‘Why we say PDP does not ex­ist in Katsina’

Ah­mad Babba Kaita rep­re­sents Kankia/In­gawa/Ku­sada federal con­stituency of Katsina State in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. In this in­ter­view, he speaks on his ex­pec­ta­tions from APC ahead of the 2015 elec­tions and why he thinks PDP is a fail­ure in Katsina. E

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS -

The PDP in Katsina does not re­gard APC as a for­mi­da­ble op­po­si­tion…

To say that APC does not pose a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge to the PDP in Katsina sounds funny to me. APC is the party to beat. We might have our in­ter­nal prob­lems but even PDP is not de­void of such is­sues and in­ter­nal prob­lems might not nec­es­sar­ily be a neg­a­tive thing to a party. I am not say­ing APC is as smooth as it should be but pol­i­tics is a com­pli­cated thing. People come with di­ver­gent in­ter­ests and if one of them wants to be in the driver’s seat nat­u­rally you are bound to have ob­sta­cles. We just have to learn not to be self­ish. I see no rea­son why we would not emerge vic­to­ri­ous in 2015, ex­cept if there are moles within the party. That might be a chal­lenge.

What is APC do­ing to avoid mak­ing the mis­takes CPC made in Katsina in 2011?

Well, at that time a lot of things were taken for granted be­cause of the pop­u­lar­ity of the party and the pop­u­lar­ity of the leader of the party, Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari. People just as­sumed they could join from any party and con­test within the CPC. There was no strong po­lit­i­cal mech­a­nism to check the in­flux of such new en­trants so be­fore we knew it, there were so many is­sues and bad blood in­jected. I will not say we had a bad out­ing in CPC but I be­lieve we could have done bet­ter. At least, the party en­joyed so much good­will in Katsina. The state was there for our tak­ing but we lost it to in­ter­nal prob­lems.

We would use ex­pe­ri­ences we gath­ered from CPC to check any er­rant politi­cian. Luck­ily for us we have the time now. It isn’t too late be­cause we are just be­gin­ning our con­gresses. Even the prob­lems we had dur­ing the con­gresses we ex­pect that a dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee will be con­sti­tuted to deal with that af­ter the chair­man and the com­mit­tee might have sub­mit­ted their re­port in Abuja. Katsina is too im­por­tant na­tion­ally for us to be play­ing with. APC is a new party so there are a lot of prob­lems to con­tend with but above ev­ery­thing, I think the cri­sis is man­age­able and we are work­ing hard to solve the prob­lems.

Some­time ago, Gover­nor Shema re­port­edly said Gen­eral Buhari is not a threat to PDP in Katsina. Do you agree with this?

Shema is one of the big­gest jokers we have in the north­ern part of the coun­try. No­body even takes him se­ri­ously any­way be­cause he be­came gover­nor by de­fault. He doesn’t even have the po­lit­i­cal acu­men and tact to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion on ground. Other­wise, such a state­ment would have made him bury his face. The re­al­ity of the emer­gence of PDP in Katsina is that they ma­nip­u­lated all the elec­tions. The only rea­son he re­turned a sec­ond time was not only be­cause the elec­tion was ma­nip­u­lated, but be­cause of our ag­grieved CPC mem­bers. We have 12 mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and three sen­a­tors from CPC. We have chal­lenged Shema that if he sincerely be­lieves in what he is say­ing let him con­duct lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions. I have gone to court twice and I was asked to with­draw the case twice for him to con­duct the elec­tions. Each time I do so, he fails to con­duct the elec­tions. I dare Shema to or­ga­nize a one week elec­tion and I guar­an­tee that even in his im­me­di­ate con­stituency, Shema Ward, he will lose.

What are your ex­pec­ta­tions from APC ahead of 2015?

I think the fu­ture is bright for APC. Look­ing at all the po­lit­i­cal arith­metic, APC is the party to beat. I was op­por­tune to be in­volved in the na­tional com­mit­tee and I have gone round so many states with my team and the re­sponses we have re­ceived are en­cour­ag­ing. APC is a spe­cial party in the sense that some par­ties dis­solved to be­come one. While things are not ex­pected to go en­tirely smooth, once there is sin­cer­ity of pur­pose, I am sure that we will solve most of our prob­lems be­fore 2015. People just say what­ever they feel about APC but the truth about the mat­ter is that the sin­cer­ity of pur­pose is what even gave birth to APC. You will re­call we took a shot at merg­ing in 2011 and it didn’t work but now it is dif­fer­ent. One thing that is gal­va­niz­ing the in­ter­est of Nige­ri­ans is the econ­omy and the level of cor­rup­tion and in­se­cu­rity; these is­sues are para­mount in the minds of Nige­ri­ans that they are ready to put aside all their dif­fer­ences to form a plat­form that will chal­lenge all the waste­ful years we had in PDP.

Some are of the view that APC has no agenda and that their only con­cern is to take over from PDP....

We have a more ar­tic­u­late agenda than in the past years. We have an all en­com­pass­ing man­i­festo that has a thrust for the en­tire na­tion and not just Katsina alone. It cap­tures ed­u­ca­tion, health, se­cu­rity and the econ­omy amongst other things. If we are able to ad­dress all these is­sues, APC is good to go.

Is that to say the PDP has failed?

Yes, PDP has failed. They failed to deliver on prac­ti­cally ev­ery­thing. Take Kankia for ex­am­ple. Their monthly al­lo­ca­tion is about 150 mil­lion but from the 70’s when my fa­ther built a dam no­body has ever con­tem­plated re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing it. We don’t have wa­ter run­ning through our taps. The dam has dried up be­cause it is not be­ing main­tained. Shema used N450 mil­lion to con­struct a dual car­riage way in­side the city, it is a mis­place­ment of pri­or­ity. The same goes to Katsina dam. It’s been used for the last 45 years. That is why when you come to Katsina town, you have beau­ti­ful roads but you ra­tion wa­ter. The same thing with the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. Katsina spends over 2 bil­lion in its budget on ed­u­ca­tion yet it records the sec­ond to the last state in terms of writ­ing GCE. Our de­gree hold­ers can’t even con­struct a gram­mat­i­cally cor­rect sen­tence. Our stan­dard is low. Where is the money go­ing to? This is the fail­ure of govern­ment. There is no gover­nor in his right senses that will think build­ing class­rooms and dish­ing out money to con­trac­tors to build ed­i­fices is all it takes. Now go to our Gen­eral Hospi­tal or the Federal Med­i­cal Cen­tre, you will cry. We do not have a sin­gle MIR ma­chine. People are will­ing to pay no mat­ter how much for a scan but they have to go to Sokoto, Kano or Zaria. How much will it cost a state govern­ment that can lav­ish 9 bil­lion on a govern­ment house? If you can spend that money on a govern­ment house, why can’t you spend just N1 bil­lion on a MIR ma­chine or an orthopaedic ma­chine? What is wrong with the old govern­ment house? It can house Obama. What is go­ing to be done with it now? If they had in­vested that N9 bil­lion in Katsina State univer­sity, that would have gone a long way in stan­dard­iz­ing the in­sti­tu­tion. For me that would have been Shema’s great­est achieve­ment. Noth­ing is work­ing in Katsina State. There are so many things they could have done with that N9 bil­lion con­sid­er­ing the poverty and hunger rav­aging Katsina. That is why I have been a vo­cal critic of this state. And be­cause people are used to ly­ing, if you now con­front any leader they think you are do­ing it for per­sonal rea­sons but there is noth­ing per­sonal.

Ah­mad Babba Kaita

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