Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant in November 16 Kogi governorship election, Prince Mustapha Mona Audu, has warned that not even the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the recent visit of Kogi traditional rulers to the State House, can influence the re-election of the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, the son of the late governor of Kogi State, described the visit of the traditional rulers to Aso Rock as a display of the level of poverty in the state, stressing that they couldn’t claim to be the representative of the people.
While unveiling what he described as Kogi Prosperity Plan, his own developmental blueprint as a governorship aspirant, young Audu equally described Kogi State as Nigeria’s new metaphor for everything bad and ugly, berating the traditional rulers for going cap in hand to beg the president to support Bello’s re-election, just as he said their action betrayed the confidence of their subjects who are of different political tendencies and affiliations.
“What we saw, to be honest, was a display of poverty. The traditional rulers have no business going to the president to seek support or to reintroduce the governor to him. That was not necessary. We do not believe that the traditional rulers who were at the Villa on Wednesday are representatives of our people of Kogi State.
“That is the truth and we have to be honest with ourselves. These rulers are setting a very bad example. These rulers are showing us that their pockets are more important than their people. Kogi is a state where civil servants are committing suicide.
“People are putting ropes around their necks and dying. So, it is better for our traditional rulers to try and go back home and alleviate the plight of the people. Governor Bello should stop running to the president or from pillar to post because it is not the president that will save him,” he declared.
Berating Governor Bello for spending most of his time idling away in Abuja instead of attending to governance issues in the state, Audu said the governor had become more like the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) rather than the chief executive of Kogi State.
“Please go back home and work. Leave Abuja. You are not the Minister of FCT. You are the governor of Kogi State. Face Kogi and work. The road from here to Kogi is an eyesore and the excuse they give is that it is a federal road. Kogi is today the dirtiest state in the country.
“If you cannot work, just leave and we will accept you. We are not after anyone. Kogi is at a tipping point. We must not lose Kogi State. We must put our best foot forward. We are ready to forgive the governor and carry him along because he is our constituent but he can no longer be governor because he is ill-prepared,” he quipped.
The governorship aspirant equally appealed to the national leadership of the party to adopt direct primaries for the November governorship poll, restating the earlier position of some stakeholders of the party in the state on the mode of primary election for picking the party’s candidate.
“What we want is direct primaries. We do not only look forward to meeting the governor at the direct primary election but to defeating him. We are ready to extend the olive branch to him, draw the line and see the past as a learning curve,” he added.
Asked if he thinks that Kogi people will still vote APC, he said: “Again, as people, we have a covenant, an unfulfilled one, we have a design, an unfulfilled one, when we began APC, we had a social contract with our people; we delivered them from the then government of PDP who were not delivering the dividends of democracy.
“Unfortunately the people of Kogi State voted for a better leadership that we did not get. The people of kogi State voted for Prince Abubakar Audu and on the eve of his victory, God called him. Since God called him, we the people of Kogi State have been in pains and suffering; that is why we know that the covenant we the APC people have with the people of Kogi State is yet unfulfilled.
“That is why the people know we have a contract that was somehow truncated and they are once again ready to reawaken this alliance with the right leadership. The people of Kogi State say no to their governor; the people say no to poverty, the people of Kogi state say no to other parties. The people of Kogi State only want the right leadership in APC. Kogi State will be delivered under new leadership in APC,” he said.