With just one week to the governorship election in Kogi State, the candidate of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Abdurazaq Baba Emeje, told MUHAMMAD BASHIR of his plans to transform the state if elected on November 16. Excerpts…
What are your chances next Saturday?
The chances are clear, we have been on ground, and everything will go well by God’s grace. We have talked with our people on progress-oriented governance and we have agreed to move the state forward by making sure that the election is organised in a very fair, credible and responsive manner, where the people must be given the opportunity to cast their votes properly.
The security agencies in the elections must do their own part because if the elections must bring out the best winner, the security agents must do the needful. We have worked and they too must do their part as agreed by the constitution, so that our electoral act would take charge of everything as it’s expected to be.
The records are there for everyone to see in Kogi State; we have all it takes to win this election, the people are tired and they want a new governor in me. I have all it takes to take Kogi out of the doldrums we have found ourselves now. We have the best chance to run Kogi for the good of our people, we are talking about providing basic amenities for the people, the people need clean water, free and compulsory education.
Our people want the best, we would give them good life that they deserve as it’s expected to be. The people should enjoy their God-given wealth and the only way to get that done is when the right man is given the opportunity to be governor. In all ramifications, I am the best man for the job and sure my people are ready to vote me as their governor.
What would you do differently if elected?
The people will see a much more secured state where lives and properties will be in good hands with all sincerity. As the governor of the people, we shall make the people enjoy what good governance brings. And such are at the instances of good roads, quality health care facilities and services, free and compulsory education for our children from primary down to university level.
We would make the people step into greater life, greater life in quality services delivery also in areas like housing for the people, constant electricity power supply, youth and women development, sports and infrastructural development. The people will see something different from what they have ever seen since Kogi was created out of the old Kwara and Benue states. We shall provide employments and empowerments to youths and women notwithstanding the small revenue generated in the state. We shall raise the bar to create our investment with a solid participation of the foreign business world.
The major issue in the state are said to be absence of human and physical development, do you have the capacity to rewrite history?
As a people of capacity we have a blueprint called Restoration Agenda that will take care of the issues of human and physical development and I am very sure that the people will benefit greatly from that package.
It is designed to uplift the people and bring the state back on track. Our people will enter a contract with government that will help us provide services to them on a data facility as it is done across the world.
Moreover, it is very important to note that human capital capacity development will be one of our major power boxes for the development of Kogi State.
There are fears that the election would be greeted with violence, how can you assuage the people’s fears? As for me and my party, we are not interested in causing any trouble in this election and after.
Power belongs to God Almighty and nobody can take power if not given by God. He gives power and also takes it away to a better person and I am very sure that power is going to be given to me and the people would see the best of good and quality leadership in a grand style.
We are expecting to see peaceful elections and that can only happen when the right things are done. As for violence in elections, we have seen all these happen in other states across Nigeria in recent times.
We don’t wish it to happen in Kogi. Our people are not ready to witness whatsoever the enemies of our state are planning. We are known to be peaceful but it is clear that some people in the state are planning to make the elections staggered so that they can rig it in their favour. Many believe that the major contenders in the coming election are APC and PDP. Can your party spring a surprise? My party is the third force so far as we are concerned, and there’s nothing anyone can do about this.
I don’t even know what these two parties are fighting themselves for. It’s a simple case here. If you want the people to vote your party into power, while in power you have to do the needful so that the people will come all out to cast their votes for you. There are no people who will enjoy good life from an administration and still vote them out of power, no matter what the opposition party tells them. But if we look at it from another angle, it can happen.
We have seen so far that the UDP will rise into the first point of call. The UDP will do the people good, and that means the party can win the elections if only INEC and the security officials will allow the polls to be free and fair on November 16. What will determine a true election is when the votes of the people are allowed to count, and when the people are allowed to vote without the thugs disturbing them as we have seen before. Specifically, what are your programs for the state? Our program for the state is titled as the Restoration Agenda, an agenda that will play the ball of reconciliation of the policies and politics of good governance.
Quality and good governance is what should provide a solid leadership for the people. Our blueprint is to restore Kogi to its pride, the state is ready to be rolled into action as soon as we take over governance after the election. Our agenda comes with a full package of road constructions across the 21 local government areas, healthcare facilities and services, free and compulsory education, infrastructural development, youths and women employment and empowerment, sports and social development, foreign investment and human capital capacity development, and security of lives and property.
Many people have expressed lack of confidence in the leadership of INEC and the police.
Are you one of them?
It will be a shame if the leadership of INEC allow themselves to be used by any of the money-carrying political party contesting this election. It will be a shame to the police too, should they allow themselves to play the role of aiding the PDP or the APC to rig this election. I believe INEC will do the right thing by allowing our people to vote and also allow their votes to count.
We don’t want to be in a situation where results would be written and read at the collation centers across the state as seen during the 2019 general elections. At least for the first time in Nigeria the elections should be conducted in the best way.
The world is watching us on this because it’s high time we stopped all the nonsense of election malpractice in Nigeria. Let us show the world that we are ready to do the needful.
We have everything it takes to move our nation forward and we must get to work so that we can all enjoy good lives.
For the now, I have good respect for the leadership of INEC.
What are your expectations?
For sure we are looking up to having a great election where voters will be allowed to cast their votes and letting the votes counts. Honestly I will tell you that I am expecting our people’s votes to count so that I can enter as the new governor. The people are ready to vote a new personality and political party to takeover Kogi State and for sure it’s the UDP that the people want.
We held our campaigns across all the villages and towns and we saw the hunger in the eyes of the people for proper and befitting governance. The people will vote me as governor using the UDP and that is one major reason why the votes must count. Let us see how INEC, police, the ruling APC and the major opposition party, PDP, would use their machineries to rig as usual.
What’s your advice to the electorate?
I have said this times without number; we can only make a difference as a people if the needful is done.
We have to come all out and vote for the UDP, the political party with the sun, house and hoe as its logo.
Let’s do our state proud by voting for me so we can see a brighter Kogi.
Don’t sell your votes. Collect the money it’s yours, but vote for UDP.
This will make us provide the good life that our people need.
Ondo has no reason to be under-developed, says Olafeso
National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), in the South-West and governorship aspirant in Ondo State, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, has perused the state’s debt profile, stating that the state has no reason to be dependent on loans in view of the resources at its disposal.
Speaking at a dinner organised in his honour in Lagos at the weekend, Olafeso said it was inexplicable that Ondo State is in deplorable condition with about N131 billion foreign and domestic debts, besides a N50billion bond in the works, despite agricultural and other resources begging for attention in the state.
“The case of Ondo State is comparable to what Bob Marley in his song titled: ‘Rat Race,’ where he lamented that ‘in the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty,’ hence, we are setting out to implement the state’s template for development, put in place more than a decade ago,” he said.
Olafeso observed that though successive governments have tried their best to develop the state, the deplorable condition of roads and other infrastructures and government failure to intervene in the absence of public power supply in Ondo South senatorial district in the last 15 years was almost inconsiderate.
In his remarks on the occasion, a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, Barr. Benson Enikuomehin, described Olafeso as a visionary leader whose time has come to turnaround the fortunes of the state.
He said that from what he knew about Olafeso as a corporate czar, an intellectual, a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy and a party leader in the state and at national levels for over 17 years, indicate that he is sufficiently qualify to govern the state.
Enikuomehim was later joined by a colleague of theirs at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Yemi Sotiminu and former Editor of Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Martins Oloja, a childhood friend of Olafeso who extolled the aspirant’s leadership qualities.
Bayelsa decides: INEC says collation of results to commence by 2pm
Collation of results to commence by 2pm according to INEC.
However, according New Telegraph correspondent, the fact that corps members, who form a bulk of the ad hoc staff of INEC in this election continue to submit incident report forms on the violence that erupted in their territories, collation will most likely start much later.
Kogi decides: Drama as INEC official presents N50,000 ‘bribe’ exhibit
* Bello floors Wada with 112,625 votes in Okenne
There was mild drama at the Kogi State collection centre in Lokoja when the Igalamela-Odolu LGA Returning Officer presented N50,000 ‘bribe’ as Exhibit while presenting reports on cancelled voters
The Returning Officer alleged that an unknown person offered N50,000 to an Election Officer in the local government to induce him.
The money was collected by the officer and handed over to the Presiding Officer and finally to the Returning Officer.
He dropped the money at the collation centre as exhibit.
The INEC official involved was commended by all for rejecting the bribe
Meanwhile, the Kogi State governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Mr. Yahaya Bello has defeated his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opponent, Engr. Musa Wada, with a margin of 112,625 votes in Okenne Local Government Area.
The governor polled 112,764 votes out of the 113,420 votes cast in the local government during Saturday’s poll, while Wada got only 130 votes.
Wada was closely followed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Natasha Akpoti, who polled 50 votes.
The result was announced by the Returning Officer for the local government during the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC collation of results in Kogi State.
Okenne is the local government area of Governor Bello.
Both the PDP and YPP agents condemn the results of the election, saying no election took place in the area.
PDP agent insisted the election results were manufactured
He was, however, countered by the APC agent who said no violence took place in the area. He said both security agencies and INEC officials have all confirmed that elections hold in the council and there was no record of violence in the area.
On his part, the INEC Returning Officer said four AIGs and a CP werr in the local government and there was no record of violence
Meanwhile, a minutes silence was observed for an ad hoc staff who died in Ibaji Local Government Area.
Okenne Local Government Area (Governor Yahaya Bello main local government area)
Registered Voters – 131,166
Accredited Voters – 114,001
APC – 112,764
PDP – 139
SDP – 50
Total Valid Votes – 113,170
Rejected votes – 250
Total Votes Cast – 113,420.
Kabba-Bunu LGA Governorship Election Re
Registered Voters – 74,789
Accredited Voters – 26,660
APC – 15,364
PDP – 8,084
SDP – 364
Total Valid Votes – 23,969
Rejected votes – 422
Total Votes Cast – 24,391.
Kogi decides: PDP, YPP agents reject Adavi LGA results
* Submit protest letter – INEC
The PDP agent has rejected the figures from Adavi LGA saying elections did not took place in the area.
He said PDP agents were not allowed into the collation centres in the areas and argued that the figures were manufactured
He was backed by the agent of YPP, who also said the result of the Adavi LGA is not a true reflection of what was released.
But INEC said the result stands and PDP should write formerly to appropriate quarters to challenge the result.
Adavi LGA Governorship Election Re
Registered Voters – 105,906
Accredited Voters – 66,222
APC – 64,657
PDP – 366
SDP – 279
Total Valid Votes – 65,595
Rejected votes – 372
Total Votes Cast – 65,967
Total number of cancelled votes in Adavi LGA is 3,927.
Igalamela-Odolu LGA Governorship Election
Registered Voters – 65,129
Accredited Voters – 21,428
APC – 8,075
PDP – 11,195
SDP – 208
Total Valid Votes – 19,812
Rejected votes – 1,047
Total Votes Cast – 20,859.
Kogi decides: PDP agent raises issue of stolen ballot boxes
The PDP agent during introduction of his name raised issues about stolen ballot boxes in some places during Saturday’s election.
However, the claim was countered by the APC agent who said there were no reports of stolen ballot boxes.
Commenting, the INEC Returning Officer said issues raised by the PDP agent will be addressed during collation of results.
Meanwhile, results in five polling units cancelled due to violence, disruption of voting process and manual voting.
Total number of votes affected from the five polling units is 4,128 votes.
Governorship election results
Registered Voters – 16,032
Accredited Voters – 6,239
APC – 3,679
PDP – 2,145. SDP – 244. Valid votes – 6,088 Total Votes Cast – 6,234.
Ijumu LGA Governorship Election Re
Registered Voters – 59,578
Accredited Voters – 20,139
APC – 11,425
PDP – 7,857
SDP – 223
Total Valid Votes – 19,435
Total Vote Cast – 19,881.
Omala LGA Governorship Election Re
Registered Voters – 66,368
Accredited Voters – 24,474
APC – 8,473
PDP – 14,403
SDP – 567
Total Valid Votes – 23,705
Rejected votes – 723
Total Votes Cast – 24,428.
Dino Melaye loses LG to Smart Adeyemi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Kogi West senatorial district re-run election, Smart Adeyemi, has defeated Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ijumu local government.
Both candidates are from the local government.
While Adeyemi is an indigene of Iyara, Dino Melaye is from Aiyetoro, a neighbouring village.
The final result for the local government was announced on Sunday morning.
Adeyemi’s APC polled a total of 11,627 votes while Melaye’s PDP amassed 7,647 votes in the local government, according to the electoral commission, INEC. The candidate of the SDP, Natasha Akpoti, came a distant third with 49 votes.
Ijumu is part of Kogi West senatorial district, the district the candidates seek to represent in the Senate.
INEC yet to begin announcement of Kogi results
As at 9:20, party officials,observers and journalists where still waiting for the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to commence the announcement of results for the elections that held in Kogi State on Saturday.
The poll covered both the governorship and a Senate rerun.
The two main parties in the contest, marred by violence and the reported death of six persons, are the All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Democrat wins gov election in Louisiana
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards won the Louisiana governor’s election on Saturday evening after a tightly fought race.
The incumbent faced a strong challenge from Republican Eddie Rispone.
The result comes as a blow to President Donald Trump who backed his fellow Republican, reports the BBC.
Trump made two campaigning visits to the state in the past two weeks, turning the run-off election into a test of his own popularity.
On Saturday he posted several tweets urging people to vote for Rispone.
Earlier this month, Republicans lost another gubernatorial race in Kentucky and Democrats seized full control of the legislature in Virginia.
The results are considered a gauge of the political mood ahead of next year’s presidential election.
Nigeria sliding towards dictatorship, says Odumakin
Spokesman of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, in this interview with BIYI ADEGOROYE, examines some recent developments in the polity, including the electoral process in Kogi and Bayelsa states as well as the proposed bill on hate speech which carries death penalty
What do you make of the pre-election violence in Kogi and Bayelsa states in the last one week?
Why would there no be violence with our heavily monetised election, where you have rubber stamp National Assembly approving N10.9billion to be released to Kogi State government less than 72 hours before governorship election? You can see that we are not practicing democracy; we are not having elections. It is a case of mafia moves to power in Nigeria; they acquire power by all means available. So you should expect such thing to happen.
Why did you say we have a rubber stamp National Assembly?
How would any reasonable National Assembly approve such amount of money for a state less than 72 hours to an election? Don’t you think that is voter’s money instead of the traders’ money they were doing? And for a whole National Assembly to just rush and approve it- that means we don’t have a National Assembly anymore, but a mere rubber stamp assembly.
How do you see the recent alleged donation of an exotic vehicle to the Kogi State paramount ruler by the state government, who has been unable to pay civil servants salaries for about three years?
Well, maybe they did that because the monarch will be able to deliver votes for them, and that goes to show that there is no governance in Nigeria but politics. We spend lots of money on politics, vote buying and politics, nothing for development. It is a shame that the traditional ruler did not say no that this is not the best time to give such gift. That ‘I won’t accept this period; don’t use this to embarrass me. There is no honour; no shame in this country.
Where does this leave us if the system is so flawed?
It means we are actually going below below. And to retrieve Nigeria will take a lot of efforts. You cannot say anymore that the country has not gone to the dogs.
In this same Kogi State the Deputy Governor was impeached in a manner that has drawn national umbrage. What is your impression about the whole event?
That action in showed that Nigeria is no longer a democracy. We now operate outside the law. It sounds very disturbing that a Chief Judge set up a an investigative body on activities of the Deputy Governor and the panel returned a not guilty verdict, yet the Chief Judge went ahead to swear in a new Deputy Governor. Sad to say that happened in Nigeria and nobody has called that government to order showed clearly where we are as a country. We have become a hopeless polity and we are now governed by the whim and caprices of the powerful and we have virtually thrown away the constitution.
Do you still see the judiciary as the bastion of hope and stability?
Actually the Nigerian judiciary has been cowed. The whole thing started when the Chief Judge of the Federation was removed such that today our judges are today no more than appendages of the executive. This is unfortunate for the judges to have descended to that level, especially the Chief Judge of Kogi State to have descended to that level. This is a final sign that the judiciary has been cowed by the executive.
How do you see the presentation of the bill to prohibit hate speech, with death by hanging and proposed setting up of a commission for this purpose?
Well, the first thing to ask is who defines what is hate speech? Is it going to be at the whim and caprices of the government in power? If they look at your face and your utterances are in opposition to the government, then you will be arrested, tried and hung. That will be very unfortunate. If you go by that, then most of these people in government would have died long ago. The issue now is that they used hate speech to come into power and now they want to criminalise freedom of speech. What for? Nigeria, by this action is gradually becoming a totalitarian state where dictatorship takes full swing.
It beats my imagination that this lawmaker who sponsored the bill could not think about any major problem in Nigeria to address through a bill. Has he sponsored any bill to enhance the economy? Check unemployment? They have not set up any agency to revitalise industries; they have not addressed the report of the last National Conference which can make the country better. All they are now addressing is hate speech. Clearly, we cannot have a worse rubber stamp National Assembly like we have now.
You said they came to power through hate speech and now want to outlaw free speech. Do you have any examples in this regard?
Go and look at the 2014/2015 newspaper clipping now and you will agree with me. Go and look at what Nasir el-Rufai and the rest were saying then, that they would hound out then President Goodluck Jonathan. Have you forgotten how they said Jonathan was clueless and how he was kindergarten president? They even called his wife shippopotamus! So if Jonathan had enacted such law, many of these people would not be alive today. Get all the clips and you will see what I mean. Even Senator Dino Melaye who is now at the receiving end used some of those words in describing the then president in unsavory terms.
Why did you say we are sliding towards totalitarianism like it was in 1984?
Well, what happened in 1984 was child’s play because it is even worse now, because then we were under the military, but this is supposed to be a democracy. And so some of us who fought General Sani Abacha and the military are beginning to ask ourselves what did we fight for? Nothing.
Some have argued that there are sufficient laws in our statute books to address this issue of hate speech. Do you agree with this?
Don’t we have the laws on libel? Look this is a fascist approach to governance; totalitarian dictatorship. That is just what it is; nothing more nothing less, because the laws on libel only stipulates fines and the rest damages, hence they replaced it with this bill that stipulates death penalty. When you place death penalty then you frighten the people. So what are they trying to achieve? They want the culture of silence. That is what they are pushing Nigeria into.
What is the way out of this quagmire?
Well, we should not give up as a people. If we keep quiet, with what is going on now we will lose the country. We must not be dampened in spirit rather we must continue to speak for and work for what is right. Even if it is at the level of talking, we must not surrender to what is happening right now. If we surrender, that is the end.
How do you react to the hanky panky that greeted the granting of bail to Omoyele Sowore between his lawyers and the security agency that kept him in custody?
Actually, it seems Sowore has now joined the league of Sambo Dasuki, El-Zakky Zakky and the rest of them who are being detained outside the purview of the law. It all adds up to the fact that we have set aside the constitution of Nigeria and now we have a brazen display of totalitarianism in our country.
Let us look at the development in the Niger Delta Development Commission recently. While the President sent a list of board members to the Senate, the Niger Delta Minister swore in some directors in acting capacity for the same commission. What do you make of this?
It is an indication of lack of co-ordination in the government. At times when you listen to two ministers in this same government, you will discover that they are saying two different things. It is an indication that there is lack of co-ordination because everyone is trying to do his own thing. One newspaper published the other day that two ministers were not on the same page on a particular issue and these are people on the same cabinet. It is unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this level.
One other issue that raised a great dust recently was the fact that the Chief of Staff to the President took a bill to London for him to sign while the Vice President remained in Nigeria. How do you see this?
It indicates that we have a Vice President in name but not in deed and like I have said several times, I don’t know what Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is still doing in that office. Clearly, they have shown him the way out; that he is not part of the government. Look at what they did to him recently, sacking over 20 of his aides in the name of load shedding just after they appointed about six aides for the president’s wife. And up till now no one has come up to say what he has done. This is share impunity, arrogance of power.
You will recall that the constitution of Nigeria says that a presidential candidate is not validly nominated unless he has a running mate. So the Vice President is not just a person you can just depose without any reason. No, it is not done. So it just reflects total feudal control of Nigeria at the moment.
What does this pattern of governance and flawed electoral system portend for the nation?
There is one Turkish columnist called Ece Temelkuran, who released a book last year titled: “How to Lose a Country- Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship.” All the seven steps she listed are currently manifesting in our so-called democracy in Nigeria. So we are losing the country gradually. The situation appears hopeless, but I know that the Nigerian resilience is there, but we must not surrender to dictatorship.
Akwa-Ibom enjoying steady growth, says Umoh
Mr. Uko Umoh is the former Chairman, League of Newspaper, Publishers in Akwa Ibom State and immediate past Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Local Media. He speaks with TONY ANICHEBE on a wide range of issues
What is your impression about the performance of the Akwa Ibom State government so far?
Akwa Ibom has done extremely well taking cognizance of when it was created and the length of time it has been in existence compared to that of other states. In a little over 30 years of her creation, it has become a cynosure of all eyes. Today we have signature projects spread across the state. The International Airport had already broken national record in terms of patronage especially with the arrival of Ibom Air with clean aircrafts. The Ibom e-library, the over 18 industries recorded in four years including a meter factory, syringe manufacturing industry, flour mills among others. The past administrations and that of the Governor Udom Emmanuel have been very impressive. The government is still doing a lot to put Akwa Ibom in a solid place not just on the pedestal of achievement in Nigeria but also on the world map. An American Ambassador once visited Akwa Ibom and said that he has seen the future of Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State.
Talking about governance, how would you rate the performance of the incumbent administration in the state?
Governor Emmanuel has done very well and has achieved so much. At a time most states are still struggle to pay workers’ salaries, he has not just paid salaries up to date but attracting and executing very meaningful and life-touching projects across the state. Such projects include the coconut plantation and refinery, flourmills, syringe factory, metering company, plywood factory, toothpick and pencil factories among others.
Even in dire times, road constructions are being intensified with more 2000 kilometers of road and still counting. When Vice President Yemi Osibanjo visited the state recently to commission one of the factories, he described the governor as one who is very clever person. When you consider the personality of the Vice President, you then understand that he meant what he said. The governor has ensured equitable distribution of projects to every parts of the state. That is why he has been labeled Mr. Industrialisation. The key feature of this, is that some of the projects are been financed by the contractors through Alternative Funding Approach. He has been able to deploy his many years of experience in the banking sector to turn around the fortunes of the Akwa Ibom people.
Are you disturbed that some key projects of the past administration are yet to be completed?
There is no cause for worry. The important thing is the general welfare of the people and when a government has the people’s welfare at heart every other thing will align. When the compass of the ship is right, definitely it will arrive at his destination. In this instance, there are projects that needed urgent attention and ones that will follow suit; it is all at the prerogative of the governor. Therefore, there is no project that will be abandoned. It is just that every government has its time lines and milestones. There is no cause to worry at all, as most of them are ongoing.
However, looking at now completion process of his five point’s agenda of industrialisation, poverty eradication, creation of jobs, political inclusion and consolidation of infrastructures. Put it down vis-a-vis the list of his projects on ground and his style of governance, you will see that he has performed beyond expectation. He has done several projects including ones in the power sector. We have sub-power stations courtesy of him to improve the power sector, enhance the standard of living and encourage more investors to come down here for investment. See the number of roads constructed which is to his credit, before now very few was in existence.
What areas will the governor concentrate in his remaining years of the second term?
He has marked out his path clearly, which is industrialisation and he is working hard on it. Foreign investors who have seen the potentials of the state are coming in droves. The state is in the top two investor’s destination. Somehow, he has created enabling environment for foreign direct investment in our state. He should be encouraged. I have personally had calls from people who are interested in investing here, how much more the governor of the state.
Apart from that, the Governor Emmanuel’s administration has touched every facet of our public live. This state is one of the very few states that have been able to meet up their obligation to both civil and public servants. We have over 2,000 kilometer of roads with several bridges done already. Free education for primary and secondary school students; free medical care for children and aged including pregnant women, payment of WAEC and NECO fees for our children. Several interventions in many sectors. There are some many achievements on ground for all to see and so in my view, the governor has almost fulfilled his campaign promises to the people of the state. However since the society is dynamic and issues arise from time to time, I expect the governor to be ahead of the challenges.
Owing to your contribution in organising, coordinating and ensuring the welfare of the local media in the governor’s first term, people thought you would continue in that capacity…
Well, I have been in the media for more than a decade and when the opportunity came to serve the state and my governor in that capacity, I did it whole-heartedly coming from the background of the Chairman of League of Newspaper Publishers and one who knows their challenges. I did my best to bring my colleagues to understand the policy, programme and direction of the government, and to support the governor’s sincere efforts at industrialising the state.
In the same era, we put an end to unnecessary media attack, wild and unsubstantiated publications against government and rather encourage my colleagues to do more of objective and developmental journalism. I ensured proper coordination of the local media and offered necessary support in form of working tools and other forms of empowerment whenever need arises and with that, the era of blackmail and hit and run publications ended. I believe that I still have much to offer the government and the state through my knowledge and experience in any capacity but as we all know, the bulk stops at the table of the governor.
Using security as a yardstick to measure Gov. Emmanuel’s performance, will you say the state is better secured now than before?
I am sure that you know the answer because anybody who has lived in this state in the last 10 years will know that there is a big difference. There was also a time you had to devise all manners of wisdom in your movement around the state for your safety. If you recall at campaign grounds of PDP during the build up to 2019 elections, there were testimonies from Akwa Ibom people on how they are living now in peace without fear. This is an indication that the era of insecurity has fizzled out. How it happened remains between God and Governor Udom Emmanuel. Security to me is everything both in your business, private or social life, once security is intact things move normally. Today people can stay in their businesses premises until midnight but before now by 6pm everybody shuts down for the fear of unknown. Moreover, it affected productivity.
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