Interview

A leader must not only be fighting corruption by words but must be visible—Orugun.

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Emmanuel Olorunmowaju Orugun, is the Governorship candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, (ANRP), for the November 16, 2019 Governorship election in Kogi State. A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife.
In this interview Orugun spoke about his vision for the state, saying that he will diversify the economy of the state if elected, using Agriculture to generate employment and create wealth for the citizens. Kogifame was there.
Excerpt
How do you intend to solve the mirage of problems facing the state if elected?
Finding a lasting solution today is the key focus of my manifesto and of ANRP not just as a political party but also as a movement for good governance; aimed at thinking out of the box to generate revenue while also creating rewarding jobs for our very ambitious, energetic and intelligent youths of integrity by starting from the easy, less technical agricultural goods and Service Quality Products and Logistics to the more technical and highly skilled products; as more successes are recorded.
There is a popular believe today that “government has no business in business”; while this is true, the situation we find ourselves today calls for our state at all levels to be strategically involved in businesses but with an exit plan in place.
The strategy is simply to use one stone to kill three birds: Provide job for our teeming unemployed population: it will generate income for the people and also revenue for the government.
There is this alledged huge infrastructural deficit in the state. Are you worried about this?
In my manifesto l played down on infrastructural development because our attention has been directed towards additional developments we bring to table; because, when I say we will build roads, schools and housing etc, these are the fundamental functions of government and is synonymous to a father telling his family that his achievement is that he will feed and provide house for them to stay.
Government statutory functions and duties are to provide infrastructures not only on an occasional basis but set up a working and running system for both new and maintenance system for our roads, health, education and housing needs. In our case, these would be manned by Kogi State engineers and indigenes. Roads will be monitored on daily basis, new and repairs works will be on daily and continuous basis. This is our direction on infrastructural development.
The focal points of our development in office are divided into eight categories, namely: Diversification and Divestment in Agriculture, Prompt attention to workers welfare, Opening up of Naturally existing business opportunities inTourism, Trade and Investment, Transportation making Kogi state a transit travelling state, Engineering and Maintenance and Solid minerals, Women and Youth Empowerment Security of lives and properties, Improved educational system to include vocational learning, improved infrastructural development, improved Health Care System both at the Basic and Advanced levels.
Before we go further, it is a fact that every person who aspire for public office will always state these same points I have just mentioned but at the end after four  or eight  years in office, only very few or almost none of them would have been achieved.
These is because the two fundamental problems which are enablers of these developmental plans and programmes were not properly addressed  These are, Corruption in our System and
Lack of adequate funding for development.
How do you intend to tackle this problem of endemic corruption in the system If given the opportunity?
Our biggest problem today is corruption, so we will have zero tolerance to corruption in our system. Let me draw our attention to a fact that “no nation, system or state will ever attain sustainable development when corruption is allowed to fester unabated”.
When most of the resources that should go into developmental programs and activities are allowed to continually be feathered and filtered away into private hands through kick-backs, outright stealing and all other means. What will be presented as development will be cosmetic in nature.
Our dear state was created on 27th August 1991 which is today 28 years and 5 days. So after 28years as a state, we still cannot find our foot not because we have no access to funding for growth but because Corruption has eaten very deeply into our individual fabric.
We cannot continue to go this direction. We have to kill corruption before it kills us completely.
Just like I have stated earlier during my declaration; Corruption and Development are two extreme entities: the more you have of one, the less you will definitely have of the other. That is to say, a 100% Development from a given value of financial resources means that we have zero corruption and vice versa.
If given the chance to govern our dear state. This is going to be one of the greatest problem we will solve together. A leader must not only be fighting corruption by words but must be visibly seen as being publicly opposed to corruption.
These are some of the methods we would adopt: Open Transparency,
Open Accountability, Removal of cash transactions, Proper accounting for project spending and use of software in managing governmental processes and payments.
We will ensure that we are not just fighting corruption from a blunt viewpoint but solve the problem from its roots by removing loopholes that have over the years served as fertile grounds for corruption to thrive.
In ANRP, we will not just be fighting corruption bluntly in our dear state, but will make use of smart softwares to monitor activities and projects like or similar to Enterprise Resource Planning commonly called ERPs as is done in private companies and financial institutions.
These type of software are tools with has layers of approvals and project monitoring capabilities ie NTEV, which ensure that monetary resources are well directed, recorded and documented.
I had enormous knowledge and experience as a Multi-Site Administrator of ERP in my private engagements and will ensure direct compliance and controls by bringing my experiences to bear.
How are you going to source fund to carry out your day plans?
The reality today is that revenue and financial resources are no longer enough to go round our governmental statutory functions and developmental needs.
Our dear State has not focused her energy on sustainable increased earnings but instead focused on borrowings to augment shortage in recurrent expenditures till we get to the point of borrowing to pay salaries. This is not sustainable on the long run because it has resultant effect of decreased monthly earnings when high loan repayment and too high debt servicing on capital and /or interest becomes unbearable and one day; it will definitely lead to the collapse of our dear state. For example in 2014 kogi state debt amount to 10. Billion Naira and it grew to about 98 Billion in 2018 ending.
Therefore, for us to achieve the desired growth and development and make our state 21st Century compliant to world class level, we have to think out of the box to generate more revenue. Out of all available options, the method through agriculture will have greater impact on the economy of the state and the lives of more of our people within a short time period than the others and will be considered first.
How exactly do want to carry out your diversification and Divestment in Agriculture?
Agriculture is generally divided into two types: Food Crops and Animal production. The government will work and / or partner with reputable agricultural institutions to teach and train our farmers two things:
Mechanized farming method
How to grow food crops to suppress weed growth and have excellent harvest yield. Mechanization farming is a very old and common terminology that had lived with us for ages. Most of us would have in one way or the other learnt about it even from our primary school days but we have not been able to use it to our advantage.
Mechanization farming is simply the use of machines to replace our traditional hoes and cutlasses to produce large scale farms and farming of mono or multi cropping systems as opposed to our present subsistence farming method with the use of hoes and cutlasses.
A larger percentage of our people are farmers but we are still limited in our food production efforts because of our subsistence hoes and cutlasses method of farming.
It is my greatest desire to replace our present Subsistence method of farming with Mechanized farming of food crops of all types so that our farmers can throw away their hoes and cutlasses. This will boost production of food crops and other dairy products
Each Senatorial Districts cum Local Governments will receive a number of each of the following agricultural machinery for large scale farming:
Bulldozers,Graders,
Tractors with Harrowers, Ridgers, Planters, Harvesters attachments
The numbers of these modern machines will be continuously increased till we reach a saturation stage.
Farmers and farming association groups will be registered with our processing plants according to their interest in either food crops, animal husbandry or aquaculture.
High yielding Modern day hydroponics farming method will also be explored.
End products production to replace Raw foods, grains and nuts sale:
Let us take a very good note of a fact today that “No nation, State or Individual will ever become prosperous by selling or exporting its first line raw materials”. In Kogi State, we will desist and greatly reduce the present act of selling our raw farm produce and will instead convert them into end products by establishing processing plants.
The processing plants will be involved in a buy-back scheme where interested and registered farmers sell their products to the investment and processing centers in which they are also part owners and major stakeholders as applicable.
For example: Our Yam will be converted into Poundo Yam Flower,
Our Maize and other ingredients to Semovita, Our Cassava will be converted to Gari, Our Tomato will be converted to Tomato paste, Bagged Rice from local rice production.
We have a lot in this category and others outside agricultural products in the detailed workbook.
This will have some advantages:
Farmers will focus on production and have less problem of storage
More decent jobs for our employed youths and young graduates
More revenue for farmers and the state.
Paymenyt of work salaries is a major problem in the state. How are you going to tackle it.
Workers has always been the greatest asset in any organization; be it private or public. All workers welfare will be given a topmost priority.
We will also solve the problem of percentage payments of salaries especially as it affects the Local Government workers by getting into the roots of the problem, sit with all stakeholders affected, open the books and solve the problem permanently; once and for all.
As part of the revenue drive, we will open up our existing naturally occurring Business opportunities in the areas of Trade and Investment, Transportation. Making Kogi state a transit travelling state, Engineering and Maintenance and Solid minerals and Tourism.
Kogi State is naturally positioned almost within the middle of Nigeria. This present us with an advantage in Transportation network to all major cities in Nigeria.
Our natural positioning will be well harnessed to ensure a well-deserved mass transportation investment in both goods and services.
When we say Women and Youth Empowerment Programs. Please note that men too will be involved. These include but not limited to:Trade and Investment Center, Youth Innovation Center, Research and Development Center, Skill acquisition center
Supporting Old businesses and Young graduates with conducive environment to grow
A new approach will be adopted in developing our roads, bridges and of building most or all our production factories across the state.
God has blessed us with a big river which serve as a source of cheap sand source for development of our roads, bridges and buildings. About 5 Sand Dredging Machines will be procured which will serve to mine sand from the Niger/Benue River that run through the state. This will also be commercialized to supply sand at cheaper prices
Our land in Kogi is also blessed with more than enough rocks and mountains everywhere you go. A quarry will be established to produce different sizes and grades of granite for our road construction and building projects. This will also be commercialized to supply stones at cheaper prices too.
Our Land is also blessed with Cement factories. The state government will seek to purchase cement from the companies, which, also of good note, is very close by
Then Our Engineers will design and build our needed Infrastructures
The state is polarized along ethnic lines. How do you intend to Unit the different groups?
Kogi State has three  different areas each uniquely separated into Senatorial zones. Each zone has a distinct language which people of other zones do not understand except when learnt. Each zone also has a totally different history of culture.
These are the unique differences and diversity which will serves as a source of strong strength for the state if well harnessed.
An annual Art and Cultural event will be organized which will bring together all great, young and old people of each zones and an open display of each unique cultural heritage to become an annual event.
This will help to bind us together in unity and love with each of our differences showcased to become a diversity and a source of unity, cohesion and cooperation.

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