‘Nobody can challenge Geidam in APC’
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.