Former Governor of Kogi, Mr Idris Wada, on Monday said that Nov. 16 governorship election in the state was critical for its survival.
Wada stated this while speaking with newsmen shortly after obtaining his nomination and expression of interest forms at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Secretariat in Abuja.
He said that the election was an opportunity for Kogi people to compare where he left the state and its present condition, and see if they were better off now.
“Let me say that this next election of Nov. 16 is critical to the survival of Kogi state.
“Kogi was on a part of progress at the time I left.
“If I had spent four more years with the kind of money that is coming into the hand of the present governor, the state would have become a state that we will all be proud of,” he said.
Wada said that the state needed an experienced hand to govern it and not a greenhorn.
“Kogi is right now like in quicksand; the more you wriggle out, the more you sink.
“So, if you bring greenhorn who have no experience, who has no proper working of Kogi, he will spend about two years trying to find his feet.
“If I move into the Kogi governor’s office today, I know where I left the state, I will study where it is and I will start steering the ship of the state right away, because we don’t want Kogi to collapse,” he said.
Wada said that he was in the re-election bid to pull Kogi out of its “present mess”.
He recalled that when he was the governor, “I was paying salary almost 25th of every month; now we are hearing story of people not paid for 39 months’’.
Wada added that when he was governor he added value to the state through infrastructural projects, including rural electrification for more than 400 communities.
According to him, as governor, I built a world-class motor pack in Lokoja and an 11-storey building in Abuja, to boost the state’s internally generated revenue.
“Unfortunately, since I left even projects that I have done to 90 per sent completion have been abandoned by the succeeding administration.
“The projects that were at 60 per cent are still where they were when I left office.
“The prevailing hunger and poverty, you can feel it when you enter Kogi, the booming live of our people has disappeared,” he said.
The former governor pledged that if re-elected, he would address insecurity and poverty in the state through robust agricultural transformation programmes and establishment of processing industries.
“We will bring in young people; we will have extension farmers fielding into a larger farm with processing industry that will lift all the people out of poverty.”
Wada pledged to work with the Federal Government towards reactivating Ajaokuta-Itapke operations to employ more people, and restore programmes targeted at youth and women empowerment under his previous administration.
“While I was there we had a program called Youth and Advancement Program for Kogi People. We were able to recruit over 120, 000 youths.
“We trained them for about three to four weeks at the NYSC camp and then attached them to various vocation and paid them stipends of N10, 000.
“We encouraged them to save and the government doubled their savings so that they can also become employers of labour.
“So, we are going to improve on that, for women, young people we are going to encourage those who are into commerce.
“We will give them soft loans and training for them to improve the yield in whatever endeavour they want to carry out.”
Wada, who claimed that he did not lose the last election in the state but was rigged out, said he already had strategy in place to counter any form of rigging in the upcoming election.