Noah Ebije, Kaduna
For the Kaduna State youth leader of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Comrade Danjuma Sarki, the incumbent governor, Nasir El-Rufai of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), can’t win his re-election bid because he has plunged the state into poverty and hardship, and the people are expected to show him their anger next month. But for the APC youth leader in the state, Mallam Aminu Lawal Na’anti, the re -election of Governor El-Rufai is already a done deal because he is a job provider to the teaming youths in the state. The two leaders spoke in a separate interview with Daily Sun.
The PDP youth leader, Sarki, speaks on the chances of PDP.
Campaign for governorship election is on in Kaduna State. Do you think your party has any chance?
I want to tell you categorically that the PDP chances in Kaduna are very bright for a number of reasons; one, because El-Rufai has nothing to campaign about, secondly, El-Rufai has no major projects you can look at and say this is the project that was started by El-Rufai in Kaduna State that is worth N2billion in the state. Three, if you look at the way El-Rufai started, the people expected that three years into the administration he should be commissioning projects up and down. But he is not doing anything because there are no projects to commission. Likewise, he had plunged the state into abject poverty; the poverty level of Kaduna State has increased. Since he came to power, if you look at the money that has been released annually from the appropriation, you find out that the money is higher than what is being released for capital projects. Go to Ministry of Finance, or go to various ministries that have executed one project or the other, and see the backlog of debts that are being owed by Kaduna State government.
El-Rufai has bastardised Civil Service in Kaduna State by sacking so many senior civil servants in the state. You can conveniently put the record of the sacked civil servants to close to 50,000 workers. And these are the workers that were working diligently for the state, earning income and saving for themselves and their families, many of them have families, and today they have been sacked by Governor El-Rufai, and he has thrown them into poverty. The governor has bastardised the civil service to the extent that rules are no more followed in the service. Workers can be sacked at will; they pick sack letters on getting to the office without any query or offence.
When you also look at the health sector, El-Rufai claimed that he is building 255 primary health centres for the past three years in the state, but as I speak to you, I doubt if 60 of these health centres have been successfully completed. Likewise, if you look at the area of security, the level of insecurity has greatly increased in the state, not because of anything, but because of bad policies and programmes of the government. The way he sacked workers, has forced many of them to resort to criminal activities, petty stealing around communities has increased, kidnapping has increased, and armed robbery has increased. And again, by going to other country to pay herdsmen who have been killing people have made them to become so bold with the killings.
Let’s look at the area of agriculture; the government has not done anything tangible to that effect. Look at the price of fertilizer in the state; it has gone up to N7, 000.00 per bag, which is beyond the purchasing power of a common man. The people in the rural area used to get fertilizer at affordable price of N2, 500.00. Today, the rural area people hardly get the fertilizers. There is no way you can grow agriculture sector without providing subsidy and the enabling environment for the farmers to buy inputs at an affordable price and go to the farm peacefully. If you also look at the state, you will discover that El-Rufai has equally divided the state along religious and ethnic lines.
But he also made attempt to reconcile the state?
When he brought the issue of peace and reconciliation committee headed by Retired General Martin Luther Agwai, we knew that El-Rufai was not genuine. All that was done to divide the people was done purposely. Today, he has obviously proven to any doubting Thomas that he has come to divide us further through his actions and inactions and pronouncements. That is why you find out today that the crisis that would have enveloped this state, if not by the special grace of God, would have been more compare to the crises that had happened in the past. The crises that had happened since El-Rufai came to government were directly related to the government because it can be said that one way or the other, government precipitated it. Likewise, if you look at the relationship of the government with the people themselves, there has never been a time in the history of Kaduna State that the people have become so afraid of government like this El-Rufai’s government. The government has so terrorised the people to the extent that the people find it difficult to relate with government and understand its programme and policies, let alone make contributions to the development of their state.
From what you have said so far, do you think Ashiru; the PDP’s candidate can make any difference if he wins the governorship?
Absolutely! One, the major thing the PDP candidate, Isah Ashiru will do, is to unite the people of Kaduna State. Secondly, he will bring development in so many places. Our candidate has a listening ear and he is a man who is widely experienced when it comes to project development in the state. As a matter of fact, he was instrumental to the success of Ahmed Makarfi’s government when Makarfi was the governor of Kaduna State, from 1999-2007. Ashiru was the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation in Kaduna State House of Assembly. He ensured that funds were allocated adequately for infrastructure developments. And that was why Makarfi’s administration achieved so much in providing roads, which opened up many accessible areas. Many schools, primary, secondary, tertiary institutions including Kaduna State University where today El-Rufai was awarded honorary degree, were built by Makarfi and Ashiru was part of that government that also connected electricity in most rural areas in the state; some of them were even connected to national grid.
For the first time in the history of Kaduna State, the people are now having a Muslim/Muslim ticket for the governorship. Do you think it will fly?
It will affect the voting pattern, but to the benefit of the people of Kaduna State because the Muslim/Muslim ticket is not in the best interest of the people of Kaduna State. In the tradition of Kaduna State governorship race, it needs balancing because when you balance it with Muslim/Christian ticket, it gives everybody a sense of belonging. But today, because El-Rufai knows that he has nothing to use as campaign, he decided to adopt this ticket, believing that he might get the support of the Muslim faithful. But I believe that the Muslims in Kaduna State are far more enlightened and exposed to allow someone use religion to cover his inadequacies and intentional failures for them to vote for him in 2019. But they know that El-Rufai has not done just so they can vote for him.