Kingsley Fanwo is the Director-General, Media and Publicity, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state. He is also the Chairman, Media Committee, Bello/Onoja Campaign Organisation. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the chances of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s governorship and Kogi West Senatorial District rerun elections. Excerpts:
up, what is the chance of your party and its candidates, Governor Yahaya Bello and Smart Adeyemi at the governorship and senatorial rerun?
We are confident of winning. We have organised the best of rallies and our people used the rallies to reaffirm their confidence in Governor Yahaya Bello. With what the Governor has achieved in security, agriculture and critical infrastructure as well as healthcare, there is no stopping Yahaya Bello. We are still working hard to campaign and market our programmes and policies. Governor Bello will win for APC again. As for the Kogi west senatorial rerun, we are also confident that our candidate will triumph because the people are tired Senator Dino Melaye.
Why makes you feel the people of Kogi State would vote the Governor Yahaya Bello for a second term?
Simple! He has served them well. He has united them and collapsed the walls of division that limited the potentials of the State for 25 years. He has built roads. He has built schools. He has ensured their security and saved the state from the statistical notoriety of being the crime capital of the nation. He has built hospitals and improved healthcare. He has reduced maternal mortality and has received rave commendation from the World Bank Health Team and other national and international bodies for his commitment to healthcare. He has revamped the agricultural sector and under his administration, we are set for the Confluence Rice that will be sold across Africa. He has helped sanitise our environment. He has empowered the youth and women across the state. He won in February. He won in March. He will win on Saturday by the grace of God and the support of the people of Kogi State.
There have been allegations of violence and planned rigging against your party, how would you respond to this?
We are not interested in rigging. We are not interested in violence. We are the ones campaigning while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) are fanning the embers of violence and terrible propaganda. We have the people solidly behind us. We do not need violence. Moreover, we have a Government that has won many laurels for its robust security architecture. PDP should accept defeat and stop killing people. Election is no war. We are preparing to win peacefully.
The leading opposition party, PDP has accused your boss of maladministration, citing irregular payment of salary at the state and local government level; will these issues not affect your chances at the poll?
PDP is shameless and hypocritical. We needed to reform the civil service they bastardised. We needed to clean up the payrolls they loaded with their children who were still in primary school when their names were put on the payrolls. But today, we have stabilised and that was why our civil servants could receive their October salaries before the end of October. We will do more for the civil servants when we come back. PDP was in power in 2015 and went into the governorship election owing between three to four months’ salary arrears. APC is in government today and they are going into the November 2019 governorship election without owing a month salary. The people will judge.
This election has taken an ethnic colouration with your boss fingered to have championed the development. How will you react to that?
Governor Yahaya Bello is the champion of Kogi unity. He has brought the people together. He has exposed the terrible division of the past that was only in favour of the ruling class who used the people to achieve their selfish ends. Today, that has been changed. You can see how the governor was received across the state. That is the quality of a unifier. On the contrary, the PDP governorship candidate, Musa Wada is an ethnic bigot who doesn’t believe in the oneness of Kogi State. His campaign has been heavily criticised because he has kept sounding divisive.
The opposition has laid claim that you are responsible for the arson on the State SDP secretariat, and also claimed you are planning to unleash thugs during the election. How true is this claim?
Natasha Akpoti, who happens to be the SDP candidate, has killed his own case by alleging that those who burnt her party’s office wore APC clothes and went there with APC branded vehicles. That was so disingenuous. Even a five year old child would know it was cheap blackmail. As a government, we have condemned the dastardly act. But we have also called on security agents to get to the roots of the matter. Natasha could do anything to subscribe illegitimately to cheap sympathy. APC had no hand in the alleged arson.
The PDP senatorial candidate for Kogi West, Dino Melaye has said that you are planning to kidnap him before the election. How true is this?
Dino Melaye once kidnapped himself and hid on a tree for 13 hours. Nigerians should beg him not to kidnap himself again. He is so much like Natasha. They are people who deceive the public with wild claims. Dino should receive his defeat in full measures on Saturday.
If your party lost the governorship election, will you accept defeat?
When our party wins, we will congratulate those who lost for giving us a good fight. It is either we win or win. We can only win on Saturday by the grace of God and the gallant and great people of Kogi State.
What should the people of the state expect from your boss in his second term if he wins?
Our slogan has been: ‘Let’s Do More’. We have done a lot to provide security. We have done a lot in Agriculture, taking Kogi to an all-time green on the agricultural map. We have done a lot to improve healthcare. We have boosted education, water supply and constructed a good number of roads. We have united our people. We have restored the glory of our dear state. We have empowered our youth and women. We have reformed the civil service. We have provided electricity to many communities. All we ask is: Let’s Do More.