Benue State Leading ( SDP) Governorship Candidate, Barrister Innocent Daagba in an exclusive Q & A with Ivy Ukula of Queen Amina Blog.
Q: Why the interest in politics when you’re a lawyer?
A: Good question! Its not just something I just woke up from a sleep, wished and prayed about or look at my degree and concluded to jump into the Benue State Governorship Race but a conviction that brought me to a point of restlessness by no other person than God. He’s not a God of confusion that set up two persons on one position but a God of direction and I have received his backing. I don’t know about any other persons but I speak for myself…..and that’s what stands me head and shoulder above any other candidate.
Q: What is your selling point to your constituency and Benue State in general?
A: My selling point is my personal experience; One, I’m retired civil servant…. Having started civil service work when government service was properly run. I started from grade level 3 to grade level 10. Two, I’m a retired labour union leader, I led the labour union movement of Benue State under the Nigeria service union for 3 years. First as a vice chairman of the Benue State Council and Acing Chairman Benue State Council.
Three, I’m a retired civil servant , am a pensioner…. So, I understand what the Benue State civil servants are going through.
I know their psychology – they want their dues to be paid, they are not asking for too much …..just their hard earned entitlement.
Four, I’m a retired sports man, I represented Benue State in 1989 playing Volleyball , and I do other games too.
Am involved in youths activities, I rose from a Cop Scout to Rover Scout under the 1st Aliade Troops…
That was in 1981. So you see , both for youth activities I have been involved, for labour activities I have been involved, for the elders….i’m involved because I personally feel their pulse, the whole Civil Servants and Pensioners of the State, what other aspirants don’t have or claim to have it are speaking from a theoretical background. Mine is from a practical experience in all spheres of the diligent hard working Benue people because iam thorough breed. Another selling point as a lawyer for the past 25 years post-call, most of the cases I have done are pro bono cases – FREE LEGAL SERVICE for people who could not afford legal fees, most importantly… I hate injustice. Most times I do it at my own cost.
Q: Sir, bearing in mind the impression that some Benue people have towards APC led government on the killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen, How are you going to convince your constituency to vote you on SDP political platform?
A: Yes, happily the Benue people are beginning to talk, they have been speaking and have continue to talk because they are not in support of the All Progressive Congress (APC) party led by President Muhammedu Buhari.
They are not in support of the government because they see the government as standing (the devils advocate). Secondly, the previous government of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed that is why the Buhari led APC came as a tsunami and swept everything off the feet of PDP, but it appears PDP have not learnt their lessons because they are throwing up the same people who had failed us before 2015, it is obvious both PDP and APC have not learnt their lessons. Benue people have not seen any “change” as expected, so both APC and PDP will not fly. But luckily the great party Social Democratic Party (SDP) that brought [visible changes], great development in Benue State, which Benue people enjoyed and continue to enjoy through our great son, late Rev. Father Moses Orshio Adasu of bleseth memory that build Benue State University, College of Education Uju, and other developmental project he had started….. I will continue to built on it and take Benue State back to that point where we can raise and build from there. A goverment of forthrightness, integrity and enterprise. So, that’s what makes me very comfortable and sure SDP will change the narrative that brings a different dimension to political structure and government…not just Benue but Nigeria. We are socialist inclined, socialism and welfare is Paramount on our agenda as a political party.
Q: What are the developmental projects you hope to achieve for your constituency,and Benue at large,when elected ?
A: You see because of the time constraint, strictly speaking because of the political arrangement we have in our state, Minda…Minda’s turn now; we have wasted and spent the first four years, we have four more years to go. So, what do we within this time frame ? Is to leverage first of all Agriculture, because that’s the strongest selling point we have in the state.
One, by bringing, introducing and implementing entrepreneurship development program that is youth based…..essentially focused on the youths. Youths are the bedrock of every society, where at the end of the day under God I would have succeeded in empowering and impacting by training over 150.000 Benue young men and women that is agric based entrepreneurs. Just imagine them churning huge sums of money to their account, thereby contributing immeasurably to the state economy. We will need to have each local government of the state, I have studied and I have the report with me; each local government has a comparative advantage of a particular agric product. We will open up farm lands in each local government leveraging on a crop or agric product that has a comparative advantage over other local government. In the sane vein, agric produce that has export content with comparative advantage over other States in the Country will be develop for exportation.
So, within the four years things would have picked up against the background of salaries, Teachers and all the usual issues….I will not toy with that, having been a union leader who fought for civil servants and a civil servant myself, I know the pain of not getting paid. When all this is being taken care of, and you have an army of agric entrepreneurs creating more wealth for the state…..the economy will generally pick up.
That’s the foundation I promise the people of Benue State to lay. The unemployment issue will be reduced because more youths will be gainfully employed.
Crime rate will be reduced…… Security will be better.
It pains my heart to see graduates from Benue State University (BSU) doing menial jobs in the city of Abuja and other cities in Nigeria, some doing mai guard (glorified security men)…..Benue State has become a laughing stock.
Two, we will provide good governance ; people will be accessible to to government and government accessible to the people of Benue state.
I remember the good old days of Aper Aku, the first civilian Governor of Benue State, when I worked as a clerk, during the time of Moses Orshio Adasu, when I was a management staff, government was more open and ran with probity. We must open up system of government, the system must be allow to run by delegation and both by authority and authority to incur expenditure …that’s number two. That way, when government becomes functional, the Agric sector is working efficiently, the narrative will change.
Number three key thing – broadly speaking, Benue state is in the news for the wrong reasons; the Narrative of Benue is mostly negative. We will tale our own stories because more Benue indigenous media will be encouraged to tale the our stories. Under my leadership, Benue state will be back on the national scheme of things, I will restore back the respect of our beloved state. Within four years of my administration, Benue state will regain back her respect internally and internationally in the area of our unparalleled culture and tourist endowment; Benue state is an untapped tourist destination which Within four years I will open up every available channel to develop that sector for local and foreign tourist thereby creating wealth and jobs for the teaming unemployed indigenes. I will restore the dignity of the Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etilo Ezza and Nepon people with identifiable culture, the international community will give proper recognition to the good people of Benue state under my leadership – a promise you can take to the bank.
Q: how will you go about achieving your goals?
A: Well, is very clear…for me, one, in terms of good governance i must setup structures because government is not a personalized thing. In case of past administration where systems in place were personalized, that’s not government. Government operates on structures build on fundamental laws of advancing the development of society which should be people based. Its a thing of shame we don’t have a functional staff training centre. Without proper civil service training, don’t expect good administrative service from the civil service….because service require training and retraining.
The tools that civil service leverage on: The Civil Service Rule, The Office Procedure and Practice, The Financial Regulations, The General Practice and Public Service Rules, Store Regulations….which we call public procurement act now, And General Paper. During my time you must have general knowledge how things works within the civil service structure so that you can be to moved to any ministry, you can be move from Finance to Agriculture. We need to reintroduce these things back.
Q: How is your experience so far in your campaign, and meeting with the people in your constituency?
So far so good, people have seen me in the mould of Rev. Father Moses Orshio Adasu. Somebody with a sincere heart to turn the fortune of Benue state for good.
People have seen me as a man of integrity…
just like Moses Adasu.
The good thing about my political party, ( SDP) people have and believed that is a resurrection of the good party (SDP) of Rev.Father Adasu era…..and they are not far from the truth.
So, there have been great great clamour to be given the opportunity to lead the state.
Q: How Prepared are you?
A: Fully prepared. By age am fully mature , am in my fifties. By experience, I’m a retired civil servant. I’m a retired labour Union Chairman. am married, I have a good home, and am a lawyer for 25 years……. I know what it takes. I have my good name to protect both in Christendom I have a good name to protect. I’m ready to protect my name and leave a good legacy.
Q: Finally sir, what is your take on the issue of suspected Fulani herdsmen killings in Benue State generally ?
A: You see….I find it very curious, that the Fulanis clash is of ancient time But we have never been beaten by the Fulani’s. I find it hard to believe that in our time and generation with modernity.. the Tiv is allegedly being beaten by the Fulani’s. I find it curious……why now? We should be asking our selves this question.
Having said that, security requires three things: intelligence gathering, planning and pro activity. I believe the current state of affairs has failed in this regard…
Completely failed in this regard.!
All we have now is reactionary……… That’s my take.
PHOTOS:Daa’gba & Friends
(From left to right) Barr Daa’gba, Manix Wergba,Apostle Cornelius,Hon Sandy Myam & Master Chris Waya.
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