Politics

APC has nothing to show to seek re-election in Nasarawa –Ombugadu

David Ombugadu, former member of House of Representatives and is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State. In this interview, he speaks on how to rescue the state from bad governance and his choice of running mate, among other issues. CHEKE EMMANUEL reports

What is the motivating factor behind your bid to govern Nasarawa State come 2023?

We are out to rescue Nasarawa State from bad governance. Governance is all an encompassing process but when you compare the level of development in Nasarawa with other states that were created same day with it, you will find out that it is far behind in terms of development due to bad governance. For instance, in Nasarawa North where I come from, when you go to Nasarawa Eggon local Government Area, there is no three kilometres of asphalt road there. When you go to Akwanga Local Government Area, there is no five kilometres of intenal road.

It is the same thing in Wamba Local Government Area. That is the situation in most local government areas in the state. What is going to happen in 203 elections is the assessment of performance. I was a parliamentarian and I have a lot of projects under my credit and I will do more when I have the executive power. The projects I did in Akwanga zone alone when I was a parliamentarian are more than what the current All Progressives Congress (APC) government in the state has done in the past years.

I successfully drilled 1,500 boreholes in various communities and I attracted more than 18 hospitals in three local government areas of Nasarswa Eggon, Akwanga and Wamba and in other places. I have attracted free National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for more than 15,000 persons, who are currently benefiting in the past four years and many other things I did when I was a parliamentarian.

I brought the biggest transformer in Nasarswa Eggon, a 15NVA, the same type of transformer the current APC government in the state invited Mr. President to come and commission. I brought the second biggest, a 7.5NVA transformer installed at Wamba Local Government Area. These are some of the few things I did when I was a parliamentarian. So, the current government has not done anything compared to what I did with my resources as a parliamentarian.

In terms of youth empowerment, between 2011 and 2012, I sponsored the training of about 650 youths at the School of Labour in Kaduna State. I did so many things across the state as a parliamentarian, and if given executive power, I will do more and beyond the expectations of the people of Nasarswa State. I have everything to prove that to the people that I have what it takes. I have the capacity to govern Nasarawa State and I will be a focused leader. I will be a leader, who will represent the interest of everybody in Nasarawa State when I become governor in 2023. That is why I am the best man for the job.

You lost the governorship position to the ruling APC in 2019; why is your party giving you another opportunity again in 2023?

I was privileged to be nominated based on my track record. People have confidence in what I can do for them. I drilled 1,500 boreholes as a result of my representation when I was a member of the House of Representatives. I have empowered a lot of youths including the things I enumerated earlier. I believe these are some of the reasons why I was elected as the governorship flag bearer of the PDP. I had the opportunity to represent the party in 2019 and the same reason I was reelected the standard bearer of the party again during the primary election of the party. I believe I was tested, trusted and that is why I have been given the opportunity again to fly the party’s flag because the people believe in my ability to deliver.

What should the people of Nasarawa State expect from you when you are elected into office?

First, you have to look for indicators of good governance. You have to look at some of the expectations of your people, the kind of leadership that you have to provide because it is about the people of Nasarawa State. We will engage the stakeholders in a roundtable discussion and look through the blueprint I have and then develop policies and programmes, and initiate projects that are people driven. We will implement projects that people will be part of. For instance, if there is need for us to attend to the people of Toto Local Government Area, the people there will be given the opportunity to make input.

That is the kind of leadership we are going to provide to the people of Nasarawa State. It is going to be an inclusive engagement where everybody will contribute their quota. Members of the state House of Assembly and even those at the National Assembly in the state will bring their input by telling us what their people need from government aside from the general projects that we will be doing. I don’t want be a governor that will tell you that I will empower youths. I don’t want to be a governor that will tell you that I will empower the women or construct roads.

These are general principles; you don’t need to talk about them because it is expected of the governor to provide these essential needs to the people, including protection of lives and property of the citizens. Therefore, we will be looking at what we can do to make much impact on the lives of people we are going to govern. When people make inputs, then you will have effective and demand driven blueprints that will represent the general interest of the people of the state. So, these are the things people should be expecting from us.

You picked your running mate, Hon. Yahaya Usman Ohinoyi, from the Nasarawa West Senatorial District of the state; what informed the choice?

That was the first process of rescuing Nasarswa State and you cannot do that without a partner. You cannot do that without a friend, without a person that you believe has something to offer. That is why after consultations with stakeholders of Nasarawa State and in Keffi zone in the spirit of inclusiveness and other considerations and that is how my friend, my running mate, my brother, Hon. Yahaya Usman Ohinoyi emgered as my running mate. He is one of the persons instrumental to my success ever since I met him. He is among the stakeholders that are guiding me in some of the things I did as a parliamentarian, and based on his performance and contributions, I felt he is a worthy partner to run with me to govern Nasarawa State in 2023.

You lost the same election in 2019 to the candidate of the APC, what do you think went wrong then?

The card readers deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the 2019 election was never accurate as they failed in the Nasarawa election. According to INEC’s report, the commission said ‘we discovered that Nasarawa is one of the states that the card reader failed in high numbers about 500,000 times which was one the reasons I lost that election. After the election I made up my mind not to contest until the electoral law is either implemented or amended. I was one of the people in Nigeria who advocated for an amendment to our electoral law because I was a victim in 2019, and with the amendment now, it is very clear that votes will count. I am in the contest because I have seen that there will be free, fair and credible elections. I want to advise citizens of Nasarawa State to register and get their Permanent Voters Cards because that is the only tool that will guarantee good governance in the state come 2023.

What is your assessment of the Abdullahi Sule-led APC government in Nasarawa State?

You must give assessment on the basis of something of what you are criticizing. Does APC have content? No, it doesn’t. When I said there is no content, I mean there is no clear cut agenda for development. The only thing you see in Nasarawa State is bad governance. I don’t believe in talking about what does not exist. What I believe in is assess me on the basis of what I can do. What the government of the day has done shows purely that it doesn’t have any scorecard that one can talk about. It is completely bad representation of the people of Nasarawa State. What I plan to do when I become governor is comprehensively captured in my blueprint but I do not have precious time to talk about what do not exist.

Insecurity is one major challenge confronting the state; how do intend to tackle it when you are elected into office?

Security issues are very sensitive issues to discuss in the media but for the sake of creating awareness, we are in a digital age and there are interceptors when you gather intelligence across transmit such. The trick is the phones the criminal elements use to communicate. There are communication towers; if any communication emerges from a tower, you can intercept it and trace the communicator’s location.

You don’t wait for people to be kidnapped or for people to be attacked before you advance. We will provide such technology to tackle insecurity in the state when I am elected into office as governor come 2023. My government will support the security agencies. We will provide the security agencies with the necessary gadgets for them to function well.

What was the essence of your meeting with PDP candidates of both state and National Assembly seats in the state?

We invited all PDP candidates for the various constituencies in the state, that is, state and National Assembly candidates for us to interact and for us to have a platform where our collective aspirations can be harmonized, so that we can have a comprehensive blueprint that will service the expectations of the people of Nasarawa State. This is agenda setting and we had extensive discussions on issues bothering on the welfare of the people of the state and what the people of Nasarawa are expecting from us.

 

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