‘No­body can chal­lenge Gei­dam in APC’

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Hamisu Matazu, Da­maturu

The po­lit­i­cal arena is charged in Yobe as the ma­jor op­po­si­tion party, the PDP, is all out to clinch the gu­ber­na­to­rial seat, what is your take on this?

It’s dif­fi­cult for some­one to within some months, change a thing that has been there for over 15 years. Govern­ment is about people and this one has served the people very well. Be­sides, the can­di­date they want to present is some­body who lived and worked out­side Yobe. So it’s just dif­fi­cult for him to es­tab­lish an ac­cept­able struc­ture that will beat the al­ready es­tab­lished struc­ture that is there for over 14 years.

So, tak­ing over govern­ment from APC in Yobe is just im­pos­si­ble, and if the rul­ing PDP at na­tional level is con­sid­er­ing us­ing federal might to take over govern­ment from APC in the state like mil­i­tary coup, it would def­i­nitely face se­ri­ous re­sis­tance by the elec­torate know­ing quite well they would lose the demo­cratic div­i­dend be­ing en­joyed over time. As far as APC is con­cerned, we be­lieve in cred­i­ble elec­tions and if elec­tions should be held in the state, we are sure of vic­tory.

What struc­ture has the APC in Yobe?

Since 1999 to date, it’s APP, ANPP and APC but, PDP is nowhere in the state, so they can­not with­stand a solid struc­ture that is there for 14 years and worst of it all, they lack or­ga­ni­za­tion be­cause, ev­ery­body in this state knows that their party is in com­plete dis­ar­ray. It would take PDP no fewer than 14 years to have a struc­ture like ours and by then our strat­egy must have dou­bled.

Be­sides, I don’t think Yobe people are ready to hand over their govern­ment people they don’t trust be­cause, all the re­main­ing re­spon­si­ble people within the PDP have de­fected to APC.

There are spec­u­la­tions that the Federal Govern­ment and INEC are plan­ning to with­hold elec­tions in the three APC con­trolled states un­der emer­gency rule. What is your re­ac­tion to this?

Ac­tu­ally, that would be re­sisted se­ri­ously, and the re­sis­tance would be within the state and the Na­tional As­sem­bly to make sure that this did not hap­pen. And even when it turns out to be so, a se­ri­ous re­sis­tance would come from the elec­torates, civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions and right think­ing Nige­ri­ans.

The is­sue of in­se­cu­rity in this part of the coun­try is overex­ag­ger­ated be­cause, re­cently, we con­ducted a lo­cal govern­ment elec­tion in all the 17 coun­cils of the state and noth­ing hap­pened; it was very peace­ful. So, if we can con­duct the lo­cal govern­ment elec­tion hitch free, noth­ing will stop us from con­duct­ing the gen­eral elec­tion come 2015.

What has the APC done that would en­sure its re-elec­tion?

You know, govern­ment is for the people, and dur­ing the for­ma­tion of the govern­ment the party went round the state, in­ter­acted with the people, to know their prob­lems. Upon giv­ing the man­date to serve, we re­sponded through the pro­vi­sion of div­i­dends of democ­racy to the people.

For in­stance, from 1999 to date, the APC govern­ment has con­trib­uted in no small mea­sures to pro­vid­ing potable wa­ter for both hu­man and an­i­mal con­sump­tion, over 800 kilo­me­ters of roads were con­structed dis­sect­ing towns and vil­lages to ease trans­porta­tion of goods and ser­vices, and agri­cul­ture was taken to very im­por­tant level.

Wa­ter was made the ut­most pri­or­ity of Gei­dam’s APC led ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause dur­ing elec­tion­eer­ing cam­paign, vir­tu­ally all the com­mu­ni­ties de­manded for it. When this ad­min­is­tra­tion took over govern­ment in 2007, the ac­ces­si­bil­ity to wa­ter by the people in this state was 22 per­cent, by the year 2013, the ac­ces­si­bil­ity to qual­ity wa­ter in­creased to 51 per­cent and since then govern­ment has been pump­ing a lot of money into wa­ter sec­tor to en­sure potable wa­ter for all.

In the area of health, the APC led ad­min­is­tra­tion is giv­ing med­i­cal ser­vices to chil­dren un­der the ages of 5, preg­nant women and treat­ment of ac­ci­dent vic­tims within the first 24 hours. Qual­ity drugs were pro­vided in all the hos­pi­tals to make them avail­able to people.

In the area of ed­u­ca­tion, the state is run­ning an in­clu­sive sys­tem from ba­sic pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion up to higher ed­u­ca­tion level. Our state-owned univer­sity is built to a stan­dard; it can com­pete any­where in the world, and the same thing ap­plies to agri­cul­ture where fer­til­izer is al­ways sup­plied to farm­ers with ir­ri­ga­tion pumps and all nec­es­sary equip­ment re­quired by small farm­ers to boost agri­cul­ture in the state. In a nut­shell, this is just lit­tle of what en­deared the hearts of people to APC govern­ment in the state.

With the re­cent de­fec­tion of Na­tional As­sem­bly mem­bers to PDP, wont this have an ef­fect on the APC?

Ac­tu­ally the hap­pen­ing in the Na­tional As­sem­bly is a record his­tory be­cause, since 1999, the PDP con­trolled the ma­jor­ity in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. This is the first time the op­po­si­tion party would have ma­jor­ity in the House. And it’s clear that those that re­turned to the PDP did it af­ter a long plea with their fam­i­lies to con­vince them.

Also the PDP took ex­tra step by us­ing court in­junc­tion to stop the mem­bers in the Se­nate from de­fect­ing to the APC but, their minds are still with us. If PDP is con­fi­dent of it­self then, pol­i­tics should be al­lowed to play it­self in the House.

The de­fec­tion of the other people would not in any way re­duce the for­tune of the APC be­cause, their de­fec­tions were based on dis­agree­ments. For in­stance, Sheka­rau de­fected from APC sim­ply be­cause the party ruled that all states with a sit­ting gover­nor, should have the gover­nor as leader of the party.

The same thing hap­pened in all other states like Sokoto and Adamawa. How­ever, I want to as­sure you that those people that de­fected would not make any dif­fer­ence be­cause their fol­low­ers did not go with them to avoid po­lit­i­cal sui­cide.

The PDP ap­pears set to field Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan for re-elec­tion, are you com­fort­able with that?

Per­son­ally, I would pre­fer Jonathan to con­test be­cause, he is the one we can eas­ily beat, he has done so many things that would make him very dif­fi­cult to sell. The scan­dals of his ad­min­is­tra­tion are vivid and have kept grow­ing by the day. Cor­rup­tion is every­where, hun­dreds of bil­lions keep miss­ing ev­ery day and are unac­counted for.

Don’t you think that people may sus­pect that you are back­ing Jonathan just to pave way for Gei­dam’s re-elec­tion?

No, I least ex­pected that.

There is the body lan­guage that Gover­nor Gaidam will seek re-elec­tion even though he has not made any pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion, what will you say to that?

It has long been de­cided at cau­cus level that Gei­dam will con­test in 2015,

What if other can­di­dates come out to chal­lenge the gover­nor within the party?

No one will chal­lenge that.

Is that ap­pli­ca­ble to all po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions in the state?

That I can­not tell be­cause, I was the gover­nor’s cam­paign co­or­di­na­tor dur­ing the last 2011 elec­tion and I speak on that po­si­tion any­where and any­time. Be­side it has al­ready been de­cided at cau­cus level.

Al­haji Sidi Yakubu Kara­suwa

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