Former Benue State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Barrister Alex Adum, recently joined the array of gladiators gunning for the governorship seat of the State. In this interview with our correspondent, Uche Nnorom, in his residence, the 43 year old Minda born astute politician,maintained strongly that he has what it takes to transform the State and make it an investor’ delight and destination. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about your background?
was born on the 4th of December 1970 to the family of late Joseph Awuhe Adum Agungu of Jato Daula Village, Mbadyer, Mbabur Council Ward, Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State. I am happily married to Miriam Adoo Adum-Ter (Nee Akiga-Sai) and the union is blessed with two children Yuadoo Laurel Adum-Ter (daughter) and Kator Jessie Adum-Ter (son).
After graduating from Tilley-Gyado secondary school, Makurdi, in 1988, I proceeded to the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where I studied law and finished in 1998. While in the university, I participated actively in Student Union activities and was renowned for my uncommon power of articulation and commitment to issues. I was also a distinguished Senator at the level of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). I founded the Society of International Law at Zaria and nurtured it to become one of the most revered student societies uptill today. I was also a proud winner of the Taslim Elias All Nigerian Universities Moot Court competition.
During the Abacha transition programme and while still a student in Zaria, my adventurous spirit and desire to contribute to nation building propelled me to join forces with political elites such as Wantaregh Paul Unongo, Senator Ameh Ebute and Chief Don Etiebet at the national level to form the National Centre Party (NCP). I was later elected the Makurdi Local Government Secretary of the Party, a position I held until the Abacha transition programme was overtaken by events.
I have been in active private legal practice and also hold a Master of Laws degree from the Benue State University, Makurdi and a Ph. D holder of Law ABU Zaria.
I cut my teeth in legal practice with the renowned Damian .D. Dodo & Co (SAN) before teaming up with three of my colleagues to form Renaissance Law-Consults in 2001. The attractions of size later propelled me and my colleagues to go into a merger with the then existing firm of Mai & Ayua (Legal Consultants) to form Global Solicitors and Partners, (a firm of legal consultants with presence in Nigeria and the United States), which I am also a founding partner and an employee to date. I championed a legal consultancy practice with specialization in Telecommunications and broadcasting law, Intellectual Property law and Banking, Financial Services Regulation and Investment syndication.
It may interest you to know that I led teams that provided legal advisory services to several corporate organizations in Nigeria including: Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Globacom Telecommunications Limited; Nitel Plc; Mtel Plc; Benue State Government; Megatech Telecommunications Limited; Integrated Communications Ltd; VisaPhone Telecommunications Limited amongst several other key operators in the Nigerian economy. I also consulted for the Central Bank of Nigeria in crafting the strategy for combating cyber crimes in the Nigeria Financial System (FSS-20-2020 Project). I presently sit on the Board of several companies including Othelo Construction Limited, T.A.L Systems Limited, Andersen Agencies Limited and Dorchester Court Limited.
I have always had interest in politics and in the affairs of my community. As far back as 1989, barely 18 years old, I led others of my generation to team up and work assiduously for the Prof. Ignatius Ayua campaign organization traversing the length and breadth of the State.
On 18th July, 2011, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Torwua Suswam appointed me as the Hon. Commissioner for Commerce and Industries and, when the position of Attorney-General of the State became vacant, the Governor asked me to step in and fill it. So, I was appointed Hon. Attorney-General of the State and Commissioner for Justice in April 2012, a position I held well until June 16th 2014 when I voluntarily resigned to pursue my governorship ambition.
What is the driving force behind your governorship quest?
Working in the cabinet of Governor Gabriel Suswam as a commissioner for Commerce and Industry and then Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Benue State indeed was a great experience because it imbued in me with a ‘bird eye view’ of the inner workings of government at the State level. Hence, I have a full grasp of the problem of the State. I am driven by passion of service to the people and to contribute to the development of the State. It is regrettable to note that, 37 years after creation, Benue State is still grappling with the teething problems of development. The Suswam administration has striven hard to chart a new pathway that has set the stage for the State to take its rightful place amongst the comity of States in the federation.
Against this background, it is imperative that the succeeding administration in 2015 must sustain the current level, scope and scale of the economic, social and political development of the State as articulated in ‘Our Benue, Our Future’ plan.
Pursuant to this, I have proposed a collective debate of a new BENUE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION (BEST) Plan as a supplant agenda in 2015.
The plan has 14 thematic scope of coverage which include; Peace and security, basic infrastructure development, agriculture and food security, industrial and commercial development, education and human capital development, housing and urban development, culture and tourism development, economic coordination, health and human services, sports, social and youth development, environmental sustainability, administration of justice, information and communication management, good governance, ethical re-orientation and special projects.
Of all these programs, I hold the industrial and commercial development plan very close to my chest. My administration intends to key into the present aviation reforms and build a dedicated commercial airport for the State. The airport will be constructed along the Makurdi-Naka axis stretching to the banks of the River Benue. Evidently capital intensive, this airport will be a significant generator of economic growth and employment from its construction to the operational stage. I will also establish an export craft village, revitalize the Makurdi River Port, evolve self sufficiency strategy for retirees as well as establish a central business hub to aid the growth of the local economy. I believe strongly that these programs have the capacity to change the fortunes of the State and make it an investors’ delight and destination.
Are you in any way intimidated by the array of contestants for the same seat you are also gunning for?
I am not because I know what I want to achieve. I believe I possess the qualities to govern the state very well. What matters in a contest is idea. I respect the other contestants but I believe that I will make the best governor for the state.