I’m not Grooming My Son for Kwara – Saraki

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We do not allow ourselves to be distracted. In two years, we passed more bills than all other Senate passed in four years, that is not a small achievement.
Especially for a senate that was distracted. At a point we were in court every other week. Nevertheless we still succeeded.

2019 elections year is around the corner and the amendment to electoral law is late. How do you cope?

Well you know we passed the INEC amendment Bill this year, we are working on the House of Representatives to do theirs as well so that we can get that to the President for assent and that gives them at least one year plus.
I am sure by the time we come back from recess the House will take action on theirs within the month and it will be passed to the President by October. So there is enough time.

Being in the saddle as governor for eight years in Kwara, what legacy did you leave as people are speculating you want to groom your son to be the next governor?

That is not in the offing at all. I am sure he doesn’t even want to hear politics at all. You know it is not easy for children who are born to politicians especially in this time. When I was much younger, we were insulated from some of the political issues because well, we didn’t read the newspapers, we didn’t know what was happening. I reluctantly went into politics, go and check. Once or twice I was given the form to run for House of Reps, I remember I just travelled and turned off my phones and disappeared for months.
After seeing what my father had been through, I thought to myself that this is not for me.

In my eight years, we put a direction and we were able to transform the state. My successor too has been able to take it from there and we hope that by the time he finishes the next governor will continue to build on that in creating an environment that will continue to create entrepreneurship.

In the agricultural sector we have done a lot of things that drive commercial activities which is not the blueprint of the country. Even in the universal health coverage which we are now talking about at the national level, I started that when I was governor and now my governor has continued and built on that.

This shows the importance of continuity and stability and today we thank God that we are one of those states where there is a very good relationship between former governor and current governor.

Some point out that the state still owes workers pension and salaries dating back to when you were the governor.
That is not true, majority of the amounts still being owed are at the local government level. There might be issues with pensions here and there but I don’t know the details but I know that the arrears and liability are at local government level not at state government level.

What is happening to the white farmers and the farm you brought about, not much is being heard about that farm?

Not much? That is a pity because that farm today is probably the second largest poultry farm in the country and probably in another three years will be the third largest in West Africa. Recently the farm was bought into by the 5th largest poultry farm in South Africa.

I don’t think there is any other example of success in seeing something start from nothing and growing to a state where it is viable and growing to a stage where you can see private sector involvement. If you go to the community around there you will see a lot of small scale industries that have picked up and small scale farmers also. It has been a great success. The problem sometimes is that some of you in the media don’t like going beyond Lagos and Abuja.

Honestly it is has done very well. You can see what the APC government is doing in agriculture, but this is something we don’t talk about, the success that the APC government has made is tremendous. I am sure that in a few years time we will be self-sufficient in rice and that is a major achievement. For a country that is always importing rice to now get to the stage where we no longer have to import rice?

I was in the farm recently with the governor of CBN and what we saw there was very impressive, the only thing they are still having problems with is the issue of smuggling. People are still smuggling chicken and that is our biggest challenge.

The same thing with rice, we have been working and taking on Customs that they need to do something about these issues. We had to give the management of Customs all the support, we have to make sure that they must do something about smuggling.


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