By Desmond Mgbo
A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Abdulsalam Abdulkareem Zaura is certainly not a new face on the landscape of Kano politics. In this interactive session with some journalists, the one -time governorship candidate of GNP, speaks on a wide range of issues.
Why are you aspiring to be the governor of Kano State?
Well, in the past I have already contested for an election to the office of the governorship of Kano State. At the moment, I am still a politician, a business oriented politician, and our own perspectives as business-oriented politicians is different perspectives from those who are purely politicians. Of course, we have so much when it comes to do politics. At the moment, I am in APC working for the development of the party and I am working to move the party forward.
What do you have for the people of Kano?
We have a lot for the people of Kano. When you are talking about governance, there is economic governance, political governance, •corporate governance and so forth. I look at Kano and I have seen so much that Kano as a hub of commerce and one of the biggest states in Nigeria is lagging behind. In my own way on how to bring development to Kano, I want these developments to put Kano at the forefront of every state in Nigeria in terms of economic activities, and political activities. We should play a politics that is globalized politics, a politics that is sanitized politics, and a politics that will usher development in different aspect of life in terms of economic activities, in terms of productivity, youths, women, girl child education and so forth.
What would you do differently if you were given the mandate?
Well, like I said, everyone is different. The way you will tackle a problem is different from the way I will tackle a problem. The way I look at educational problem will be different from the way you look at it. For example, in Kano when schools were built in those years, the population is less than 10 million and therefore at that time may be we have 7 thousand schools in Kano, now we are attending to close to 20 million people, let’s say approximately we are 18 million people and the schools if they are added, how many schools were added in Kano? And at the moment, how many people go to public schools? Is the public school enhanced? Are these facilities needed in the public schools there? In the recent time, in what we call globalization, in countries where education is given a proper attention, people are sliding but we are still using blackboards here; people are sitting with computers in front of them and learning but still we are living in those days of using blackboards. Some people can take classes at the comfort of their homes, and classes, but are we having these? Are our schools in these forms? There are ways I will like to treat education when the mandate is given me, I will like to see we have a technology driven educational system. And when it comes to business, are we giving comfort for investors to come and invest here? As a business person, if I want to invest my money in a place, there are factors I have to consider. Though Kano State is one of the most secured states in the country, and if an investor is coming, factors like ensuring the security of his life and property must be considered.
However, there are so many things we have that will enhance these business activities and open a gateway for investors to come, which will open way for our economy to flourish so that people can feel the impact of proper democracy. The actors should feel the impact, and those who are the people that drive the political system should also feel the impact and the impact should be from the grassroots level.
With the huge population of Kano State, what will you do differently about our industries?
Well, regarding the issues of industries or manufacturers in Kano that migrated or become comatose in Kano State, first of all, there are people that are into productions, who own industries in Kano; you see there is no issue of insecurity in Kano, the governor; Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has done so much so well in terms of security. Secondly, the next thing we look at that has made these industries leave Kano is the issue of energy which is a major factor. Energy is the backbone of every industry, if we are having insufficient supply of power for the industry, definitely we leave. In Kano, the government is really trying and we have seen hydroelectric power project. But I keep saying we should go into renewable energy, and it is what the world is going into. Switching to renewable energy will definitely help to bring back those industries back to Kano because you cannot produce under low energy or where there is no electricity. For example, the national grid is giving 165 megawatts of electricity which has to be shared between Kano, Jigawa and Katsina with Kano taking the lion share which is still insufficient to provide electricity for the domestic consumption. We have to stand up and go into renewable energy to standardize the electricity requirement for our industries and therefore the industries will not migrate again. I am coming up with something new here but it is common in the developed countries where they have been practising it over 30 years, and some they have been practising it over 100 years. So, one waste energy power plant will give us 10 megawatts of electricity. And that 10 megawatts of electricity will power a lot of our industries, so if we go into this, Kano has the capacity and the amount of waste needed to build about two waste power plants; that is to say 20 megawatts of electricity if that is put into practice. So, this is how I will handle the issue of electricity and revive our comatose industries in Kano.
Some politicians believe in “Do or die politics”, how do you see that belief?
This is what I mean by sanitizing the political system; what is do or die about an elective office? Don’t we have business we live on? Don’t forget, a political office is not a personal enterprise. I keep saying, if we don’t have our personal businesses, don’t elect us into public offices. Why the hatred? Are we doing it for the people or we are doing it to destroy the land? We are doing it to bring development; I think I don’t have a political enemy, and even if I have, he is doing the enmity alone. I am looking at the state, I am looking at the people and the development I will bring to my people..Right from the inception of mankind, everybody has his own share. I believed in that and I’m working towards that. Let the system be out of thuggery; let the system be out of drug abuse, let us practice it the way the world powers are practicing it. We are indirectly killing ourselves, we refuse to accept that we have problems. We should make it clean and pure, if it is do or die, do something that you’ll win the heart of the people, let people love you because you’re good to them and you are bringing something that will improve their lives.
Should it be a yardstick that people who have no personal business should not be elected into public offices?
Let me say if our system is not adopting that, we have seen some countries that have adopted it. If you don’t have certain businesses you are doing, they will not give you an opportunity to stand for an election. This is what most countries are practising. The idea is that those who contest for an elective office will not be there to embezzle public funds. You are here to serve people not to steal public funds.
What are your chances of winning the election in the state ?
My chances are in the hands of God, whatever God decides.
It is been said repeatedly that Governor Ganduje should point the way that would lead to his successor. What is your view on that?
We are all in a party called APC, and the leader is the governor of the state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. I am 100 percent with him; his decisions are my decision and whatever he decides, I am pleased with that. All I am here for is to help the governor to succeed, help the party to flourish, help the party to dominate any other party in the state; this is my mission and what I have been doing.
It was rumoured that former Governor Kwankwaso tried to lure you into joining the PDP but you declined. What informed your decision to join APC despite the tough competition?
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is working to move the state forward; I am impressed with his system and the way he is developing my state. I am impressed and overwhelmed with his style of leadership and the way he is handling the affairs of the state and that is why I joined the APC
Where do you prefer the shift of power to be, North or South?
Of course if the power will remain in the North, I will be happy. Don’t say I am selfish but I believe in federal character and rotation from South to North; all I want is to have one Nigeria that will touch every person; I am not a sectional person.
Is it true that Tinubu is behind your aspiration to contest and govern Kano State?
Pezople have their different views, they keep digging to know my relationship with Tinubu. I have a personal relationship with Bola Tinubu, and it will not change now. He is a father to so many, not only AA Zaura because he is somebody who builds people and now that I have come to politics, it will not change anything. I will give him the same respect and he will give me same care. Don’t forget in 2019, he was in APC and I was in GNP. We sat together on the same table and he told me to come back to APC but I said no. If the time comes, I will come. If these speculations are true, then I would have joined APC a long time. But definitely, wherever he is and wherever I am, we will remain together. His interest is mine. He is also the national leader of APC, and I give him that respect because I am also in the APC. And anywhere I am going, he can tell me what to do.
If eventually Tinubu did not get the Presidential ticket of APC, what will you do?
I will not feel happy. If it is going to the South, then it has to be Bola Tinubu, and there I will work, there you will see the real fight and there you will see the lion in me, there you will believe that he sends me here because I will fight with all my strength for him to be; I will fight with all my kobo and dollar for him to become the next President.