Ahmed Aliyu Wadada represented Keffi/Kokona/Karu federal constituency and contested for the Nasarawa governorship election in 2019. In this interview with Ahmed Tukur, he speaks on insecurity, among other salient issues.
What can help mitigates the insecurity situation especially with the rising spate of kidnapping and banditry?
It is most unfortunate that Nigeria is bedevilled with high level of insecurity today. I personally attribute the high level of insecurity in the country to high level of poverty. Nigerians are in abject poverty, are really suffering, and subjected to a livelihood they should not experience at this material time. That is not to say the government of President Muhammmdu Buhari is not doing the much it needed to do but it gets to do more in the aspect of making the economy much more flourishing, buoyant, reliable for the sustenance of Nigerians.
We have an army of youths all over Nigeria, I get scared each time I go to my local community, you see youths looking healthy and hearty with full strength but merely roaming the streets. This is not just because they want to, but because they have nothing to do.
Those that have certificates are not gainfully employed, those without certificates are willing but there are no skilled jobs for them to do. The small and medium enterprises that were in existence in Nigeria or in particular in Nasarawa state are no longer there. These youths are just there, their fate as citizens is in abeyance, their means of sustenance is in abeyance, and their socio political ambition is in abeyance because nothing seems to be promising.
While growing up as a child in my local community, most of the well-do-to do and rich people we looked up to, were local contractors from the local government. Today, there is no local government in Nasarawa state that will boast of a local government contractor because the local governments are not contracting anything because really they do not have anything to contract.
State government should look much more inwards. Nasarawa state, for instance, is endowed with solid minerals of all kinds but as far as solid minerals are concerned in Nasarawa state there is even no solid minerals development agency. One could comfortably say that exploration of solid minerals is in the exclusive list, which is the
right of federal government but this does not mean that the state cannot invest in that sector.
If Nasarawa state has a functional investment company, in collaboration with private sector players that have the expertise in that sector via an agreement with federal government so that the citizens of the state can benefit from that wealth. All I am trying to say is that there is no provision of the constitution that is supposed to be a constraint.
In 2006, I present a paper to the then northern governors’ forum under the chairmanship of Aliyu Babangida, former governor of Niger state. I suggested that if the Sardauna of blessed memory could conceptualize and put in place NNDC, which is now in abeyance, why don’t we resuscitate it or put in place something similar to that?
I suggested that every state government should from source contribute N100m every month to a common pool, which means at the end of every month N1.9 bn will be generated and a secretariat will be put in place to ensure that the money is judiciously used. In doing that, every state will present three proposals and the secretariat will now look at the proposals and take the best out of the three and embark on full implementation of that project. There is no bank in the world that you will approach with N1.9 bn monthly income that will not partner with you. In a few years every state in northern Nigeria will have one factory or industry that will employ the citizens of that state.
At the national level this government is doing the much it’s doing but this is twenty first century. If President Buhari will concentrate in this last four years only to provide effective power supply in Nigeria, he is done. There is virtually nothing you will do today that will be fully achievable and result oriented without steady power supply.
What calibre of people do you foresee Buhari selecting?
The president should appoint competent persons; he is not a novice in leadership. He was a head of state and as military man he headed so many commands. He headed many positions and today as a politician he was elected for four years now getting to the end of the first tenure.
He has been re-elected for another four years, nobody needs to tell him the kind of people to appoint as members of his cabinet because he knows what is right. If he appoints the right people, things will be good, if he doesn’t, it will be unfortunate and we shall all suffer it.
For the first time President Buhari won election in Nasarawa state, how was that possible?
Let me start by saying that Buhari won election in Nasarawa because most of the political gladiators in the state today are of the APC extraction and the gubernatorial primaries of APC rather than divide those that aspired alongside their supporters, God in his infinite mercy made it possible for the aspirants to be much more united, cohesive, concerned and focused.
We tried under my stewardship (as chairman of the campaign council) with other stakeholders to ensure that the people were educated and enlightened enough as far as the happenings within the party is concerned, right from the commencement of political activities gearing towards 2019 general elections.
And of course, the people were responsive and they really got it deep into them that continuity is a veritable instrument for development. In order for the APC to be in power in Nasarawa state and to succeed itself, as well as provide the required and decent successful transition that will further deepen socio-economic and political developments in the state, it became necessary to enlighten and educate the people.
What should the governor-elect do to sustain the unity among aspirants that preceded the election?
For our governor-elect, I think he is on course because from the day the result of the primaries were announced he kept good and close relationship with the association of APC gubernatorial aspirants, which I created immediately after the primaries to enable all of us come together. This is because politics is not enmity and if it is truly all about Nasarawa state then let’s come together. He is fully in touch with members of the association.
If he keeps the pace and does not get carried away by governance, he will succeed and I don’t see him as somebody that will get carried away because of his background. I think he will give little attention to rumour mongers and mediocre, who feel the only way to be patronized is to go about abusing and insulting people, criticizing and blackmailing to get patronage.
You know he is of the private sector background, where result, productivity, and due process, are the order of the day. I think it is going to be a different ball game, all things been equal. And if it is not, we are still the stakeholders, we will look at him to his face and caution him, urge him to retract his steps to avoid any problem. But for now, I think the governor-elect is on the right course.
It is said that you chaired the campaign council as bargain for a ministerial appointment?
My ambition, as far as Nasarawa is concerned, is to make it a better place. The first thing I did was to dissuade anybody that had some form of possible negative expectation from Wadada because of the result of the primaries.
After that, my brother, A.A Sule invited me for a meeting in Lagos and asked me what I want because he needed my support and that of other aspirants. I said to
Him, I want to be governor of Nasarawa state and which of course will not be possible because God has given him the ticket. When they decided I should chair the campaign council the same Engr. A.A Sule called me said that this was the decision but he was not sure whether I will accept the offer and I said if I am a true citizen of Nasarawa state and a loyal and committed member of APC why not? After all I am going to chair the council for the election of Muhammadu Buhari. I accepted without giving any body condition. I wonder why the appointment of a minister is becoming an issue, if I am appointed as a minister, so be it. I deserve it and I am qualified for it because I have paid my dues.
I never gave anybody condition for accepting to chair the campaign council and I choose not to contest the result of the primaries so that we don’t rock the boat and God in his infinite mercy has vindicated me.