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Akus Lawal: The Small Pepper At Kogi Assembly 

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Rosalyn Carter, a former United States First Lady once said: “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

 

Thus, the hallmark of a great and true visionary leader is his ability to think outside the box, design a blueprint for the future, and execute it to the letter, in such a way that it yields unprecedented and enduring dividends for the benefit of the ruled.

 

The above assertion succinctly illustrates and underscores the personality and leadership qualities of Hon Akus Lawal, the member representing Ankpa 1 at the Kogi State House of Assembly in the 8th Legislative House. “Akus” as he is fondly called, cuts the picture of a man who knows where he is coming from, knows where he is and definitely knows what he wants and where he is taking his constituents to.

 

At home, within the state and beyond, whenever and wherever he speaks about his plans, dreams and desires for Ankpa 1 state constituency, the lawmaker usually exudes a rare combination of self confidence, conviction, commitment, determination, passion, panache, tenacity, preparedness, action and sincerity of purpose.

 

Many people did not see this coming when he first indicated his interest to represent the people of Ankpa, an election which was initially characterized by legal battles. The challenges, trials and hiccups that characterized the initial process when he started are eloquently clear manifestations that light will come at the end of the runnel and it is a testament a leader who clearly knows his onions and is determined to stop at nothing to leave his footprints on the sands of history.

 

Indeed, by meeting him for the first time, you may take him for granted or write him off, but his small physical frame and unassuming nature both combine to make his intrinsic boldness, die-hard convictions and lion-hearted personality are some of the characteristics that stand him out.

 

Akus carries his physique, with the gait and agility of a teenage athlete, deceiving many people with his slim- like hungry face as if he cannot do anything serious on the job, but he is already surprising many people on the job, not like a first timer.

 

Like a monstrous colossus and an unstoppable all-conquering warlord, the soft-spoken, easy-going, cool, calm and collected banker cum politician walks with measured steps — just the same way he has subtly subdued his political opponents and has conquered the Ankpa political landscape within a record time of achievements covering Education, Infrastructures, Health, Human capital development and the actual legislative business of lawmaking and oversighting.

 

I am not new to Akus. I have had the course to travel in the same aircraft with Akus Lawal to Lagos during the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the current SSG of Kogi State and my closeness with the lawmaker after that time continued up till when he contested the election. This has placed me in a vantage position to say authoritatively that Akus Lawal is a jolly good fellow, who obviously cherishes and values merit, integrity and friendship. This is evidenced in the cacophony of those who make the list of his strategic political think-tank, friends and associates.

 

Try to engage him in a one-on-one political conversation and watch the manifestation of the banker cum politician in him as he unleashes on you his arsenal of knowledge, understanding, wisdom and strong conviction with persuasive arguments to disarm you and make mincemeat of your point of view.

 

Hon Akus Lawal has proven that he is a man whose word is his bond, and so he never promises and fails to fulfill. He is loyal, honest and sincere to a fault in whatever because he believes in, and tolerant in equal measure. He is very meticulous with an uncanny knack for accountability and details, a good listener, slow to anger but firm in action.

 

Upon assumption of office as a member representing Ankpa 1 state constituency in 2023 the Akus quickly settled down to brass tacks and commenced the implementation of a clear agenda. Akus realized right from day one that what his people needed was fair representation, attracting dividends and meeting the basic needs of his people.

 

Hon. Akus chose to break the jinx of the vicious circle of some lawmakers who will assume leadership positions and become totally tyrant, unaccusable, unapproachable and unavailable to those that elected them. Even before any constituency allowance or allocation or salary got to lawmakers in Kogi State, he immediately commenced work after paying thank you visits to communities, individuals and key players that supported him during the election. This Ankpa boy came prepared.

 

*EDUCATION*

 

For Akus Lawal, education was one of the critical sectors he campaigned to have special interventions on if he emerged. As God will have it, he won. With many of his supporters made up of the young school age population who are very enthusiastic about going to school, the young lawmaker quickly put a student scheme where under graduates and freshers were given various forms of support to settle down in school or commence studies at various tertiary institution levels.

 

A total of fifty (50) students at Kogi State College of Education Ankpa and Glory Land Polytechnic Ankpa, one of the fastest growing polytechnics in North central, were awarded full scholarships for three years totaling over four million naira. An immediate seven hundred and eighty thousand naira of the total sum was paid when he attended the matriculation ceremony of the beneficiaries at Kogi State College of Education Ankpa and subsequently, at Glory Land Polytechnic.

 

To increase access for constituents to tertiary institutions, the lawmaker also paid registration for prospective candidates to sit for the Unified tertiary matriculation examination, organized by jamb under the Akus Educational Foundation. This was accompanied by the employment of tutors to coach the candidates in relevant subject combination areas for the examination across various centers in his constituency.

 

Also, to enable students to learn under an ICT and digitally activated environment, Akus using his contacts, facilitated the donation of various items such as computers, various educational resource materials which includes text books in relevant subjects, boards, bags, sandals, uniforms to some selected schools within his constituency.

 

Furthermore, in January 2024 when many families are grappling with the harsh economic realities of the new year, one million five hundred thousand naira was paid to one hundred and fifty students of the constituency across various institutions in Nigeria were paid the sum of ten thousand naira in what may look like his bursary allowance to them which went along way to assist the students. These efforts have, for instance, paid off with the students now having the feeling that they are truly being represented and that their votes were not a waste in the last election.

 

*HEALTH*

 

Residents in rural areas have suffered neglect from various governments. Access to healthcare services involves the quality of care, physical accessibility, availability of the right type of care for those in need, and financial affordability. In so many communities in Ankpa unde the lawmaker’s constituency, this is near absent.

 

Seeing to the need of the people, the lawmaker was quick to commence the construction of a clinic/primary health care center/hospital in Akwu community of Ankpa Local Government to take care of ailments that can be handled by nurses, midwives and community health extension workers. The big project which has male and female wards for admitting patients also has other medical departments such as private wards for male and female elderly people.

 

Beside the ongoing construction of the hospital which is near completion and to be soon commissioned, the lawmaker has purchased and supplied various hospitals and primary health care centers within his constituency with various medical supplies, consumables, drugs as well paying the salaries of some medical workers he placed under his employment where their services are needed in some remote villages.

 

Closely related to the issue of health, is the need for provision of water supply to some communities that are in dire need of it. To this end, boreholes were provided for Ojaji Ogugu, Orchi community and Ankpa Suburb. These are aside from other humanitarian projects in the areas of free medical screening, payment of hospital bills, care for the aged and elderly and community sanitation exercises.

 

*LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS*

 

The primary business of a parliamentarian at any level is to make law and do oversight. This is the primary purpose for which a lawmaker is elected. On this aspect, the voice of Hon. Lawal Akus has been very active and loud on the floor of the house. Lawal did not resume the 8th assembly like a green horn that he is, but came prepared and carried out his legislative functions actively.

 

For example, Hon. Akus Lawal on 26th of September, 2023 raised the motion calling for the resuscitation of the Ankpa water works to supply portable water across the local government. The motion raised concerns to health-related issues resulting from lack of portable water and wants attention given to his motion.

 

On 4th of October, 2023, a mottio for the rehabilitation and completion of the Ankpa to Abejukolo motion stood in the name of Akus Lawal which received unanimous support by lawmakers based on the strategic economic and commercial advantage of the road to the business community.

 

In like manners, the young parliamentarian has called for and supported the resuscitation of various projects, moribund state and local government infrastructures, voiced out his opinion on issues relating to miming and its devastations caused across communities in Ankpa and a host of other human-welfare issues

 

The vibrant, easy going and focused lawmaker is among few Kogites with the conviction that anything worth doing at all, is worth doing well. This aptly justifies why he appears to be the only lawmaker under the current 8th Assembly in Kogi state that is carrying out projects that have direct bearing on the people.

 

As the lawmaker’s journey toward his one year in office draw closer, it is worthy of note to also point out that Akus Lawal ‘s deep commitment to equity, sustenance of democracy dividend and welfare for constituents while his inspiring and enviable transformative leadership skills exhibited over time has remained unrivalled.

 

Let the people of Ankpa 1 constituency continue to support Akus Lawal, for like Rabiu Isiaka Alfa who was not a bench warmer, you have indeed voted for yourself another result oriented, focused, purpose driven and workaholic leader whose political exploits you are yet to see.

 

Ride on and continue to do exploits for your political future is clear because you are already laying the foundation of your progress

 

Jerry Ocheme Is a broadcast Journalist, he Writes From Kano-North West Nigeria

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