Hon. Bashir Ibrahim Sakadadi is the political adviser to Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna state. In this interview with selected reporters including ABDULRAHEEM AODU, in Kaduna, he explains reasons the governor would contest the 2015 elections, even as he denies claim of APC’s dominance in the state
Challenges under Yero
Almighty God gave him the opportunity to govern this state and we really experienced lot of challenges, particularly with the issue of insecurity and now encountering some political issues in the state. So far so good because looking at the issue of insecurity in the state, we must thank the almighty God for making the state among the best in terms of peace.
We are now going back to those years in the 70s when there was total peace in the land. Today, everybody is doing his normal businesses; people have free movement in and out of the state at any given time. I can tell you that among the 19 northern states, Kaduna is one of the few states where people go about their businesses freely.
Most of the northern states have banned commercial motorcyclists in their states, Kaduna state has accommodated almost all of them, particularly those nearest to us and they are enjoying their stay in the state. This is why I can tell you that today Kaduna has turned to a mini Nigeria because presently almost all prominent people live in the state.
In terms of projects, when Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero came to power, he promised people of the state that he will continue from where the late Patrick Yakowa stopped and that is exactly what he is doing right now. We want to believe that the people of Kaduna state are really enjoying the dividends of democracy.
Allegation of stalled projects in Southern Kaduna
Not only in Southern Kaduna, there has been a time our ongoing projects stopped because those handling the projects were expecting government to give them additional payment. I was opportune to be one of the former executive council members, I was one time commissioner of science and technology and I believe the governor invited all stakeholders in the state to tell them what we have on ground concerning funding.
Under the late governor, we already went for a loan which he promised to pay within four years of his administration, that money we got as a loan from banks were used to mobilize for the contracts. We used to give them 20 percent of the total funds for the contracts. When the executive council under late Yakowa awarded that contract, we only gave them part payment.
After that, most of the contractors were expecting to have additional part payments, that time we were having shortage of funds. That is what made most of the contractors to stop their work. But if you now go through most of the 23 local government areas, I can tell you that almost all the contractors are back to site to continue their work.
Those projects you are talking about were constituency projects in not only Southern Kaduna, but almost all the 23 local government areas. We have more than 34 constituencies that are all enjoying the projects. When the projects stopped, it is not only that of Southern Kaduna alone but all over the state. I want to assure you that presently the contractors are back to site and work is ongoing they are expected to finish those works within this particular year because we have adequate budget for that works.
Integrating Muslims and Christians
The reason why both Christians and Muslims occupied Kaduna is because it is the headquarters of government and centre of business. Where we must live together, we have to agree to live together in a cordial relationship without hatred. We must learn to work and eat together as before, even the previous misunderstanding we witnessed was brought because of religion. During late Patrick Yakowa, he set up a reconciliation committee which involved almost 160 people including religious, traditional leaders all members of that committee have done their best, it was just last year they submitted their report indicating that all is well.
Coping with increasing population
If you look at our budget this year, security is first followed by education. We in Kaduna state have been trying our best knowing fully well that we have influx of people coming from neighbouring states. We pay attention to security because without security there is no way people will enjoy staying here.
We also have a new Millennium City that was built during Vice President Namadi Sambo when he was the state governor, there we have an hospital under construction with 300 bed spaces. All these are part of our plans to continue accommodating people that are coming into the state. Kaduna State University is one of the newest in the country but when you go there, you will testify that the state government is really doing something.
That is why we said the state government have made adequate provision in this year’s budget to see that we provide those facilities so as to make the place useful to people so that they will continue enjoying living there.
Defection of PDP members to APC
If you are talking about interest, it comes with a reason. Now that we are approaching elections, some people will start calculating which party they will belong because of their expectation that the party could win elections from ward, local and even states levels.
Those who are now defecting from PDP to other party, in my opinion it is not the best for them and those members of APC are not supposed to be happy that PDP members are moving into their party. For instance, those who defected to APC, when you looked at them, are people that have already enjoyed PDP and if they left PDP, it means they are not doing well in the party or they are people who are creating problem for the party.
For me, those defecting to another party, particularly the prominent ones among them, I will say it is not a welcome idea for the party they went to. To us in PDP, it is not a big loss because we are talking about individuals not the party. If now as Sakadadi, I defected to APC I am going with my attitude and character because you cannot change me at my age.
If they mean well for Nigeria forget about the party or where you came from, if you did well in the position you held in the past or you want to do well if elected then there is no need for you to defect to another party. To defect means they are not honest to themselves and honest to the people that followed them and they are not even ready to help their people and country because defecting from one party to another is not the solution.
APC’s claim on Kaduna in 2015?
I didn’t agree with that statement there is no fact to back it. PDP structure is on ground and if one or two PDP people defected to APC, it means nothing to us. We are talking about elections so let us wait for the election time. You can see they just gathered themselves as party but have started fighting themselves over caretaker committee. If within a party they have already started having internal problem then there will be problems. You read it on paper where some of their people said they never accepted the interim leadership of the party in the state. Some say they no longer trust them and so they are not with them. Then how will they be expecting to take power away from the existing government considering the internal problem they are witnessing.
Come 2015, we are going to retain the seat looking at their initial starting point. You must agree with me that it is not going to be easy for them to take away government from the incumbent because they do not even belief and trust themselves. Everyone among them wants to be a leader and after the interim leadership, there will be time for the original leadership of the party to be formed and later to get who to represent them in general elections. Members of CPC in the group are having their meetings, same with that of ANPP and that of ACN. Each of them will come with his personal interest; forget about those PDP members that defected because there is no room to consider them yet.
We are now uniting ourselves, last week the state stakeholders had a meeting where we looked at our internal problems and we are trying to see that within the first quarter of the year we sort out our problems. Don’t be surprised that maybe those who defected to APC are PDP problems.
Opposition’s claim of Yero’s non performance
I disagree with them. We have just one government and it is a government of continuity. Don’t forget the present governor was the deputy to late Yakowa and we have already made plan from 2011 to 2015. We have our plan that is why the present governor promised that he would continue from where the late governor stopped.
Let the people give us more time because presently Dr Mukhtar Ramalan Yero has studied the situation and governance, now he is very much equipped to lead the people of the state and to provide social amenities. When he came to power, we were having problem especially insecurity but when he stepped into office, he gave more priority to security and now we are enjoying peace.
Secondly, he realised that youths in the state lacked employment and we soon started recruiting science teachers. We have already recruited teachers, right from secondary to higher institutions including university; more than 6,000 teachers were recruited to teach sciences in our schools. Within the last quarter of the year, we have also engaged more than six thousand youths in the SURE-P program just to make them self employed.
They are being trained in block industry, fishing, and printing among others. This is what will give Kaduna a lasting peace. Our question is why are the people complaining refused to do so before Yero’s administration? It is same government with that of late Yakowa. It is only the commissioners that were dissolved to bring in new commissioners to help achieve those goals we intend to achieve from now to 2015. We know people are eager to see what this government has to offer them, let them wait and see in the remaining one and half years we have ahead things will be very much better Insha Allah.
It is for people to decide because this is the fourth time we are going to enjoy elections in this democracy. We have experienced a lot during all the elections. 1999 elections is never same with 2003, the 2003 is never same with 2007, the 2007 is never same with 2011 elections and the 2011 will never be same with 2015 elections.
People now have experience politically because they elected people in the past and today those people are not representing them well. It is now left for people to look at those they elected to see if those people are doing what they were elected to do. If yes, they can give them another chance.
It will be difficult to say what the 2015 election outcome will be. But we hope that the people of Kaduna state are happy with what the state government and that of the federation are doing. Most of the states whose governors defected to APC are on their last tenure so even if they stayed in PDP maybe their calculations was that they are not going to be relevant, so they left for another party to become kingmakerS.
Looking at PDP, we always win elections at the presidential, states, national assembly and states assembly levels. People forgot that those who defected are same people that are not performing in PDP and now cannot even perform if given another mandate.
Yero’s chances in 2015
Insha Allah, 2015 will be the most easy election PDP will enjoy in Kaduna state. As we are talking now, Governor Mukhtar is the first governor to join the Muslim Ummah at the very important Maulud Day. During the Christmas and New Year festivities, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero went to Southern Kaduna and spent a night there with their people. Praying and eating with them, in fact shaking hand and congratulating each other.
This is to show that Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero doesn’t discriminate based on religion or ethnicity. He took an oath as the governor of all people of the state. He is a leader that is why during the Christmas we joined our people to celebrate with them personally. The governor also visited all the first class and second-class chiefs and religious clerics in Southern Kaduna.
He has never contested for an election, so you cannot say he failed to deliver the promise he made. Another thing is that right from his childhood he is a simple person. This is the first time he is going to contest election and we are saying in the next election we are going to enjoy most peaceful and easy election in the state.
As his political adviser I don’t wait for him to say he wants to contest. We want him to continue from where he is now because you don’t have any reason to say Mukhtari is not qualified because he is a complete gentle man.