Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State, the candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, Ernest Ozigi, says the people of the state are tired of failed governance, saying he had great plans to transform the state.
Q. How prepared are you for Saturday’s election?
A: We have prepared very well for the election. We have talked to the people of the state who are the final determinants in the entire process. So we are fully prepared.
Q:Despite your denial, many still believe you would eventually step down for a particular candidate…
A. It is unfortunate that people are just peddling unfounded rumour. But it goes to show that some people are scared of the likely outcome of the election. They are scared of our rising profile. I have gone too far in this project and it will be illogical to step down when I have secured the confidence of the people. We are in it to win it.
Q: What is your plan for the people of Kogi State if you are elected as governor?
A: Our plans are enormous as a result of the current situation of the state. We are going to take on all the sectors because they are interwoven and affect different segments of the population. We shall look at agricultural development, industrial revolution through the right policies, women and youth empowerment, quality healthcare, educational development and many others. We can’t afford to leave any of the sectors. We have a robust blueprint that will help us go full blast. We will improve the working conditions of the workers. We will put in place a feedback mechanism to get the pulse of the people. Our budgeting and implementation system will be such that the people are directly involved. We will publish our accounts every month to enthrone accountability and ensure that all civil servants receive their salaries promptly. We can’t afford to fail Kogi people.
Q: How do you hope to meet the expectations of the people by delivering on your promises?
A: It is imperative to look at the current revenue base of the state. With current global realities, states must begin to look inward for revenue. Oil demand and prices are nose-diving everyday. We can’t continue like this. I would therefore, strive to diversify the revenue base of the state without relying on federal allocation. It is doable and we believe we have the resource to do all we say we would.
Q: How will you prioritize your programs and policies for the state?
A: We are going to look at industrialization, commercialization, agriculture, education, healthcare, youth empowerment and women empowerment. These will be the key priorities of our government.
Q: You have gone round all the Senatorial Districts in the state. How will you tackle the peculiar challenges of each LGA?
A: I had gone round the state before the electioneering. But for the sake of this election, we have taken note of the peculiar needs of each Senatorial District in the state. Our government is going to be community-driven. We would work with the communities to meet needs. We realized that we have bad road network across the three senatorial districts. Poverty is also a major challenge across the state. The standard of education has dropped, healthcare is near comatose. But top on the priorities is the need to get good roads in place to be able to boost agriculture, commerce and tourism.
Q: Finally, what is your message to the people of Kogi State as they prepare for Saturday’s election?
A: My message to the good people of Kogi State is that this is the time to make good change and turn around the fortunes of the state for the better. They should vote for me and the Progressive Peoples Alliance, not because of today, but for a better tomorrow and the renaissance of our dear state.
The people cannot continue to suffer in silence. All past administrations have apparently failed them.They should vote for a change in ideology and a genuine direction towards a prosperous state and a prosperous people. I represent that change.
There is the need to give change a chance!