By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja
The All Progressives Congress APC in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria, has announced the nomination of a School Teacher and Chairman of the state wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. Joel Salifu, as deputy Governorship Candidate.
Speaking at the unveiling of Mr. Salifu to the public on Saturday, Kogi State APC Chairman, Abdullahi Bello, said the party carefully chose Salifu, to represent the interest of workers in government as the teaching profession deserves recognition for a leadership role as a mark of honour for the Teachers who build the society, but suffer societal neglect.
The National President of NUT, Titus Amba, said the recognition uplifts the spirits of class teachers in the state.
The NUT President expressed the hope that with this development, “One day, a teacher will emerge governor of Kogi State. I thank Governor Bello on behalf of the teachers of Kogi State for giving us the deputy Governorship position.”
Amba called on teachers in the state to mobilize support for credible leadership that will improve the welfare of Workers and teachers in particular.
Amba said he would personally relocate to Kogi State to monitor the governorship election firsthand to give moral support to the APC Governorship and deputy Governorship Candidates when it matters most as teachers’ solidarity in the governorship contest is uppermost to the NUT national leadership.
According to Amba, the teachers’ involvement in the campaign is crucial support to the electoral victory of Usman Ododo and Salifu’s candidacy.
Salifu, presented a forceful speech that impressed the teachers at the event, as the young primary school teacher who heads the teachers’ trade union, solicits the votes of workers for election victory ahead of the November poll.
Expressing his readiness to serve the state, Salifu said, “I’m fully ready to see that your new direction policy is not jettisoned,” he assures Governor Bello.
Mr. Salifu is also the state treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who hails from the Ofu local government area in the eastern part of Kogi State.
The Banquet hall of Government House, Lokoja, the venue of the event, was literally abuzz with crowds of teachers adorned in white T-shirts and face caps to match.
Governor Yahaya Bello, rejoiced with the teachers in the state on the nomination of Mr. Salifu to deputize APC’s gubernatorial Candidate.
Governor Bello the duo works in the local government system with a ‘good’ record of public service and a determination to reform local government administration in the state.
“We present a delectable team with the combination of Ododo and Joel for the governorship race.
“In the new spirit of Kogi State, language or ethnicity, religion, and the class difference will never be a barrier to anyone’s success in politics; anybody can become whatever God destined them to become without limitations.
Governor Bello adds that “Today in Kogi State, a teacher is now recognized for political leadership in our state, and both teachers, trade union members, and leaders are unanimous that it must be our party because Mr. Salifu represents the labour movement in our next government for the first time in our historic life.
Governor Bello expressed confidence that his party will win the governorship election with a landslide:
“In the game of politics, I don’t take anything for granted. In this particular game, I will leave no stone unturned; we will do all things we can in accordance with our laws to ensure we have an overwhelming clean victory.
“We have something to show to people and we have something to show that we can do more for the people.
“By the grace of God, I’m confident that we are going to be successful in the coming election.”
Governor Bello however warned members of political parties in the state to stay away from violence and unguarded comments as his administration would not hesitate to deal with trouble-makers.
“Don’t indulge in violence either by word or physical action. Let there be no reprisal attacks in any form under any circumstances as our government remains in charge, and we shall deal with anybody who foments trouble in the state.
“Everyone knows that I (GYB) don’t take nonsense, and I will not take nonsense from criminals,” Gov Bello, warns.
Governor Bello was apparently speaking in reference to the political disturbances along the Lokoja-Koton-large highway on Saturday afternoon when supporters of a Governorship Candidate of an opposition party allegedly attacked Governor Bello’s convoy on his way from Abuja to perform the unveiling of the APC deputy Governorship Candidate on Saturday.