As governorship Aspirant, how would you describe yourself?
Thank you, I am Olusola George Olumoroti, aka OGO, a trained Mechanical Engineer who was born in Kabba, Kabba/ Bunu LGA of Kogi State. I Had an HND from Yaba College of Technology and had MBA at the University of Calabar and an Alumnus of Lagos Business School. I did my NYSC at Savannah Flour Mills, Yola, Adamawa in 1990 and worked in many companies including Miccom Engineering Works Limited, Lagos (a leading Cable Manufacturer) before joining the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) where I worked up to 1993. In 1993 I joined Mobil Producing Nigeria (a subsidiary of ExxonMobil); and has remained there serving in various capacities and rose through the grace of God and dint of hard work to become a Senior Executive of the Company. I am currently president of ExxonMobil Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society. My watchword has always been justice, integrity and accountability and by the grace of God I have served in many leadership positions. I was the President of Yoruba Community, Eket Akwa Ibom State between 2001 and 2003 and through my sterling leadership qualities piloted the affairs of the Association.
By improving communal relationship between the Yorubas in Akwa Ibom State and the indigenes through an innovative idea; I pioneered the Annual Educational Grant and Scholarship Award to 50 Akwa Ibom students. As one who believes in social justice and defender of the rights of the masses; I was elected as the Chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Mobil Producing Nigeria Branch where I also initiated the annual ‘Giving back to the poor’ programme; and by the grace of God, my exceptional leadership qualities led to my election as the Joint National Chairman of the Upstream Oil & Gas Producing Sector (Producers’ Forum) of PENGASSAN with responsibility for coordinating PENGASSAN activities in Companies like Shell, Chevron, Total, Agip, ExxonMobil, Addax, ConocoPhillips etc; And alongside my colleagues in the Producers’ Forum, we articulated and created the prospect for the eventual launching of the Niger Delta master plan by the Federal Government in 2007.
In what areas have you served your immediate community, before aspiring to become the governor of the state?
By the grace of God I have for the past 15 years rendered selfless service to many communities and has touched many lives in Kogi State. I established OGO Community Development Initiative, a non-profit and non-governmental organization which amongst others, has to its record the drilling of water borehole in various communities within Kogi state, I also organised Youth and Women empowerment program in the 21 Local Government Areas of the state’ tagged “Waste to wealth training”. There, we train the youths on how to create wealth and I give them a takeoff grant to start their own business after the trainings, I also organised annual scholarship grant to students/ orphan including indigent but brilliant students and also organised free medical treatsquandering ment for people in rural areas, and sponsored free coaching classes for JAMB/GCE candidates, among many other things.
Why do you want to become governor instead of concentrate on doing this philanthropy for the people in 21 LGs of the state?
I am always at pain and sometimes I weep inside of me when I see the level of poverty the people of the state have been subjected due to maladministration, corruption, and misplaced priorities by past administrations in the state. Sometimes I feel ashamed that our state with such a huge, natural and human resources could still be wobbling at age 24. Almost everything in the state is at zero level. The roads are the worst in the country, there is huge infrastructural decay, our schools have collapsed, and teachers are treated as second-class citizens, there is high unemployment rate and our moral value system has been greatly eroded. All these issues have to be addressed fast before the state collapses, and that is why I volunteer myself to rescue the state from this rot.
What specific things will you do, if elected as governor.?
Past leaders have tried their best to develop the state, but since 2003, successive administrations have put the State in reverse gear. The goal of my administration is to reverse this ugly trend by making Kogi State a place of choice for new and expanding businesses, creating opportunities for the young and old; and attracting tourists by the cultural heritage of our people and the enviable historical background of our towns and villages.
We will build cities with a lively urban life and enormous economic opportunities complete with modern infrastructures across the State; the administration’s economic development blueprint will be targeted at reversing the declining livelihood and poverty level of the rural populace, which will stem the tide of migration. In addition, we will diversify our strength towards achieving high productivity, self-reliance and prosperity for all.
The coming of democratic system of government in 1999 elicited high hopes and expectations, but this has now been characterised by treatsquandering of goodwill, mismanagement of our resources, arrogance and repression of the fundamental human rights of our people; our hopes have given way to diverse violent assault to the citizenry, mentally and psychologically. Our political leaders, past and present have tragically used politics as a source of empowerment to few individuals at the detriment of the larger populace and neglect of state development.
Politics has been deployed as a weapon for oppressing the poor and downtrodden, and above all created depression, poverty, hopelessness and deprivation in the society. This deliberate scheming induced by political leaders that cut across the entire ethnic divide in Kogi State is designed to create fear, trepidation and anxiety in the mind of the people so that they can continue to perpetrate injustice and hold the people hostage.
The result is increasing mistrust and ethnic tension amongst the people; let me assure you that this situation is not a true reflection of what is on the ground as all the ethnic divides love himself or herself and remain one indivisible homogenous entity. I therefore urge all kogites to join hands with me to confront and fight our common enemy; let us liberate ourselves from the shackle of oppression, let us take our destiny in our hands so that there can be a future for our children and those yet unborn. I offer myself as that bastion of hope. The prospects that the good people of Kogi State may enjoy the real dividends of democracy anytime soon is no less grim than they were pre-May 1999, hence the need for a CHANGE towards genuine and sustainable development, enduring legacy, prosperity, peace and unity. Our focus will be putting people first.
How do you hope to realize this dream of yours?
To realise this dream we shall leverage on the abundant human capital and natural resources to create an enabling environment that will release the innate energy in our youths towards sustainable development, economic prosperity and increased sense of ownership.
As political leaders, service to the people and accountability shall be our watchword. The current challenges posed by lack of access to electricity, portable water, clean environment, good road network, effective health delivery system, qualitative education amongst other debilitating conditions shall be a thing of the past under my administration. We shall witness positive change through prudent deployment of state resources, effective mobilization of the rural population for promoting greater participation and economic self-reliance, expansion of food production, affordable quality education and empowerment of our youths, development of waterways, aggressive rural roads construction and rehabilitation. The major policy thrust of my administration will recognize the potentials of our people and shall adopt the instrument of public – private partnership to develop it.
What are your chances of winning the party primary?
I have very bright chance, among the other aspirants, I am the most consistent person who can be trusted with power, I have a robust political structure that I have been funding since 2007 and I am the only person that cuts across all divides namely; the three senatorial districts, the major religions, and both the young and old in Kogi politics.
-Engineer Olusola George Olumoroti, a foremost governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressive Congress in Kogi State is described by many as a man of high integrity, whose main focus is to alleviate of poverty of the rural dwellers in the confluence state. Unlike other aspirants, he has been a consistent politician who refused to jump from one party to the other having being contesting for the governorship seat since 2007 under the opposition party. He believes ‘power shift’ is achievable in the state without use of force. He is a foundation member of APC and has been able to build a formidable political structure in the 21 local government areas of the state. In this with Joseph Amedu in Lokoja, he spoke about his ambition.