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‘I am the most experienced to rule Kogi State




A former governor, Abubakar Audu, in this interview says he is the best man for Kogi State’s top job as the November 21 gubernatorial election draws nearer. JOHN AKUBO reports.

Ruling Kogi again
KOGI has not been the same since the past twelve years when I left office. Look at the township roads; they are in a very bad shape. No water and the supply of electricity is epileptic. No drugs in hospitals. Teachers and civil servants are not paid. Those that are paid are receiving percentage payment. So many things have gone wrong in Kogi State and this is most unfortunate. The state has been described as being very sick.

As the first Executive Governor of the state I am the father of the state. My baby is sick and I have the responsibility to nurse the baby back to good health. The characteristic of a good father is not to abandon the child. You can see that there have been hues and cries from every stakeholder. They have stopped me on the highway, young men who have been urging me to come and contest and several times I have declined because it is not a matter for highway.

Today again young men have invited me to the stadium. I did not want to go to there but they insisted that I should contest to be Governor in 2016. It is because the state is in a very bad shape and it requires a very experienced person.

Since I performed very well to the satisfaction of the entire electorate, they felt I should come and salvage the state to be what it used to be in 2003 and even go beyond.
Creating a million jobs in six months
I have done it before. What I did in 2003 was to ensure the establishment of Obajana Cement Factory which can boast of 15,000 staff strength when fully operational. I approached the Federal Government to release the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills to me for us to run so that we can raise the working capital and make it a growing concern. When it becomes a growing concern, there would be mainstream industries and small-scale industries that will spring up from the billets being produced and that is how I want reduce the pressure on the labour market.
Within the first one year, I will produce a million jobs for the teeming youths and school leavers that are roaming the streets jobless. It is something I have done before and I will do it again. Even while I was in office those who were not gainfully employed were catered for through some monthly allowance. That will reduce the tension. I can do better than that by getting everybody employed. We have a vast land and we can create a demonstration farm where we can get people employed where food for local consumption can initially be produced. From there when the climate is healthy, nothing stops us from exporting food because Kogi could easily be made the food basket of Nigeria
Improving power supply
Speaking on the power issue, while I held sway in 1999-2003, we did not rely on the National Grid. We had stand-by generators that we operated in Lokoja and this time, around I am going to adopt the same system so that there would be 24 hours uninterrupted power supply in Lokoja and Kogi State in general. If you think that is a political gimmick go to Kano and see how they did it. In Kano they have 24 hours power. We can introduce the same thing here and even do better.
When people talk about lack of funds I cannot understand. Even if you are given N20 billion a month and you failed to manage it well it will never be enough. Nobody has ever had enough money. Like I said, while in office between 1999 and 2003, crude oil was selling between $9 and $12. Our allocation from the federation account was between N200 million and N400 million. Despite that, we still developed the state and we were ahead of other states in Nigeria.
The media tour then, which was put together by the then Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, confirmed it after touring the length and breadth of Nigeria.
They named Kogi State as the best performing state and fastest developing state in Nigeria. With that marginal allocation we were able to achieve that feat. Now because crude oil price is dwindling, everybody is making noise. I have not done any other job in my life than money management and it is more difficult to manage money than to make money. So with that background, we can do better now because of the improved earnings.
Alleged slow pace of Buhari presidency
The mess that we met on the ground is not something that can be overcome in one month. It is like taking time even though we are not afraid of making mistakes but we are afraid of rushing to do things that will make Nigerians to lose confidence in us. Very soon we shall overcome. If you know the level of devastation this country suffered, you would not say two months are two much. People are calling for some people to be crucified but we are not going into that. We don’t want to blackmail anybody but the situation is very bad and we shall come out of it in a grand style. Nigerians would not be disappointed with the confidence they reposed in the APC at the end of the day.
NASS leadership crisis
THE democracy of the past sixteen years is not democracy but military rule. A situation where two or three persons will determine who should be the Speaker is not democracy. It is now that we are going to operate the real democracy, which is different from military rule. It is not autocracy but all about disagreeing to agree.
What is going on is the effort to introduce the proper democratic norms in Nigeria. We are not used to that and that is the reason for the entire hullabaloo. Nigerians are used to doing things by force; no it is by the decision of the people, which translates the Government of the people by the people and for the people. So, the people must have inputs in everything you do and not imposition, which we have been used to. As far as I am concerned,

what is happening at the National Assembly is a proper democratic upheaval to disagree and we would eventually agree.
Remember in those days, someone who did not contest for an election would be declared winner.  Is that democracy? Ability then was left for those with strong arms that carry “Ghana Must go” to Abuja. That is no longer possible because we are going to practice real democracy now where people have to enthrone their leaders and not the question of a man sitting and dictating the pace for the rest. That is very unfortunate.

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  • olumo2000

    Audu forget the position and give it to other younger generations.You are too corrupt to hold the position.

  • Rivers man

    This people have no job nor shame..

  • Adaji 26

    Wait, Audu says teachers and civil servants are not being paid salaries. We have not forgotten that you also owed salaries and sacked workers at will. The young men approaching you to contest and “deliver” Kogi state are all hired by you. Just stop deceiving yourself please. Allow another person to govern the state, we’ll just pretend you’re an elder statesman.