Ibrahim Oyewale spoke with the Director General APC/Bello/Onaja Campaign Council , Senator Smart Adeyemi on the preparation for the November 16 Governorship election and his preparation for the fresh senatorial election in Kogi West
As the Director General, Kogi APC, Bello/Onoja Campaign Council for the November 16th gubernatorial election in the state, what should be expectation ?
It is total victory for our party, All Progressives Congress (APC) . There is a Yoruba Adage which says, “f they say that it is a wild animal that will kill you, certainly it is not an animal like snail.” As it is today the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is no longer strong. Do they even have a candidate? The supposed candidate is still being challenged in a court of law. It is when the court clears the air, that is when we know the PDP candidate that will content against. Have you seen them campaigning? Where are the billboards of the candidate? That tells you that something is fundamentally wrong. During the September PDP primary election they were busy sharing dollars. We have them on video. There is no other person that will win this governorship election than Governor Yahaya Bello. I will give you the reasons, if the PDP is a party that knows what they are doing, they would have allowed Captain Idris Wada, the immediate past governor to pick the ticket of the party. This would have allowed them to come to Kogi West senatorial district with a proposal saying, in the next four years the governorship will be zoned to them. We have Yahaya Bello for the first term. He is from the Central senatorial zone. The Igala have done 20 years. Let Central do eight years. In the interest of justice and fair play, it should be the turn of Kogi West next .Who told them that Kogi West will not vote for Yahaya Bello who is our neighbour and in -law? They are our friends and brothers. I am not saying Igala are not our brothers, but our cousins. When they speak igala language, you pick a lot of Yoruba words. We are more or less one. It is either we left them or the left us. But I know we have a meeting point historically. Having said this, the people of Kogi west will like to to vote for Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello so that they will produce next governor. This is the reality on the ground now for the people of Kogi west. The second reason is that when you look at the aftermath of their primary election of PDP, many of the key stakeholders are defecting to APC. Let me tell you that in the next two weeks more members of opposition parties are joining APC in their large numbers. Because they have seen that there is no headway for them. Some of the so -called leaders are also coming to join APC . That is the situation they have found themselves. God is just with APC. His government has not cheated us in Kogi west. In my senatorial district, the Omi Dam near where Ejiba Rice Mill was constructed over 40 years ago, nobody utilized it until when Yahaya Bello came. If this is what he can do for my people, it is okay because that Rice mill will employ over 5000 people.
More so, the Chief of Staff is an Igala and a Christan. In the time past, governors of Kogi always bring their in laws, their brothers their cousins as Chief of Staff and nobody will know what was going on in Government House. Yahaya has brought a man different faith and different tribe. From the West we have Mathew Kolawole as Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly. The Secretary to the State Government, Ayoade Folashade Arike and Asiwaju Ashiru Idris as Commissioner for Finance and the Commissioner for Women Affairs , Bolanle Amupitan and Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kehinde Oloruntoba. We are adequately represented in this government and we have a sense of belonging that we are part of this government .These are the issues. Forget those who make noise on internet. The problem of this government is that it came to fight corruption, institutionalized corruption. In time past, all those who call themselves stakeholders take money without working. They allocated money to their account on monthly basis under the PDP. I am a stakeholder but I refused to collect the money. I told them that somebody will come to ask you these questions. Most of the influential people put the names of their children, sisters and brothers in the pay roll. How were they able to establish ghost workers? There were people who have been drawing salaries in last seven years in different state capitals in Nigeria. And they said they are working in Kogi State. They now asked why taking your salaries from Abuja or Port Harcourt ? All these are the children of influential people. When Yahaya came and he was fighting corruption, corruption started fighting back. They employed people on the internet to pull him down and frustrate him from working. Kogi is the most diverse state. It is so diverse that you do not know who is an indigene of this or that, unless you move to the interior; that is when you have an idea of the majority. It is such difficult and complicated state to govern. That is the fact. But he has been able to manage all of us .Yahaya Adoza Bello is currently embarking on rural electrification projects in the Eastern senatorial district. These are the communities of the former governors without electricity. How do you defend that kind of thing? Why would he not win election? Presently is constructing the whole Dekina township road, Ankpa ,Abejukolo road and host of others. Go to the Central in Agaza Palace, Kuroko Itakpe roads and West, Ejuku, Ponyan, Jege road and a host of others. As far as I am concerned, this government is better than the previous governments except that of tge late Prince Abubakar Audu who laid a solid foundation for Kogi State.
How are you preparing for the fresh election in Kogi West against Senator Dino Melaye who was removed by the court for not being properly elected?
Naturally, you expect that I would be very happy at the end of the day that the horse and its rider have been thrown into the sea. When you have been cheated and there is respite for you, naturally I am very delighted. It is now a different ball game, all the loopholes to manipulate the results will not happen again. Dino is not a man that has won election before. He only manipulates the system. When you have strong morals foundation in life, you will not get involved in anything that is unlawful. I have never begged anybody to do anything for me. I will never do that because to get elected is very sacred thing. If you are not properly elected you will face some other things .When you look at myself and my opponent ,we are of different backgrounds. What does he have to fall back on? Has he achieved anything to make him comfortable? People like him will do everything to win an election. They will go to the extreme to win an election. Thank God we have a judiciary that is credible, that is God fearing, that ruled according to the law based on the facts before them. The two judgements-the tribunal and that of appeal court are not different.
In the first instance , Dino himself went to court to secure a court judgement that the collation of the results must be in Kabba, the headquarters of the senatorial district. When I was told he was in court ,I said there was no issue for me to join him in court .Because he was asking for the obvious according to electoral law and according to the constitution ,so why should somebody go to court in the first instance? I expect that INEC will comply. That is what the law says . At the end of the day there was valid judgement of Federal High Court in Lokoja compelling INEC to collate results in Kabba . And INEC was represented at trial when the case came up. INEC never appealed judgement .
When I was leading Dino with over 30, 000 votes . I went to INEC Headquarters in Kabba only for us to wait till eternity ,no body was in sight. We were told that they have gone to Lokoja ,then I said it was not possible . On their way to Lokoja ,they stopped at a village called Oshokoshoko .That was where they parked and amended the result ,they manipulated it. And when they were to announce the result on the 23rd ,they announced the result at midnight ,so we assumed that that it was over. We assumed that since they have announced the result there was nothing we could do again .We went to in Lokoja the result was not available until 25th of February . Why was it so ,it was on 25th they were able to perfect all the calculations. As God would have it, the election was held on 23rd and the result was dated 25th which was against the law. Apart from mutilations, of all contestants ,it was only Dino column that has alterations all through ,so they recorded exactly what I scored ,his own was tampered with. Who will vote Dino? We are from the same local government area. We are all Yoruba people. Do you think Yoruba people will vote for somebody who is not representing them well ? Yorubas value moral upbringing . I Yoruba will appreciate what you are saying and ,the way you parade yourself . Do you think our people who are in the majority would for Dino? Has he represented us well ? Would you say as a Nigerian you are proud of Dino as Senator ? The Senate is not for somebody who without any rich background, without any record of service .I left Journalism having served as two term National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists . I led a professional body in this country .You won’t tell me I am not unknown . When you find yourself in a position you didn’t prepare for or where you are not supposed to be ,definitely you are going to mess it up .That is what is happening to Dino .He found himself in the position he did not bargain for . The corrupt system paved way for such a people to emerge .That is what happened.
I am not a new person to our people .I am a man of achievements. I have served our people with dignity. They know that. We are ready. No shaking. “We full ground.” In the past four weeks we have been receiving defectors to APC from other political parties on a daily basis . In fact we are overwhelmed .The decamping is indeed great . People are joining our party from the East ,Central and West districts. We are fully prepared for the election any time, any day. Election is not when you make noise on the internet . Where is Dino coming from? What has done in the past? You can’t just bring anybody now? The electorate are on the top of their game and know better .They ask questions . I am well known and all my achievement are overwhelming. I do not see of any Senator in Kogi West that can be compared to me for what I have done for the people of Kogi West .This is a statement of fact.
Kogi is the most diverse state. It is so diverse that you do not know who is an indigene of this or that, unless you move to the interior; that is when you have an idea of the majority. It is such difficult and complicated state to govern. That is the fact. But he has been able to manage all of us .Yahaya Adoza Bello is currently embarking on rural electrification projects