A former governor, Abubakar Audu, in this interview says he is the best man for Kogi State’s top job as the November 21 gubernatorial election draws nearer. JOHN AKUBO reports. Ruling Kogi again
KOGI has not been the same since the past twelve years when I left
office. Look at the township roads; they are in a very bad shape. No
water and the supply of electricity is epileptic. No drugs in hospitals.
Teachers and civil servants are not paid. Those that are paid are
receiving percentage payment. So many things have gone wrong in Kogi
State and this is most unfortunate. The state has been described as
being very sick.
As the first Executive Governor of the state I am the father of the
state. My baby is sick and I have the responsibility to nurse the baby
back to good health. The characteristic of a good father is not to
abandon the child. You can see that there have been hues and cries from
every stakeholder. They have stopped me on the highway, young men who
have been urging me to come and contest and several times I have
declined because it is not a matter for highway.
Today again young men have invited me to the stadium. I did not want
to go to there but they insisted that I should contest to be Governor in
2016. It is because the state is in a very bad shape and it requires a
very experienced person.
Since I performed very well to the satisfaction of the entire
electorate, they felt I should come and salvage the state to be what it
used to be in 2003 and even go beyond.
Creating a million jobs in six months
I have done it before. What I did in 2003 was to ensure the
establishment of Obajana Cement Factory which can boast of 15,000 staff
strength when fully operational. I approached the Federal Government to
release the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills to me for us to run so that we
can raise the working capital and make it a growing concern. When it
becomes a growing concern, there would be mainstream industries and
small-scale industries that will spring up from the billets being
produced and that is how I want reduce the pressure on the labour
Within the first one year, I will produce a million jobs for the teeming
youths and school leavers that are roaming the streets jobless. It is
something I have done before and I will do it again. Even while I was in
office those who were not gainfully employed were catered for through
some monthly allowance. That will reduce the tension. I can do better
than that by getting everybody employed. We have a vast land and we can
create a demonstration farm where we can get people employed where food
for local consumption can initially be produced. From there when the
climate is healthy, nothing stops us from exporting food because Kogi
could easily be made the food basket of Nigeria