NASARAWA IS A NEAR FAILED STATE â€“ PROF GYEWADO, AC GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT
How do you look at the developmental problems of the state as we approach 2011?
Basic problem number one is leadership. Second is development. We have a leadership problem. We need to respond to the needs of our people, and therefore we have found ourselves in a near failed state. The leadership lacks mandate and therefore our people are in poverty and in a state that is undesirable in the 21st century.
The second problem is associated with the first. We are unable to see visible development that can excite our people. Projects have not been delivered in a form that our people can be happy that the government has performed. Subsequently, we are faced with a situation in which there is an urgency to reposition the Education sector; there is the need to intervene constructively in our attitudes. We need to be environmentally sensitive.
There is also the need to move the state beyond taking gifts of federal allocation and be able to generate resources internally to meet the aspiration of our people. I think these are possible, because we are the gateway to the FCT, and there are a lot of things that we can do that will help us in generating internal revenue to a substantial level.
You were once a deputy governor of the state, would you say that the dreams of the founding fathers could be met in the next four or five years?
Yes, I can say we can. If there is attitudinal change, because for the past three years we are not sure that this government is capable of delivering on its mandate.
We do not see a situation where the present PDP government will deliver services to our people. We have not seen anything. Our cities are in a shambles. We don't even know the level of internally generated revenue. Our schools are in a state that is unexplainable. And you have even low morale in the civil service that is supposed to act as the engine room in churning out policies and programs.
You have been there before, and now you want to go for the main pie, i.e Governor. How would you assess the politics of 2011?
Well, we are hoping that a number of things are falling in place. We are hoping that the Nigerian political family has realized that we need to act very politically to convince all the local and global communities that there is something in politics. So we are hoping that as we move towards 2011, we need to work hard to provide for a credible electoral process and election.
We work to make sure that our votes count. We make sure that people are elected on the basis of their credibility and their potentials to deliver. And so because we are all optimists, that's why we are in this game. We believe we can all work hard, put our hands on the deck and capture the exigencies of the moment, and see how we can move forward. I think Mr president at least retains some measure of credibility, and we will hold him by it. We will push him further and we are hoping that something good will come out of it.
To what extent do you think religion will play a role in determining the leadership of the state in 2011?
Well, somehow, somewhere, the present regime is insensitive about religion. If there is a candidate change, I am sure that any other person, other than the present regime will move away from this insensitivity to the diversities of the state, including religion and we will have no problem. But if he remains out there, there is a possibility that religion will play some role in the politics of the state. I wish it were not so.
Do you think any section of the state is marginalized and will it impact on the 2011 election?
Certainly, these are things we have been talking about. I come from the North district and one of the things we argue is that ever since the creation of Nasarawa, the North has never had an ambassadorial position. We believe it is unfair. Others have had it in numbers. We also believe that, as it is today, there is no person from Nasarawa North who is a member of any constitutional agency today at the federal level.
Before then, we had, but they have all been removed from Nasarawa North and taken somewhere else. If there are more than three constitutional bodies, we should at least have one. And if we don't have any, certainly it smacks of unfairness to us. And so we can claim marginalisation to some extent. In real terms we have also found out that this government has very little impact in terms of developmental programs. The essential part of the so-called developmental programs is domiciled outside the zone.
As the day draws near, what is your advice to the people?
I believe that the people realize that our contest for power is not because I need to be governor. I believe like most of us here, that this government has not delivered on its mandate, and we need persons with requisite qualification, experience and disposition to challenge for leadership. And I offer myself because I believe I have had the experience, I know the state well; I am a teacher.
I look at the state in all ramifications and I want our people to rise up to the challenge and let us move our state from a rural one, to a modern state, offering a lot of opportunities to our people, providing even tourism destination to many Nigerians in Abuja, and everywhere else. I believe our collective effort should rescue our state from its near failed status. And we must all work for this reality and necessity.