Haruna Yusuf, former Aide de camp (ADC) to Adams Oshiomhole, when he was Edo State governor, currently serves as an aide to him as National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He believes he is a better alternative to Governor Yahaya Bello’s maladministration.
Why do you want to be Kogi State governor?
Just like I said in my declaration speech, my driving force is the hues and the cry of Kogi people. I recognised the fact that if one feels that he is sufficient and majority are living in penury, abject poverty, and people are even dying due to high handedness of the current administration in the state, I don’t think that we should turn our face away having listened to a lot of complaints from the people. The complaints and even the deaths we are talking about are practical issues that can be confirmed or verified from any part of Kogi because the suffering is so endemic that the people can no longer endure. Kogi State is a salary- economic state which means that it is a state that when salaries are paid there will be money in circulation, those involved in house construction, artisans and others will be involved and the money will go into circulation and everybody will earn a living.
But once a government refuses to pay salaries having collected monthly allocation from the Federal Government, the life support has been removed from the people and when a life support is been removed from human beings, the end result is nothing but death because a man who cannot afford paracetamol to cure headache means that the person has been sentenced to death.
Having worked for a decade, I know what good governance represents; I know how things work because for ten years I have painstakingly learnt how to carry out government policies to the benefit of the masses. We need to rescue APC; we don’t want people to think that APC is a government that brought in sorrow, hardship and agony to the people. No, the party is not the problem, but the drivers of the policies in Kogi State are the real problem in the state. And I want to tell Kogi people that I am a better alternative to Yahaya Bello’s maladministration, the central senatorial district still has capable, God -fearing people, that can govern the state and pay salaries regularly and transform the state.
The news all over the country now is that APC has adopted indirect primary as against the general outcry of the party members for direct primary, do you think that this is fair enough?
Well, the party is bigger than any individual, the responsibility of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party is to look at all the issues before it, but in this regard I don’t think it will go against the interest of the party in Kogi State. In the last primary election that produced the standard bearer of the party in the person of late Prince Abubakar Audu, it was the same indirect primary and Yahaya Bello did not come first, but he is the governor today which is the power of Almighty God. For me I think that the NWC should have been sensitive to the demand of the people. I think the party should have a human face to be able to feel the pulse of the people so that the general election can be free and fair. To give the Kogi people sense of belonging, I think direct primary would have been the best for the party to reconnect members with the party so that on their own they can choose who will fly the flag of the party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state. I am sure that the critical stakeholders will still persuade the NWC to have a rethink over the decision that they have taken which is not favourable to the majority of members of the party.
What will you do differently as governor?
One of the major problems of Nigeria is that the discovery of crude oil in the country over time has really brought indolence and quick money making syndrome that have virtually turn our face away from mineral resources God gave to us. I think it is very clear to us now and we have learnt our lesson because even the price of the crude oil is diminishing gradually and can no longer foot our domestic needs any more. So the country has decided to diversify and I also think majority of the states in Nigeria are also looking inward toward that direction.
However, giving the opportunity to govern the state, we will bring in other technologies and we will subsidise the cost of acquiring farming equipment that will aid massive agricultural production so that farmers can enjoy and there will be availability food stuff. On the issue of mineral deposits, Kogi is one of the blessed states in Nigeria where we have abundant mineral resources at commercial quantity. We will involve the modern technology to locate the mineral deposits in the state for the purpose of mining. We will collaborate with the federal ministry of solid mineral since the issue of mineral deposit is on the exclusive list to ensure that the solid mineral are converted to wealth for the people. We invite foreign investors and create mining schools where people can learn how to mine solid mineral to create wealth. We will also collaborate with the Federal Government to give life to Ajaokuta steel company that is capable of generating enormous revenue to the government and create thousands of jobs to unemployed youth across the country through factories that will spring up.
How will you tackle the security challenges in the state?
Well, what I found in a political environment is like a game of draft where everybody is claiming to be an expert but yet many do not know the principle and concept of the game. How can someone be an expert on certain thing he was not trained on? I made bold to say that I am a security expert and if you check my record I have trained locally and internationally. Intelligence is the best form of tackling issues of security. Deploying physical security everywhere is fine, but that is not the real method of dealing with issue of insecurity. So many lives have been wasted in Kogi State as a result of insecurity and up till now the perpetrators of the heinous crimes have not been apprehended, meaning that they are still around to unleash terror on the innocent people. The best security is crime prevention which means you don’t allow crime to occur. We can reduce all of that to the barest minimum. It is about putting all the knowledge and experience together into practical practice where we will make everybody security conscious across all the four corners of the state.
Again we have the capacity to build a network of informants and it will be very effective to the extent that we will now work with other security agencies across the 21 local government areas, in a way that before a crime is committed the perpetrators will be arrested or apprehended, that is the best was to tackling insecurity.
Credit: The Sun