Rabiu Alfa Momo, a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Kogi State House of Assembly speaks with SAM EGWU on his desire to consolidate his efforts by representing Ankpa 11 constituency
You have been contesting the elections to represent Ankpa 11 and failed before you finally scaled through in 2015. Why?
When I informed our leader, late Prince Abubakar Audu, of my intention to contest the 2015 election to the House of Assembly he told me to go and meet the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in my area. I did as he told me. I started mobilising for the party moving from point A to point B, knowing full well that Ankpa election is very unique, letting the people know my intention and how I hope to do things better in the sense that, getting the nod is different from actual election. God gave me the opportunity to do so. And since then I have been in close touch with my constituents. Election, as I come to understand since I entered the Assembly and got inaugurated on June 3, 2015, is to affect people’s life positively, no matter how little because we know that it’s tenured and the constituents are the people we rely on to return if there is another opportunity. Now more the ever before, you cannot deceive the electorates with sugar coated lips, they can now see by themselves what is going on around them.
It appears you have tremendous support of your people. How true is this?
You are not far from the truth. My people are with me because I don’t tell them lies and I don’t promise what I cannot do for them because if you don’t pay for telling lies now, certainly later. There is tremendous support from my people because they like me and I don’t tell them half truth in my dealings with them. My friends, supporters are strongly giving me pressure to repeat the Assembly in the next election based on what I have been able to plough back to them so far in the last three years. The interesting thing is that when you are outside, from my observation, to impress on the electorates you will begin to promise everything, but getting there it’s a different ball game.
Does that mean there is no disagreement between you and the party leaders?
There is no disagreement between the leadership of the party and myself at all. We have discussed and struck understanding about 2019. The body chemistry of the leaders, the electorates and my friends has shown me the conference that we are on course. They can testify to my impact in the last three years of my stewardship in the Assembly. They are aware of the paucity of fund but the little that came my way I have judiciously used it.
Have you pondered over the fact that the fortunes of the APC have been greatly impaired in Kogi State?
That is based on individual differences. Some may say the APC is the best thing to happen to Nigeria and others may hold on to their opinion that the APC has brought sufferings and pains. It depends on which divide you look at it from. But basically, I am on the ticket of the APC and I have seen genuine intentions of the party in power to reform the already bad situation where things are done without recourse to law. I pledged to stand by the principles and dictates of the party and I have not seen any reason to doubt the integrity of the party yet. Yes, with all intents and purpose, the party is on course, though it may hurt others by principle of acceptability. We in the APC remain focused. In 2019 I am presenting myself again for the same House of Assembly seat and I believe this time more people have seen what I have been able to do despite the situation we find ourselves now.
President Buhari has just signed the Legislative and Judiciary Bill that has given to the members of the Assembly and Judiciary some levels of independence to carry out their constitutional responsibilities. It is erroneous and highly embarrassing for the Assembly to remain tied to the whims and caprice of outsiders and that is when people will begin to look at the Assembly as not performing their obligations to the State. Our being in the Assembly does not make us more important than others. Every other person is qualified to be in the Assembly just that it takes only one person from each constituency at a time. What you do at your own time and clime is the legacy that will speak for you when you are no longer around and that is why we have to be careful. The autonomy being granted to the Assembly has further boosted the chances of President Buhari for 2019, and those who would want 2019 election to favour them should change its own style of doing things with the people because certainly on that day questions may be asked by the electorates before they cast their votes.
What influenced your interest in politics?
I was told, when I was in Bayero University Kano by someone who said, if you were not interested in politics, politics is interested in you. Having a private life that is boring by the decadence in political environment, it gets to a point where one must react to the situation around. I went round my immediate environment and saw what people were going through and that became my starting point. In my private business I did not have enough to uplift the people around me no matter how little, it was then my interest became keen in politics. To God be the glory I have been able to meet some of the obligations. I can now testify that if you are not there you can only do minimal but with impacts.
How often do you visit your people of Ankpa II?
I am a card carrying member of the APC. That notwithstanding, my people are always around me. I don’t regret that there is no constituency office yet but we are always together both at home and in Lokoja, the state capital
How do you intend to support the youth in your constituency?
I am a youth myself, but also a successful politician will first of all embark on those things that will bring upliftment to the youths because they are the future of the society without whom all efforts are in vain. The enlightened society invests more on youths because the tripod on which the nation stands. I will do my best to give the youths a pride of place.
What then should the people of your constituency expect?
The mistake we make in this society is that we always focus on what a politician will do for his people in the short term rather than making sure the institutions that guarantee long term prosperity are functional. My legacy will be to make the institutions work. I will ensure that policies are enacted and implemented that will ensure socio-economic advancement of my constituency. What is paramount to me at that point is sustainability.
Why did you believe so much in Audu?
Because of his enduring legacies in the state which made the civil servants say, was the golden era, when life was truly abundant for them.
How do you rate the present administration?
He is trying.
Should you get back to the Assembly what will you do differently?
I have learned in my three years so far, in the Assembly as a member, that what the people need from the government are basic necessities and a good environment. I really feel pained that sustainable food on the table of our people is now an issue. There is no good environment for our people to now realise their potentialities. Since the government has failed to provide water for the people I will sink more boreholes. I will not be in the bandwagon in sharing money that will be channelled towards the development of the communities. I am not rich, but I am comfortable. I will go back there to get for my constituency what belongs to them through effective representation. I want to fight for my people.
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