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Aguda: Kogi needs help, redemption and that’s what I’m after



Oluwole Temidire Aguda is an aspirant on the platform of African Action Congress (AAC) for the November governorship election in Kogi State. He spoke with SEYE OLUMIDE on his aspiration and strategy.

What is behind your aspiration? 
I see under-utilization of capacity in the state from different dimensions. The people of Kogi, as far as I know have been short-changed on a number of times by its leadership. I have witnessed bailout funds, for instance, paid to the state government and yet the workers to whom the bailout was released have been unable to take advantage of such. I have seen mediocrities in governance and I believe that it is actually time to make a real effort at redefining the leadership for Kogi. It has been all about politics and not the regeneration of leadership that manages governance.


When leaders get into office in the state they tend to retain the political order as opposed to shifting from that dimension to socio-economic aspect of what will impact the people.

The politician would remain political and would already be thinking about their second term from their first day in office.

All of those political considerations make leadership very ineffective in Nigeria. I want to lead a new generation of leaders, not just in Kogi, but we are looking at a bigger Nigeria where Kogi is just going to be a window of opportunities to demonstrate that. Governance is possible because as far as I am concerned just a state or two in this country are actually enjoying governance; I am not saying good governance anyway.

What are those states you have in mind?
I will be very careful not to advertise what is not fantastic. It is not in anyway to say that a state like Lagos is living up to its optimal best but it is operating better. I want to say that Lagos has been able to manage its local economy, how it has developed human capacity and how it has generally remained a welcome state to business in Nigeria. That will be about it.

Within 1999 to now we have witnessed how the Federal Government within the same political space of our leadership have withheld funds belonging to the state because there were issues until the matter went to the Supreme Court. But the state managed to survive. I have always opposed over-dependence on federal allocation as totally unacceptable. Governors now depend on allocation but Lagos has gone beyond that. To me, our states should look inwards to survive. Another state I can point at is Bauchi.

How do you hope to win the Kogi electorate to your side, being a freshman?  
The people of Kogi like the rest of Nigerians have greatly suffered. In the state today, there is mass poverty, there is a struggle to feed. I do not even need to be Wole Aguda to be interested in the situation of the state, but I just need to be human. I just need to have feelings for the people and to also have capacity.

Kogi is ripe for anybody to rule. It goes beyond an individual, the city is ready for help and the people want to be self-sustaining and they are waiting for the person that would lay the path for them. They have been sold a psychological lie that they are incapable of being better than they are. These are people whom you represent and receive funds on their behalf and still deprive them.

I just need to have capacity and human feelings because these are totally missing today. I need to be able to think differently from the existing order that we have. Ineptitude at the political level is driving the state.

For instance, we have coastal areas in the state but our people don’t even know that. Any area of the world were you have a coast easily attracts tourism or fishing hub, but Kogi doesn’t have any of that. If I ask you what you know about the state you would probably say the workers are being owed salaries but it is more than that. I want to sell a new Kogi to the outside World. To let people know that we are more than this. 

The couple interventions we are looking up to bring into the state is from my digital technology background. I want to go to Kogi with the knowledge of the digital technology, which is now driving the world.  Kogi of today needs help, it needs redemption and that is what I am after today.


To run for governorship, you need resources. How much do you have?
Politics in Nigeria depends on money because we have perpetrated a culture of dependence. Our politics depends on money because our politicians have sold hunger as a commodity. Our politics is only what we have made of it but it doesn’t have to be so.

Yes, there is no human venture at this scale that would not require some financial capacity but my political party is not one that subscribes to moneybag politics. We would not in any way advance any ideal that has to do with moneybag politics.   
The reason is that politics is not supposed to be a financial venture but it is a service. The current set of leaders we have today invested in politics like it is a transaction and so it has become a do or die affair. And when they get to office they would have to pay back what they invested or recoup their money.

That is the unfortunate culture of politics today but what we are proposing is a deviation from that. And I want you to mark my words that in November when the election would take place, my party would have been able to break that big rock of moneybag politics. I am just hoping that we win but let it been known that even if we don’t win we would have shifted the rock that is blocking the door. We are not here to say lets get what we want and run away but we are in the race to make positive changes.   
You saw what happened in the last general election, how vote buying has all of a sudden permeated the political space as if it is normal. You can see the involvement of security agencies in partisan politics; you can see a whole lot of things that were wrong.

The elections have come and gone and the tribunals are now working. We have an opportunity to demonstrate to Nigeria that it is possible to run a political campaign on good will and support from people who believe in a vision. The vision that we sell is popular.


Your party is young. Are you not afraid of APC and PDP?
We have a lot of work to do at the grassroots. Like I said, we are going on an ideological warfare because the people have been psychological battered.

Politicians have successfully eroded the collective mind-set of the people and so in Kogi it is very easy for people to equate politics with money sharing.

The duty that we have as a political party is to serve a different vision to the people of Kogi, to let them understand that the current system does not work for them.

A close and realistic analysis of the people’s predicament today is predicated on the fact that the existing system does not favour anybody. Politicians are not helping, electorate are not helping the system. We want them to pause and reflect on their state as a people and to ask whether they can be better than they are currently.
As for INEC, look whether we like it or not, the Commission would have no choice than to sit up in November.

For instance, the controversies regarding INEC server can simply be resolved if Nigerians know whether there are budgetary allocation for the server. If we are able to establish there was budgetary allocation then we begin to ask other cogent questions. If there was a server, show the results otherwise show us the money. On the power of incumbency and PDP, those factors would not work I can assure you.   

You are from Kogi West; how much chance do you have against competitors from Kogi East, with bigger voter population?
Poverty does not know ethnicity, poor infrastructure does not segregate, mismanagement of resources as we have witnessed today in the state and previously does not exclude any section or senatorial district and race in the state. We are all witnessing and suffering the consequences, so in aspiring to revamp Kogi economically, I don’t think my name or background matters compared with the stuff I am bringing to the table.

The state needs help, its previous leaders, irrespective of their background have failed. It is therefore necessary to give room for a new and vibrant order, which we are going to provide.

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