Why Bello should return as Kogi governor —Adeyemi
Senator Smart Adeyemi, the director-general of the Kogi State governorship campaign committee of the All Progressives Party (APC), in this interview by YINKA OLADOYINBO, speaks on issues that will shape the governorship election in the state, declaring that Governor Yahaya Bello deserves to be returned for a second term.
The people of Kogi West just adopted Governor Yahaya Bello for second term. What is in it for the people of the district?
Politics is about interest, either as individual, community and a people’s interest. The bottom line is that politics is all about improving the welfare of your people, improving their standard of living and getting attention for the provision of infrastructural facilities. Looking at it from that perspective, for us in Kogi West, it pays us to continue to support Governor Yahaya Bello because he has succeeded where others failed: he has succeeded in uniting Kogi people, giving everyone a sense of belonging more than never before. We have a united state today where every part is adequately represented. The speaker of the state House of Assembly is from Kogi West, the Secretary to the State Government is from the district and we have commissioners and of host of others from there.
More importantly is the fact that there is effort under Governor Bello in providing infrastructural facilities for us and empowering our people. Under this administration, we have seen concrete efforts in ensuring equity by putting up both political and economic structures that will guarantee equity among the component parts in the state. When we visited Omi Dam that was constructed 40 years ago but was not utilised by any of the past administrations, the governor said he would revamp it but we thought it was a political talk. He took the right step of ensuring that what he said materializes. He established a rice mill there and that will employ about 5000 workers. So he is providing both economic and political structures that will move the state to the next level.
The governor is constructing road network in our senatorial district: we have Isanlu to Jege to Iffe Olukotun, Panyan up to Iyamoye. These are projects that should have been done about 15 years ago. He is constructing Ekinrin-Ade to Iffe-Olukotun road. We are not saying that this administration is the best but it is far better than all the previous administrations in the state; maybe we can only compare him with Governor Abubakar Audu’s administration. But when we look at it holistically in the entire Kogi State, he has tried. There was a time when the people could not sleep with their two eyes closed but today security has improved. He has succeeded in doing that by empowering the security agencies in the state so that they can meet the challenges. The primary responsibility of any progressive government is the protection of lives and property.
There is an argument that the people of Kogi West are supporting the governor because he has promised to hand over power to the senatorial district in 2023…
For me as an individual, I stopped the agitation for power shift since 2011. The reason is that in December, 2010, I went to the eastern senatorial district to see how far it has developed, having being in power for about 12 years. But I discovered that more than three-quarter of the district did not have electricity, but my community had electricity as far back as 1973. I saw people in the eastern district living in shanties; people being marginalised by people who were at the helms of affairs from the same senatorial district. I saw people being serviced with drinking water through tankers. I saw total neglect of the people of Kogi East. I saw the people in abject poverty and penury. I said if this is what those who have been charged with the responsibility of governing the state have done with their area, I have no reason fighting them.
That is not to say that we don’t have the right to agitate for the number one position. With Yahaya Bello as governor, there are communities of former governors that were without electricity that he is providing with electricity today in that senatorial district. Maybe I have gone beyond the level of tribal sentiment. I see myself as a statesman; as someone that has travelled wide and because of my knowledge of Kogi. So, it may not be when you have somebody from your area as governor that you will develop. Kogi West as a constitutional right to agitate for power to rotate to them, but I don’t see it an issue now. My concern is that power has, through divine intervention, shifted to the central senatorial district.
Why do you think it is proper to unleash another four years of Yahaya Bello on the people of Kogi State?
I am not in doubt that Yahaya Bello deserves another term in office and I am not in doubt that people will vote for us. It is going to be like a miracle; I am not sure if the opposition will muster 25 percent votes. I, as the DG Campaign, I am disturbed that the oppositions are not campaigning; I have not seen their billboards; I have not seen their posters. I am disturbed that the oppositions are silent: they seem to be paralysed. It is either they don’t have the resources to run or they are disunited. There is no unity of purpose in the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Today, they have about 30 of them in court against their candidate.
It will even be safe to say that the main opposition does not have a candidate today because the candidate they claim to have is still a subject of litigation and until when court makes a pronouncement, PDP doesn’t have a candidate. So we are disturbed; we want them to have a candidate. We don’t want a free election; we want to engage them on issues that will help to promote democracy. But today nobody is available; they are not talking. It is either that they have conceded defeat or they are planning mayhem. But for us, we are not in doubt that we are going to win. We have a lot to show to the people of the state as achievements that have been recorded in the last four years.
You accused PDP of having issues with their candidate, but the APC also has not been able to unite and reconcile all the aspirants that contested with Governor Bello in the party’s primary…
As at today, only very few of the aspirants that contested the primary election are not with us; more than three quarters of them are with the governor. The APC is not like the PDP; the APC is more progressive and the people have large heart. When we had our primary, there was no gunshot but in that of PDP there were gun shots, not only in Kogi State, even in Bayelsa State. I heard people saying that perhaps the APC masterminded the gunshot at the PDP primary. But for what reason will that happen? We have no business being there; it is not a way of life of APC.
I have told the PDP that if they really want to know those who shot at their primary, what they need to do is to look at the names of the aspirants in the election and ask the police to give them a profile of each of them. They will discover that a good number of them are people you cannot vouch for in terms of their antecedent. We don’t have anybody in the APC that contested election that is having criminal charges. But in the PDP, there were people who contested the primary whose character is being questioned in the court of law; some of them are standing criminal charges in the court of law. Those are the ones to question as we have no business at their primary election. In this election if they say one will be killed by a two-horn animal definitely it can’t be snail. The PDP is the snail; they are disunited and they lack focus. As it is today, the PDP is a dying party because of error of decision-taking and lack of sensitivity to the environment that they are. As it is today, we are set to subdue them and consume them in a non-violent manner.
The argument is that this government has not impacted positively on the lives of the people…
In democracy, people are free to have their opinion but that may not be the fact. So I will confront the people with some fact. As we speak, in the extreme rural areas of the state we have about 200 borehole projects. This government constructed green house in Osara, which is already creating massive employment. The green house farm is producing vegetables for the north-central states in commercial quantity. We have the Omi Dam project with land being cultivated into rice plantation. The rice mill will produce 50 tonnes per day. This will improve the revenue base of the state. The government is developing palm plantation in the eastern zone. A lot of roads are under construction in the three senatorial districts. The government is also embarking on electrification projects in about 150 communities.
Although there is no government that is perfect, but we in Kogi know that this government is making a steady progress and the governor deserves to be allowed for another term. This is not considering the political implications as the Ebira-speaking people of Kogi Central have not produced a governor before. For us from Kogi West, it makes sense to support our neighbour to succeed.
As the DG APC governorship campaign, what should the people of the state expect in another four years of Governor Bello?
This government is going to embark on capacity-building and provision of infrastructural facilities; more of road construction and social amenities that will help in the socio-economic development of the state. Efforts will equally be made to expand the industrial base of the state. There will be agro-allied industries that will help to provide jobs for thousands of our people.