Nigerians are good at disagreeing on any and every topic but, one topic that strikes a chord with any and every Nigerian and which forms the basis of National consensus can be found in Kogi state – Ajaokuta, precisely. In short, that topic is the perennial discourse on the imperative of the revitalization of Ajaokuta steel mill. It’s usually opined that Nigerians suffer from collective amnesia but one Obeiba-Ihima born amazon has made it her life mission to make sure Ajaokuta steel plant does not become another subject of history. For donkey years, Barr. Natasha has been at the forefront in the national struggle for the revitalization of Ajaokuta Steel mill. Her expository explanation of facts on the floor of the National Assembly in 2019 led to the creation of a $1B lifeline for the revitalization of Ajaokuta steel Company. At the core of her advocacy for the revitalization of Ajaokuta steel mill is the belief that the revitalization of that steel mill provides the basis for Nigeria’s industrialization – taking into account it’s Africa’s largest steel mill.
Barr Natasha who is characteristically intentional has not allowed her advocacy for the revitalization of Ajaokuta steel mill distract her from her professional and humanitarian projects. She’s the founder of Builder Hub Impact Investment Program Consulting – a non governmental organization dedicated to providing clients cutting edge solutions to maximize their investment outcomes. Throughout the nooks and crannies of Kogi state in general and Kogi Central particularly her humanitarian interventions speak volumes of her selfless service to humanity. Of course, an article will not do justice to her innumerable social interventions if I am to state all but, it’s equally important I state some few. During the covid 19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Kogi state government went on denial mode screaming to the moon and back that Kogi state is, “Corona free.” Barr Natasha was among the very few voices of reason who stood by scientific evidence and rose up to the occasion by providing three ventilators to the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja as her contribution to containing the pandemic. She didn’t stop at that. As someone that is grassroot oriented and directed, she had a comprehensive grasp of the implication of the national lockdown on the lives of not just the common people of her senatorial district but across the nation. Her constant giveaway on and off social media is still fresh in the memory of the beneficiaries. Just last year in December, she spent a mouth watering sum of N300,000000 from her personal coffers to rehabilitate the one kilometer bad portion of the Kogi-Edo highway (Ibillo-Lampese Okene) among many other social interventions.
Barr Natasha is a good product that doesn’t require excessive advertisement. A popular saying goes, the reward for good work is more work and this is where Natasha’s Senatorial ambition looms into relevance. There’s hardly any man or woman (who has the interest of the Ebira nation at heart) that does not identify with the aspiration of Natasha Akpoti. She’s the reason why the APC in Kogi Central is having sleepless nights. She was rigged out of the last Senatorial election characterized by massive violence but, the APC government could not rig her out of the heart of the people of Kogi Central. Today, by a mile, she is the most popular candidate among those vying for that same position not because she has the dollar bag but, for her track record of putting her people’s interest first.
The choice before the good people of Kogi Central is a choice between progression or retrogression. Natasha Akpoti radiates hope and in her mental textbook is the belief that the people of Kogi Central deserve better. As a private citizen, she has never failed to listen to the cry of her people and her interventions are everywhere to be seen. Let’s for some seconds imagine if she is trusted with a greater responsibility; what’s to be the fate of the people of Kogi Central? Shared prosperity! An old man from Adavi who I met on a bus ride to Lokoja once said to me, “my son, my greatest joy is to see Natasha become a senator before I die. Not because of me but because of the good of all Ebira people and In’sha Allah me and my family will vote for her.” Nigerians are looking up to the people of Kogi Central to get it right this time. Kogi Central deserves to be represented at the senate by the most competent amongst them and Natasha represents the best to come for the people of Kogi Central, Kogi state and Nigeria as a whole.
Abdul Ben writes from Abuja