Legor Idagbo, a lawyer and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Cross River State, spoke with EMMANUEL OLADESU of The Nation on his vision for the state.
How democratic is the governorship nomination process in Cross River PDP?
At the outset of the race, we were more than 20 aspirants. So, what the party leadership did was to ensure that the caucuses in all the local government areas were to screen and evaluate all the aspirants. Besides, the caucuses at the local government level, there were also caucuses at the senatorial zones. These caucuses were made up of party stalwarts from all the local governments. The caucuses gave opportunities to all the aspirants to showcase their visions, blueprint and development plans for Cross River State. The process was transparent, free, fair and democratic. At the end of the day, five aspirants were shortlisted. So, now we are five in the race. They are a few aspirants who did not make the list, but they went ahead to purchase the nomination forms and they are now in the race. Nobody stopped them. They have been going on with their campaign unhindered, without any form of harassment. It is preposterous for anybody to say that there is no internal democracy in the Cross River State PDP. The party has been transparent and democratic in all its processes. The caucus arrangement was designed to allow the people take ownership of the democratic process.
To what extent was this achieved?
The people have indeed taken ownership of the process because now they have had the opportunity to hear out the aspirants who presented themselves before them. They had the opportunity to assess everybody that aspires to serve them and they came out with their assessment of the aspirants. So, I think, to a very large extent, the people have taken ownership of the democratic process in the state.
The campaigns are characterized by bitterness. What is your view?
What is happening is that some indigenes that were not resident in Cross River are returning because they have some connections out there and they have money to spend. They are trying to undermine the will of the people, by subverting justice and the will of the people. The people have decided, but a few non-resident politicians think that they can make nonsense of what thousands of Cross Riverians have decided.
Why do you want to succeed Governor Liyel Imoke?
Governor Liyel Imoke has been able to build consensus, strong leadership institution. He established a regime of transparency in the state and today, the state has one of the best procurement agencies in the Nigeria. I want to give credit to the former Governor Donald Duke for this. Even though the state was left in huge debt, Imoke has been able to wade through the challenges and move the state forward, despite the loss of oil wells and the loss of Bakassi. So, the question that should be asked is, moving forward, what needs to be done? I come from the background of being the secretary of my local government, two-term chairman of Bekwarra Local Government Area, chairman of ALGON in Cross River State, Commissioner for Works. I came from the grassroots and have related with the people down to the top. I believe it is time we took government to the people; it is time we transformed all these achievements into sustainable wealth creation for the people. We have to invest in human development. We need to begin to look at the people. We have witnessed so much infrastructural development. The present administration has constructed so many rural roads from the creeks of Bakassi to the hills of Obanliku. In our urban renewal programs, so many kilometers of roads were constructed from Calabar to Ogoja. Now, we need to ensure that all these impact positively on the lives of people and transform the economies of the various rural areas. We need to ensure that the life of an average farmer is transformed from subsistence to commercial. All these can only be achieved through people-oriented policies of a government. This is where I come in. The people believe that I have what it takes to do all these to transform their lives. I would retain the seven-point Agenda of the present administration, but I would move it a step further aimed at wealth creation for Cross Riverians.
Culled from The Nation Newspaper
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