Why did you join the race become Kogi state governor?
Kogi state has been underdeveloped. Other states created alongside Kogi state has advanced. Today there is no industrialization blueprint in Kogi state. If you are talking about employment, I cannot see how a government can create employment without industrial blueprint. There is iron and steel industry that was established in the state. The Iron and Steel Complex at Ajaokuta has remained redundant since its establishment. In fact it has been described as a white elephant project. So it is a very painful situation. All the people that have been privileged to lead the state have been fumbling from one place to the other. It is either their selfish interest did not allow them to develop the state or they have no political will to develop and industrialize the state. It is against this backdrop that I have decided to volunteer and join the race to develop the state.
In what ways is the forthcoming APC Kogi state governorship primary affecting your ambition?
Ordinarily, the purpose of zoning is to carry every parts of the state along. At the beginning of our merger a group of people hold the position of leader. They decided who gets what. They people who constitute this leade r s h i p include P r i n c e A b u b a – kar Audu from the East from ANPP. We have Professor I O Aliyu from the Central, he is of ACN and Alhaji Yusuf Bari a graduate of Cambridge University which led the Western Senatorial Zone. What they decided during the zoning was that since the Central and Western Senatorial zones do not have requisite population to compete with the Eastern zone they should be offered some specific positions in both national and state levels so that the Eastern flank that have the population can take the governorship seat. This understanding gave rise to the nomination of Hajia Ramatu Tijani who is the national women leader underthe ANPP. On the authority of Professor Y.O Aliu, the state chairman was zoned among other positions offered to the Central Senatorial unit. Under consensus endorsement all the zoning formula was implemented to the letter and nobody challenged it. It is surprising that after the election of President Muhammadu Buhari the position zoned to CPC which is part of APC for the person of Alhaji Usman Maiyanga has now been removed and opened for contest by all aspirants from different zones. The question is where is integrity on the part of the leaders that originated the zoning arrangement after taking their own positions. The one zoned for CPC and Eastern flank they said they have to vie for it. It is ridiculous. I am hoping that the national leadership will have a rethink about it because if they did not reflect the zoning positions, there will be likely to be chaos at the end of the day. Because you cannot have national women leader at the Western Senatorial district, a deputy state chairman from Western Senatorial zone under the ACN, the state chairman under the ACN too. We are asking the national leadership to see reasons and identify with that zoning arrangement. The position of governorship was zoned to the East and was settled to Idah Federal constituency which have never produced anything since the last 16 years and specifically be given as an offer of first refusal, a consensus endorsement similar to all those that have benefited courtesy of clause 20 of party constitution in my favour.
Please Explain Further?
In the last 16 years in opposition, I have not only used my hard earned money time and energy to build ANPP, AC, ACN and CPC. My contributions has earned me mandates as two times winner of Kogi gubernatorial primaries of ACN and CPC which has always been nullified by the national leadership’s sympathy for the minority of the Central and Western Senatorial zones of the state. For instance, Tom Ikimi and Shola Akomode had forged a reconciliatory panel to deny me of the lawful mandate clearly granted by the electorates, affirmed by INEC under the platform of ACN in 2007. In 2011, under the CPC I single handedly established CPC and went ahead to win the mandate. Again I was ruled out in favour of Central and Western minority.
Do you think the zoning arrangement may affect the chances of your party in the governorship election?
I don’t see how it will affect my party. If the leadership of the party avail themselves of the hard facts and do the right thing, it will not affect our chances. You don’t leave anything to chance. Why are my saying this? Our people say that where an elder man exists, it will not be difficult to provide leadership for the younger ones. It should be noted that Prince Audu Abubakar as an APC leader and member of BOT had collected all manner of contribution from other leaders yet never gave anybody anything for the funding of the party programmes and allowing him to compete with other aspirants amount to abuse of privilege position. This is mischievous. He had taken oath of office twice as governor in the past. Constitutionally he is not qualified. He is indicted by the EFCC and should not be allowed to participate in the screening as that will be damaging to President Buhari’s position of probity.
If your party said that all of the 28 aspirants are qualified, how are preparing for the primary elections?
I am preparing in the best of my capacity. I have all that is required to defeat everybody. If primary elections become the reality I am on ground. My people are going round all the wards and local government areas making sure that we carry the day. So we are going ahead.
Do you intend to defect if you fail to win the primary election?
I am not an anti-party personality. I have been in the opposition from day one so I have no intention of defecting. I am a loyal party member. All the people I am competing with today, they all defected severally. They are perpetual decampees. Some of them you see in APC tomorrow you see them in PDP. All the aspirants with exception of my humble self has defected more than two or three times.
-Alhaji Usman Naibi Maiyanga is a Kogi governorship aspirant. In this interview in Abuja with Paschal Emeka, he called on the national leadership of All Progressive Congress (APC) not to abandon the existing zoning arrangement in Kogi state. Excerpts: