Mr Babatunde Irukera, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi, says that he is contesting in the Kogi governorship election to fulfil his vision for the development of the state.
Irukera, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that his interests were aroused by the plight of the citizens and the need to ensure that the narratives by the people in the state would change for better.
He said that he was pressured to contest by the people but was convinced of leading the right team to maximise the potential of the state.
Irukera, who is the Director General Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCP), said that although he was approached by a lot of people, both within and outside the state to contest, his vision for the development of the state motivated him most.
“I am not going to say that people didn’t ask me or pressure me to do it; I am in the race in part because of the pressure and ultimately because I truly have a clear vision for development of the state.
“I firmly believe that I understand exactly how to accomplish that vision and lead the right team to accomplish those objectives and finally because Kogi, as it is today, is not optimising its potential.
“I believe that given the opportunity to lead a strong team of very committed and bright people, we can truly transform the state and put it on the map of very progressive locations not just in Nigeria, but on the continent. Kogi has all it takes.
“So, I think there is an intersection between what I desire for the state and what the people of the state desire for themselves.
“It is that intersection that motivates me and that is where my passion to run and perhaps lead the state, if given the opportunity,’’ he said.
The aspirant said that he firmly believed in Kogi’s greatness, saying that under the right leadership with the right commitment and sacrifice, Kogi could become greater.
He said that apart from being an unusual confluence of two major rivers on the continent, “Kogi is state where you can find in large quantity any mineral resources that could be found elsewhere in Nigeria.
“Not to mention of closeness to Abuja; Kogi is also significantly endowed with arable farm land and good irrigation; the confluence itself is a tourist attraction, if truly and fully maximised.
“Mount Patti is one of the highest points where you have a significant flat top that can be truly exploited for tourism.
“It’s a place where people come from different part of the world to visit. There is an annual clime there.’’
Asked of reason he waited towards the deadline before obtaining his forms, Irukera said that he obtained the party expression of interest and nomination forms within the timeframe.
He said that what could be described as late entry would be for someone who had absolutely no track record or reputation for the capacity of work needed to be done in Kogi.
Irukera said that his qualification and capacity standpoints, participations in the state, close engagements and “undying relentless commitments’’ in contributing to peoples’ lives in Kogi offered him a good chance.
He said that before 2015 governorship election in the state, he had been relevant in community development across the state.
He said that he had been responsive to philanthropy, strategy discussion, conversations with young people, leadership training or mentorship within the state.
Irukera said that beyond drilling of boreholes for communities, there was no dispute about his name recognition and the record of his contributions to peoples’ lives across the state.
“I cannot even begin to name the number of scholarships that I have provided across the state not just in my senatorial zone.
“I have taken every opportunity to support every emergency intervention in people’s health.
“One of the most important things that I’ve done is in mentorship and providing some guidance with respect to emerging leadership among young people.
“I truly and firmly believe that this is, perhaps, the greatest contribution you can make to society, he said.’’