Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau
Mohammed Sani Takori, an Alumnus of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPS), Kuru, is a former member of the House of Representatives. He represented Gummi/ Bukkuyum Federal Constituency. But he is today the Zamfara State governorship candidate of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA). He was also a former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the state. He speaks on the chances of APDA in the March governorship election in the state and factors that may likely affect the exercise.
What are the chances of APDA being a new political party in Zamfara State?
Our problems in Zamfara State is that our political actors have not imbibed the culture of being independent minded to contest elections. Many of us are products of government and won elections on platforms of political parties but were sponsored by government from day one, so that have gotten into us the elites who are active in politics, to the extent that many of us still rely on government to sponsor us as candidates of political parties.
When we brought the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, we found it difficult to sell the idea to our people, it was difficult for them to come and be independent. But thank God that we have been able to overcome the herculean task because now the party has been able to build it structures in the grassroots, I believe we now have all what it takes politically and we are ready to participate and face not only the ruling All Progressives Party but all other political parties in the state in the 2019 general election. As a governorship candidate, I have the belief and I always pray that whatever Allah wish, I hope will be a thing that will be a blessing to me in this world and the hereafter, and if it is contrary to it, I ask Allah to choose the best for me to complete my remaining years in this world.
When I started this movement, I never thought it will get to this but with the tremendous support I am getting from people silently underground, I feel fulfilled. It is a source of joy to me because when we started I told people that if you are coming to join me because of money, back out because my politics is moneyless as I don’t have money to give people. If the whole CVs of the governorship candidates are put together in terms of public service records, then none of them can beat me because I was a local government chairman in old Sokoto State, I was a Permanent Secretary
for many years, I was a Magistrate for a long period of time, a deputy Chief Registrar, I was a member of the National Assembly, I was a commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, there is no arm of government that I have not served.
My chances are in the hand of God and I believe that I am on the way to making record either as a defeated candidate or the elected governor of Zamfara State.
What is your opinion about the current crisis in the APC in the state?
The crisis in the APC is being seen by some people as a blessing to the opposition politicians, but to me it is not a blessing. People are making mistakes because if somebody is denied the opportunity to contest with you, you will not know your weight politically.
If you are quarrelling with somebody, it is not good to take him to prison simply to win election, let him participate, so that you can win him while he is a free man for people to know you are popular but any attempt to do anything to deny a person the ability to participate, such is not in consonant with democratic norms. The gladiators in the APC would have found another political party on whose platform they will contest but when you just want the ruling party at all cost, it becomes something else, which is why the political climate in Nigeria is getting hotter. Unless the two political parties, the APC and the PDP are wiped out of Nigerian political system, we will continue to have corrupt politicians being circulated because 80 percent of PDP are still in APC. A politician that is being pursued by security or EFCC will go and seek shelter in the APC and that is the end of his prosecution, which is why everybody wants to be part of the ruling party to hide their loot. The APC and PDP are the two ills of this country, we have to find a way out, that is part of my campaign, I do say as long as you vote APC or PDP, you are still voting same people who brought us this problem in the country.
What is your view about the current security situation in Zamfara state?
One thing that always brings Zamfara State to national limelight is the killings day in day out and there is no end in sight. The current security situation is of great concern to me and other indigenes of Zamfara State because it is having negative impacts on the people and the economy of the state. The killings and kidnappings will likely affect the voting pattern of Zamfara and may also cause voter apathy because only about 50 percent of the electorate may likely vote in 2019 due to the security problems in the state. Due to the challenge, we are yet to take our campaign to some parts of the state because currently, you cannot exceed some selected Local Government headquarters, you cannot go into the interiors because of the fear of the bandits.
The military and the police have not been able to stop these people because it is not a conventional war and the security agencies are not occupying the territories after killing and destroying the bandits camps, when they are killed or wounded by the army or police their revenge is always on soft targets. Our problem in Zamfara is that of insecurity which is caused mainly by poverty and illiteracy.
You said going into the interior in some parts of the state is a risky venture, how do you get the people in those areas to vote for you without you going there?
We are not neglecting the people in those areas because we are all indigenes of Zamfara State but it will be a dangerous mission to go to some places in the state to campaign. In all parts of the state, we have our members particularly in the remote areas that are part of the community and they are the mobilisers. We pray and hope that the security issues will be brought under control very soon by the security agencies.
If elected governor, what are you going to do to tackle the security problems?
The physical aspect of tackling security challenges is for you to get superior weapons than those used by the bandits. There is nothing that stops a state government from procuring arms like AK47 rifles from abroad as long as a request is made to the president indicating that due to the security situation of the state, there is no enough equipment for the security agencies and when the arms arrive, they are handed over to security agencies by the president for use by the army or police in the state that procured them. The Nigeria’s constitution is not fair to the governors because it says they are the chief security officers of their states but in the actual sense they are just the chief administrative officers of the states as the governor has no right to discipline a commissioner of police or head of a security agency in his state.
If a governor gives a commissioner of police order, the commissioner has to tell Inspector General. We need to have constitution amendment to correct some of these anomalies. When we were at the constitutional conference, we made that suggestion, though we were not advocating for state police but we queried the procedure.
If I am elected governor, I will give top priority to security by expending much more on acquiring security gadgets and take care of the welfare of the security agencies in Zamfara State. Education, agriculture, will also be given priority while poverty alleviation and youth’s empowerment will be part of the strategic plan to curb youth restiveness, as an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
What is responsible for the economy crunch in states of the country?
There is what is called managing resources against competing interest, our problem in Nigeria is that we don’t manage our resources according to our competing demands. Most governors in the country just keep giving people appointments just to satisfy their political interest without thinking of the implications on the resources of the state. To manage resources for the benefits of the people of the state, a government needs to have a data bank which will serve as the basis for all its plans and policies.
What are your plans to improve the internal revenue generation in Zamfara State?
The Nigeria economy is mono -economy and all the states rely on what comes from the Federal Government for survival. As a governor, I will focus on improving the agriculture and solid mineral because Zamfara State is endowed abundantly. I was the pioneer Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Solid Minerals in Zamfara and during the time we did geological study of the state and discovered that the state has potentials and the government then wanted to establish a processing company but along the line it could not. Though the mining law is still been debated, I believe that if the state government can acquire license to mine, it will greatly increase the IGR of the state.