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In this interview, we are happy to meet up with the Deputy National Publicity secretary of the ruling All Progressive congress and a Frontline Governorship aspirants of the party in Kogi state, Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka.This is a man that is rekindling the hope of his people in his native Kogi state, a man that believes in bringing developments in all it’s physicality to the door step of his people. In this interview, we asked him a lot of questions that are Germain in this time that he has thrown his hat in the ring to lead Kogi state as it’s next governor and many of this questions borders on how he translate his vision and agenda into developing the state and it’s people and many more……read on

INTERVIEW:The guber election in your state would be taking place this year and we heard it on good authority that you are one of those that have signified interest in becoming the next governor of the state.How true is this and why are you interested in being the governor of the state?

MURTALA AJAKA:This is very true and i have long declared my intention to contest for the seat of the Governorship of our dear state by collecting the declaration of Intent form from the party, so it is true and I am ready to slug it out with other aspirants that have equally shown interest to contest for the seat at the APC primaries to elect the party’s candidate for the general election coming up later this year.

INTERVIEW: Why are you interested in being the governor of Kogi state in the next political dispensation in Kogi state?

MURTALA AJAKA: Simply put, I am in the guber race of my state because I want to build on the foundation layed by the administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello the present governor of the state.The new direction government of the present governor has really redirected the state from the time when the state only wanders in the wilderness and I am appreciative to this administration for building the needed strong foundation for the state to build on because governance is a continuam.The next stage after the successful reclaiming of our land and restoring our values in the state by the APC led administration of Yahaya Bello is putting the state back on it’s developmental trajectories because of the retrogressive tenures we had under the previous administration of the PDP in the state likened to captivity by many when the people of the state were held captive by those who have decided to see the state as their personal fiefdoms only for themselves and their cronies. Like the present administration or not but you cannot take away the fact that it really reclaimed our state for the people and eliminated the issue of godfatherism from the politics of the state.I am therefore contesting for the Governorship of Kogi state to bring development to the whole part of the state because this would restitute for the good intentions of of our forebears who fought wars and sweated to see to it that as one people we have a state to be called ours. I want to be that leader of the state whose developmental strides would be so excellent as a way of paying homage to those who came before us and on whose labour our generation should be building upon; our forebears of ages past who bequeathed to us such history of honour, integrity, and dignity; who bound us together as one indivisible Confederacy called Kogi state, and fought wars to liberate us from external forces who sought to sub-judicating us.They thought that only in fighting together can we truly win.The fight against the external forces have been truly won by them on our behalf but here today arose the internal forces that have for long risen against the developments of the people of our state and are planning again to sub-judicating it.This ancestors of ours who we have learnt about in our history books and majorly from the oral tradition of our Griot’s, are similarly assembled in the great beyond as a cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we embark on this journey set before us and doing nothing was not an option before us.To answer your question vividly, I am putting my hat into the ring to contest for the Governorship seat of Kogi state as a deliberate way of obeying the call of our destiny by leading the way to build on that lofty foundation of our present governor and take the state to it’s required enviable height.

INTERVIEW:Interesting.Hearing from you seems that the urge to serve is a divine mission which you can claim as your destiny to serve?

MURTALA AJAKA:You can say that again. I simply want to be the instrument through which this divine mandates are actualised in Kogi state.I am sure that I know the problem and solutions to the problems of this state better. I promise to do right by my people by honouring this divine call and mission on their behalf and it is a promise they can all take to the bank.

INTERVIEW: What can you say this aspiration of yours represents?

MURTALA AJAKA: I think our people knows a good leader when they see one because the lessons of past failures by leaders in the state have made our people to become politically sophisticated. I represents in this race the best hope for the state because with the victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-elect of the country, we are indeed entering the period of renewed hope and because I believe in that place called hope, I am going to bring renewed hope to the political horizon of the state, once again.I have been sharpened by the hands of fate and provided with sufficient experience, compassion, and skillset needed for such a time like this I think rarely do Governorship aspirants come really form and ready like me.I am a moderate man who has never shown or exhibited any form of religious extremism or any form of ethnic bigotry. I am at home with both the christians and moslems, and tolerance could be said to be my middle name because at this point in our state when the issues of inclusions and marginalisation are at the centre of our politics and always the source of sectarian crisis and conflicts, I am that broad-minded leader who through my words and actions will bring everyone together and heal the sounds of division, hate, and bigotry in Kogi state because we are one people.

INTERVIEW: You are presently the national deputy publicity secretary of the APC, some are asking what more do you want? Are you not simply using this chance to negotiate?.

MURTALA AJAKA: Well I don’t know what the few pessimists who I know are well informed optimists in our midst think I want to negotiate for, but Importantly, all I have become more particularly the one you just mentioned I got because I am a Nigerian. And now that I can see the state going down after Yahaya Bello, if there is an absent of a functional and capable leadership, it is time to deploy my experience. I gained vantage experience, as the deputy national publicity secretary of the party. As deputy national publicity secretary, I have been in a position to know what leadership demands and this would help me in giving the state a focus. I understand the challenges of leadership and have the clarity of what the solutions may be and short of experiences like this, nobody can rule a state like Kogi state. I think today I am better equiped by my experience and training, by my knowledge of our state to be in the best position to help redirect more Kogi state on the path of growth, peace and development.

INTERVIEW: Many I have heard called you “the new Prince Abubakar Audu” because they say you are likely to bring back the days of the late governor.

MURTALA AJAKA: Oh, mine.The late Prince Abubakar Audu was the father of modern day Kogi state with development projects scattered throughout the nooks and crannies of the state. He has left a mark which any aspiring leader should emulate as the developmental and Infrastructural projects he initiated and executed will always be a memento to all of those days when government cares about the people.I am very sure he is one of my political heroes that I would want to emulate.May his soul rest in peace.

INTERVIEW: We heard you like development and many people have attested to your developmental strides in the state even though you are not yet in an executive role in the state?

MURTALA AJAKA: I am an apostle of a new type of politics dispensation and the people are the basis of all I seek to henceforth do in life. Giving back to the society in one little way or another should be the essence of the life of those of us who are fortunate.I have done a little based on the resources available to me to cushion the lack of many developmental infrastructure in the state and would continue to do that. I have assisted in the electrification projects of many communities in the state, I have awarded scholarships to the tune of about 300million naira to indigent students from all part of the state etc.I don’t believe in advertised philantrophy and not one to blow my trumpets but my people knows I am always with them.

INTERVIEW:Let us now concentrate on your governance agenda for the state. Can we know them please?

MURTALA AJAKA: My governance agenda when by the grace of God I become the governor of Kogi state is going to be centred on marking the cusp of charting a new course of sustainable development for the state out of the quagmire we find ourselves as a people since our state was created. In this task we will be faced with a lot of challenges but yet blessed with an immense amount of strengths and opportunities and bouyed by the strong foundations already being layed by the present administration of Yahaya Bello in the state,I believe we shall conquer. Before I dwell of my governance agenda,I will like to dwell first on my vision for the state because it preceeds any agenda.My vision for the state is that it would be a place where our people will strive and live there lives in dignity, a place where it’s workers do not work or labour in vain. A place where it’s people are not so hungry,they resort to pilfering for food to survive. A place where the circle of generational poverty can be broken and in which the elderly can reap the fruits of their labor over their children. A place where the people are safe, healthy and prosperous.That is my vision for the state.

INTERVIEW:Thank you for your corrections, sir. Can we now know your governance agenda?

MURTALA AJAKA:The governance agenda of my administration if voted into office is compelled to focus on areas through which I will deliver my promises to the people of the state.The pillars of my administration’s agenda will be; Social investments, security, Infrastructure and industrial development, Knowledge economy, Agriculture and rural development.

INTERVIEW:The agendas are the specific directions of those agendas for the benefit of our readers?

MURTALA AJAKA:My agenda are simple and targetted at uplifting the state and it’s people sectorially. My social investment agenda is predicated on the premise that our greatest asset in the state remains the people.As human beings are the measure of all things, only a healthy and enlightened people can drive the sustainable development we all want to see in our state.I will therefore commit my administration to instituting social safety nets that will bring succour to the most vulnerable segment of the Kogi society.One example of such social safety nets is the social security scheme for the elderly which will be instituted within 100 days of my administration by the special grace of God.This is because the ideological position of my politics remains that no individual in society should be left behind but supported to live out their dreams to their full potentials in their youth and have a dignified retirement in their old age and u think this is the fundamental requirement of any government in this regard. Likewise delivering qualitative healthcare is a priority of my administration when elected.I will ensure our hospitals are once again equiped and functional to attend to the needs of the people

INTERVIEW:Your agenda on knowledge economy is one which we will including our leaders want to know?.

MURTALA AJAKA: Kogi state is known for it’s enlightened and knowledgeable people because if you look clearly, our people loves, seeks and celebrate knowledge.We have many friends of our citizens who are leading lights in every field of human endeavours as well as those who are frontiers in the academic and scholarstic practice all over the world. It is therefore a logical choice to turn to knowledge as a primary products to trade successfully.This is simply because to survive and strive in today’s global economy as a people, we must be committed to using our brilliant minds to promote sustainable development My administration would create a knowledge zone for the state in this regard to pay attention to fields such as teaching, research, skills developments, creative arts, strengthening tertiary institutions and enhanced educational entrepreneurships.

INTERVIEW:Are you saying that education would be an industry in your tenure as governor of the state?

MURTALA AJAKA:Yes.The knowledge industry has become a very big industry even bigger than the oil industry because it is an innovation that has transformed many nation’s in the world today and if it works else where,it will work in Kogi state.We are preparing for the future and the knowledge economy is the future.

INTERVIEW:Let us now talk of your agenda on security?

MURTALA AJAKA:Yes.The agenda on security is fashioned in order to guarantee sustained operations of commerce and industry in the state, my administration if elected is required to create an enabling environment for it to strive in the state An integrated networks of security infrastructure would be put in place to ensure that the state is once again safe and regarded as a safe haven for local and foreign investments.This I agree would be a deliberate action to ensure inflows of foreign and local investments for the state.

INTERVIEW:We are very interested in your agenda on Agriculture and rural development.What is your agenda for this important sector?

MURTALA AJAKA: Kogi state is essentially an agrarian society with soil properties conducive for growing a large varieties of crops and in order to achieve sustainable food security,create employments opportunities and Forster agro-based industrial developments for poverty alleviation and wealth creation,our approach must change from the present focus on agriculture as a government focused social services to a commercial and private sector driven approach which is generally called today,Agri-business.We are going to adopt a sustainable and commercial value chain approach which will lead to transformational Agri business development that would enhance food security,create employments opportunities,empower women and youths, reduce poverty and create wealth through viable agro allied developments and many more.

INTERVIEW:Who is your godfather as you prepare to contest for the seat of the governor of the state?.

MURTALA AJAKA: Make no mistake about this. I would not pretend about this, my Godfather is and would always be the good people of Kogi state who gives power to those they know will make them better.Democracy is a system where the power of deciding who rule the people at any given time is the people themselves.I know my people and I would be a servant leader.Thank you.

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