PRP Will Change The Status Quo In Bauchi – Prof Pate
Professor Mohammed Ali Pate Is the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) governorship candidate in Bauchi State. In this Interview with our reporter, he bears his mind on the challenges facing the state and his plans to tackle them if elected.
have never had an opportunity because the elections were never free and fair to allow them get elected; their representatives get elected or get their votes counted. They supported the APC in 2015 thinking that the APC is a new party that will represent the progressives ideology of PRP and in Bauchi State, the APC has failed. Now we have revived the PRP and if you will find out at the grassroots in Bauchi metropolis and all other parts of the state, you will know that the PRP has resonated and has aligned with the political aspirations of Bauchi people. Almost 90 per cent of the people have been left out of running of the governance in the state. It is limited to only a handful. The rest of the population has been left out, the common man have been left out and that is why their children cannot go to school; they don’t get healthcare services and they are getting poorer by the day while their children are unemployed. Those left out are the ones supporting PRP, not the usual political players or the establishment who of course want to maintain the status quo. But the people have realised that the status quo is not working. Otherwise, how can you explain the rising unemployment? How can you explain the rising poverty in our state? How can you explain the lack of educational and healthcare infrastructure in our state? How can you even explain the heap of refuse all over our neighbourhoods in Bauchi? It is because the status quo is not working. But the few establishment players want to maintain it all cost.
People see you more of technocrat than a politician, being a former minister, a head of health agency in Nigeria and somebody who spent most of his time outside the country. How can you convince Bauchi people that you come back to serve them?
I was trained as a health person, as a medical doctor and worked in the area of human development as an expert with various international organisations, multi-lateral institutions and private entities in Africa and other parts of the world. That is a great privilege that Allah has allowed me to enjoy over the last several years. Ten years ago, I was called to serve this country and I served at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency as CEO and God in his mercy enabled the president in 2011 to nominate me as the minister representing the North East on the basis of merit not on the basis of my experience in politics. So, I served in the federal cabinet as the minister of state for health. I also served in the economic management team and I also served in the economic management implementation team. In our constitution, the highest non elective political office is that of a minister and I have served in that role for the president who appointed me and I have discharged my responsibilities as best as I can do. So, since that appointment, I think as a political office holder, I understood national politics and I understood my own state’s politics. I have seen politics not only here in Nigeria but also all over the world. The reason for politics is to advance the society. But I noticed that, while Nigeria is making progress in some areas, in my own state of birth, the politics that people are playing is not being translated into meaningful development, because our youths are unemployed, poverty is increasing, therefore I cannot sit idle and say that, I am neutral.
I have managed to sustain good relationships with people even though I am not working for the Bauchi State government and I have not been elected. But the relationships I have with the people, political associations that we had, have continued to play a role that we participate in the political process in our country.
Politics has been heavily monetised, and people are more interested in pecuniary gains than development. How can you change the perception of the electorates in Bauchi State on this to get their votes?
The deep rooted cynicism that people have for politics in Bauchi State is a deliberate ploy by the people running the current political system in the state to keep our people in a socio-economic bondage by making them poor. That is why they will not want to empower people with education or create employment for them. They will rather prefer the people to live in extreme poverty. But recent history and the introduction of the PVC has slightly broken that political system. In 2015, we saw an opposition party formed only a few years turning the apple cat for the ruling party for the previous 16 years. In many states, we have seen where, let’s talk about Mr President himself, how much money does he give to people to vote for him? Everybody knows that he did not steal public funds; he has maintained his integrity, and he has not given people money, but he stood for what is right. A vision that does not allow corruption and his promise and his integrity made people to vote for him.