Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
Abubakar Ibrahim Idris is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP). He is the first son of former governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. In this exclusive interview with Daily Sun, he bares his mind on issues relating to his ambition and said those who said his father was supporting him to build a political dynasty in the state were not fair to him.
There is a popular saying that politics is a dirty game, why is someone like you in politics?
Politics is what you make of it, if you make it dirty, it will be dirty; if you make it clean, it will be clean, but I am not one of those who believe that politics is dirty. We cannot stay outside there without making any move to serve, and in anyway, if it’s a dirty game, who tells you someone cannot clean it up? We must dare to make a difference
Specifically, why are you contesting for the governorship seat whereas other lesser positions are there like the House of Reps, and the Senate?
I am contesting for the governorship seat because I want to change the narrative; I see that over the years, I see my state go down in terms of human and capital development; I mean it is pathetic, that we are now in a state where salaries are no longer being paid as and when due to workers; some are being owed from five to 40 months; now no one is even talking about pensioners who spent most of their productive years serving the state.
The educational institutions are in comatose, so is the sector; now are we all going to just sit back and say, this is how it is supposed to be without making any move? No, someone has to come in and effect that change. And that is why I am contesting for the governorship seat; I want to be the apostle of change, I want to give our people a better lease of life, to give them a qualitative and affordable education and give them good roads, accessible and better health facilities.
What do you want to specifically do differently, if you become a governor?
My first priority is to ensure that salaries are not just paid as and when due but that the workers have also a package of good welfare. I will also ensure that our education sector is up and running, because they say if you say education is costly, try ignorance. I will put an end to all these strikes in our tertiary institutions and primary schools. Of course, there are some decayed infrastructure in the state that need quick attention, I will do that. I will also concentrate on the minerals and tourism sectors, to create more jobs and increase the IGR.
Kogi politics, no doubt is turbulent, how would you cope with electoral violence?
At this stage of our life as a state, the people are not blind to see that we are not moving anywhere, and if a sitting government says it wants to be violent, how many of our people will you be violent to? The people now are wise enough to know that we need to make a change and no amount of violence can deter them from effecting that change.
And I believe that that violence will be curtailed by the law enforcement agencies, and more importantly the mind set of the people, so why don’t you give our people jobs instead of giving them guns.
There is a kind of rumour in the state that your dad is bringing you on board as a governor to create a political dynasty; how will you react to that?
Well, I’ve heard that my dad is seeking a third term by bringing me on board but I want to tell you that it is I, Abubakar Ibrahim Idris that is looking for first term, not my dad looking for third term. Our people are not that shallow minded to forget the quality of life they enjoyed during his tenure as the governor of the state, although my dad may not have been the best, (only God is the best) but he made a huge impact in the state, and who tells you I cannot surpass that.
Yes, by Providence, I am his son, but that does that mean that if my father was a governor, I cannot be a governor? In the advanced countries, we look at Bush Family whereby the father was the 42nd US president, George Bush Jnr was governor of Texas, George Bush the third was a senator, after he left as 42 US president, George Bush Jnr became the 44 US president and nobody was thinking about that as a dynasty.
You look at the Ghandhis of India, coming to Africa, you look at the Kenyatta of Kenya, coming back to Nigeria, we have the Sarakis, the likes of Tinubu being a governor and his wife a senator, Theordore Orji was a governor of Abia State and now his son is the speaker of Abia Assembly, so I really don’t seem to understand the hullabaloo about my ambition; is it a crime for me to contest for the position of a governor, or is Kogi so exceptional to the world? Is it because it’s Kogi or Ibrahim Idris that it is now a dynasty. The truth is that I have the constitutional right to aspire as governor, I have not been found wanting in any criminal case, I have not been indicted before, I have never been found in drugs or anything, I have not even been found wanting with my fellow human beings, but in politics, you have just to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it
How would you leverage on the PDP structure that your dad has built in the state like former governor Idris Wada who was also brought to power via the same structure?
Yes my father built the PDP structure in the state but don’t forget that when my father was building that structure, I was also an active participant. In fact, I was a party member, and when my father left office, I also helped in oiling that structure.
But most importantly, it is about the structure accepting the aspirant; so my father could have the structure and the structure may not accept me, so what then happens.
Pressure actually came from the structure for me to contest and when they met my dad, he turned it down and it took over a year to finally convince him to let me contest because for him, he felt he has been governor, why must I be.
How do you intend to win the primary election, with the array of contestants?
That’s something that is close to my chest, I am sorry, I don’t want to divulge it to the public
But are you sure of winning?
Only God has the final say, as for us, we have done our bit, working hard and going round all the place. I have gone round the 21 LGAs twice and the reception was wonderful but the whole thing is in the hands of God.
What are your fears or concerns for this election?
My concern is that the election should be free and fair.
In case you don’t win the primary poll, will you be ready to work for the party’s candidate?
Oh yes why not, absolutely yes, I would work for whoever emerges, it’s not a do or die, let the best man win.