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Yar’Adua: I’m still making consultations on Katsina governorship

Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’Adua was one of Katsina State’s APC governorship aspirants in 2015 general elections. He speaks to Francis Sardauna and other journalists on issues afflicting APC and his 2023 aspiration

It seems your recent meeting with APC members across Katsina State is a build-up to your 2023 aspiration?
Well, that meeting had to do with the federal government’s intervention in reducing unemployment with the provision of 774,000 jobs to the youth under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). When I was contacted, we came up with a sharing formula, because we felt if the NDE was allowed to go through political office holders to share the opportunities, there would be problems. So, here in Katsina, we formed committees in all the local government areas of the state and entrusted them with the task of identifying those that really needed the help to be given the slots, and the committees did well, that was why I called them.

Are you saying the meeting had nothing to do with your 2023 ambition?
You see, there is nothing wrong with anybody having an ambition. I don’t think if you say you are going to make me a governor of my state I will say no. I am a bonafide citizen of Katsina State and Nigeria. So, why shouldn’t I have any aspiration? The people of Katsina know who I am. I am a very straightforward person. So, if that meeting was for that, I will come out to say that look, I have started my campaign.

I’m still making consultations, and when it is time, I will come out to state my position. A lot of people have talked to me to go for the race, but I’m still making consultations, because to be a governor of a state, you don’t just wake up and say I want to be a governor. You have to make a lot of consultations, especially here in Katsina, considering the size of the state and also the number of important dignitaries that we have. So, it’s not about 2023, I have not made up my mind yet.

Are you under any kind of pressure from political associates to contest?
Yes, certainly. So many people talked to me about coming out and so on, and why I need to do this or that. But as far as I am concerned, that is not a pressure. Indeed, we have families, friends and associates that we built over the years, and they will talk to you when they think you are qualified to run.

There are insinuations that the APC in Katsina is engulfed in crisis as a result of the controversy on who will succeed the governor in 2023, how true is this?
I’m not one of those who are eying the seat for the time being. So, I am not aware of such controversy, because I have not yet made up my mind. But leadership is not about you, or about the aspirants or any other person but it is about the service to the people. And that is what is missing. So, as far as I’m concerned there is no conflict, the only problem we had, and I don’t know whether we still have it, was that the party structure seemed to favour one particular candidate. They were doing everything possible to ensure that one particular candidate was given advantage over the others, and I think as a result of the hues and cries from the political stakeholders in the state, His Excellency, the governor, timely intervened, by saying we will not allow the party structure to be too close to one particular candidate.

He said we are going to provide a level playing ground to all candidates. And as a result of that, the governor set up a committee and each of these aspirants would give a representative. And it is that committee that is saddled with the responsibility of organising and liaising with the committee coming from Abuja to conduct the congress. I think that is something that saved the state from the kind of crisis that would have happened, because if the intervention was not done by the governor, what happened in Zamfara would have been a child’s play in Katsina. The intervention was very critical and timely enough. And I commend the governor for doing that.

Apparently you have confidence in the committee set up by the governor, what would be your expectations?
I have absolute confidence because one; on the person selected to chair the committee, that is Mutari Lawal, I always have good relationship with him. In fact, he was one of those people who inducted me into Katsina politics. So, I can regard him as one of my political teachers. He was also one of the people who mobilised us to be socialist when we were young. He is an ardent socialist; we were in the PRP together, though I was at the youth wing. I know he is a very straight person and he is ideologically well grounded. Secondly, even those who indicated interest to contest also gave quality persons. Professor Badamasi is there, Architect Kabiru Ibrahim, Abubakar Soja: they are all rigid and steadfast personalities that you can’t bend. So, I’m satisfied with the quality of representation in the committee.

You said politics is all about service to the people and that is missing now. Are you saying the Masari-led government has done nothing in the state?

When Sheikh Usman bn Fodio came to change things in the late 18th century and early 19th century, he talked about the mess of the Habe rulers, the way they were ruling. One of the things he attacked was corruption and then lack of education. He challenged the system and brought about a revolution that changed this part of the country, particularly the Sokoto Caliphate. For example, he fought what was known as ‘Kudin Gari” then, a kind of tax that you pay just because you are residing at a town, once you are 18 years and above. He fought that and changed the system. Unfortunately, when the Europeans came, they decided to go back to that old system of excessive taxation and the system of rulership which was hereditary was maintained. Emirs were selected based on heredity not the best quality material available in the community. That is what we are still facing in this country. So, what I want to do whether I am in government or not, is that I want to begin a political revolution from Katsina State. That is, we have to look at the system of leadership.

As you know, leadership is not all about moving around in a convoy with siren, security and what have you. There are qualities of leadership which the Shehu has enumerated and they are many. So, people should not think of leadership as a means to an end, that you are in leadership because you want to make money; that you allow the system to be corrupted. These are the things we must change. It is the kind of revolution we want to bring about, and people must realise that we now have to take control of our situation, and not just the elites but the poor people must take charge of the situation. So, it’s not for me to assess whether the APC, PDP or any other party has succeeded or not, it’s not for me to judge. That’s for the people to judge. But we must go back to the basics and the Jihad that Dan Fodio brought about. We must change our attitudes, we must change our behavior, and you can only change if you are fair and just. An average Nigerian does not need your tribe or religion, what they need is good leadership and that is what we are talking about.

What would you deploy in your political revolution?
It is what Shehu Dan Fodio did; the tools he used were education, social mobilisation and enlightenment. So, we are going to educate people, mobilise them and educate them as to why they need to participate in the process and why it is important for them to be in the decision making process, for them to elect leaders based on who they are, based on the qualities they exhibited, not on the basis of I’m a minister, I’m a commissioner or whatever and I have money to contest for a position of leadership. Some of those trying to show that they have money now, four, five years ago, had nothing. So, if anybody is telling you that I have money come and elect me, they are technically telling you that you should elect them to steal more. That’s the way I see it.

Some political analysts say 2023 will be tough for APC because President Buhari will not be contesting for anything again, what’s your take?
I still believe that APC is a very strong party and I also want to say that the interim leadership of the party, under the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has really done very well. They may not be 100 per cent perfect, but they have tried as much as possible to bring the party back together. They have resolved quite a number of problems at the local, states and national levels. So, I believe if they are given the chance to conduct free and fair ward congresses, at the end of the day, the party will become stronger by getting strong and solid leadership after the national congress.

So I don’t think PDP or any other party can give APC a run for its money. It is very obvious, as politicians we have seen how even some governors defected to APC and that is not a small achievement by the interim leadership of the party because it is not easy to convince somebody who has been elected on another party’s platform to leave that platform and come to your party, that’s a great achievement. So, I do not see any party beating APC. The only problem, if you see APC failing, that failure will come from its own making in form of internal crisis, but not as a result of any external force.

The opposition is accusing leaders both at national and state levels of failing woefully to address security challenges, what’s your assessment?
You see, a Hausa proverb says Wanda ya fada rijiya shi yasan zurfinta, meaning it is the person who has drowned in a well that can know how deep it is. So you may not appreciate what the President and what the governors are doing as you are not in their shoes and you don’t know how they confront these issues on daily basis. Human beings are very difficult to control, especially in terms of their behavior and conduct, and so on. So, as far as I am concerned, are we doing enough? Probably I would say no. do we need to do more? Probably I would say yes. But you cannot deny the fact that the governments, both at the state and federal levels, have committed so much resources and time on tackling this issue of insecurity.

They should open their eyes. They have seen what has happened within the last 22 years since the return of democracy in the country. It is about time that people realised that it is very important for them to participate in the political process and for them to look for people with the requisite qualities, capacity and necessary tools for leadership and good governance, and that is very easy to do as we know the good and we know the bad ones amongst us. And if anyone tries to impose a bad person on them, it is their inalienable right to resist it. So, we must wake up and make sure we revolutionise the political process in the state.

-ThisDay

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Posted by on Sep 25 2021. Filed under Governors, Headlines, Katsina, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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