Why Wada will win again — Awoniyi

Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr Yomi Awoniyi, says Governor Idris Wada’s performance will earn him victory in the November governorship election. Besides, he says among others in this encounter that the impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Police and relevant agencies will guarantee a free and fair election in Kogi on November 21.

The conditions that will guarantee free and fair election in Kogi.

The impartiality of all the institutions and agencies involved, including the INEC, the police, and the support facilities. I know the Federal Government is on that track of honesty, truthfulness and anti-corruption. Election manipulation is the height of corruption. It corrupts the democratic process. If we can ensure that the democratic process is not corrupted, there will be free and fair election and we stand to benefit from that type of arrangement.

Why is Governor Idris Wada seeking a second term?

He is desirous of a second term to complete the projects he started in his first term and also to do more. When this administration came on board, the first priority was to complete all the on-going projects. These include the Secretariat building, the waterworks in Lokoja, various road projects, the diagnostic centre, the vocational centre and other projects.

With the completion of those projects, the governor embarked on new projects, which he was able to do by accessing the bond market.

Accessing the bond market

Many of the on-going projects include bus motor park in Lokoja, the College of Medicine, Akaragba, various water schemes, the construction of township road in Lokoja, the by-pass road. We are striving to complete these projects and initiate new ones.

What are the issues that will shape the next governorship election in Kogi State?

There are many issues confronting our state at the moment. But Governor Wada is always on top of every situation. He has not defaulted in the payment of salaries. Thus, there is no industrial dispute in the state. Owing to the importance attached to the welfare of workers, the NLC has also been showing understanding and giving cooperation to our government. Another issue is that of power rotation in Kogi State.

There is so much agitation by the people of West and Central senatorial districts for power shift. We in the PDP are committed to power rotation. The PDP is committed to power rotation in 2019 to either the West or Central. Other things that will shape the election will be the personality of the candidates. Our people are aware of the antecedents of the candidates. At the end of the day, they will make the right choices.

Some people have described Audu as the builder and father of Kogi, what is your reaction?

He was the first civilian governor of Kogi. He was also the first governor in this dispensation in 1999. Prince Audu had the benefit of being the pioneer governor. But, some of the things he had done, we are re-doing them again.

May be, because they were done over 20 years ago. They are decaying. For example, the Lokoja Township Road, for the first time, we are trying to do proper drainage. After the completion of the drainage, the road will last much longer. Development is a continuous process.

Alhaji Ibrahim Idris was there for about nine years. He did a lot of things-roads, schools, clinics. Within the limit of resources we have today, Captain Idris Wada has done well. So, that title also fits Captain Wada.

Is the second term ambition of Captain Wada not being threatened by the intimidating profile of the APC, which now wields the power of incumbency at the centre?

The PDP still remains the party to beat in Kogi State. During the election that ushered in the APC Federal Government, there were a lot of issues. The APC won the presidential and National Assembly elections. Two weeks after, the PDP won the House of Assembly elections in Kogi State. The House of Assembly election is a local election. The issues are more local. They are issues dear to the people. The candidates are very close to the local people. With the strength of the PDP in the House of Assembly, it is evident that the PDP is on ground. So, I am not worried by the national profile of the APC. It is not an issue. But, this Federal Government is for change. A level playing field will be provided for all parties to contest for the governorship of Kogi State. And I am sure the PDP will win.

On PDP primary

It was a free and fair governorship primary. I am happy that the governor won overwhelmingly.

The most remarkable event of that day was that, just like President Goodluck Jonathan did, while the counting of votes was still on, Alhaji Jubril Isah Echocho stood up, walked over to my boss and shook him and they hugged. I joined them. The three of us hugged.

He pledged there that he will work for the party to ensure victory at the December polls. The media is full of rumour mongering and all sorts of things.

Rumour mongering

But, Alhaji Echocho is a man of his words. He will be part of the campaign train.

How is the government tackling insecurity in Kogi State, particularly the onslaught of Fulani herdsmen against farmers and kidnapping?

Kogi State has a peculiar problem. It is located in the centre of the country and we are surrounded by nine states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This creates a lot of entries and exits. More than other states, we have more boundary disputes. The herdsmen are nomads who move around the country. The rift between Fulani herdsmen and farmers is a national problem.