I am run­ning as gover­nor on be­half of the masses - Kanti Bello Mah­mud Kanti Bello rep­re­sented Katsina North Se­na­to­rial District from 2003-2011. He is a mem­ber of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC). In this in­ter­view, he ex­plains why he wants to be gov­ern

Ev­ery­thing has col­lapsed, it is a to­tal dis­as­ter and we are go­ing to cor­rect it. That is why you have el­derly people like us who want to come in to make things right. I am not com­ing in be­cause I want power; I am com­ing in to cor­rect the mess be­ing don

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Atika Balal, Katsina

Are you sat­is­fied with the ar­range­ments made for the APC con­gresses na­tion­wide?

The most im­por­tant thing is hon­esty of pur­pose. What­ever ar­range­ment some­one tells you he has made, if there is no hon­esty of pur­pose and sin­cer­ity or even a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort to make it a suc­cess, then it won’t work. But from what the chair­man of the com­mit­tee told us, I be­lieve there is hon­esty of pur­pose; I have no rea­son to doubt him. So we are wait­ing to see.

What is your opin­ion on the post­pone­ment of the congress in other states?

Why did we shift ours? It is be­cause of lo­gis­tics prob­lem. They did not get the ma­te­ri­als on time. There are cer­tain steps that need to be taken like pur­chas­ing the forms. And these forms are paid for at the bank but they don’t give you the form there. If they had de­posited the forms at the bank it would have been much eas­ier. Un­for­tu­nately, they did it other­wise, but I be­lieve it is rel­a­tively trans­par­ent. But it is a long process. You pay to the bank, get the form, go to your ward to get nom­i­nated, your name has to be pub­lished and the venue too, INEC also has to be no­ti­fied 48 hours be­fore. If you want to do it cor­rectly, it takes time and the time given is very short that is why there are ex­ten­sions in these states.

A lot of people are say­ing that you in­tend to run for gov­er­nor­ship come 2015…

It is not my in­ten­tion, it is the wish of the people. I am a Mus­lim and I be­lieve in des­tiny and the wish of Al­lah. God will­ing the people of Katsina have asked me to run for this elec­tion. I am not run­ning for my­self; I am run­ning on be­half of the masses of Katsina State. What­ever they ask me to run for, even if it is for coun­cil­lor­ship, I will do so. Ma­jor­ity of people we have been pol­i­tick­ing to­gether came to­gether and have asked me to lead them. I don’t want to see my­self as gover­nor at the age of 68; I want people to see me as a leader within the state, un­der Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari. He be­ing the na­tional leader and I a state leader, a leader that is go­ing to be fair, just and de­cent so that we can cor­rect all the ills within Katsina and Nigeria in gen­eral. Stop cor­rup­tion, cre­ate em­ploy­ment for our youths, this is our pur­pose. We have to se­cure the fu­ture of our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. I want to leave a legacy be­hind.

So are your po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies dif­fer­ent from that of the in­cum­bent gover­nor?

Well, I con­sider the gover­nor to be my younger brother but I have dif­fer­ent opin­ions on how things are to be done. Af­ter all pol­i­tics is a ques­tion of opin­ion. Re­mem­ber I was in PDP but I left, not be­cause I can­not be given an ap­point­ment as a board mem­ber or chair­man of a board of a paras­tatal, but be­cause I be­lieve what PDP had been do­ing was wrong. I left be­cause of my prin­ci­ples. I have no per­sonal grudge against Shema but I think there are so many things that are wrong in his way of ap­proach­ing things. But that is not per­sonal. For ex­am­ple; I don’t agree with the federal govern­ment. Ev­ery day you read in the pa­pers about people steal­ing money. I have been in pub­lic of­fice, I have been chief ex­ec­u­tive of a federal govern­ment paras­tatal, I have been in charge of mil­lions at dif­fer­ent times and I have been elected se­na­tor four times; I chal­lenge any­one who finds me want­ing in cor­rup­tion to come out and say it. I am clean and I have no fear of say­ing it in front of any­body. I have never be­lieved in the way cor­rup­tion is go­ing on in PDP right from the be­gin­ning. I be­lieve they are putting this coun­try in a mess. That’s why I quit. It is a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple and what I be­lieve in. It is noth­ing per­sonal.

What would you do dif­fer­ently if elected gover­nor?

It is not a ques­tion of do­ing any­thing dif­fer­ently. It is a com­plete change. If you say dif­fer­ently, it means I even agree with what is be­ing done. But they are not do­ing any­thing right at all. Do you agree with people be­ing mur­dered on a daily ba­sis and their cat­tle stolen? I don’t agree with that and we have to stop it. Do you agree with the team­ing youths that are un­em­ployed? I have to cre­ate jobs in Katsina State. Do you be­lieve in the way the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem is go­ing with­out teach­ers or in the health­care sys­tem in Katsina State? Ev­ery­thing has col­lapsed, it is a to­tal dis­as­ter and we are go­ing to cor­rect it. That is why you have el­derly people like us who want to come in to make things right. I am not com­ing in be­cause I want power; I am com­ing in to cor­rect the mess be­ing done by our ju­niors.

What would you say about the spec­u­lated Mus­lim/Mus­lim ticket in your party?

I am a Nige­rian first, and a pa­tri­otic one. I don’t want this pol­i­tics to be based on re­li­gious sen­ti­ments. Fair­ness and the qual­ity of lead­er­ship is what mat­ters, some­body who can deliver is what we need. This coun­try has reached a cer­tain stage that we can­not be putting ember of re­li­gion into the sys­tem. I re­ally don’t care if it’s a Chris­tian/Chris­tian ticket or Ju­daism/Ju­daism ticket; pro­vided the people have the qual­ity to rule Nigeria, stop cor­rup­tion, move this coun­try for­ward, that’s what we need. So all these talks di­vert­ing people’s at­ten­tion to­wards re­li­gion is un­for­tu­nate. Those who have noth­ing to of­fer are the ones talk­ing about re­li­gion. Buhari is not talk­ing about re­li­gion; it is a ques­tion of if he can stop cor­rup­tion. That’s what we are talk­ing about.

Some people have threat­ened to leave APC if it ends up be­ing a Mus­lim/Mus­lim ticket...

Well, they are re­li­gious big­ots. I am not say­ing it’s go­ing to be a Mus­lim/Mus­lim ticket, but in­case it is, it must be based on cer­tain prin­ci­ples and qual­ity. For good­ness sake people should stop brin­ing re­li­gion into our party. It is not a re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tion. If it was, we would have gone to Rev­erend Kuka or Dr Ahmed Gumi and asked to join their group. APC is purely a po­lit­i­cal party aimed at sal­vaging this coun­try. I think it’s un­pa­tri­otic and un­re­al­is­tic; and I think the leg­is­la­tors at the Na­tional As­sem­bly should leg­is­late against any­body talk­ing about re­li­gion in our po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Is it your de­ci­sion that if it is a Mus­lim/ Mus­lim ticket then it is wrong? It is not your de­ci­sion, it is a Nige­rian de­ci­sion. What does it mat­ter if it’s a Mus­lim/Mus­lim or Budha/ Budha ticket? If APC feels that they can win with such a ticket, it is their own prob­lem be­cause we want to win. It is not any­one’s headache. Why are people try­ing to cre­ate and bring re­li­gion into pol­i­tics? It is dan­ger­ous. We have enough prob­lems in Maiduguri. When they kill people in Maiduguri or Faskari, are they not Mus­lims be­ing killed? So any­body who is telling me all this rubbish about a Mus­lim/Mus­lim ticket or bring­ing re­li­gion into the sys­tem is just a hope­less and un­pa­tri­otic per­son.

What do you think about the de­fec­tions from APC?

They can­not de­fect from some­thing that does not ex­ist. It is stu­pid­ity to even say that some­body de­fected from some­thing that does not even ex­ist. APC is go­ing to ex­ist in the next three weeks. Of course, people have reg­is­tered into the party but the party struc­ture is not even there; so how can you de­fect when you have not even got the party. Where are you de­fect­ing from? Maybe this people did not even reg­is­ter with APC at the time they de­fected. Can you de­fect from noth­ing into some­thing?

As a for­mer se­na­tor, how would you as­sess the per­for­mance of the se­nate now?

It would be un­fair for me to judge my for­mer col­leagues. The se­nate is an in­sti­tu­tion that I re­spect and I re­main part of the in­sti­tu­tion re­gard­less of whether I am a serv­ing se­na­tor or not. Ev­ery right think­ing per­son must de­fend that in­sti­tu­tion, es­pe­cially if you were once a mem­ber of the in­sti­tu­tion. So it is not fair for me to crit­i­cize but they could do bet­ter in cer­tain ar­eas. Let me tell you with all sin­cer­ity, if I were in the se­nate, I would have moved an im­peach­ment against Jonathan. He has done enough dam­age to this coun­try that he should have been im­peached. But as the say­ing goes ‘it is he who wears the shoes that knows where it pinches most’. So I can­not crit­i­cize them; but I am telling you that if I were in the se­nate, I would have moved a mo­tion to mo­bi­lize and im­peach this guy be­cause he is putting this coun­try into trou­ble and he should have left. But in any case we are get­ting rid of him in 2015 in sha Al­lah.

Mah­mud Kanti Bello

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