Chief Steven Lawani is the Deputy Governor of Benue State. In this exclusive interview, he explains why he wants to succeed Governor Gabriel Suswam in 2015. Excerpts:
should allow justice, equity and fairplay. If they listen as I pray, fine but if they don’t agree, then someday, an Idoma man will become governor of this state.
Apart from tribal sentiments, why do you want to become governor of Benue State?
In the past seven years as you know, I have been a deputy governor. I have contributed to the progress of this state by supporting Governor Gabriel Suswam to bring the state to where it is now. There are challenges facing Benue and other states in the country and I think that I’m prepared to respond to the various challenges facing us. Basically, the desire to serve my people better than I have done in these past few years is the reason why I’m putting myself forward.
How are you going to convince the Tiv that your administration if voted to power will give them a sense of belonging?
You said earlier that nothing has been heard from me recently campaign wise, wait until we roll out our campaign strategies. We will tell the people why they should give me a chance and why giving me a chance as Governor Suswam exist the stage, it would be better for me to succeed my boss than any other person.
In the event, you garnered the peoples’ support but fail to clinch the PDP’s ticket, would you join another party to achieve your dream?
I don’t think my style of politics has come to such extent. It is not a do or die affair because I believe that I will convince the people of Benue to give me the chance to serve them following my antecedents so far. The issue of moving to another party is not on the card.
Would you want to go to the senate if you don’t secure the party’s guber ticket?
I have enough time on my hand to decide what I want in 2015 whether the senate or governor of Benue State but I chose to serve the people of the state in the position of governor not Senate. So, I’m not likely to want to go for senate.
What is your advice to your supporters in the face of the current security challenges bedeviling the state?
I advise people to remain calm and that all the lands which appeared to have been taken from them now would be reclaimed. We would not leave our land to anybody. The present challenge is an attack on the people of Benue State and because we must develop, we must collectively find a definite solution to stop the attack on our people. The problem we are going through now will not last. It will come to an end very soon. Our people will go back to their lands, farm on it and take their food to the market and Benue State would once again become the tourist haven as it has been in the past six years. I have no doubt at all that