‘APC will salvage Taraba come 2015’
Alhaji Hassan Jika Ardo is former Taraba State chairman of the defunct CPC and the current interim chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state. In this interview, he speaks on how to tackle Fulani/ Tiv crises, the ongoing national conference an
What is your take on the ongoing National Conference?
I remain resolute on the issue of the national conference that it is uncalled for because it doesn’t make sense to me and I’m happy Nigerians are living witnesses; everybody is seeing what is happening at the conference, even how to tailor the discussion has become a problem to them. I think Nigerians don’t have priority because, I have seen a lot of things we need to put before us instead of the national conference. The money being spent on the national conference would have been used to checkmate the excesses of people killing one another across the country, name it, if you look at the Niger Delta crisis, the crisis in Plataeu, Benue and the crisis in Borno, the Boko Haram issue and other issues, this money would have been useful for that. I am from Sardauna local government, we have River Donga, that money would have been more fantastic if it is used to construct a bridge rather spending it on this conference just inviting people to come and eat lavishly in Abuja. All what they are saying are embedded in the constitution. There is nothing new about what they have been speaking on. And then, is it not a duplication of job? What is the National Assembly doing? They are the people saddled with the responsibility of proffering solutions to problems because they are representatives of various constituencies in the country. Are we rendering the National Assembly useless by creating a national conference?
You did talk about security challenges across the country; there have been Tiv/Fulani clashes in Benue and other parts of the country in recent times. What do you think can bring an end to all these?
You see in the real sense, government is not serious, government is not out to checkmate the excesses. The issue is that we are all Nigerians; the Tiv/ Fulani crises is not only in Benue,we also have such problems in Taraba and its environs. The issue is that everybody in this country is important and why the issue of Tiv/ Fulani is so pronounced is because majority of them live in villages and that is why. If you are a grazer, you live in the village, if you are a farmer, you live in the village and that is why their own is so pronounced. The crisis we have in the country is not only the case of Tiv/Fulani crisis, everywhere, every society have their problems but this one so pronounced because the majority of them live in the bush. There they have the farmland and that is where there is grazing land. Create a grazing land and cattle route and grazing reserve for the Fulanis, then you would have solved that problem
The political atmosphere is getting charged ahead of 2015 general elections, your party congresses are coming up soon and from feelers, you are one of the aspirants for APC state chairmanship in Taraba, can you tell us what people should expect from APC should you emerge winner?
You see, one important thing is the people that you have; I know I have never sat you down to tell you I want to contest for the chairmanship but I believe it is the electorates that are telling you. As you can see, personally from the beginning, I’m a man of the people, if the people want me to contest this election, then I have no objection to that provided the people want me. If the people don’t want me, fine, they can vote any other person. The main essence is for us to build a party that can salvage this country; that can salvage Taraba and can salvage our people. If that is what the people want, I definitely have to oblige to that and I’m obliging to the call, the yearning of our people that want me to contest. I have already made my declaration for it and that doesn’t stop anybody from contesting that election. It is left for the people to make their choice, Tarabans are there to make a choice, we want to make a change for good leadership and everybody is at liberty to contest the election.
The PDP has been at helm of affairs in Taraba for a long time now, what hope do you see for the opposition APC in the 2015 general elections?
The answer is not farfetched; if the PDP has been doing what they are supposed to do, there wouldn’t have been the APC. It is because the people are not getting what they want that is why they have been looking for another party that will give them what they want. The people have not been satisfied over the years; they have been cheated, they have been undermined and have not been given what they want. They are not being given the dividends of democracy. They have gotten promises year in year out; seven point agenda, three point agenda and zero point agenda that we are running today. All these things are only on paper. That is why we are coming up with the APC. The APC wants to make a change in this country and in Taraba State. All that people have not been able to get, what past governments have not been able to do, APC intends to do them. Number one, we will tackle the security issue because it is only when people are surviving that you will provide them with other amenities that they need. We want to effect change in the country and that is what we are up to. We trust in God and believe with our mission and vision, that change will come in 2015 when we will send away all the umbrellas, we will not even allow them to be in the farm even. We will destroy their umbrellas and put them in the gutter and everybody will get APC to cure their headache.