Goodman Akwu, a governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2015 governorship election in Kogi State was also former state secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH, he spoke on the development in Kogi State after 25 years of creation and why he left APC for APGA. Excerpts:
Kogi State is among the class of some states created 25 years ago, how do you assess the development in the state after existing for 25 years?
It is true that Kogi State was created on August 27, 1991. But the question we should ask ourselves is do we have anything on ground to celebrate the 25 years of existence? The answer to that question is no. You need to be in the state to see the mood of the people this time. For instance, the civil servants in the state have worked for eight months without collecting salaries. In such a case do you expect them to be happy that the state is 25 years? The township roads in Lokoja the state capital are all in bad condition. The state of government hospitals and health centres in the state are in pitiable condition. I think the last time, we witnessed development in the state should be between 15 to 16 years ago.
The 25th anniversary of the state creation coincided with the date the present administration was sworn in about seven months ago. What can you say to be the major achievement of the present administration since it came to power in January this year?
I can only score the administration high in under-development, lack of focus and inefficiency. This is the government that destroyed about nine roundabouts in Lokoja since March and has not been able to reconstruct any one of them. The state civil service structure is being destroyed and those who have no experience on the job are being brought into the system. Despite the N20b bailout fun, N19b allocations and N10b facilities the present administration got within a period of just seven months yet it has not commissioned any project as far as I know. The governor promised to grant autonomy to local government administration in the state and bought vehicles for local government chairmen at outrageous cost. As I am talking with you, the administration is busy deducting such money from their allocations. Kogi is the only state I know where the governor has opened account for civil servants in a designated banks of his choice. This is a state where only five out of 25 members of state assembly met in few minutes and approve the 2016 budget for the Governor Yahaya Bello. You are aware that the governor went to a central Mosque in Lokoja last Friday and he was stoned by some people. So that is the extent the situation has degenerated into in the state. If the condition of roads in Lokoja the state capital could be as deplorable as there are now, you could imagine what would be the situation in other local government areas. The state is at a cross road with many people fasting and praying for God to intervene. People are also waiting for the outcome of Supreme Court judgment before they can think on the next line of action.
APC promised to correct the ills of past PDP administration in the state, but with what you are saying, do you think the party would be able to make any difference withstand future elections in the state?
You remember that members of state executives of the party sometimes ago passed a vote of no confidence on the governor. This is to tell you the position of the party in the state. The governor and the leadership of the party in the state are not together right now. APC as a party promised change and they gave the people change, but I don’t think it is the change that the people asked for. If they continue the way their going, I don’t think they have anything to tell the people when it is time for another general elections in the country. It is unfortunate that the condition of things in Kogi appears worst than any other states of the country.
What informed your decision to dump APC for APGA when you were among the leaders that worked for the emergence of APC in the state?
I left APC because of injustice. I served as state secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before the merger that brought APC. I can say that we brought APC to Kogi State, but when I saw the way things were being done in the party, I decided to pitch my tent with another party which is APGA. With the exception of last governorship primary, the party does not conduct a transparent primary to elect its flag bearers. You can see the manifestation in the nullification of the election of two senators elected on the platform of the party in the state by Appeal Courts. In most cases, delegates list were manipulated and some non party members were brought in to vote during party primaries. The party’s rules and regulation were not followed in doing things. When I considered all these things, I then made of my mind to dump the party and go elsewhere which I did. That is why I decided to join APGA and I don’t regret my action.
Do you think APGA could be an alternative party to PDP and APC in Kogi State?
APGA remains a party with the history that is not stained and we would leverage on that to win more people into the party. In Kogi State today, a lot of people including leaders from other political parties are moving into APGA and I can assure you that the party remains the best in the state. You know the party won a council chairmanship position in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and with Anambra governor; I know APGA would go to places in the country including Kogi State.