‘Incumbency factor will fail in Kogi guber poll’
THE All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the forthcoming Kogi State Governorship Election Abubakar Audu has vowed that incumbency factor on the side of Governor Idris Wada would not work against the APC at the poll.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja Audu, based his confidence on a number of issues arising from recent political developments in the state.
His words, “We have seen the handwriting on the wall. A sitting governor who has everything at his disposal, he has the Army, the Navy, the police and he has commissioners, special advisers and everything. Besides that he has the funds at his disposal. He deployed them effectively during the last general elections. But what was the results? We started with nothing and made almost a hundred percent.
That served as an eye opener that there is no incumbency factor that influenced the decision of the kogites who have suffered enough. They now feel that it is time to effect a change and the most permanent thing in life is change and they are willing to do that and they have demonstrated that in practical term. We didn’t have APC councilors, chairmen, sitting governor, in fact nothing and after the election, we won the three available senatorial seats, in the House of Representatives, and we won six. In fact one or two of the seats would soon come to us because there were fraudulent practices at the poll and I am sure we will get justice at the tribunal.
In the state House of Assembly, we have eleven out of twenty five, three or four of the seats are on the way that we are sure of getting it through the tribunal because we have evidence of the fraudulent practices that took place during the elections. And besides that, even a sitting House of Assembly member on his own volition has offered to join the APC. Just recently, the former minister of Police Affairs, a former board of trustees member of PDP, former ambassador, former House of Representatives member, former chairmen of local councils and several others too numerous to count have all decamped to the APC after the elections. If we are able to register this huge success during the last election and now that we have got more decamping to us, even though we are not going to rest on our oars but we are satisfied that victory is entirely at our doorstep.”
The APC candidate has called on the Igala people in the state to cede power to the Igbirra and Okun people, saying that as part of the key components of the state, it would only be just and fair to give them a sense of belonging.
Audu stated that he is in full support of power shift considering the fact there is the need to give everybody a sense of belonging in the state.
The ceding of power according to Audu should however come after the expiration of the tenure expected to come from the forthcoming poll, which he believes he will win.
An Igala by tribe the APC candidate, whose first stint as governor on the platform of the defunct National Republican Party (NRC) was truncated in the aborted Third Republic by erstwhile military President, Ibrahim Babangida, however reclaimed the seat on the platform of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) and administered the confluence state from 1999 -2003. He however failed in his re-election bid in the 2001 poll to Alhaji Ibrahim Idris who was In the saddle for a two unbroken tenure from 2003 – 2011.
Audu who is conscious of the fact that all governors that have administered Kogi under the current democratic dispensation hailed from the eastern part of Kogi East inhabited by the Igala people said if he is voted into power in the forthcoming Kogi governorship poll holding on the November 21, this year, he would ensure a successor who is either of the Igbirra or Okun speaking extraction.
Recalling an interactive session he had with some group of opinion leaders in the state recently, he said Kogi state needs someone imbued with tremendous experience and maturity to take it out of the woods.
According to him: “I have about eight gentlemen, some professors, some doctors, some retired Generals in the Army and Navy who came to me to say I should withdraw from the contest and promote somebody from the Central and the Western part of Kogi to be the candidate of the party and I said this is a dissenting voice of the people because majority of the people say I should contest and bring the state to the level I left it in 2003 and they are saying a different thing.
However, I craved their indulgence and told them that I am a protagonist of power shift although in other states, what was happening is still happening because they have never ever thought of power shift.
So I promised that I will remain a protagonists of power shift in Kogi state but that cannot be achieve by means of violence, by means of hues and cries, and by means of unorthodox approach. But we can achieve that by a round table negotiation because we have been together, we are brothers and sisters and taken into consideration the demographic consideration of Kogi state, the Igalas constitute 55 percent I am saying this based on the record at my disposal, I am not saying this because I come from that ethnic group, the Ebira has 35 percent and Okun is 10 – 15 percent of the population of the state.
In Benue state for instance, I don’t think that a Tiv person is even thinking of ceding the position of the governor to an Idoma person. But our own approach is different because our antecedence and pedigree has made us to be considerate and mature and as such I have on my own volition decided to say that after we have taken the state out of the shambles it has found itself, we would identify a very competent person from central or from the west and handover to him.”
The reason being that there were three component that made up Kogi state – the Igala, Ebira, and Okun and these components have been together for over 75 years in Kabba province. We lived as brothers and sisters. If you want peace to prevail in the state, you must adopt the principle of what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you are eating sweet or sugar and eat it alone and feed very fat on it without consideration for people around you to have a taste of it, you would create trouble for yourself. If you taste it small, you give it to your neighbour to taste it until it goes round and then there would be everlasting peace.
So I promised that I will remain a protagonists of power shift in Kogi state but that cannot be achieve by means of violence, by means of hues and cries, and by means of unorthodox approach. But we can achieve that by a round table negotiation because we have been together, we are brothers and sisters and taken into consideration the demographic consideration of Kogi state, the Igalas constitute 55 percent I am saying this based on the record at my disposal, I am not saying this because I come from that ethnic group, the Ebira has 35 percent and Okun is 10 – 15 percent of the population of the state. I promised in 1991 when the elders assembled in Okene that after the Igalas complete their term, we would return it to the central and west so that they would be given a sense of belonging and I stood by that.
I was the only sitting governor who went round the state to affirm my position on power shift and even my ethnic group agreed with me that there was the need for that. But I did not complete my term. In 2003 I was rigged out and in 2007, 2011 consistently and persistently I was rigged out in spite of the fact that we won but they continued to rig me out. This time around God has intervened. My history is similar to that of President Muhammadu Buhari. In 2003 they rigged him out, in 2007 they rigged him out, in 2011 they rigged him out parri-passu with mine but in 2015 the riggers went to sleep and God took control and he won the election.
Some people even say I am too old. I don’t know what they mean by that. I am not older than the sitting Governor, Idris Wada, the former governor who handed over to Wada is older than me; and the situation in Kogi State now requires somebody who is matured; who has the required experience; who has the required exposure; who is a technocrat. I have done it before and I am going to do it again and I promise these gentlemen that lets take it easy we must be our brother’s keeper. I have only four years tenure in consonance with the 1999 constitution to stay in office and after that I will identify a very competent person to hand over to.
I asked them if you want me to withdraw, tell me who is the most competent person because I see most of them as inexperienced school leavers who are eager to acquire power and they don’t know what the power is all about. Is that the sort of persons we should hand over power to or I withdraw my interest or the interests of the masses because few people are urging me to do so? That would be quite ridiculous. That is what I told them. This is a democracy. Anybody who feels that he is competent should present himself to the electorates and if they are convinced that you have the competence and the ability to take the state out of the woods, then go for it.