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Kogi West Accord Party senatorial candidate, Dr Moses Eseyin, speaks with GBENGA ODOGUN on insecurity nationwide, unemployment, the general election and flooding in Kogi, among other salient issues
Politics have been considered by many as a dirty game; why do you choose to get involved?
I will kindly argue here that, contrary to the way many people view it, politics is not a dirty game. Politics is a way of life, but people perceive it differently. Many people regard politics as a dirty game because of how some people go about pursuing personal interests in the name of politics against standard norms.
Expression of this opinion varies between developed and undeveloped nations but it is still subjective. The fact that many people see politics as a dirty game is the reason so many qualified minds like mine and intellectuals avoid getting active in politics.
However, I will urge such people to reconsider their positions because experts are required in politics. I got involved in politics because I was witnessing intellectualism in governance and intellectualism in politics.
There is no doubt that this is a welcome development. It is good for intellectuals to take a role in politics because they analyse and lead the people as there are always conflicting variables. In Nigeria today, experts are afraid of governance because they see it as a dirty game. But politics is not a dirty game. There is a connection between intellectualism and governance.
How do you see the issue of restructuring?
True federalism is the way forward. I am in support of total and holistic restructuring. The restructuring must be across the board. It must be a matter of give-and-take for all geopolitical zones. We cannot continue to have a system where the people do not feel the impact of government at all levels and do not understand what good governance is.
I strongly support the push for restructuring where the responsibility of governance is truly separated in the abstract from what is attainable today. The local government areas should be empowered to bring about the desired prosperity for the people at the grassroots.
For example, state policing should be implemented to curb insecurity that afflicts our country’s various regions. This is one of many areas in which I will advocate for review and legislation to ensure that laws and policies are crafted to bring about long-overdue change in the realm of social activities and development for our people, particularly my constituents.
What do you have to say about the security situation in the country generally and Kogi State in particular?
It is obvious that Nigeria, which is perceived as the giant of Africa, has been witnessing unprecedented insecurity fueled by the activities of different criminal groups, both known and unknown, and I’ll support what Kogi lawyer, Natasha Akpoti said recently that “till the weapons distributed during elections are retrieved, we can’t have the peace we deserve.”
Multitudes of factors have contributed to the size of the insecurity problem in Nigeria.
Many erudite scholars have identified several causes of insecurity in Nigeria that are inimical to socio-economic growth and development. These factors have bedevilled the smooth flow of business activities in Nigeria. Unemployment causes extreme poverty, which further instigates crime and gives rise to insecurity.
As a result of the high level of unemployment and poverty among Nigerians, youths are adversely attracted to committing violent crimes such as kidnapping, robbery, child abduction, and other nefarious activities in an attempt to make ends meet.
One major problem confronting our youths is the issue of unemployment. A lot of people will be looking to you for relief; how do you hope to address this?
The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is alarming, and the number of our teeming unemployed youths is high and needs urgent attention. I know governments alone cannot create jobs for all, hence the need for the intervention of private organisations and individuals. I will create jobs for our youths through skill acquisition, self-development, and financial support. I intend to facilitate various skill acquisition programmes for youths, particularly graduates from the Kogi West Senatorial District, and provide them with a conducive environment and working tools after that so that they can be self-employed and employers of labour within the first four years in office as a senator if elected.
What do you have to say about the flood currently ravaging parts of Kogi State? Are you satisfied with the way the federal and Kogi state governments have responded so far?
Firstly, I will like to empathise with the victims of the flood that affected some vulnerable areas in Kogi State. This havoc is the most unfortunate at this particular time. I want to say that the response of the Federal Government to the flood disaster in the country, particularly in Kogi State, which I observed as the worst hit, is poor.
Nothing concrete is being done by the government at all levels to cushion the effect of the devastating flood, which has ravaged homes, displaced hundreds, and washed away farmlands. The state government must declare a state of emergency on flooding immediately to free up resources for disaster management and to seek federal assistance. I will like to stress further the need for an immediate audit of the preparedness of state agencies responsible for disaster management.
In my view, local government councils must be assisted to provide immediate assistance to citizens affected by the disaster. The chairmen and their councils must be responsive to the specific needs of their citizens based on their peculiarities. Citizens must be assisted to relocate to government-coordinated camps for displaced persons. These camps must meet the basic human conditions for protection, safety, and habitation.
I specifically admonish those living along the river banks to always cooperate with the government in its efforts to stem the tide of natural disasters, particularly flooding. This can be accomplished through preventative measures such as clearing drainages regularly to allow for the free flow of water.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar was quoted as saying that the North does not need a Yoruba or an Igbo as president, but a northerner with knowledge of the other tribes. Do you agree with him?
I disagree with him on the matter. Nigeria is a secular state with more than two hundred tribes. The office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not for a particular tribe. I am in favour of power rotation at all levels of government because it promotes unity, oneness, and a sense of belonging to the people, especially the minorities.
I strongly believe that it is the turn of the southern part of Nigeria to produce the next Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, which is one of the numerous reasons I am supporting the presidential candidate of our great party, Prof. Christopher Imumulen, who is from Edo State apart for his competence, intelligence, capacity, administrative experience, etc.
What will be the focal point of your message to the people of Kogi West as the campaign kicks off?
My campaign has already kicked off with the house-to-house and unit-to-unit campaigns. The various committees are in place and waiting for inauguration. The focal point of my message is simple. It will be about my plans for our people, stating the pre-set plans, how to achieve the plans, where to achieve the plans, who is to assist me in achieving the plans, when to achieve the plans, and most importantly, why I must achieve those plans for the betterment of our people.
You are relatively new in politics; what are you going to do differently from other senators that have been representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the red chamber if elected?
I said previously that I am not new to politics. I’ve been participating actively since 2002. Politics is a hobby for me, not a profession.
However, 2015 took a different turn when I joined Alhaji Yahaya Bello to bring the desired change to our people; the rest, they say, is history. As a result, I can confidently and unequivocally state that I was a visionary in the development of new Kogi State politics.
What I intend to bring to the table includes bringing governance closer to the people. Permit me to say, and with due respect, that governance in the Kogi West has been more of an “arm’s length” kind of governance where the people are only remembered only during electioneering seasons and nothing more thereafter.
With me, it is going to be true representation with feedback and continuous engagement with my constituents through regular town hall meetings. I intend to also bring succour to the health sector, especially concerning maternal and child health services. Enough of our women are suffering as a result of high maternal mortality rate and the heartbreak of childcare services. Just take a look at the infrastructure model in the Kogi West Senatorial District; it is a shadow of what is desired.
Consider the wealth of human and natural resource endowment in our district; the embarrassing road networks in Kogi West are an insult to Kogi Westerners’ sensibilities, as they deposit nearly 70 per cent of materials used to build other places. When we join forces, we will engage all available relationships and lobby them to make our roads motorable. Bad roads will be a thing of the past. And to add to that, the vast deposit of youthful brains untapped in the constituent, will be harnessed and maximised fully, and Kogi West will be a hub for the best brains in technology, sports, and cultural prosperity.
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