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
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.