Abubakar Halilu Jikamshi is a surveyor by profession and a former director with the FCDA. He is the National Rescue Movement (NRM) governorship candidate in Katsina state. In this interview with PATRICK ANDREW he says the NRM administration will revamp education, create jobs by establishing cottage industries among others.
Why did you join politics?
I decided to join forces with like minds to form the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in 2017 because the change we had anticipated was not realisable. This has been so because the ship has gone off course, and as the 2019 general elections approaches I decided to contest for the governorship of Katsina state.
My intention essentially is to contribute my quota to the development of Katsina state and liberate the people from the clutches of misrule. The most disturbing thing to me, which I saw on the ground, is the teeming youth unemployment. The bulk of Katsina state youths are simply gallivanting around without jobs, those that had gone to school and graduated, and even those that could not further their education at the tertiary levels, a lot of them are just roaming the streets without jobs. That is a huge problem and indeed Katsina state is in trouble.
The typical example is all the crises in this country especially Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappings, mass killings are largely attributable to lack of solid foundation in education and unemployment.
Our late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua when he was governor of Katsina state started good programmes on education that were meant to drive the development of the state. But after he left there was no seriousness. What is happening now is terrible because of the high percentages of low performances of our students in WEAC and NECO, for a state like Katsina where we had the history of education, it is on record that almost all our past leaders schooled in Katsina, sadly, the system is failing.
What will your administration do differently?
When I become governor, my major focus will be youth empowerment in order to stop them roaming about the streets aimlessly essentially because an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. So if we allow that to continue the problem that will arise subsequently will be massive and very unfortunate. Of course, we can only achieve that when we give them good education as well as care for all not for selected individuals because we found that youth that have gone to the primary schools and can’t further because of financial constraints and the government does not care about them readily becomes a ready poll for recruitment into sundry crimes.
Our aim will be to train them on various skills acquisition programmes and we will ensure that our children do not just go to universities but are prepared to be self-reliant on graduation not dependant on the government for employment. We will focus on the kind of education that develops talent and makes our children productive. We have talented children and currently we have many of them that have excelled like the automobile designer currently in the United States. We don’t want mass production of school levers but qualitative graduates who will be self-reliant upon graduation.
Jobs for our youths
We intend to create jobs by establishing cottage industries, put in place a reliable development blueprint for Katsina State. We want create a situation whereby farmers will, after harvesting their crops, sell to government established agencies and get value for their products. Right now, farmers are at the mercy of the agents who buy their goods off them at whatever prices they (agents) so desire thereby making farming unattractive.
We will further establish food processing industries and these will become ready buyers of raw foods and fruits for processing. Of course, we will encourage wealthy individuals to bring in packaging machinery to package processed foods and fruits thereby create employment for our people.
With these, everybody including the house wives will have something to do to earn a living without depending on the government, and this will drastically reduced desperation to secure government contracts, and will equally bring down corruption.
So, our government, instead of favouring certain individuals that are closed to government officials, will favour the community and the people directly.
This way, we will run an all-inclusive government that favours all not some selected persons. It will never be my will to favour a selected few, after all the government cannot employ everybody but we can bring in creative minds and consultants to give us ideas on how to develop the massively untapped solid minerals in Katsina state.
We have mass deposits of various solid minerals in the ground which are yet untapped, we are not yet harnessing them.
Since the federal government has given approval for people to go into mining and other solid minerals ventures, we intend to take full advantage of that. One of the problems of Zamfara state as speculated by people is abundant mining resources. According to a document by Sheik Al ZakZaky, marauders are deliberately chasing people away from their ancestral homes in order to take these places and exploit the abundant solid minerals in these areas. And you can’t fault it. So, we will encourage people that are in that discipline to tap into that area to create employment, generate resources and wealth for our people.
What is your take on the APC change mantra?
We found ourselves in a ship where all the political gladiators are from the same origin. When the APC was formed most of the founders were from the PDP and almost all the governors that decamped to join forces with us to form the APC were former PDP members and their mindset was not about real change.
So, the change mantra that Muhammadu Buhari came with could not be realized because the actors that have surrounded him don’t have the same vision like he does.
They don’t even allow him to effect the desired changes. The APC has thus derailed from its original change concept. It has failed to fulfill major promises to the people. The people are disappointed, won’t just accepted mouthed change mantra, they want real change and it seems impossible for the APC to deliver.
And it’s all about politics which is a game of numbers. PMB got massive votes from the North but on the average we (North) are not getting the dividends of democracy as against the other side that did not give him that huge chunk of votes.
At the NRM, we have clear focus, vision and if given the mandate we shall govern with the fear of God. It will never be our intention to take control of the state treasury solely to squander it. Whatever resources there are and which are meant for the people must go to the people for developmental projects.
How are you going to get the people to shift loyalty from the incumbent governor, Aminu Bello Masari?
The President is in charge of 36 states and the FCT he cannot bring developments to all, that was why the states were created and the states and local government are monthly given their subventions. But what have these governors done with these money? Again, what have the local governments done to bring development to the grassroots people? The people can look at the mighty might of the federal government and say okay we have got these and that.
Sadly, in Katsina state there is no project, up till now President Buhari has not commissioned any completed project by the Masari administration, I stand to be corrected on this.
So, what of those loyal to APC because of President Buhari?
These are blind followers, govern by sentiment. The NRM government will be different. We won’t want people to follow us blindly. Instead, we will bring projects to their door steps. Then, they can change their minds. Some persons are following Buhari because of his past records of integrity, but he is a human being liable to commit errors, he has lapses and we can work on that to get people’s sympathy.
Besides, I am not contesting against Buhari but against his party and what his party has done or not done in Katsina state will form the basis of our campaign. We have a fresh platform that has good intention to serve the people. It will be a contest of issues.
Also, the APC is in court because of the issues that arose from the state primaries and we don’t know who will eventually emerge winner but it is to our advantage.
Do you think INEC as constituted can conduct credible elections?
The country is still in a learning process. Prof. Jega did his best and we hope Prof. Mahmood Yakubu will replicate his performance. We are also banking on the President’s promise that there will be fair, free and credible elections.
Recall that all security agencies especially the Police have been told point blank that they should not be partisan. Their contributions to fair and credible elections in recent elections have left much to be desired.
We are hoping that IGP Ibrahim Idris will come to the realisation that the Police are working for Nigeria not the incumbent government.
The military is to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria, are therefore Nigeria’s security not a particular government security.
It is unprofessional to deploy federal might to favour a particular candidate because the candidate will someday finish his tenure and go leaving a battered image for the security agencies. So those leading the security outfits must not only be seen not to be partisan but leave above board.