In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Hon. Hillary Edime Amodu shared his vision for the people of Kogi East senatorial district.
Why are you in the race for the Kogi East Senate seat?
Simple. There is a saying that you can fool the people some of the time, but you cannot fool the people all of the time. Today, our people have realized their peers in other senatorial zones and in other states have left them behind if honestly we sincerely carried out a peer review of the impacts of democracy on the constituency development of the people.
I am in the contest to make sure that never again should our people be left behind. Never again should our people give up free and qualitative education for herculean fees and taxes levied on our children. Never again should we give up health care and functional health care and hospitals for mere consulting clinics. Never again should we give up integrated infrastructures for hands out that lead them nowhere, never again should we give up our huge tourism potentials for decrepit structures merely occupied by reptiles.
Our people want a leader and a representative that would represent a rapid departure from the past to a pragmatic and systematic approach to leadership dispensation that would introduce a new type of politics with emphasis on the delivery of democratic dividends that have eluded them for a long time and above all, emphasizing on development in all its physicality that they can see.
I am that apostle of the new type of politics our people yearn for because they can now recognise through their new leadership recruitment processes the leader they want. I am in the race to win and I will by the grace of almighty God.
We are aware that you have a signature projects which has attracted lots of commendations. Why not continue on that, instead of politics?
There is never a people in their natural state who do not require a leader to give meaning to their lives. When freedom is given to you on a golden platter, the value of the platter so often over shadowed the offerings. We have for so long stand aloof and watch the developmental destiny of our people being converted to the privilege of the few.
My signature projects, WHO IS WHO IN IGALA LAND, The Igala leadership awards, the Igala cultural festivals and the Igala translation of the national anthem and many more are my gifts to the Igala nation. I am satisfied doing that but at this juncture in my life, I am worried about the collective developments of my people.
We need a leader, a voice and a personality that would fight the symmetric and the asymmetric warfare of our people in the Kogi East senatorial district. I think I have the required leadership resources and the experience to move my people forward.
Ideas now rule the world and we need new ideas to replace the often practicalities leadership dispensations that have dragged our progress back.
What, in essence, would your victory portends for the people?
My victory, by His grace, would mark the beginning of an era and the end of an era when our people wallowed in the wilderness of political underdevelopment. The past experience of our people shows how they have been humbled severally by the type of leadership forced on them by the rent seeking godfathers who sees politics as the the exclusive preserve for them and their rent seeking fraternity against the general development of the people. My victory will send a clear signal to all that have held the developments of the people captives that our people are now ready to cart a new path, a path that would lead to developments in all it’s physicalities.
We are ready to reclaim our pride and restore the values we are known for. I shall do this through the exhibition of a good character learnt over time as a lesson from my father, the lesson that in anything you do in the name of the people, no one should be left behind. With togetherness we shall embark on this project of reclaiming our land with pristine democratic values we hold dear that have been eroded in times past. We shall look forward to the future without looking back and charting a new course of sustainable development out of the leadership quagmire we find ourselves in.
What is your vision for your senatorial district, Kogi East, in the next dispensation with you as senator?
My vision for this senatorial zone is to be a place of pride and development, where our people can live their lives in peace and dignity, a place our people do not labor in vain looking for non existent jobs, a place where the people are not Hungry and resort to pilfer for food to survive in the mist of our abundant potentials waiting to be translated into wealth for the people, and finally, a place where the circle of generational poverty caused by leadership failures are broken and the elderly can reap the fruits of their labor and a place the people are healthy, safe and prosperous. That is my dream and my bond with my people that they can take to the bank.
How do you hope to translate these dreams into reality for your people if elected as senator?
A senator is the voice of the people of his constituency. When he puff, the people puff. A senator is the chief lobbyist for his people, their eyes and he represents the total aspirations of the people. There is a saying by one of my friend’s house me your senator and I would tell you what your people looks like, I hope to be a senator who carries the dreams of his people and have the driving vitality to turn that dream into reality through ideas.
Some have already given up hopes that the dividends of democracy would never arrive their shores. How do you hope to overcome such cynicism especially in your senatorial district?
The democratic space has indeed been sullied by our past leaders. I want our people to believe that the real change they yearn for is coming tomorrow. The next election is about total freedom. We can do it only if we believe that our leadership recruitments method would change in order for us to commit to this change.
INEC as an institution is becoming independent as its recent conduct has shown and all we need to do now as a people that seeks for change is to rise up to the occasion by voting for a new type of leadership which I represents. I believe a leader is a dealer in hope. We are now about jokes due to the crass ineptitude, loquacious ignorance, and ravagious corruption masquerading as our Representatives of the past and present. We, indeed, need an urgent voice to take up the sacred duties of making us catching up with our peers that have left us far behind and leapfrogging our peers is a duty we owe our children. Our basic problems are leadership. We may not belong to the same political parties nor share the same ideological leanings but we must come together in oneness and never allow the reins of leadership fall in the hands of those who do not care what leadership and development is all about.
Let us now concentrate on your wonderfully packaged election manifestoes that you said would bring about developments to your people. Please can you reveal it to us?.
We are in a political environment where I cannot see you for plagiarising my manifestoes (laughter). I want to thank those who have read my compact with the people manifestoes for the calls of commendations. I have a vision document which I believe if when implemented, we shall in the next four years be the envy of our peers and I want to assure the people that the new form of politics manifestoes which I have developed over time would be implemented by me as their senator to the later.
My manifestoes covers four basic and cardinal road maps and they includes and are not limited to social investments, knowledge economy, infrastructure and industrial developments, and finally, agriculture and rural development.
For the sake of the people can you please educate us on your social investments plans for your people?
As you are all aware, the state greatest resource are the people, and human beings are the measures of all things. Only a healthy and enlightened people can drive the sustainable development our constituency needed at this time. I, as a senator, would be committed from day one in office to the institution of a social safety nets that would bring succour to the most vulnerable segments of our society.
One example of this social safety nets is the social security nets for the elderly, the unemployed, the widows and the helpless in the society. Our party’s ideological leanings is that nobody in the society as I have stated before should be left behind, but everyone should be supported to live out his dreams to their fullest potentials in their youth and have a dignified and comfortable retirement in their old age. This is a fundamental responsibility of government which has since been relegated or abandoned. I hope to introduce and sponsor a bill to this regard immediately if I am sworn in as a senator on this respect.
Likewise, delivering qualitative health care is going to be a priority to ensure hospitals are equipped and functional to attend to the need of the people.
You mentioned knowledge economy as one of your signature programmes of attention. Can you shed more light on what you mean by the knowledge economy?
I appreciate over time that our people love, seek and celebrate knowledge. It is important that we take advantage of the comparative advantages of our people to bring about distinct development. Look at Japan and China, they do not have oil but today due to the knowledge economy they introduced to their people, they are now regarded as a world power and both today are members of the much acclaimed group of the most industrialized countries.
I want to introduce the knowledge economy thing to our people so that in the future, we would have many of our citizens becoming the frontiers and leading lights in every field of human endeavours as well as those who are in the frontiers of research in the academia and scholarstic practice all over the world. It is therefore logical for any leader who cares about the progress and developments of it’s people going forward to turn to knowledge as a primary product in which his people can trade successfully. This is because to survive and thrive in this modern world and global economy, we have no choice than to use our brilliant mind to pursue and promote sustainable development.
I would also introduce a bill to this effect that would make the knowledge economy, which is the industry of the future and which resources are inestimable, to be part of governmental investment priorities going forward.
We will pay attention to fields such as, teaching, research, skills developments, creative arts, strengthening and building more tertiary institutions, and above all regulating educational entrepreneurships. We shall encourage the government to build a knowledge zone in our constituency of Kogi East and establish the critical linkages.
What about the infrastructure and industrial development of your area?
Thanks for these critical questions. The establishments and advancements of our economy is critical to the job creation for our people. It is crucial and relevant to the poverty reduction and revenue enhancement mission of any government. In order to further enhance the economic and industrial revolution which I seek for Kogi East senatorial district and in furtherance of my commitments to jobs and wealth creation. I would lobby the federal government to revisit the commercial and technical viability of abandoned projects through out the country with a view to reactivating them. This includes the vast networks of abandoned roads, community based projects of the federal and state governments and our flagship tourist projects in the state, urging the federal government to build more infrastructural projects in Kogi East senatorial district that are strategic to industrial developments.
Many are of the opinion that you are a good choice going forward but their fear is the political party platform you are contesting under. They fear that it may not have the structure to deliver you. Are you concerned?
Not at all. One with the people behind him is the unbeatable structure. I am excited by my prospect of winning than been worried. I am a proud member of the ADC. Our party is new, yes but we as the proponents of a new type of politics dispensation with developments in all its physicality mantra are confident of winning with a landslide. The reasons are not far fetched Judging by the current mood of our people, the behemothic parties you are talking about have failed and today it is obvious that they are clueless.
The mood of our constituents have changed for the worse which has necessitated the political playing field to shift, there is no better time for us in the opposition to reclaim the mandate of the people and our lands from failures than now. The idea of my contestation is getting plausibility everyday. The poverty levels and the erosion of confidence between the present occupiers of the office as senator and the people has tremendous you wanted and plummeted as their approval ratings has dwindled and now acknowledged as the lowest in history.
This election would sweep many old politician away because of the people’s awareness and yearning for change. The people are hungry for change trust me and without their yearning for change the idea of my contestations would not have arise. This is not about me, it is about the yearnings of my people.
Let us now talk of the agricultural and rural development programmes you have for your people. Would the sector witness anything new during your time in the Senate if elected, considering its importance to the people?
Kogi East is an agrarian society with soil properties conducive for growing a wide variety of crops. In order to achieve sustainable food security, create employments opportunities and foster agro-based industrial development for poverty reduction and wealth creation. Our approach would change from the current focus on farming and agriculture as a government social services to a commercial and private sector driven approach which is called agro-business. I would lobby the federal government to adopt a value chain approach which would lead to transformational agro-business developments that enhance food and personal security, create employment opportunities, empower women and youth, reduce poverty and create wealth through viable agro-allied industrial development.
Please, can you in a sentence describe who Hillary Edime Amodu is?
A man of great moral authority and integrity, a lesson I learnt from my father. A leader who wants to lead as a servant in the truest sense of the word. I have and would continue spending my life pushing for justice, development and recognition of the Igala nation. I would go to the Senate with a commitment to fight for the expanding of healthcare, education, agricultural development and social security of my people.
What is your message to the people?
I want the people to know that a vote for me is a vote for the progress and development of all and the future generations yet unborn and this is because our programmes Targets the foundational needs of our people. I would be the first senator to organise regularly a listening tour to the nook and crannies of my senatorial area to hear them clearly and taking actions. I would not be that senator they send to Abuja that is interested in playing political games or having myself rich to the detriment of my people. You would have to vote for someone with the propensity to get to work for you and that is Hillary Edime Amodu. I think I am your real choice moving forward.