What were you doing for your people before now? Well, I have been in the public service; I was working with the Nigeria Port Authority. An...

What were you doing for your people before now?

Well, I have been in the public service; I was working with the Nigeria Port Authority. And if you are in public service, there is no other help that you can do for your people other than to put them in strategic positions and empower them with little contract and, of course, from your little money you assist many incidents who contact you for one assistant or the other. So, all these have done for my people, within my reach and my resources. I assisted many indigent people from academic and other social assistance they reached out to me for. The best we could we have done for our people, like to influence employment in their favor within the organisation. Of course am not in the administration, but have been Port Manager Onne Port, Port Manager Calabar Port and the last position I held before I resigned was managing director subsidiary of Ports Authority, but I have to leave based on PDP’s guidelines. So, all this while I have impact very positive in line with my positions.

So, why do you decided to join the Kogi governorship aspirants?

Service to the people, you see in this harsh economy is not easy for one yo leave a creative job, but have seen that the sorry state of our people is so bad that the only way I can help and be of service to them is to join politics, then impact on the people. This is because as far as am concern Kogi state is under heavy missed governance. Those in Kogi state are suffering, when they are sick no drug, in short abject poverty is the other of the day in Kogi state today.

Yes, I agree that there is poverty all over the country, but if you are to ask me, I will say Kogi state is the headquarters of poverty in Nigeria.So to help people, I concluded that the best can come out of the state if the right people are in position of governance, I know some Nigerians will say what is my own that have made it and I should go enjoy it with my family. But if all of us shun politics because of things like this, the state will remain as it is today. So I joined in aspiring for PDP’s ticket and someone like me with my massive experience in the public sector and my love for humanity I will manage equitably the common patrimony of the people..my mission is to deliver good governance and dividends of democracy to our people.

I want the end to massive hunger, I want the end to the infrastructural deficit, I want the end to premature death because of poverty. So there is no other factor influencing me, other than service to my people. Sincerely, I want to serve my people and am not in the race to compete with any aspirant or for show off.

With 12 aspirants under PDP, what are your chances and what stands you out?

Well in delegate election is only a fool that will tell you that he will be the winner. Because what you see is beyond what will happen, but of course we have been going around, we have gone round to impress on the people our credentials, experience and thank God am very popular in Kogi state, especially Kogi east and am not someone who will come to Kogi and people will say who is this? I was born and raised in Kogi state, I school there and am a grassrooter. Am also a type that goes home almost every time. So for popularity, that I think I have am not a type that will be introduced to the people.

Anywhere in Kogi east you either know me or you know my father, my father was a very popular person because he was into politics partially, he was also a customary court judge and he has been to all part of Kogi state as a judge so his a household name. So I don’t need introduction because every holiday is at home celebrating with my people. So for the delegates election we are doing our best and with a very fair and level playing field am telling you with confidence that am somebody to beat in the race. Is not about how popular your name is, it’s about your interaction and relationship with the people. So am confident with God on my side that I have a very bright chance in the delegates’ election.

What about your party, the PDP, do you think it stands any chance in the November 16 election against the APC?

Traditionally, Kogi state is a PDP state. When President Buhari came in 2015, his star was very bright and it was like tsunami, so at that time even if a monkey was the governorship candidate on the platform of the APC in Kogi, because of the Buhari factor that monkey will win. And that tsunami is no more there; in fact, the popular candidate that won the election died even before the result was announced. So, the occupant, Governor Yahaya Bello, was the man of destiny. So, if he is the one that will be the APC candidate and PDP takes a popular person duly elected by the delegates without any mago, mago or manipulation as its candidate, the party will certainly win the election. Kogi state has been PDP state, look at from Governor Ibrahim Idris, to Governor Idris Wada and now if you look at how the people are suffering and with what is going on in Kogi state, you don’t need to be told that if PDP gets its job right, is a party to beat in the next election. But if an unpopular person wins PDP primary, they will lose in the governorship election.

If anybody is imposed on the people without the popularity, the recognition and he made the candidate I can predict what will happen, people will get annoyed and move away from PDP. So, it is advisable they give a level-playing field for the right and popular candidate to emerge. But any attempt at manipulation will spell doom for PDP. With level playing field and the right candidate emerges, am sure PDP will win the election.

With the number of aspirants, how will you react to an idea of consensus candidate?

There shouldn’t be any consensus, because right now PDP is not in power in Kogi state and it’s not in power at the federal level. What brings consensus then? The Presidency will say this is my candidate, governor will say this is my candidate and because the structure is in their hand everybody will fall in line. As it is now, we are not in government at both state and federal level so there should not be reasons for consensus. A level playing field I will re-emphasise is the best option for PDP to win the November 16, 2019, Kogi state governorship election.

So, if you eventually emerge as the PDP candidate, what will you do differently?

My plan is to change the narratives of governance, make it an all-inclusive government, where people know that is their government, for them and by them. That the resources coming to the state from federal level are effectively utilised, we must generate to improve our internally generated revenue (IGR) we have to think out of the box and take advantage of the natural resources in the state by involving the private sector to invest for the benefit of the state. So we are bringing professionalism to governance, Kogi state will not have depend solely on federal allocation, we will enlighten our people on the need to generate have through taxes and ensure that they see what the revenue will be used for.

We will also spread wealth not poverty, like some time ago if I win, I will declare a state of emergency in most sectors in Kogi state because the situation is too bad. Infrastructure, no good road network, as an engineer I will ensure we invest in construction equipment and use the equipment for road maintenance, this will save cost for the state. So, I will bring a lot invention into governance; that will be more people-oriented than what we are getting now. I will bring about genuine youth and women empowerment with transparency and accountability.

Kogi state is one with some security challenges, what are your plans to tackle the trend?

I have always said it’s not just Kogi state, but entire Nigeria. The security challenge is everywhere – kidnapping, robbery, and other criminal activities are visible in South-south, South-east to South-west, to the entire North; so, the challenge is everywhere. But of course I will redesign the security architecture of the state based on its peculiarity. Kogi state capital is junction town to the South-east, south and even South-west. So, we will map out a strategy to ensure that lives and property are protected. We will work with all the security agencies and bring about more constant patrol on our roads to ensure that the flashpoint is taken care of. So, it will a be cardinal point for me.

What is your assessment of the incumbent, Governor Yahaya Bello?

If you conduct a survey in Kogi state today, most of them will rate the incumbent far below average. When you go to the state you will get to know that salaries are paid to civil servants, no infrastructure development, the health institutions are all in comatose, the schools are not in good shape, and the only university lecturers are running away. So, what will even use to rate him? If you look at other civil service states like Osun and Ekiti state, yes they have their own challenges, but if you go to Ado-Ekiti, if you know Osogbo when you approach these cities, you can feel and see that yes they are state capitals. You have flyovers, beautiful model schools, good road network; you will see many infrastructural projects. But go to Lokoja, no roads, the civil servants are not paid, poverty is all over. So, the governor has performed far below average.

Recently, the federal government released bailout for the state, what is your reaction to this considering the fact that the governorship election is around the corner?

To me, it is a wrong thing on the part of federal government to release such amount of money towards a governorship election. I can remember when it was governor Idris Wada’s time, the held on to the state bailout find with the excuse that election was approaching and they eventually handed over that money to the current governor. I don’t know why this case is different, why would handover such amount of money to the governor when election is just few months away. So, I agree with people who say the money will be used to carry out all their plans to compromise the governorship election.

Considering all these, is your party or you as a candidate not alarmed?

You see nobody has monopoly of violence; I don’t want to be connected to violence. My election will not be worth anybody’s blood. This is because there is more to life than wanting to be in power by force. But of course we won’t sit down and fold our hands we know how they won the last election with thuggery, militarization. So, I think the Kogi are determined to confront anything because they can’t undergo this suffering again for another four years. And the party is also ready to challenge them because Yahaya Bello and his team can never win any election in Kogi state.

Credit: blueprint




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