PDP'S A CATASTROPHE IN KWARA â€“ ARCH LOLA ASHIRU, AC GUBER ASPIRANT
Is it true that you are interested in the governorship of Kwara State in 2011?
Yes, and I am confident that by the grace of God my party, the AC, will be in charge of Kwara State from 2011 and I will be that governor.
You said AC will be the party in power, but it is said that the opposition in the state will be using one party; is AC that party to be used?
We are not adopting a party. There is going to be a merger with other parties and we are going to form a bigger group to face the PDP.
Many other parties are coming together under the umbrella of AC. As of now, the discussion with the DPP has advanced and DPP is a very strong party in Kwara.
We have almost concluded talks with the Action Alliance (AA), Democratic Peoples Alliance is also in it along with ACCORD party. We have a little problem with a segment of All Nigeria Peoples Party, which would be resolved soon.
It the talks going on under the auspices of The Kwara Patriots?
Yes. We had a platform committee that was set up some time ago and it did a good work. It is to make sure that a single list of candidates is presented in Kwara for the 2011 election, and they are working hard but they have a lot of obstacles before them and like all human endeavours they will get round it.
The people of Kwara South have been complaining of marginalization, do you think you can end that agitation by emerging as governor?
I am not vying to be governor of Kwara South, I want to be governor of the whole of Kwara State and I am going to work with my brother in Kwara Central and Kwara North. I am going to be the governor of Kwara and not that of a section. If I am not accepted in any section, I can't come in.
But some people believe that Kwara governor in 2011 should not be zoned and that it should go to the best candidate, you share that feeling too?
Yes. I don't believe in zoning. I don't believe that I should be given the ticket because I am from Kwara South. I have always believed that the best candidate should always be pushed forward. I want the ticket because of the quality of my candidacy and what I have done for the people of my state, not because I came from Kwara South.
One of the complaints against Bukola Saraki is that he concentrated developmental efforts in Kwara Central to the detriment of other zones; do you think so?
I don't share that sentiment. The governor of Kwara is a highly cosmopolitan person and I know that he is a man that believes in the even development of the state. Ilorin is an urban city and that is where most of the people are concentrated. That is however not to say that the rural areas must be neglected.
Will you say Kwara South has witnessed even development in the last eight years?
I don't judge development by the physical things we can easily see, I look at development from the angle of the Human Development Index recognized worldwide, and on that basis I can't see anything that the government has done.
There is no increase in employment opportunity or the revival of industry, or an increase in the commerce or the agriculture or the standard of education of the people. Providing roads is nothing when you talk of development. It has to do with the man and the quality of life he lives. I think the government should look at the enhancement of people, security, food, education and health, which is the area I see as real development.
What do you think is responsible for the huge voters' population of Kwara Central despite the fact that it has just four local governments?
Kwara Central is an amalgamation of indigenous and non-indigenous people. A place like Ilorin has been there for a long time, but that is not to say other areas are scantily populated too. The issue really is what we could have tomorrow. With a good voters registration exercise, that problem would be corrected. We need to have truthful voters registration exercise.
Is it true that the people of Kwara South are migrants and that is why the voters' population there is low?
It is not so. It is peculiar with the people of Kwara generally. The people of Kwara are traders and they make a living everywhere in Nigeria but that is not to say that Kwara South is not well populated, it is well populated.
Why does the AC want to take over from the PDP?
Looking at it from all the angles listed for Human Development Index, the government of PDP in Kwara is a catastrophe. You can't see any meaningful development. Look at all the sectors that are accepted worldwide used as measurement of development, like education, health, shelter, food, our state is well behind.
Bukola Saraki who is well traveled is about to round off his eight years and you rated him low, why did you think he performed so poorly?
I think he did not know what the people actually wanted. He did not know what the people actually needed. Bukola was well detached from the people even before he got to power and he failed to grasp those things that the people actually need.