‘Kogi guber election is beyond federal might’

By JOHN AKUBO   |   18 November 2015   |   11:28 pm  
Akanmode

Akanmode

CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Deputy Chief of Staff in the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency, Vincent Sola Akanmode told JOHN AKUBO in Lokoja, that the Kogi governorship election is beyond reliance on federal might. Excerpts:
We are not afraid of Abuja
The issue is not about federal might. There are areas where you can do that but not here. The local people can take their destiny in their own hands because it is the people that are going to vote in this election. Mobilising the people and presenting them with issues win today’s elections. The people in Abuja are not coming here to vote. All the security agencies will be there and I believe they will do what they are expected to do. It is true there is federal might, but the issue in Kogi today is about who is best placed to govern us.

PDP has a bright chance
Our chances are very bright because first, we have a good candidate and second, we have a party with a very good structure. Thirdly, we can see that most of the people in PDP are very well mobilised for the election. The issues are very clear, when you juxtapose the candidate of the main rival of the sitting governor with our own governor, the difference is very clear. Both of them have been on this way before. They have track records and the people of Kogi are very sophisticated and they can make a choice between Abubakar Audu and Idris Wada.

The issue is not about federal might. There are areas where you can do that but not here. The local people can take their destiny in their own hands because it is the people that are going to vote in this election. Mobilising the people and presenting them with issues win today’s elections. The people in Abuja are not coming here to vote. All the security agencies will be there and I believe they will do what they are expected to do. It is true there is federal might, but the issue in Kogi today is about who is best placed to govern us.

We are running on the achievements of Wada, we are running on his ability to guarantee a great measure of peace and stability and we are running on his ability to ensure that payment of salaries of civil servants at the state level is as good as any other state in the country today. We are running on the fact that in spite of the limited resources, he has been able to embark on some well thought-out programmes like the Kogi House in Lagos, the bye-pass in Lokoja, the township roads and the embankment of the River Niger.

More importantly, he has been able to open up Kogi to a lot of investors all over the world. In today’s economy you cannot just focus on the resources that are within the state, or the resources coming from the Federal Government to develop the state. He has been able to sign a lot of MOUs with investors in Agriculture, in cement manufacturing, in sugar production, in tourism and so on. Usually in the first term, there are teething problems. Now he knows the rope and it is just good for him to have a second term so that he can consolidate on his achievements.

The scourge of dwindling resources
It is not just Kogi State. This is something that is affecting the federal government and all other states. We heard the President saying the other time that the country is broke. These things are there, they are not new. If you study the present situation very well, you can always predict the future. The moment America stopped buying our oil; the moment India stopped being the major buyer of our oil; the moment there are other sources of energy apart from oil, then you know we are in trouble.

Our economy is a mono-culture and since this administration came on board, all road projects have been grounded and all other development projects like the railway have been grounded. It is understandable that the new administration will need a very little time to sort things out but the reality is that, even after sorting things out, the resources will not be there to undertake road construction and other things in the magnitude that was done by President Goodluck Jonathan. That is the truth. Everybody is groaning under an economy that is very tight.

There will be power shift in Kogi
The appointment of a deputy governor is not compensation, it is geopolitical and it has to be spread according to the available geopolitical zones. If it didn’t come from the western senatorial zone, it would have come from the central, it is not contested for. We are talking about the governorship of the state and all the major stakeholders in the PDP have agreed that power is going to rotate from the East to either the West or the Central. It is on and we have gotten to that point where no more excuses can be given and our people are ready. That is why we are resolute on Captain Wada winning this election. Let him have a second term and the former governor, Ibrahim Idris said that the people in the East felt the Idah axis has done it, Ankpa axis has done it, Dekina has done and he said let us apply wisdom, let him do his second term and there will be nobody to tell us any other story again.

The controversial bailout fund
Let us leave the President out of this because there is a national economic council headed by the Vice President and they discuss things about the economy. All the state governors met and agreed to recommend to the President, a bailout programme in three stages. First, their commitments to commercial banks, salaries and all those who have long term case like bonds. Then every state government made their presentations. Kogi made its own and the state did more home work than most other states and captured what was being owed in the 21 local government areas.

The issues are very clear, when you juxtapose the candidate of the main rival of the sitting governor with our own governor, the difference is very clear. Both of them have been on this way before. They have track records and the people of Kogi are very sophisticated and they can make a choice between Abubakar Audu and Idris Wada.

What the state government owed in terms of salary was only N4.9 billion but the 21 local governments owed about 45 billion and it was approved and announced. So the embarrassment should be that of the Central Bank or whoever is in charge. Of course, unfortunately, people are now reading politics into it. It should not be politicized. It is not a gift, it is a loan and Wada in his own wisdom said everybody that is entitled to getting a relief must be captured because it is a major move to give that kind of loan at 9 percent interest rate for a period of 20 years. You wont get that money again, so it is a big relief for the state government.

In financial management, there is what is called time value of money. N40 billion today is like N100 billion in the next 20 years. So our people need to benefit from it and it is going to be counter productive to make politics out of it because the people now know that they are being selected for punishment because there is an election along the line. I don’t think that is a good spirit. The situation will affect us, but positively, because people will know that some people are playing bad politics. But we are good to win. We have the people behind us and that is what is needed to win an election.



You may also like