Engr. Mohammed Wada Yahaya was Commissioner for Works and Transport in Governor Tanko Al-Makura’s first term. With Al-Makura’s re-election he appointed him as special adviser on projects. In this interview with MUAZU ABARI, he speaks on a wide range of burning political issues in the state
Just recently Nasarawa state celebrated 20 years anniversary. What is your assessment of the level of development in the state so far where did we get it wrong and how can we get it right in Nasarawa state?
First and foremost, from the creation of Nasarawa state in 1996, the state was under two military administrators who actually planned nothing for the development of the state, until in 1999 when the first civilian Governor of the state, Abdullahi Adamu, came in. He was able to put some things on ground in the area of infrastructures, provision of office facilities and other framework.
The second governor who is Aliyu Akwe Doma came on board and spent one term and was succeeded by Gov. Tanko Al-Makura. So if you compare the achievements recorded right from when the state was created and relate it with what is achieved by Gov.Tanko Al-Makura, it is obvious that, if not for the efforts of the current governor, I would have said that, there is virtually nothing tangible on ground to showcase as development. But thank God we now have a workaholic Governor that recorded a lot of achievements despite shortages of funds and challenges he faced.
We need to do is to look for someone with integrity and similar vision like that of Al-Makura to maintain the tempo and desire expectations of our founding fathers to succeed Al-Makura in 2019.
The founding fathers of Nasarawa state have a clear mission and vision on how they wanted the state to look like which prompted them to champion the cause that resulted in the creation of the state. Would you say in all honesty that, we have been able to realize some of this vision of our founding fathers?
So far so good, because as far as am concerned, the primary objective of vying for the state, is to enhanced unity and grass roots development. And you will agree with me that, if not for the recent skirmishes which was politically motivated there was stability and peace. There was also commendable development by this administration.
However, the challenges are normal so we have to appreciate the fact that, despite our differences in tribes and religious we are able to stay peacefully with one another. And the credit will go the current governor
with the supports of the security agencies as well as the people of Nasarawa state. Am also assuring you, the dreams of our founding fathers will not go in vein, we will continued to enlighten the youth and the electorate to look at integrity and stay away from politics of thuggery.
Most people believe that, the political elites and politicians in the state are responsible for the continued backwardness of the state. Do you also share this sentiment and why?
To some extent that was before the coming of Al-Makura in 2011 that have been the practice. you will agreed with me by then, what was meant to developed the state was cornered to few hands that is why I also said, in my interactions with journalists like you that, to my understanding governance particularly in Nigeria is two options.
You either go with the elites or you go with the common man. if you chose to work for the common man the elites will fight you and they are the ones with voice and resources to fight you, so you will continue to face challenges, that is the situation we find ourselves in Nasarawa state today. When Gov. Al-makura chose to work for the common man the elites started fight the governor and the government and that was what led to some extent the skirmishes I mentioned earlier.
How would you assess Gov. Al-Makura’s administration and in what areas do you think the people of Nasarawa state will remember him for at the end of his tenure?
Al-makura is truly an icon of change and a blessing to the people of Nasarawa state who has so many legacies to his credit even before he left the common man wish that, there should have been a third term for him. If you look at the education sector, Al-Makura has constructed and rehabilitated various primary schools across the state which hitherto, had no conducive environment for learning and the standard was falling. Today if you go round every nook and cranny of the state you will discover that, new structures are put in place by this administration.
The structures is 100 per cent provided by the state government as well a takeoff teachers and take off grants .In addition to this, the Governor also brought a comprehensive school for the disabled with a world class facilities and will soon be commission by the president. The government has been paying WAEC and NECO registrations fees for students since we came on board until recently due to some dubious activities of some of the managers of secondary schools leaving government with no option than to suspend the payment until adequate measures are put in place to make sure that such sharp practices stopped.
In the area of health, primary health care services have never received such a boom like under this administration. You will discover that, every rural area is being provided with rural roads and he has been able to constructed over 800 kilometers of rural roads alone from 2011 to date and if you go to all urban centres in the state, you will see that roads have been construct within the townships and between one town and the other.
But despite all these achievements the government seems to have more enemies than friends why would people anxious to pull down his government?
The fact of the matter is that over 95 per cent of the people of Nasarawa state are together with Gov. Tanko Al-Makura, even though they are voiceless but they are the electorate. But the elites who are few in numbers are they one making noise because they don’t get what they used to get in the past and mobilizing some few ignorance people to pull down Al-Makura’s government. If you come down and take sample and do your research you will realize that, over 95 per cent of the people of Nasarawa state are even praying if there should be third term for Al-Makura.
Don’t you think the stiff opposition against him despite his performances has to do with his leadership style because people are accusing him of running the affairs of the state as a one man show and not listening to advice?
Naturally enemies can cook up any story against you to achieve their selfish interest .If Al-makura was running a one man show in the affairs of the state as they claimed why are they joining APC in mass now? The opposition PDP politicians who have been saying all these are the same people joining APC in the state. Only last week a former two term member of the House of Representatives from keffi Hon. Ahmed Wadada ditched PDP to APC. The same PDP aspirant for Senate and former Commissioner for Justice Tanimu Adapson joined APC. Why are they joining APC if the style of Al-Makura’s leadership is not favourable?
The politics of which senatorial district should succeed Al-Makura come 2019 has now occupy the front banner of Nasarawa politics with most views favoring Nasarawa North which is yet to taste the seat since the creation of the state. What is your stand on this?
My opinion is that we need to be our brothers keepers and it is a known fact that, it is not constitutional to zone governorship but is there is that mutual understanding and love for one another there is nothing wrong with that, it is a matter of identifying a competent and appropriate person to occupy the seat. However, am also aware that, there is agitation by the people of the western zone to occupy the position on the basis of the fact that, they are more populous with good hands and have five local governments against the Northern zone with only three local governments. But politics is a game of numbers there is also maturity and brotherliness so if there is that understanding it won’t be difficult for the two zones to reconciled and agreed on one candidate from the North or western zones as long as they will go there with the spirit of serving the state honestly and without sentiment and selfishness because all what bring all these agitations is when leaders are committed to serving themselves rather than serving the people of the state that bring them to power.
But your senatorial district of western zone had already produced the first civilian governor of the state in the person of Abdullahi Adamu who spent 8 years leaving the Northern zone as the only senatorial district yet to produce governor so why not Nasarawa North in 2019?
Yes, but if the political elites in the state and who meant well for our people agreed that Nasarawa west should produce the next governor in 2019 there is nothing wrong with that besides, it is a matter of competency and numbers
Can this be a confirmation of the ongoing speculations in the State that, the governor is planning to anoint somebody from your own senatorial district to succeed him in 2019?
That is an insinuation; Gov. Al-Makura that I know will not anoint or impose anybody on the people of Nasarawa state. Let me tell you a story to buttress my point Gov. Al-Makura’s first In-law the husband to his first daughter aspired for state House of Assembly in 2015 and solicited for his assistance and support the governor told us that, he will not ask anybody to vote for somebody let everybody work for himself go out and campaign. He has the power to talk to the party machinery to support and vote for his In-law but he didn’t he also warned us his cabinet members that, we should be neutral and as leaders because whatever we do we are representing him in our various local governments so we refused to get involved. So, whoever told you that, he will anoint anybody to succeed him is just speculating but what I believe is that, the governor will not supports anybody that will not deliver but if god give you he won’t oppose it.
But already insinuations are making the round that the governor and ex- governor Abdullahi Adamu, have started having problems over 2019.How do your react to that?
And what is the problem? None of them will contest the governorship seat of the state again so why should they have problem? This is just a speculation concocted by enemies of progress who want to see them apart, unfortunately for these people Al-Makura and Adamu are together and will continue to be together for the good, unity and development of Nasarawa state.
If not for the efforts of Governor Al-Makura, I would have said that, there is virtually nothing tangible on ground to showcase as development