OrderPaperToday – With less than six months to the Kogi state governorship election, many candidates across political divides are already warming up to contest. In this interview with OrderPaperNG, son of former governor Ibrahim Idris, Abubakar, is confident that he can replicate his his father’s footprints by occupying the government house. Excerpts:
Tell us about your background?
My name is Ibrahim Abubakar, I’m a kogite. I had my primary education in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Staff primary school Zaria, Kaduna State and then I attended Government secondary school, now the Nagata College in Sokoto. I did my ‘A levels’ in College of Advanced school Zaria and my first degree in Agriculture in Zaria as well. I also did my Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in International Affairs and Diplomacy in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Your father left the seat of governor of Kogi State barely 7 years ago and you are here vying for the same position, are you not worried that that may jeopardize your chances?
Before I answer your question, let me also throw this question. Am I of age? Am I also educated? Do I meet the prerequisite of what it takes to govern? And am I a Kogite? Another question is am I eligible to vote and be voted for? If all these questions are yes then why can’t I vie to govern Kogi State. I am exercising my right as a Kogite which constitutionally allows me to run for this seat. The fact that my father once governed Kogi State doesn’t change the basis of my being able to run. It isn’t also stipulated in the constitution that if your father has governed then you can’t go and if you look at it carefully the democracy we are practicing today was borrowed from America. If you look at the United States of America (USA) for instance, while George Bush was the 44th President of America, his brother Bush Jr. was the governor of Texas. Coming back to Nigeria, I don’t want to mention names but some people have been governors while their wives are in the Senate. So what’s so spectacular about Ibrahim Abubakar’s candidacy. Ironically, if you say my father has been governor of Kogi State and then why I’m I running for same seat then there’s an issue. Meanwhile, as I speak in Kogi State, there are those whose siblings are running for the seat of the governor and why are people not talking about it?
Are you putting into consideration that federal might would be backing the incumbent?
I don’t have any fears going into the contest with the incumbent governor irrespective of the backing he might get from federal might and again I don’t think they would be so blinded to the fact that their candidate has under-performed except if the federal government wants to encourage failure and I don’t think they would want to do that because it is embarrassing. Take for instance the issue of salaries, even if the government has not been able to pay salaries for six months it is embarrassing talk more of 38 months which I believe they have lost count of the number of months they are owing and this is very embarrassing.
The non payment of workers salary by the current administration, does it not mean that the State is not getting enough in terms of allocation from the federal government and does it not discourage you from part-taking in the race?
Has it not occurred to you that take for instance during my father’s time salaries were paid to workers as of when due, and so were pensions.
Don’t you think also that the inability of the current administration to pay workers salaries could be because he is pushing the funds to infrastructural development?
Elizabeth, please show me or name one capital project in my State that you know this government has done. There’s none but in any case the capital projects or the welfare of the workers. We are talking about people that have worked and need to end a living, they need these salaries to fend for themselves and their families. If you are to take a position on this, won’t you rather take side with the human angle than capital projects?
Can you share with us your economic blue print and also coming from a background of an agriculturist do you have any programs or packages for the youths?
When we are talking about agriculture in Kogi State, it might interest you to know that last year alone, Nigeria exported over one million dollars worth of cashew nuts and out of that amount 70% of it came from Kogi State. It is very simply because through this crop alone we can develop a value chain that would take many of our youths of the streets and this just one out of many cash crops. For now, I would not want to let the cat out of the bag as far as my economic blue print is concern so I would like to concentrate on agriculture. You will agree with me that when you process food you add value to that food or crop. For every single value chain there’s employment, and there’s a value addition to the crop. From crushing of the nuts to getting an investor that would bring the machines for the processing it adds value and create employment. And in all of these, the price jumps up from what it is as a processing product to a finished product, that way you get investors to employee youths and take them of the streets. My economic blue print would be to woo and negotiate with investors and reduce taxes, because with more businesses paying lower taxes it would increase employment. By doing this, you have attracted investors because your taxes are low.