Why we demand power shift in Kebbi - Dikki Director General, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Dikki, in a chat with our correspondent, bares his mind on the current struggle for power shift to Kebbi South. Excerpts:
What is your take on the struggle for power shift to Kebbi South?
Well, you see, as a people in a democratic setting, it is our right, our privilege to agitate for political positions and to justify such agitations and to also reach out to consult with other stakeholders in the state and in the country to ensure that we achieve our objectives. Basically, our agitation and our political mobilisation are based on the premises of fairness and of rotation. If you look at the history of those who have been governors of the state from the basis of Senatorial district , Kebbi South only had one year of being governor in Kebbi State. The other two Senatorial districts have had more than eight years of being governors of the state. All the three emirates have had their own shot, it is only Zuru Emirate that has not had a chance to be governor of Kebbi State. So as a matter of fact, Kebbi State, the land of equity that we call ourselves, we are only appealing to other stakeholders in the state that it is the turn of Zuru Emirate to produce the governor of the state. If there is equity in Kebbi State, then what we are demanding will have the support of every part of the state because it is our own common motto to believe in giving everybody a fair chance. If it is in terms of rotation and power sharing, it is also compelling, because we want to have inclusiveness.
What makes this agitation different from that of the previous ones that failed?
In Kebbi State, I believe, our desire is that everyone should have sense of belonging and have a chance to feel that he is part of the state. If there is no inclusiveness, then, there will be agitations and there will be people who will feel shortchanged, people who will feel they are probably second class citizens in the state. But we want to build a state where everybody is given a chance. That is why we are appealing to people from Gwandu, Argungu and Yauri emirates to give Zuru a chance to also feel a sense of participation, a sense of belonging, a sense of inclusiveness into the politics of Kebbi State.
Do you have the ambition to govern Kebbi State?
Do I aspire to be governor of Kebbi State? The answer is no. There have been a lot of speculations where my name is being mentioned in a number of newspapers commentaries as an aspirant. I have never canvassed for it. So, I feel the best way to approach it is to keep quiet, because if I had responded, people will still think otherwise. I have not asked anybody to go and campaign for me, I have not asked anybody to go and advocate for me, I have not set up a campaign team and I am sure you can see those who are intending to contest are putting posters here and there. I have a national assignment as DG of BPE and I believe I have a duty to my state, to my country to discharge that obligation creditably.
What are your political ambitions after your tenure as DG,BPE?
I don’t know what will happen after I leave office or after I finished my tenure. But, as at now, I am not contesting and I have no intention to contest. Only God knows the future. So, I can’t tell you that in the future after I finished my tenure that nothing will happen. But just leave that to God.
What effort have you made to improve on the current state of dilapidated roads and electricity supply to Zuru Emirate?
Well, basically, what one will simply do is to leverage on whatever position God has given you to see what benefit one can bring to his area.
The PBE is deeply involved in the reform of the power sector. So, I simply walked up to the minister of power, the minister of state, the permanent secretary and other stakeholders in the power sector and told them about the power supply problem we have in Zuru. The minister graciously told me they are looking for such avenues to improve supplies of power in areas of this country that are having challenges as part of Jonathan’s aim of ensuring that every part of Nigeria is electrified.
My own request fell into the programmes and desire of the Federal Government to electrify Nigeria. Graciously too, the Federal Ministry of Works awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the transmission network from Yauri to Zuru and to rehabilitate the distribution network within the Zuru community. Just recently, the process of payment is nearly concluded and the contractor will be mobilised to start work. What is done so far is just preliminary work before even being paid a Kobo. I believe by the time he is paid within the couple of weeks to come, he will mobilise to site and then, we shall have very reliable and stable power supply in Zuru. We are also looking at other areas at the federal level where we can also appeal to our colleagues and other government functionaries at the national level to see what we can bring to bear, not just to Zuru, but Kebbi State as a whole.
What happened to the December 2013 deadline given to the contractor to complete the electricity rehabilitation in Zuru?
Well, like I mentioned earlier on, the whole problem was that of payment. You cannot give a contractor a deadline when you have not paid him. The other deadline was upon the disposition that the contractor will be paid, but the contractor was not paid and that is why we are at this stage of the completion of the project.