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:

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS -

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.

Mr. Ben­jamin Dikki

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