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Former Governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris recently in Abuja spoke to Adams Aikoye, the Chief Press Secretary of the Wife of the state Governor on a number of issues. He spoke on his tenure as state governor and the need to support Governor Idris Wada to complete his numerous projects. Excerpts:


Your Excellency, can you tell us about yourself?

Thank you. I am Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, the immediate past Governor of Kogi State.

It has been a while since you left office as Kogi State Governor. The people of the State are in high expectation to see you at the senate to represent the people of Kogi State. Can you briefly say the reason for not joining the race for Kogi East Senatorial District? Can you tell us your next ambition in politics?

No! I think I have done my best and whatever remains should go to the younger generation. I was a governor for nine years. I could not imagine myself going back to contest for senate. We should allow the younger ones to continue from where we stopped with their own ideas on how we can together build Kogi State to enviable height.

There is a campaign that the performance of the state governor, Capt. Idris Wada is below expectation. What is your reaction?

See, gentlemen of the press; it is common all over. Being first time in office, people may not be properly informed or may not be able to see what he has been doing. People need to give him more time and that is why we are asking and pleading that they should allow him a second term so that some of his visions would be actualized.

That is the way I see it. In most cases, it is often difficult to convince people, especially during first term in office, in respect of what you have done. Most of the achievements may not be exposed to the public, because some projects may be completed, while some may be ongoing. But when we give him a second chance he could finish the projects he started and people will not start seeing it precisely what he has done.

I think he needs to be given more chance. When he comes back, people will see a big difference as the projects that are on-going are been commissioned. He has gathered a lot of experience during his first term in office as governor. As I am talking to you Capt. Idris Wada has a very good plan for Kogi State. Let's pray to be alive and see how he will put everything in practice in his second term. I think most of our colleagues face the same problems during their first term in office as governor, including me.

What about the agitation for rotation of governorship slot?

As for me, it is a good idea. It's not a birthright for the people of Kogi East to be governor. For unity and peace to reign within the three senatorial districts, the stakeholders should sit at a round table and discuss it and allow the rotation of power in the state either to Kogi West or Kogi Central. For me I am a proponent of that and that was why I tried my best to lay the foundation by making sure that somebody from Dekina Local Government Area becomes the governor of Kogi State. With Wada in office the circle is complete in Kogi East!" So, I do not think we have much argument in allowing the West or Central Senatorial District to have the taste of the power in the state.

With what is happening in Nigeria now, the power is already moving round, from the north to south, to east. This is to allow peace to reign. When peace reigns, there would be stability and unity. By 2019, the people of the Eastern Senatorial District should be reasonable enough to allow that happen, so that we can move the entire state forward. Kogi is for all of us. Have it in your mind that every Kogian has the right to become the governor of the state.

When the time comes, they should give room to whoever the people of the state prefer to govern them. So, I don't think there is anything wrong in allowing the west or central part of the state to become the governor of our state. We are all brothers and sisters.

Tell us your position on the agitation for the creation of Okura state?

Well, I have heard about the agitation for the creation of Okura State. In Kogi State, we have been trying to make sure things are put in place, and now you are talking about Okura. Well, if it comes, fine; but I don't think it is necessary as far as I am concerned. Are you saying there should be Okura State, Okun State and Ebira State? For me, I think what we should do is to build Kogi State for a better tomorrow. Let's manage what we have so that we can move forward.

Your Excellency, there is this first project you started when you took the mantle of leadership in Kogi State, that is Ibaji Sugar Factory. Road was constructed to Ibaji to further enhance the realisation of the project… Is the project on-going?

I don't really know, but I think there must be some plans to make sure it is sustained. I have done mine and I have touched all the areas that needed to be touched. The people have actually come down to commence the project even before I left office as governor. I don't know why they do not come up with the project after all their promises. But I am sure the present governor of the state, Capt. Idris Wada, my friend and my brother is interested in that project and I am sure he is doing some consultations to make sure the partners come down to continue with the project.

Governorship election is November 21. What is your advice for the people of Kogi State?

My advice is that the electorate should give the state governor, Captain Idris Wada another chance to complete his second term, so that he will complete all the projects he has started. I think that is my candid advice for the good people of Kogi State because I don't think there is any need truncating all these massive projects by bringing somebody else.

I candidly advise that people should collaborate with him with all their support. He needs the support of every Kogian, including you and I. And I think that we will not be doing justice to ourselves if we allow another party to come and take over Kogi State. My advice to the people of Dekina where the governor comes from and the entire Kogi State is that they should allow Capt. Idris Wada to continue in office, so that he can actualize what he started.

It has been rumoured that your relationship with the state governor has gone sour how true it is?

That is a lie, a big lie. There is nothing like that. We just parted from a meeting some few hours ago. He has been my very good friend. There is nothing like that; and it will never happen. Go back and tell them that they are lying. You are here with me in view of an interview and you are hearing from the horse's mouth. We are relating very cordially. We remain like brothers, infact such rumour is building our relationship to be stronger than it used to be.

What is your position over the crisis at the National Assembly in respect of leadership?

No! I don't think I have any comment in respect of that crisis because it is a party affair. They will know how to settle their differences.

What is your position on the abduction of Chibok girls which is now 500 days?

Well, it is really sad that they are not yet back, but I hope the President is doing something to make sure they rescue the Chibok girls. I strongly believe that Mr. President is working hard towards the return of those our children. We pray that nothing happens to them.

Your Excellency Sir, how do you assess President Muhammadu Buhari as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

Well, to the best of my knowledge, he has started well; but you know everybody wants him to build castle in the air. The expectation is just too high. We need to give him time. He needs to settle down and plan. He has the zeal and the experience. I believe he will make the desired changes.

Sir, how do you rate Capt. Wada as a governor?

Wada is performing well and he will continue to perform. He is somebody that has travelled wide and has seen development in other parts of the world. The best thing is to allow him a second term. People think that they have not seen much, but he has done very well.

Last word

It's my pleasure speaking with you.

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