By Peter Duru
IN 2007 Comrade Abba Moro was the Benue State coordinator of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan election campaign organization and former leader of ALGON. Today he is Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi and he is currently the Director General of the Senator David Mark’s Re-Election Campaign Organization.

In this interview, he spoke on the issue of zoning, why President Goodluck Jonathan should continue and Mark should continue in office post May 29, 2011 among others. Excerpts:

Why are you leading the re-election campaign of the Senate President?

I admire the antecedents of the man, particularly when he became Senate President. I listened to the cry of our people from Benue South Senatorial District and realized that one major dream that is close to their heart is the dream for the actualization of the creation of Apa State from the present Benue State. And I concluded that the man at the centre of affairs at the National Assembly today is someone that can give voice to this dream.

Given the existing political equation in the whole firmament of our community (Idoma land), there is no man that is better positioned than Senator Mark to actualize that dream.

Nigerians have acknowledged that David Mark has demonstrated an outstanding political sagacity in piloting the affairs of the National Assembly. For the first time, there is some semblance of stability in the National Assembly. And for the first time, the relationship between the legislature and the executive has continued to remain cordial, as well as the government and people of his home state, Benue. He has provided an enabling environment for the government of the state to perform wonderfully well, by the contention of most of uu.

What about the governor, you once ran against him?

I put all these things together and came to an inevitable conclusion especially against the backdrop of my decision not to contest for any elective position now, to put my time and energy at the disposal of the Senate President and the governor of Benue State and work assiduously for their return to power so that together we can move Benue State and Nigeria forward.

The Governor of Benue State Mr. Gabriel Suswam and his Deputy, Chief Steven Lawani, may not by your estimation, perform the miracle that we all expect. The government is a continuum and this government and Benue didn’t start yesterday, we have come a long way and whatever foundation anybody has laid in the past are foundations that the governor has tried to build up. As one person that also ran this election against the Governor, by the manifestation of the physical infrastructures that have been laid in the state so far, the governor has done his modest best.

Looking at his disposition, I can say without fear of contradiction that now there is a burning desire and determination on the part of the government to do more for Benue State.

You speak so much about Apa State creation. Don’t you have other things to do for the people of Benue South apart from creation of Apa State?

Senator Mark is the Senate President of Nigeria not of Apa State creation neither is he Senate President of Benue South Senatorial District. His primary responsibility is to legislate well for the welfare of Nigerians people, and you now that altering the provisions of the constitution to create states is part of good legislation.

Of all the previous Senate Presidents, he is the only senate president that has refused to step on the banana peel on account of going into unnecessary things. He has attracted meaningful projects  to his primary constituency. So I am not restricting the creation of Apa State to Senator Mark alone. You are aware that Governor Suswam has given his unwavering support to the creation of Apa State. You are also aware that other movements for state creation have also submitted proposals to the National Assembly. The implication of that is that virtually all sons and daughters of the Benue South Senatorial district support that initiative.

What is your take on comments that state government had an official policy to work against Mark in 2007?

It is erroneous to state here that there was a government policy for people to work against our party to return somebody of a different political party, ANPP. There wasn’t an acknowledged government policy but I want to tell you that if what you heard is correct, I was approached by some persons to work for the success of Young Alhaji of the ANPP to become senator against Chief Dr. David Mark, the candidate of the PDP.

I refused basically on principles. Firstly, I was the coordinator of the Yar Adua/ Jonathan campaign organization for 2007 in the state I couldn’t imagine that all other sectors of Benue State will be producing PDP elected persons and then the person representing my own zone in the National Assembly will be ANPP. There is no way I could have explained it to the late president that I failed to deliver my own zone. That will be a direct indictment on my person.

Secondly, I looked at what was on ground I saw Senator Mark, a sitting senator especially for his third term, as a person that could more easily and readily assert himself in national politics.

What is your take on the issue of zoning?

Zoning as a policy is an integral part of the working arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP from the beginning of its formation. It is consistent with the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the area of its provision for the reflection of federal character in appointment.

But we had an unusual circumstance that stared in the face. The provision that the presidency and other offices should be distributed in such a way to reflect the federal character of Nigeria has been such that it threw up Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from the South West that represented Southern Nigeria. By implication, the next eight years ideally should have been eight years that should have been zoned to the North.

But I said we have unusual circumstances because by the death of our late president, Jonathan has been thrown up by the as the president of this country.. and I can say without fear of contradiction that if President Yar Adua hadn’t died, Jonathan by now, would be thinking of running with him as the Vice President again for a second term, and Nigerians would have gladly accepted the ticket and voted for them. And so as a person, even though I support zoning I want to think that for consistency, continuity and consolidation, Jonathan can and should be supported to continue in office as president.

You were ALGON chairman in Benue State under the Akume administration and today you are saying Benue under the current administration is better. Are you indirectly indicting the system that you were a key player?

When I am talking about the governance of Benue State, I am talking about Gabriel Suswam taking the state from where he met it to a higher place, I did not mean necessarily to seek to indict, no. What I meant was that Gabriel Suswam has taken the state from where he met it to a higher place. And all Nigerians and Benue people know too well that the massive road construction and street lights that we have now were not there in 2007.

As ALGON chairman, we intervened in several areas of the lives of the people as you can see in Benue State University, Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi, Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo and a host of others. We did our best for these institutions, and so our best could not be the end of Benue State. The best of Senator George Akume certainly will not be the end of Benue State . All about life is movement, from Aper Aku to Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu to Akume to Gabriel Suswam, Benue is moving.

Could you assess the performance of current local council chairmen in Benue State as a former council chief?

Based on the general comments against the present crop of chairmen that bother on ineptitude, I will not recommend any of them chairmen for a second term and that’s how far I can go. I am not in the machinery of government to see as to whether they are retained or selected to run for second terms, but certainly if I am in a position, giving the avalanche of complaints against them, I will certainly not recommend them for second term.


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