The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno State in next year’s election, Alhaji Mohammed Jajari said has stated that his party would wrest power from the incumbent ruling ;party and win the race to the Maiduguri Government House next year.
Jajari in an interview with TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU in Maiduguri, told Saturday Sun he was prepared to overrun the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the next year governorship poll. He said he expects huge support from the people of Borno which he believes, would pull his party out of the wool of nearly two decades of opposition status, to clinch the governorship seat. He spoke about his plans for Borno, his candidature as a dark horse and Gov Zulum’s administration among others.
You’re relatively unknown in the political space of Borno. When did you venture into politics?
I have been in and out of politics. I think it is something engraved in me because so far, my business has been so successful. Sometimes, I have convinced myself of a choice. I have said to myself; if I am to choose between business and politics. I sat and look at the pros and cons of business. If I am to be selfish after analysing so many politicians in Abuja, Lagos and even abroad, and also seeing some successful business people and their lifestyle, I would have chosen business. Once you have an opportunity to be successful, then you will be happy, you don’t feel the sense of responsibility. But in politics, first of all, it is not about yourself but about your people, the commitment and sacrifice for the people. But then, politicians in Nigeria are so terrible. So many times, I dissuaded myself from being a politician. I tried initially in 2014 with the House of Representatives; Kukawa, Abandam, Mobbar and Guzamala constituency. Then late Governor Mohammed Goni persuaded us to have a consensus and we agreed. I supported the winner throughout the campaign but I went back to my business after the election. Also in the 2018 election, my political associates asked me to run for Senate but there were factions in our party, the PDP. So I quietly put off my ambition. But after many attempts, I finally resolved that there is something in me craving for humanity and service. So I asked myself why can’t I try for the office of governor? I made wide consultation looking at what is happening in our dear state, the state of our people. I felt I could do better if I am given the opportunity as governor.
Business has opened my eyes to a lot of modern things, people and organisations and as an investor and banker, I know many organisations that can help our people to access funds for development, easy access to medicine in our hospitals, rebuilding education sector and ensuring the well-being of our people. Having worked with some governmental and non-governmental organisations, I felt if I am a governor, I could do more and better. This is why I decided to run for the office of the governor of Borno State.
Your party has never got it right in Borno since 1999. How are we sure 2023 will be different?
There were a few factors responsible, especially in 2015. Many people in Nigeria, not just in Borno, were disenchanted with then President Goodluck Jonathan. People were demanding a change and came out massively andvoted for Buhari, thinking that things would change. That was why PDP lost. Another factor in 2015 is the crisis in the party with two governorship candidates; Alhaji Gambo Lawan and Mohammed Iman, laying claim to be party flag bearer. Remember they were still in court a week to the election. So the house was not in order and with the Buhari factor, the PDP lost 2015 in Borno. The same factor played out in 2019. With the existing crisis in the party between Baderi and Usman claiming the state’s chairmanship seat of PDP, recording success in the election was impossible. Now we have come back with more determination to go into the poll. So why do I think things could be different now? I think PDP is ripe and ready to take over governance of Borno from APC. With the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as PDP Presidential candidate, in our state, people need a change because they are disenchanted with the current government of APC. All what they see is social media propaganda. You see how most of their popular candidates were denied. Those people are now coming to PDP and we have received a number of them and we equally give them opportunities because these people have followers. Also, people are unhappy because of some of their unpopular policies like taxation, retrenchment and nepotism. So PDP in Borno State is ready and ripe to win the coming election.
But your party is currently experiencing another leadership crisis. It appears this is a repeat of past problem?
I think the crisis is being exaggerated. We are still one united family. I understand people still have that assumption that we are heading towards another problem because of the fear of what happened in the past. But it is not so; it is not as huge as people thought. Very soon, we will be coming out very stronger than ever, more united with one goal – to defeat the current APC in the state.
You boast you will defeat the APC in the coming election. Do you have the resources and support to wrestle power from the incumbent governor who is believed to be popular with the people?
Yes, I do. Power belongs to the people; it doesn’t belong to the party, it doesn’t belong to the incumbent government. Power belongs to the electorate and when the electorates decide, we will vote for you or vote against you, that’s the decision. I don’t believe the APC in Borno has what we have. If it is resources, we have, but that is not our concentration. Rather, our concentration is the people, getting down to the electorate and convincing them that we could do better and make them to vote for us. The issue of resources and incumbency factors are not big issues to us. Coming to say the government has garnered a lot of supporters, it depends on where you are looking at but in my view, this is an unpopular government and a government of families and friends.