Chairman of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) and governorship candidate of the party in Zamfara State, Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, says end of insecurity and youth restiveness will be the focus of the administration. He speaks with Patrick Andrew on sundry matters ahead of 2019.
You were a two-term ranking senator one would have thought by now you would have assumed the position of an elder statesman in Zamfara and Nigeria, why are you seeking to be governor in Zamfara?
It had been my plan, aspiration and wish that at this age l will only be counselling the younger ones but not to participate in partisan politics. However, the circumstances that Zamfara state has found itself and in fact Nigeria as a nation and its people compelled me to rethink and rescind the decision that l took precisely on October 1 2008 when l resigned from my party- the ANPP- and pledged that I am done with partisan politics.
I rescinded the decision in view of the terribly ugly trend of insecurity and socio-economic condition of the country. Our economy is degenerating from bad to worse and the public social structure of the nation is being destroyed so much so that Nigerians are not asking anything from government in terms of social amenities, development projects but only the minimum responsibility of any responsible government which is protection of their lives and properties. When citizens of a country find themselves in this situation it simply tells you that bad governance has taken over and that they have completely lost hope with respect to any other responsibility of government.
Secondly, I have discovered that Nigerian youths have no future. Nigerian youths large as they are, intellectually capable as they are, nationally and internationally exposed as they are, yet they see no future, they are in the state of hopelessness. So I said to myself any Nigerian that has an iota of contribution to make to rekindle the hope of Nigerian youths and put them on the path of growth and development and make them take the frontage of leadership in the country but fails to give that contribution, he or she would account for his or her failure before his or her Lord in the Day of Judgment.
Mentoring Nigerian youth is critical because in a situation where you have serious struggles among Nigerians who are above 70 in order to get power and then blocking all roads for Nigerian youths to trek towards that position of authority then something must be done and that’s what the NRM is doing.
Look at the Not-Too-Young-to-Run Act, the PDP and the APC have collectively succeeded in passing the bill into an Act of the National Assembly and yet the Act says at the age of 35 a young person can contest for president and the APC is saying before you contest for its ticket you have to pay N45m. Now, where do you expect a capable and competent promising young man of 35, if he is not a son a money-bag, to get N45m just to pay for forms? In other words, the APC and PDP are not sincere to the Nigerian youths. Look at the governorship you are saying somebody would have to pay N22m and the Act says at the age of 30 you can contest for governorship, so where will they get that kind of money?
They are playing with the intelligence of Nigerian youths who have realised that once it is PDP and APC that are in charge of governance of this country, the Nigerian youths will never have an opportunity to lead this country.
In our party, we have said the presidential ticket is only N600,000 and if you are a young man we say pay only 50 percent of that amount which is N300,000 and in fact through donations of N5 among his friends he or she can gather that amount. And we say women who want to contest under our party can pick our forms free in order to encourage women because we want to see women in the positions of leadership at the different levels of governance. This is just few of the policies that the NRM has put in place to show Nigerians that we mean business. We are not like the APC that promised Nigerians change but did not tell Nigerians how they were going to bring about the change and so when they got power they got confused.
What do you intend to do differently to address the economic and security challenges of Zamfara State?
For me, surmounting the insecurity problem in Zamfara state is a simple thing. In fact, that is our priority. You see as contained in the Holy Bible and Holy Quran once leaders are honest, sincere, just and fair to all irrespective of their domains, God has assured that he would bless and give guidance to such leadership. In view of what I know of myself and what I have planned to do: just and fair to all irrespective of religious, political, ethnic or any other inclinations, we are going to give everyone equal opportunity, patronage, employment, provision of socio-economic services and in all ramifications we are going to be just and fair.
Being just and fair it is not a matter of looking at different peoples within Zamfara State but in terms of the distribution of the resources of government. As leaders, we will not allow any leader to steal from the treasury. I won’t myself and if by mistake or omission or commission anybody does so and we caught him we will bring him to book because that is the solid foundation for transforming the society.
This insecurity we are having, the corruption we are talking about is simple because various governments in this country have failed woefully in terms of bringing culprits to book. So people have realised that in Nigeria you can do anything and go scotch-free so that is why all these vices keep on multiplying, spreading until it has reached the level where we are. And I feel it is an obligation for us to act now and not later.
My second priority is to rehabilitate the youths of Zamfara State a large number of whom are drug addicts, have been involved in wanton killings of people, committed all kinds of atrocities. We will re-orientate them. However, not only the youths but the entire population of the society and make it productive. Our natural resources will be utilised to the maximum level. This is the most important thing to do in changing and arresting the socio-economic challenges that have bedevilled Zamfara State. All that is required is the political will to do the right thing and we are determined to do so.
My third priority is to return Zamfara to its origin, which is agriculture and commerce. Before independence from 1900 up to the 1960s in the whole of the North in commerce and agriculture Zamfara was only next to Kano, that’s a fact. Here we are today; Zamfara is the most backward state. So my first priority is to return Zamfara to its origin and include small scale and medium enterprises.
If the NRM succeeds in being in power for 20 years like the PDP and APC have been, Zamfara State will be Africa’s centre for commerce and SMEs. Unlike previous administrations in Zamfara state and most administrations in the federation who got into office without any plan, l and some experts have already finished drawing my blueprint for Zamfara State for the next 10 years. I planned to get further inputs from major stakeholders in Zamfara State and friends in different parts of the country following which we will aggregate and harmonise them and improve on the blueprint and that will be the bible or Holy Quran of Zamfara State development.
This is one thing that is unprecedented in Zamfara State and I believe for most parts of the country and it is to show people that we mean business. It is no rhetoric because whatever we say we are going to do we are going to read in black and white how and when we plan to do it. And it contains who the stakeholders to be involved in doing everything therein are.