‘Why Idoma demand power shift in Benue’
What are the main problems facing your constituency?
The problems of my local government are largely similar to those in other parts of the country, but ours have been compounded because of the long period of neglect the place has been subjected to. We have challenges of potable water, rural electricity, feeder roads, lack of political patronage etc.
Primary school teachers in public schools in the state have been on strike for some months now, what is the way out of this situation?
His Excellency, Dr. Gabriel Suswam has extensively dealt with this issue in the programme “Radio Link” a few months ago.
And presently the State Government has constituted a committee to consider the whole gamut of salary structure in the state with a view to arriving at a reasonable and amicable solution to the payment of the primary school teachers once and for all. But if I must add my voice here, I think the major problem is the lack of sufficient funds. Added to this is also the fact that government believes that the number of teachers on its pay roll is overbloated. Government also explained that it had already implemented the N18,000 minimum wage.
You are almost at the end of your tenure. What is your ambition?
If my people wish, I would have preferred to move to a higher pedestal. I believe that it is better to learn the rudiments of politics and administration from the basics before throwing oneself to a position one has had no previous experience. If you do that, you may inadvertently expose your inadequacies and flaws. Experience is therefore the best teacher.
For example, His Excellency the deputy governor, Chief Steve Lawani, has been in government for the past nearly eight years now. He knows all the nuances and nitty-gritty of governance. And if by the grace of God he becomes the executive governor, the experiences he has learnt will stand him in good stead in the performance of his job.
I believe that if I were to go to the House of Representatives, I would not find myself in a strange environment because I would be doing similar things as I am doing here in Makurdi except on a higher scope.
How can the mystery surrounding the issue of constituency projects in respect of federal legislators be resolved?
At the point when a budget is being prepared, federal legislators are expected to present their request for a number of project; they want to be executed in their constituencies.
The idea is that since they are closer to the areas where these projects are located, they are in a better position to monitor their execution. This means that the legislators must lobby for the inclusion of the envisaged projects.
Has Benue PDP been affected negatively by the gale of defections?
In Benue State, especially in the Benue south Senatorial District, there is no trace of APC in that area. You recall that about five legislators both federal and state recently defected from APC to the ruling PDP. That brings me to the point that though it is agreed that our Tiv brothers and sisters are more in number than the Idoma, they should understand that we all have equal stakes in the Benue project and that this time around all right thinking people should support an Idoma candidature for governorship, come 2015.
If there is a will, there is a way and governor Suswam being a lawyer, who understands the issue of equity and justice will go down in history as one who made Idoma governorship possible in the nascent democratic dispensation.
What has been your contribution to solving the lingering problem of the Fulani herdsmen in your area?
The State House of Assembly in which I am a member has passed so many motions on this unfortunate situation. But as you know, motions are not binding on the executive.
The issue of Fulani herdsmen has been very troubling to us. I, on my part can only do a little by way of helping to provide some palliatives to the people. My counterpart in Agatu, Hon. Audu Sule has also been supportive. We pray that a time will not come when our people will be forced to take to self-help to defend themselves. I call on the security agents to do all they can to put this unfortunate incident to an end so that there will be peace in the state.