Udora Orizu interacts Rukkayat Ibrahim, a gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, who believes that a creative leader is needed to harness the state’s potential for developmen
Why do you want to be Governor of Kogi State?
My reasons for coming out and putting myself in the line of service for my people is due to the lack of so many social amenities my state has lacked over the years. My people have cried out for so long, so running for the office of the governor was not just a personal decision. After spiritual consultations, and a need for change, I am convinced this is the time we need to build a greater Kogi State. Kogi needs a creative and experienced person to handle and occupy the highest political office in the land and provide the right leadership and needed dividends of democracy to the people, and that’s why I’m contesting to be governor.
Your party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has adopted indirect primaries for governorship elections and over 20 aspirants contesting on the same platform have rejected the system. Are you comfortable with the indirect method being adopted, or are you working for Governor Yahaya Bello’s re-election?
Why should I work for Bello’s re-election? I am not working for Bello’s re-election and I am not comfortable with the indirect primaries method being adopted because that’s just a way for Bello to get re-elected into office.
How would you rate the performance of the present administration in Kogi?
Very, very poor performance so far. It’s so bad Kogi State is seen as the worst state in the country after having the youngest governor in Nigeria, thinking that would be an opportunity for Kogi State to be better and well managed. We still lack basic amenities in the state; nothing is working. We are still backward while other states are far ahead of us.
How would you assess the state of Kogi in terms of infrastructural development and so on?
Of course, the present governor has not done well. Actually, I would say he has done nothing. Like I said, the state still lacks so many social amenities and it is still underdeveloped unlike neighbouring states. Look at the roads everywhere, salaries not being paid, and you expect the people to be happy? That is why we want to take back our state. He has done his best.
The issue of unpaid salaries has become a norm in Kogi, civil servants have lamented, the government has blamed the late payment on excessive loans by the previous administration. If you emerge winner, how would you tackle the issue?
As a person, it’s wrong not to pay the people who work for you not to talk of a whole state. With this, you are suffering a lot of people especially families. A state cannot operate on federal government allocations alone. There are other things a state should be involved in creating wealth for its citizens. From mining, to farming, even our mineral resources are untapped, Ajaokuta is still wasting away. That could be a major factor for job creation, if functional. What is the government doing to revive it, since it’s in the state? We have beautiful places and a great culture to make Kogi, a tourist attraction to visitors, also to create revenue for the state.
You are competing against some notable personalities such as incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello. Don’t you think your chances of winning are slim?
Power is given by God and not man, and it is always a privilege to serve not a right, and I have the same chance as the male opponents, it’s the people that will decide this time. Have you heard the cries for a better state? I trust them to make a better choice this time. Politics is not a do or die affair, so let the better man or woman win.
If you emerge as Governor of Kogi in November, what would you do differently?
It is no longer news that our state is abundantly blessed with surplus of human, agricultural and natural resources. But it shall become news when we all see to it that these blessings are translated into reality and to the benefit of Kogites. If I emerge as governor in November, I will focus on the realisation of my six-point agenda, which are security, health, women & youth, education, rural development, agriculture. Considering our strategic geographical location of Kogi State being the gateway to the north and south. A committee of retired security personnel (elders) of the state will be set up representing the three senatorial districts of the state, that will be saddled with advising the governor on how to secure the state. Health is one sector that our government will give special attention. If the state is healthy, then we are wealthy. We intend to achieve these objectives of our government among others in the overall interest of everyone.