BusinessDay

Kogi guber election: Wada, Bello and Ameh woo electorate with great promises

Four months to the Kogi State gubernatorial election, aspirants have continued to harp on the alleged negative sides of the Governor Yahaya Bello administration, insisting the man has no business returning to office after November. But the governor insists he still has progressive plans for the people of the state. Now, the die is cast.

Recently, Idris Wada, a former governor of Kogi, while speaking to journalists on why he should be elected again, faulted the current administration, accusing it of dishonesty and being dishonorable by claiming it has paid salaries when it has not done so.

“What is happening now is disgusting, that is why I come into the race. We have a government that is dishonest. They will say they have paid salary, when they have not paid. They said they have done projects. I heard the governor saying the other day that very soon Mr. President will come and commission projects, projects and projects. Where are they? Are they ghost projects or invisible projects?

“Look, we should tell our people the truth, people who elected you expect you to represent them in honest manner and what is going on is unfortunately very dishonorable. I did it before; I don’t have to learn anything new. We will improve our internally generated revenue (IGR). Hotels and Parks were meant to generate money. These are not white elephant projects. These are projects that are revenue-based and we will do more.”

Wada, who is seeking the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), further said: “Agriculture will bring money into this state, if we structure it properly. I have the capacity to do that. While I was there, if our allocation is not enough I take overdraft from bank to fund salary. I shielded the workers from the pains of dwindling allocation, while I was there. And I will do even better now because I have experience. I have learnt my lessons and I know what to do to make our people happy.

“My administration was at the point of commissioning Alo Cement, production was on-going before I left; now, it is producing. You see that revenue coming from there; PAYE from the workers; all these will add value to the revenue of our state.

The former governor claimed that following the tremendous pressure from the good people of Kogi for him to return to Lugard House and complete the works he started that has been abandoned, he has come out to continue to fight for the well being, progress and development of Kogi citizens.

While officially declaring his intention to seek a return bid to office in the forthcoming governorship election slated for November 16, he added that the provision of needed infrastructure and engagement of best hands and modern technologies to put Kogi on the right track were already in place.

Wada said that having learnt a lot in his first term, the well being and development of Kogi were not negotiable and that, that was why he accepted the call from the people to seek a return.

Wada, who disclosed this in Lokoja while addressing journalists, said a defining moment that calls for deep reflection had come and all hands must be on deck to make the November 16 governorship election a turning point for the state, stressing that his experiences from the first term would uplift the state to the level it should be if given the mandate.

He alleged that 2015 election was a stolen election which, according to him, stole away great opportunities from Kogi State.

The PDP aspirant maintained that people’s plight,  sufferings and non-payment of salaries had made it difficult for him to enjoy luxurious life, adding that the next election is in the hands of the people of Kogi to choose another life line that would run for another four years.

“There is no day that I get less than 30 text massages soliciting for financial support. While I was the governor of this state people were never going out begging for bread. I begin with a humble beginning,  when I came here, I did my best and I will beat my chest that I did my best during my tenure. I and my family are organised. I come from a professional background where we do our work and let the work speak for us. I find it unacceptable to go for recreation enjoying myself while the people are dying in abject poverty,” he said.

Captain Wada also disclosed that when his administration came on board, they came up with a strategy that ongoing project must be made their priority, adding that he was working to make Kogi a self-sustaining state

He equally said that within the available resources to his administration, he made sure he  completed all the inherited projects, payment of salaries was also a priority, emphasising that his aspiration is about the people who are dying on daily basis due to untold hardship they are facing. He further said that his administration made transparency, accountability and honesty its watchword.

He also appealed for the support of the PDP executives to enable him realise his aspiration.

But Yahaya Bello, the incumbent governor, who is seeking a ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that whatever achievement his administration recorded in his first tenure will be a tip of an iceberg if given the mandate to run for the second tenure.

“I want to assure you that whatever we have achieved is a tip of an iceberg. What we have done before, in second tenure, it will be bountiful. By our performance we will unite Nigeria. I put God first in everything I do, and whatever that might have gone wrong, I am a mere mortal. We will continue to improve on what I met on ground. I have given a marching order to all the contractors working on the water projects and by the grace of God you will have water,” he said.

According to Bello, “Gender equity will be my priority in my second tenure. Every day, we are giving birth to children yet we live in penury.  A lot of people will benefit from Omimi Rice, job wise. This plant will generate job for over 2,000 youths. We are building more plants in the state. You can never go wrong in Agriculture. We met three months’ salary arrears and that is what the present administration is owing now. Federal Government has graciously approved the remaining balance of N30.8 billion and in no distant time, the salary issue will be a thing of the past”.

The governor equally emphasised that the people’s desire for good governance produced him through the APC, and that election is going to be rancor-free. “My leadership style led to APC clearing House of Assembly election,” he said.

Joseph Erico Ameh, an aspirant also on the platform of PDP, said his dream 20 years ago and the suffering of the people of Kogi State had been the driving force behind his ambition.

Ameh said that as a grassroots person, he knew exactly where the shoe pinches and in collaboration with other patriots, he had painstakingly put together a compendium of their action plan, otherwise called a blueprint, that will serve as a guide or political compass for the restoration of Kogi’s lost glory

“My dear Kogites, when the blueprint is faithfully and comprehensively implemented, corruption, fragmented payment of salaries and wages and lack of infrastructural facilities will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

“I wish to state categorically that my adventure into politics is not for selfish reasons. I am essentially motivated by political philosophy and ideology of   J. F. Kennedy that says, ‘Do not ask what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.’

“I am committed to making a difference in the governance of our dear state. I am not going to run a government of terror, but a humane, God-fearing and responsive administration void of its criticism,” he said.

Ameh also disclosed that education was his topmost priority based on his blueprint for the developmental transformation of the state. “We see education as the corner stone of all developments. The blueprint therefore, advocates free and compulsory education for all, for the realisation of national and individual potentials. The blueprint also advocates easy access to quality health care services at all levels,” he said.

 

VICTORIA NNAKAIKE, LOKOJA

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