Dino, Ajaka’s political structures can’t win gov poll – Kogi APC chair

The Kogi State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Abdulahi Bello, in this interview explains why the party defeated the opposition candidates in the last governorship election in the state

What do you think Governor-elect Ahmed Usman Ododo will do differently, having been a major player in the Yayaha Bello-led administration in the last eight years?

His Excellency, the governor-elect is prepared for the job. He will not make much difference from what Alhaji Yahaya Bello the outgoing governor is doing because Ododo has always been part of the administration and has understudied Governor Bello and understood the act of governance. However, he already knows what the state needs. He has said at different fora, everywhere we visited during the campaign, that he would sustain the legacies of his boss, His Excellency, and further consolidate on his achievements.

Ododo is a man whose words you can take to the bank. He has given us his words, and we are sure he will do whatever he has promised to do, in’sha Allah.

Will Ododo join hands with the opposition to move the state forward?

(Laughs) Why not? After the announcement, there was a statement from our mentor, where he appreciated everyone who has kept faith in him over the years and also assured us all that Ododo would continue to build on his achievements. He went further to say that Ododo will run an all-inclusive government. In Ododo’s remarks, he equally called on the opposition to join hands with him to move the state forward for the benefit of all Kogites. So, he will work with them if they are willing to work with him. The state belongs to all of us.

During a press conference, the APC campaign council said the alleged killing of a party member suspected to have tried to snatch a ballot box on election day is still being investigated. Again, will this not negate that spirit of reconciliation?

After the emergence of Ahmed Usman Ododo as our candidate, we set up a campaign structure headed by a Minister of the Federal Republic, Prince Shuaib Abubarkar Audu with, Sulaiman Babadoko, a former House of Representatives member, from Lokoja as his Director General.

We did this because we have a leader who is a true democrat, who believes he is campaigning and selling our best products. But some of these candidates from other parties chose to build thugs, criminals, and political rascals; and all these are old-fashioned.

Acts of thuggery can no longer win elections in our modern-day society, especially in Kogi State, where criminalities have no place; and where criminals have been chased out.

I am happy because the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has brought sanity into the system and that is why his government is very responsible and responsive. I give kudos to the security operatives who curbed the excesses of those criminals.

Some of them were running to Abuja when we had a commissioner of police here in Kogi. If you know your hands are clean, why are you running to Abuja? Let them stay here and face whatever crime they have committed.

Alhaji Yayaha Bello does not joke with the issue of security of lives and property. If the deceased truly committed the offence, we want to know. Let the police carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the killing.

How do you intend to pacify aggrieved members of your party now that the election is over?

I don’t think we have any aggrieved members as far as the APC is concerned in Kogi State. If you look at our outing, in the Central, and of course, in the West, they voted for the APC massively! If there is any zone that wants to lay claim to being aggrieved, may be the West, because the Central has the governorship slot, the East has the Deputy Governorship slot while the West has the Speaker slot.

But maybe they can say why can’t they be considered for something else? However, all those who contested exhibited a high sense of sportsmanship. They quickly aligned with the position of the party after the primary that produced Ododo. So those who said they were aggrieved have no case. They have gone to court, and the courts have made pronouncements up to the Supreme Court.

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How will you describe the governor-elect, Ododo, as a person? Is he somebody who listens to advice?

First, Ododo’s humility is second to none. Ododo is a good listener. Ododo is a team player. Ododo is an administrator par excellence. Ododo has genuine love for his subordinates who work with him and under him. Such a person will do well, and let me tell you one thing, If you have the opportunity of working closely with the governor-elect, my boss, my principal, he is an angel in human skin and, we have no doubt but very sure he will serve this state with distinction just as his Excellency, Alhaji Yayaha Bello has done and is still doing. The Kogi State people are lucky to have somebody like Ododo who has learnt the act of governance from our principal, Bello. So, he will do well. He will carry the people along in everything we will be doing. He is a complete gentleman.

Have you tried to have a word with Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, who was a member of the APC before defecting to the Social Democratic Party to contest the last governorship election?

I did not try to talk to him because I saw it as a waste of time. Sometimes, you allow people to exercise their rights and test their popularity. He has done that by flying the flag of one political party, and today, he knows where he stands with the people. The result is there for everybody to see. As human beings, we all have our limits. As a political party, you have your limit. As for him, that is the limit he can go.

How would you rate the just concluded governorship election against the backdrop of calls from certain quarters like the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Dino Melaye and Ajaka that the election should be cancelled?

Let me start with Dino’s case. He was a legislator, having served in the Green and Red chambers at one time or the other. These combined experiences, ordinarily, should tell you that such a person should have some electoral experience. But we can see that the man is empty. The law is very clear for you to be qualified to be a governor.

You have to vote and be voted for. But did he vote in the last election that he is calling for its cancellation? …an election that he did not participate in and yet, he is calling for its cancellation. Some political mischief makers somersaulted into politics.

They think they can do anything and get away with it. They think they can blackmail the APC by cooking up results to discredit a reputable organisation like INEC ( Independent National Electoral Commission) headed by a reputable professor of note. I think these people should be called in for questioning and asked where they got those results from.

You and I know that all those parties did not prepare for the election. Then why did they resort to blackmail? You said there were result sheets somewhere, INEC said okay, we would cancel. What happened to the rest? There are 239 wards in Kogi. If you say there is an issue in one ward, what of the remaining wards where there are no issues?

The places you won the election were free, fair, and credible, right? But the places I win you say they should be cancelled! Who is deceiving who? They were not prepared for the election, simple!

A politician going for this type of election must have the spread.

How will this man become the governor of the state when he limits himself to one part of the state? Are you contesting for the Senate? You don’t have the spread, and you are crying foul instead of addressing the real issue. Some people take this to be House of Representatives or Council Chairmanship elections. A governorship poll is more than that, if you say because you were a local government chairman twice, your people have trust in you and as such, that qualifies you to be governor of the state, it’s a lie.

You must have the structure and the spread. The APC has got the spread. It has a structure on the ground in every part of the state. The APC has a system in place at the local level, the state level, and the federal level.

Can you compare that with a party with maybe one House of Representatives member, where is your structure?

Politics is very simple, but you must have the right thinking. Politics is not for all comers. You must have the spread. You must have structures. They lack all these, and they want to be governor, it’s simply not possible.

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