Thursday, August 29, 2019 12:16 pm
Grace Adejoh is an activist and politician. She is the only female in the race for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP ticket in the Nov. 16 Kogi governorship election. In this interview with Richard Elesho, she bears her mind on her aspiration.
Q: You are in the race for the upcoming Kogi Governorship election. What do you hope to bring to the table?
A: What I wish to bring to the table as a governor is hope. We are preesently in a hopeless situation in Kogi state. A situation where people commit suicide and a lot of hardship because workers are not being paid regularly, up until a few days ago. We have also seen a high level of disunity and insecurity among us.
I will describe it as a disgraceful situation where by even the educated people appear not to have anything to say. We have seen levels of greed and selfishness where the people’s interest does not count. We have seen our youths become criminal minded and violent. All these are big concerns. We women bear the pains of all the fall out. We have more population of widows and what hurts most is that we are in the midst of so much natural gifts.
28 mineral resources are like sleeping beauties. The Ajaokuta Steel Company is moribund. We have so many things that many places in the world will wish they have. These are the things i look at and I said when GOD helps me and I become governor there will be a total overhauling of our system, the educational, and the agro system to get our people out of hunger. We will also use agriculture to generate resources. We will turn around our tourism sector and make it money spinning.
We will engage the youths, take the guns from them and replace it with jobs, books and also develop their human potentials. I am really looking to a lot of things, empower the women that are not empowered and those that are empowered increase their capability, put them in cooperative societies. We will see to our hospitals that we have less death and it actually starts from what we eat. We will pay civil servants their salaries as and when due. We will restore hope in our populace and change the negative narratives. Keeping hope alive will be key in our administration
Q: How long have you been nursing the idea of contesting for governorship ?
A: The idea of being a governor? To be honest, I think it will be about two years now. I have always been ambitious, though. I have been in politics for about 20 years, but the idea of being a governor was from the past two years. It was because of the kind of people that started showing interest.
Then I said to myself ‘are these the kind of people that are coming to govern Kogi? Are we going to experience what we saw in the last three years repeat itself again in Kogi?’ Then i said to myself Iye but you can do this. Then I also looked at being a woman and my financial strength. That scared me a little bit. But I said to myself ‘you have other capabilities. You are not on any crime list. You are educated. You are selfless. As a woman you are a good manager. You also have worked in different corporate organizations ‘ I have been a consultant to Nigeria High Commission in Singapore. As a Chemist I have conducted many researches and experiments on HIV/AIDS. I have promoted women. I can bring all these experience together and consult with the people. it’s actually the people that are more important. We don’t need any one to sponsor us to prove that there is strength in numbers. With all the backings and the GOD given courage I just came into the race and so far, so good.
Q: You have been traversing the state and consulting. How has the reception been?
A: The reception has really been encouraging. When you appear and they see you as a woman, they are impressed. In fact, if anything the woman angle is an advantage. As we relate, the global trend is that the world is looking at helping the disadvantaged population including women and children to be empowered. So they saw that supporting this idea will attract even global attention to our state.
With a female Governor, others would consider Kogi as one serious state in the country. Look at the women in Nigeria and what they have done and you will see that we have capability. The saying that a branch does not fall far away from the tree is apt. Consider people like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the Paris Club, Late Dora Akunyuli of NAFDAC and you will agree that women are natural leaders. Give us a house and we turn it into a home. We are looking at turning KOGI into a home So people welcome the idea. If the idea wasn’t welcome, I dare not come out because, after all it’s the people that I want to serve, not myself.
Q: What type of leadership do you hope to provide?
A: I intend to provide leadership by example. Grace is one person that is all about service. If you look at my background , it’s all about service, so I am out to serve, to give excellent leadership through service. And the idea of leaving good legacy, good name is what drives me.
In everything I do I believe in the power of name. My ancestors left me a name and that has never shut the door against me ever since. And I want to leave a good name after my service. I will leave a name for KOGI. I want to render excellent service to people and service means inclusiveness, putting round pegs in round holes. So that’s the kind of service i want to render to the state. The one that will leave a lasting legacy and the one that will get us quickly in the path of what the founding fathers carved for the state.
Q: You are in a calling dominated by men, how do you fit in?
A: I don’t see myself as a woman. I see myself as a person that has capability and can do this. That’s why it doesn’t shock me. The minute I start entering the jacket that i am a woman trust me I wouldn’t come out in the first place because I know the things they put in front of women.
Q: The last election in Kogi State was characterised by violence. Do you have any concerns?
A: I would be a liar to say i don’t have concerns. But when you are on a rescue mission such as mine, you become selfless. You don’t care. You just want result. It’s equally dangerous if I don’t go in. But if I go in, there is a possibility of me salvaging the situation. I see it as something that is a must do, to get my people out of bondage. I don’t see the violence as something that will limit me. Good enough the security agencies have been promising to make the electoral process violence free.
But my own take and advice to them and not just to my party but to all parties is that please if you really want to save the lives of Nigerians, for once make the ticket female ticket. When you put that face of a woman, you have discouraged violence because the supporters of women are usually none violent. We don’t encourage violence. So if you make it a female ticket, trust me you will have less problems on ground.
Q: In term of finance, politics is capital intensive in this country. How prepared are you in that regard?
A: I am very prepared in term of cost because the Kogi of today has put money politics to a large extent to background. At the back of their mind people want deliverance, they want liberation. it’s a project that is all inclusive to every Kogite. We as politicians are basically faced with the issue of logistic to move humans and materials but that one of using money to buy their votes is not going to happen this time. What the people want is that candidate that will do the work so that they will not see the past three years again in the history of KOGI. Each kogite is ready to pay the price to see that a good leader emerges, with or without money. I think that i am a politician born in season.
Q: The primary of your party is just few days away, we hope you win. But if you don’t win, will you accept defeat and be ready to work with the winner?
A: Because it’s the business of salvaging Kogi nothing is too high for me to sacrifice. I told you the reasons for me coming out right now is to ensure that the last three years does not repeat itself. If the activities that lead to the primaries are free and fair, trust me I will congratulate the winner. Why not? I will welcome whoever takes the seat. But if it’s not free and fair, I will fight it through the legal way starting with the party because it’s about saving the people. If it is fair and transparent I will agree with that, because you cannot be better than the collective will of the good people.
Q: How will you describe Kogi of today?
A: The KOGI of today is a KOGI that has been dehumanized. We don’t have a say, we don’t have a voice. We have been reduced to mere beggars in the midst of so much. We have been given a bad name. This is not the Kogi of our dreams. We want to change that.
Q: Should you be given the PDP ticket, do you think you can win the election?
A: If I am given the ticket it’s a win for me already. Remember, this is one of the greatest parties in Africa. We do have our faults but we have rebranded. You can see the primary election we held in Port Harcourt for the presidential election. Flying on a party that support women in the first place I can tell you winning the election will be easy with the blessing of God. PDP is the party to beat anytime, any day so I am confident of winning