From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), Ismaila Yusuf Atumeyi, has disclosed that the NNPP is in pole position to emerge victorious in the forthcoming general elections in 2023.
Atumeyi, who is seeking to represent Ankpa-2 at the state House of Assembly, said that NNPP has become a household name in Ankpa-2.
He said the coming of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso into the party signalled the end of both the ruling of All Progressive Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State and Nigerian as a country. Excepts:
Can you kindly introduce yourself, tell us your journey into politics?
I am Hon. Ismaila Yusuf Atumeyi, a candidate for the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP). I started politics at the age of 18 as a member of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State. I became the P.R.O of my ward, and my boss Prince Rabiu Adio Oluwa, the then chairman of Ajeromi Ifelodun is still alive, with my friend who was a “councilor” Rashidi Gboshey are all still alive and we work effortlessly together to achieve our common goals. I was born and raised in Lagos, then I moved to Abuja, and I joined the defunct CPC led by General Muhammadu Buhari, from CPC in 2013-2014 we started talking about APC and then most of us moved to join the APC which I was a solid member of the youth wing. I headed a group called Network for Change and Good Governance (NCGG) back in APC and I was intimidated severally by former President GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan’s second wife .
Why were you intimidated?
Because I was against the government and she was my neighbor back then in Danube street in Maitama Abuja. They wanted me to work for them, but the fact still remains what we were saying at that time, was a no go area for Jonathan so we decided to stay put at where we were so fortunately for us our party took over leadership, but I belong to Atiku Abubakar camp in the party because I was never for Buhari, and at the same time whenever I sat down and reasoned things going on in the country, I had only one candidate on my mind which is Atiku Abubakar.
So how will you describe your journey into APC?
My journey into APC was very lovely, so calm. We started APC and most people benefitting from APC in Kogi East today were not founding members of the APC. I invited several people to join APC in Kogi, I invited Hon. Mai Nasara, a man who works with the Supreme Court, I invited Hon. Abdul Mumuni who later became a House of Assembly member under the platform of the APC, I invited Hon. MD Yusuf who was strong member of the PDP from Ofu Local Government and now he is an APC member. I invited all of them. Most of them were even mocking me that APC had nowhere to go, but we have seen the light because we learned the game right from childhood, so in politics we are prophets in this game.
Now, you are vying for state House of Assembly in Ankpa-2 under the platform of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), why didn’t you contest under the platform of APC, why NNPP?
APC has a leadership in the state and the leader is the governor, His Excellency Yahaya Adoza Bello. They have their way and ethics and at the moment I am not a member of APC, I have to obey their rules. PDP also has their ethics, in that same local government. I was told by Hon. Zakari Alfa; a former commissioner of finance to former governor of Kogi State; His Excellency Governor Idris Wada, that the PDP will zone the ticket to Ojoku thinking he has all the powers. I and my team sat down, well I was still a member of APC at that time, after sitting down we found out that if peradventure this things worked out, how am I going to mortgage my money which everyone knows primary election is highly expensive in this country, why can’t I keep my money and hold on by looking at the Third Force that is coming up to channel my energy into it. I met with Zakari in his house in Abuja and he was boldly saying it as if he’s God, as if he has all the power to make someone.
You are contesting in Ankpa-2 under the platform of the NNPP, in what can be perceived as an APC stronghold state. What are your chances?
I have contested election back in 2019 under the platform of ADC and now I know my lapses, when my people were clamouring that I will emerge as the winner in 2019, I was just laughing at them because I know my challenges as at that time and as I am talking to you now, but the fact still remains that they will announce me winner representing Ankpa-2. The masses are with me, let me tell you that Ankpa local government is not an APC local government because it was an APC local government when the late Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memories was alive and people of Ankpa love him more than the people from his own home town in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State. We the people of Ankpa decide most elections in the state. They won’t vote for any APC candidate in Ankpa come 2023, all the people that NNPP gave mandate today are credible people that will withstand anyone at any time, any day and we know what it takes to get the opposition a good fight. Ankpa people are very wise and educated people and whenever you make mention of Igala land, the rich people are from Ankpa, the most sound people are from Ankpa and also the most industrious people are from Ankpa.They don’t just love you because of your money, if they have made up their mind to be with you, they will support you 100 per cent, but if Ankpa refuses you, don’t go home and sleep, the merger votes Engr. Musa Wada had in Ankpa during the 2019 election is bigger than what he had in his own local government in Dekina. I will defeat anyone, be it the PDP or the APC. Most of the aforementioned party’s candidates have no capacity, they have no idea of good governance..
How would you rate the performance of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello within the last seven years?
I’m not a member of the ruling party (APC), and I don’t want to comment on that. I don’t want anyone to drag me into a political war, there’s more time for us to judge and moreover he has started unleashing his project. But for now, I can only comment on him in one aspect and that is in the area of security and he has done massively well. Before he took over as the governor, the security of the state was in a mess, very poor. I can only rate him for that for now and in other aspects, it’s left for the people who voted him in to judge. For me as a candidate I can only rate him on that aspect that he has tried in the area of security and also the local government chairmen have also tried under his watch.
We have former governor of Lagos State; Bola Ahmed Tinubu as APC presidential candidate, we have the PDP who produced the former Vice President Alhaji Abubakar Atiku which this is not his first time of running, we have your party the NNPP which produced the former governor of Kano State, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, What’s your take and which direction should Nigeria take looking at these candidates?
There are only three credible men running for the office of the president. Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. As for Peter Obi, when a man should come out and tell you that as a sitting governor he had just two belts, that person will come and create massive poverty. For a country that is so wealthy and you are telling us that you only had two waist belts as a governor. With zero apology, that is a poor man thinking. That man is going to create poverty and what we are seeing under this government is terrible and if Obi eventually emerges, we are going to witness massive hunger.
(Cuts in) He said he’s trying to avoid wastage?
Which waste? As a sitting governor? I have the opportunity to have governors as bosses and there are allowances for wardrobe and your salary is about N3 million. As a governor in Nigeria, there are shoe allowances, clothing allowances. House of Assembly members have allowances, chairmen local government and the councillors have allowances and those are personal allowances and even in some private organizations, they are provided allowances. If you over talk, it shows that you have nothing upstairs and Peter Obi talks too much. I believe in working and not too much talk, you don’t come to my TV or computer screen with big grammars. Obi is over talking and most of us who are politicians will sit down and look at what Obi has said critically and realize that another poverty is coming again. We will not mortgage this country for any man that has poor thinking and those on social media chanting are just wasting their precious time. I urge Obi to come up with another ideology, you don’t allow people to visit you because you don’t have money for champagne and how can a man that controls three commercial banks, a wealthy one at that, make such a comment? Can Obi tell the price of the house he lives in Maitama Abuja? If he claims that he renovated the Anambra Government House with 650 million? Do you know how much indigene of Anambra that money will empower? How much are they selling cement and Dulux paint as at that time? The focus of Nigerians should be on Rabiu Kwankwaso, he demonstrated his love for this country and human development when he was governor. He is a real politician with a humane heart , he also has the relevant political structures across the country. I urge Nigerians to vote massively for him to become president to lead our nation.
You made a trending video in support of the presidential aspiration of former governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu before he withdrew. Tell us about it?
Well the Video was in support of Orji Uzor Kalu when he was still running for the presidency. I did because Orji Kalu is one of the very few unique politicians we have in the country today. He is a man who we can trust, and have invested massively in the lives of Nigerians. In fact, the majority of wealthy people, especially politicians we have in the country, were made by him. I did the video out of my love for him and I really wanted him to become president, but I understand why he withdrew. Let me also clarify that the video was not made in support of Peter Obi, because I’ve seen people linking the video to Peter Obi, let it be known that the video was done for Orji Uzor Kalu not Peter Obi.
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