerbate existing issues of power and resource misuse.

What can you say about the relevance  of local government autonomy in Nigeria?

Absolutely. Let’s think of the government structure as a family. The federal government is the father, the state government is the mother, and the local government is the children. In this analogy, there’s even a fourth tier, which is the traditional rulers. Focusing on the third tier—the local government—its autonomy is crucial for a thriving society.

Can you elaborate  more on why local government autonomy is so essential?

Take the United States as an example. They have counties, states, and a federal government, and their system works efficiently because of this structured autonomy. Citizens can address issues directly with their local government officials, ensuring swift resolution. This model allows state governors to focus on broader developmental goals rather than being bogged down with local issues that don’t necessarily need their direct intervention. It’s about empowering each level of government to perform optimally, which ultimately benefits the community from the bottom up.

How does this relate to the recent actions of the Nigerian president taking the 36 states to court over local government autonomy?

The president’s decision to take this matter to court is commendable. It shows a commitment to ensuring that the constitutional provisions for local government autonomy are respected. This move is crucial for Nigeria’s progress, as it aims to clarify and enforce the distribution of power among federal, state, and local governments.

How do you envision this legal action impacting local governance in Nigeria?

If successful, this legal action will reinforce the autonomy of local governments, leading to better resource management and service delivery. It will allow local leaders to address their communities’ needs more effectively, freeing state governors to focus on larger-scale development projects. This approach can lead to a more efficient and responsive government overall.

As a commissioner for Local government in the State. Can you share some insights from your tenure?

My appointment as commissioner for local government should be credited to governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak for his foresight, it came with skepticism being a woman. so I’ll always be grateful.

When I was appointed commissioner for local government, it was seen as a less significant role. I was the laughingstock that night and I remember vividly responding on a WhatsApp platform that when the universe throws stones, you ensure you build a bridge. Anyway that’s what you get with the right kind of women thrown challenges that can sound impossible, but we deliver once we take on our roles as the delivery species… However, I saw the potential and hit the ground running. For example, when I took over, the ministry only had one internally generated revenue (IGR) source and struggled to generate even a million Naira a year. In just a few months, we increased annual revenue from under 1 million a year to 10 million Naira in 3 months by addressing leakages so imagine how much in one year? and optimizing opportunities. Remember this is just one out of many of the LGA IGR. The opportunities in local government are enormous. Honestly, LGS can generate IGRs in billions of naira Local government IGR can stand independently without federal allocation if we have the political will to implement the needful. This experience showed me that with proper management, local governments can significantly contribute to the state’s development.

What message do you have for the state governments and the general public regarding this issue?

To state governments, supporting local government autonomy should not be seen as a loss of power but as an enhancement of our governance structure. Strong local governments mean a more balanced and effective overall system. To the public, I urge you to support this cause because it leads to better services and accountability at the local level. It’s about creating a government that is truly by the people and for the people.

What are your hopes for the future of local governance in Nigeria?

The only way out of the hole for Nigeria is bottom up approach. I honestly can’t stop louding our president for this bold moves… I hope to see a Nigeria where local governments are fully autonomous and capable of driving sustainable development. This means empowered local leaders, improved service delivery, and a vibrant, responsive democratic system that benefits all Nigerians.

What is your take on the performances of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in Kwara State  in the last five years?

I supported Governor Abdulrazaq for his 2nd bid for office for a few reasons. Firstly, I want to say that, Governor AbdulRazaq  key attribute is that his got listen ears. Honestly his humility is top notch, he is a man that can strike a friendship with the good man according to Abraham Maslow’s third hierarchy of human needs, is giving one a seanse of belonging. When one is given a listen ears and action taken as a result of you being heard, can definitely inspire and ignite that hope in a person that the future is bright. He also just unveiled the Ilorin master plan, which shows his a planner, a strategist and keep in mind high achievers are planners right? Nothing meaningful can be achieved without proper planning. So I believe his few last years will be unprecedented. His giving the average child hope in Kwara state that a child of no body can become anything they set there mind to. So for me this are huge achievements that we most time ignore and tend to focus too much on kilometer roads, renovations of school, social investments and all, but I can tell you for free that this aren’t our challenges, because to be fair to all other past governments they all have done their fair share of infrastructure projects, but what’s truly sustainable is the feeling of hope you inspire people that will motivate a person to believe in themselves. Let’s remember that a nations greatest capital is his human capacity so once we able to get it right by inspiring and equipping our citizens by harnessing their full potential, then the nation will rebuild itself citizen by citizen and together we can go far as quoted by Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Governor Abdurazaq has underscore his commitment to strategic development and inclusive governance. These attributes, coupled with his focus on giving hope to the youth and women are significant achievements. While infrastructure projects are essential, the inspiration and sense of belonging he provides to the citizens are vital for the future of Kwara state, Nigeria and humanity. remember, according to Abraham Maslow 3rd hierarchy of human needs love and a sense of belonging is crucial to our human potentiality?

What will you say on the women  participation in politics ? Are they well represented in the political calculations of the country?

Permit me to be blunt to your question my brother. We women are the architect of our underrepresentation.  Ask me why?

Take a bird’s eye view of the past few years of our democracy… take the case of the recent Edu Gate situation; instead of women to collaborate and work together as a team; what ended up happening? Just one of many sabotaging each other in the history of women in politics. So, I honestly feel it’s time we stop playing the victim mentality and ensure we women team up and stand united as women folks are concerned, put aside our unhealthy competitiveness and differences and be our sisters keeper. I want to  use this medium to encourage the professional women, women of virtue to bring their chairs to the table. Also remember, when it comes to voting women are the ones who lineup in numbers so I’m advocating that women across board to kindly vote and support women that are vying for elective position. We hold the dice so let’s stand united and say otoge!!!!enough is a enough, it is Women o’clock!!!. We need to remember no one will handover power to us and when it comes to policy and crucial decisions making nature has gifted us with stronger intuitions, we are the bedrock of our family. Honestly, the underrepresentation of women in politics is often exacerbated by internal divisions. It is essential for women to unite, support each other, and overcome the victim mentality. By collaborating and backing women candidates, can significantly increase our representation and influence in political spheres. As the saying goes, “You build a woman, you build the nation.” Therefore, it is imperative for women to stand united and claim their rightful place in political decision-making.

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