Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, and the Youth Coordinator of the Presidential Campaign Council of Bola Ahmed Tinubu are confident that his principal will end ASUU perennial crisis and reposition our educational system. He made these assertions when he appeared on Arise Television programme. Our correspondent, DAVID LAWANI monitored the programme.
How do you think Nigerian youth will see your appointment as youth coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima youth coordinator?
Just an announcement or pronouncement of Governor Yahaya Bello coordinating Tinubu/Shettima presidential campaign organisation youth wing has completely broken down whatever noise that is ongoing over there. I remember very well, this is the era of IT, Information Technology system. Whereby somebody can sit on his bed and generate polls. And generate noise. And make noise everywhere. And, it will seem to be real. Meanwhile, it is completely false. Before the presidential primaries, we tested the mic, whereby we call on all our supporters to show their thoughts and strength in all the 36 states of the federation including FCT. At once, one day simultaneously. And Nigerians saw it practically. It is not about hiring some youths, endangering their lives. I will educate them. We will tell them the reality. They will know because they believe in me. They believe I am their candidate. They believe in his capacity and transparency. They believe in his experience. When the time comes, I want you to know that some people will not come a distant third of all the contestants in this coming general election. Our presidential candidate has what it takes to win 100 per cent.
Why did your party say no to the removal of fuel subsidy in 2012 under President Goodluck Jonathan?
The exigencies of that time probably would not support the removal of fuel subsidies at that time. And the office has changed. And the removal of the subsidy now in the manner that the public or some elites will want it removed may not necessarily be very comfortable now. But in the end, the subsidy will have to be removed. But not in the manner they want it to be removed in the current dispensation. I am not in any way supporting subsidy. I supported it that it should be removed completely, and 100 per cent. Let it be 100 per cent deregulation. But currently, I don’t think the situation will warrant or give us the latitude to remove it immediately.
The signage of papers that allows those seeking elective offices to pay huge amounts of money to enable them to have their billboard or posters anywhere in Koi state, won’t that be stringent, the payment ranges from N10m, N5m, to N1m, etc. Will people not see that as trying to shut the door against them?
We must continue to run governance. And, we need resources to run the government. And we will continue to expand our tax base and drag a lot of tax thefts to generate enough money to run our government. Billboards or posters don’t portray anyone’s popularity. Even in some areas in this country, even in my place, there are places where my posters never surface. But I won in those areas. It is not geared towards any political opponents or to stifle them. It is not at all. There are other businesses and measures that we are taking to ensure that other businesses that are existing in our state flourish. They pay their tax and contribute beautifully so that they can enjoy the social amenities that we are providing in the state. And, we will continue to do more for our people. That is what it is.
Why is it that the Kaduna-Abuja rail line cannot be used because it has a drop box, is it that the infrastructure was not holistically done?
It is most unfortunate. But first and foremost, my heart goes out to the people who lost their lives, and those who went through that tortuous moment of the dastardly act. However, we must appreciate this government for being able to put that infrastructure in place. Even though it is not 100 percent successful to win the war the way we wanted it. Even in advanced countries, where we have some of this infrastructure put in place with surveillance cameras with drones flying across at all times, they still have some challenges sometimes. This is one emerging challenge that this administration is witnessing. The government is dealing with it squarely. And, I know for sure, that with the coming administration, of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the majority of this will be taken care of and more.
ASUU strike is over 200 days. This week, the students shut down access roads to the international airports in Lagos while threatening to do the same in Abuja, South-East, and South-South, including blocking major highways, what is the position of your candidate on this ASUU strike?
I am deeply concerned about our children and the younger generation. And the issues that concern their future that are being toyed with today. I am deeply concerned and pained. Let me take you down memory lane. When I assumed office, as the executive governor of Kogi state. I inherited long lingering ASUU strike including other tertiary institutions, secondary and even primary schools. And, some other workers in Kogi state by the NLC. I immediately zero in and ensure that the issues were resolved. And, today six years counting, there has been no one single interrupted academic activities. Rather, we are daily improving our economy and academic activities. The students are well behaved. They are everywhere and they are excelling very well even after school. But, unfortunately, this is the effort of saboteurs. This is the work of sabotage that I have been referring to in this administration from within and outside. Let me admonish NANS and our younger generations. Just like I did to EndSARS when it was just starting. Please don’t take laws into your hands. I and our candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu are deeply concerned including Mr. President. We are all concerned about this lingering crisis. What this administration failed to do is to remove the political aspect of ASUU and other associated problems from the academics. And, that’s why we are facing what we are facing today. At the appropriate time, we are going to point out those who are responsible. Don’t take laws into your hands. You know during the EndSARS, what happened? If you get to the streets, there are hoodlums out there who are ready and have been sponsored to hijack the protest from you. And, at the end of the day, you may pay for it heavily. So, I urge you not to go to the streets. Our candidate is doing so much from behind the scene to ensure that this particular challenge is brought to an end. He cannot come out now to show the whole world what he is doing before he is accused of running a paralleled government. But he is doing everything possible to support the government, to support the lecturers, to support the students and even younger generations to ensure that all of this crisis are put behind us. And, I know that very soon, all of these problems will be behind us. And, when he comes on board, our academics and educational system, will be revamped and revitalised.