“I am going with bigger understanding of how I can function and contribute to the development of the nation, in the contest of representing my people.”
Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Borno South, Kudla Satumari has said that the sentiments that swayed votes for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general elections will not work in his favour in next year’s contest.
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Satumari noted that apart from the fact that the electorate have tested the president and the All Progressives Congress (APC) and found them wanting, the odds are against the ruling party in next year’s presidential poll.
Why do you want to represent the people of Southern Borno in the Senate?
First and foremost is to provide positive and an all inclusive representation. This is one thing that has been lacking. There is this general consensus among people from Southern Borno that they want change. Never in the history of Southern Borno politics have the elites, the youths and women, opinion leaders, religious leaders unanimously reached a consensus that there is a need to change those representing us at the National Assembly, especially Senate. They have been looking for the type of representations that will be all inclusive. They want people that have the passion, competency and the capacity and commitment to drive the interest of our senatorial district in every aspect of their representation.
If you look at all indices of development, North East and Borno State in particular, we are far behind compared to other geo-political zones. Then when you come to Borno, we are lagging behind. So, we want to drive this change that will bring all our issue to the centre stage. That people can understand there are issues that are peculiar to our people. And there are people who understand those issues and want to drive them. That is why I offered myself to represent our people at that level.
I am not seeking to be a senator of Southern Borno. I am contesting to be a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There are differences between a southern Borno senator and senator of the Federal Republic. When I go in there, I am going with larger understanding and bigger understanding of how I can function and contribute to the development of the nation, in the contest of representing and becoming the voice of my people. People go there and make promises of things only the executive can provide. I have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibility of a legislator, particularly a senator.
I know the issue. I know what I can do. And I want to contextualise it in the context of representing the nation, to be the eyes, nose and ears of Southern Borno senatorial district.
I mingle with people. So, I can lobby for interventions and development. People will tell you I will bring infrastructure. I will bring succour in terms of enhanced security, enhance agriculture and all that. It has to be within a context. I know how that could be done. I have sought for and obtained interventions from international bodies, local organisation to support my people.
Borno State has always been an enclave of the APP, ANPP and now APC, what has changed that made you think you stand a chance in this contest?
The issue is not about standing a chance. We are going to take what has always been rightly ours, in the sense that we have always won elections as PDP in Borno State, especially in southern part of Borno. In 2011, of the three senatorial districts, two of them were won by the PDP. The then sitting governor lost his election to the Senate to a PDP candidate. And they were saying ‘oh PDP was at the centre’ and what have you. No. That time, ANPP was the party in charge of the state and with the merger it became the APC. As at that time, ANPP was united as one party. And the governor of the state had the final say. And there was no faction or division among them. Yet, PDP won against them. Now, the people are not happy with the situation on ground. I have said it, that never in the political history of Southern Borno has there been consensus among all strata of people that they need a change. And the manner in which they conducted their primary has factionalised the APC that they are struggling to be united. It goes without saying that this is the right time.
Again, studies have shown that every eight years, that window of opportunity for opposition to have a level playing ground in the sense that the governor has finished his term, is always there. When we had that election in 2011, the governor was leaving. And to everybody, it was ‘to your tent oh Israel.’ When the governor was struggling for his senatorial seat, he was busy thinking of how his party can win the governorship. Surprisingly, that is what is happening with this present governor. He is also contesting for the senate seat. I know that there are other variables that were different at that time. But talking about Southern Borno in particular, I will repeat I have never seen the kind of consensus among the people. And our people have bridged what some used to use as an advantage – bringing religious issues, gender, tribe and what have you. Our people have gone beyond that. There is that synergy and unity of purpose to make sure there is a change in National Assembly. You could see their sincerity. It is palpable that you can cut it with a knife.
President Buhari is believed to have a cult-like following in the north, so much so that it is said that all a man needs to win election is to put the president’s picture along his picture. What are the chances of the PDP in the presidential election in 2019?
Yes, I can confirm to you that in some areas in the north, he (Buhari) has cult like followership. In the senatorial district there are areas where he has cult like followership. I would not for the sake of politics, say things that are not the truth.
People like Buhari. But they don’t like APC anymore. There is no way you can divorce Buhari from the APC. And again, there is a permutation that is different from what it was in 2015.
Today, we also have our own contesting. In all level, he is the same with Buhari, in terms of the sentiments. This election is not going to be about Buhari and Atiku. It is not going to be about the APC and PDP. It is going to be about the last best chance for North-East president to emerge against a North-West candidate that they have always had in the past. So, the sentiments that they are whipping now is ’let us have one of our own, as president, so that he will attract development to the area.’ Buhari did not beg for a university when Amaechi tried to bring a maritime university to where there is no river. Buhari did not ask for rail lines to pass through Daura to other places. But they were done simply because he is the president; people around him want to bring projects to his area. And my people also think that if we vote somebody from the North-East this time around, even for the mere fact that he is the president, development will come. And we feel that when development comes, if there are other issues, other than what you and I know that is the cause of insurgency in that areas, job opportunities may bring some solution to security challenges in the North-East.
This election is not going to be as it was in 2015. Let’s take for example North-East, Atiku may not win the whole states, but which state will he not win in North-East? Even if he does not win all the state in North-East, the total votes he will win from the zone will give him a large margin.
Come to North-Central. In all sincerity, do you think Plateau will vote APC? I doubt? Do you think Benue will vote APC? I doubt. Do you think they will have an easy ride in Kwara? I doubt. The only place you will rightly predict APC can win is Kogi. Even Niger, I doubt. It is only Kogi and Nasarawa that you will say, okay, APC will win.
Then go to North-West. Sokoto, they will not have it easy there. Kano is not like it was before. Kaduna is not like it was before. All the states have issues. I am sure that South-South will give PDP their votes, they may not give Atiku, but they will give PDP their votes. South-East will vote PDP. There is no single zone that the ruling party will say that they have in their pocket as at now. There is contention all over.
Look at what happened in Lagos, the denial of Ambode second term ticket. Some people are still smarting with this thing. Yes, there are some states you could say APC would win, but there is no single geo-political zone, you will say is in their pocket as it was in 2015. But PDP can comfortably tell you that there are two or three zones in their pocket and I am just being conservative.
So, the permutations have changed. Buhari is contesting against Atiku. Atiku is a Muslim. Atiku is a northerner, unlike the last time where it was a southerner against a northerner. It was a Christian against a Muslim. It is not going to be like that. Anybody who saw what happened in 2015 and compared to now will know that good name and integrity that is ascribed to Buhari and his cult like following will not win election this time around, because the people have tested them and they have seen through those claims.