Tuesday, November 11, 2014 4:51 pm
Dr. Akilu S. Indabawa, secretary, Presidential Organising Committee at the just concluded National Conference in Abuja, spoke to journalists in Kano on his mission to govern Kano in 2015 under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. MADUABUCHI NMERIBEH was there
Can you confirm the rumour that you are interested in succeeding Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso in 2015?
Well, friends and supporters across the state, especially at the grassroots level, have been agitating that I should run for the governorship race. Meanwhile, I am in the process of consultations, as one cannot take such a monumental decision without consultations. So we are consulting and whatever the outcome of the consultations, we will make it known to the public very soon.
How far have gone with consultations and preparations for this project?
Well, consultations have no limit, as politics is essentially about consulting. So we have been consulting people for a pretty long time
What would be your agenda if you are voted into office?
In a contest like this, there are two stages: the first stage is to get the party’s nod to run as the party’s flag bearer. To do that extent, one has to sort it out within the rank and file of members of the party, particularly those who will go to the state congress to elect the gubernatorial candidate. Once that is accomplished, one faces the general populace and puts forward his programmes, as well as the party’s position and the like. PDP as a party has a platform or manifesto, which it issues at the end of every four years, prior to the beginning of each electioneering season, which will be the case this time round, as every candidate of the party would be expected to campaign on the platform of the party’s manifesto and programmes. However, if consultations turn out to be positive that one should run and if I do run and clinch the party’s ticket, my immediate priority would be to assemble officials, who I will saddle with the responsibilities of bringing positive change in all sectors in the life of Kano people. Kano people are definitely not happy with an unserious regime that they now have and something radical has to be done to reverse some of the policies being manipulated by Kwankwasiyya and imposed on the people of Kano. We have radical interventions to effect in the health sector, in education, in social welfare programmes. We have radical programmes in politics itself, changing the political psyche of the ordinary Kano person and so many others but as I said earlier, there are so many stages to scale and will take each accordingly.
As a stakeholder in Kano, what in your opinion has the incumbent government done right?
[Kwankwaso] has gone right in a few places, namely, in his conception of development, reducing development to the provision of basic mundane physical structures, like roads, none of which it has successfully completed. He has also done right in 90 per cent of cases, like government of manipulation, a government of deceit, a government of blackmail, a government that suffers from gross incompetence and incapacity, a government that does not even have the concept that Kano people know of good governance. We have so many types of good governance, both the Military and Civilian. On the military side, we have the Audu Bako model, on the civilian side, you have the Abubakar Rimi model, which we are aspiring to meet and surpass in the future. This government does not have a concept of governance, except the concept of governance that guides policy and its implementation of the Kwankwasiyya sect in government, which centres around personality cult; almost a cult that worships personality. That is a distortion of governance. Governance is a collective strategy of implementing policies for the good of the people. Governance is not something that is centred around an individual, who owns everything and therefore everybody must refer to him. No! So we have to change that very dangerous conception of governance because if you allow that to continue, there will be a lot of distortions. Democracy does not in any way throughout history thrive on the basis of personality cult. That cult must be smashed because it distorts democracy, distorts governance and doesn’t serve anybody any good, including the cultists themselves. That has to be changed and we will change it.
Are you confident that PDP will re-capture Kano in 2015?
Well, incumbency in Kano politics has been demystified when it comes to election. Previously I was the head of Kwankwaso/Ganduje campaign team. Way back in 2003, we had the incumbency factor but unfortunately, it did not work in our favour; we lost to a little known Malam Ibrahim Shekarau of the then ANPP, which was little known and it wasn’t a party that was popular in Kano but all of a sudden it just came up due to so many factors. Also, in 2011, nobody ever gave Kwankwaso any chance because of the incumbency factor but again, Kwankwaso became governor for a second mandate after being out of office for eight years. So there are two cases we can cite in the contemporary history of Kano, where incumbency factor has been demystified, so that is no longer an issue for us.
You highlighted some of the late Governor Abubakar Rimi’s landmark achievement. Which of them would you want to embrace in future?
There is no policy of the late Rimi’s Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) Administration that any sensible Kano leader in government would not want to repeat and build on. Indeed, it would be my model of governance for Kano State. For example, the late Rimi ran a people-centred administration. He championed and implemented an aggressive adult literacy programme, which won Kano State the UNESCO medal for adult literacy, the second time that medal was awarded in the world, the first time being in the mid 1970s when it was awarded to Fidel Castro for his Adult Literacy Campaign in Cuba. The second time the world had seen that medal was when Rimi ran a massive Adult Literacy programme and he won in a space of one year, between 1980 and 1981. The PRP Administration that he led made about a million or thereabout Kano people, who were earlier illiterates, to be literate within one year. That was an award-winning programme. Number two, Rimi had women-focused intervention in many areas; the first time women were appointed commissioners in Kano State was when he was governor. He appointed three women at a stretch, even though it was a taboo at that time. Now, women are playing more significant roles in Kano politics. If they could get three slots in the cabinet at once in 1979, then definitely, they deserve a better deal this time around. But much modern positions would evolve people-centred intervention in health, girl-child education, free maternity and proper women empowerment – not deceptive packages – as well as employment generation and the provision of alternate electricity for Kano. Kano economy is down on its knees, largely due to problem of electricity. Many states are taking the initiative of having Independent Power Projects (IPP) that will yield results. Ours in Kano has been full of deception. If by the grace of God one becomes the PDP flagbearer and is sworn in, we will initiate a full scale Ministry of Power, like you have in Rivers State. So we will focus on power, generate electricity, sell to industries, sell to water works, liberate the little electricity accruable to these sectors, transfer it back to people. By adopting this measure, you have reivigorated the industries to roar back to life. By working they will generate more employment because if you have hitch-free electricity supply 24/7, you will expect that they would operate at least two shifts of eight hours each; some of them are currently running three shifts of eight hours; so it means they would be working round the clock.
It therefore means that if they are able to run three shifts, they would triple the work force they are presently engaged in. What that means in terms of employment is you create the absorptive capacity in the economy, you absorb these youths that roam the streets, who after completion of their studies do not have anywhere to go or job to do, no income. It means you will now unleash a kind of injection into the economy because it would create multiplier effects: create jobs, create incomes, generate savings and serve as a motivator for growth in the economy. So things will begin to pick up, our markets would boom with goods and services, traders will continue to troop into Kano at a higher level because there are more goods and services available in the market. Our hotel industry will pick up again, which means more employment; the airport will also pick up, which will re-vitalise and kick-start the growth of Kano economy. Power is central.
How would you revive folded industries in Kano?
As I earlier told you, we will address the power sector, which is very critical to industrialisation. Kano industries cannot run where there is no power or water. So we have to generate additional power, spread it to Kano industries and they will be able to work. There are also other incentives, whereby we will have to sit down with the industrialists, engage them as stakeholders and work collectively with them. There are things that we would like to do, like introducing tax incentives. Sometimes government will lose revenue but if at the end of the day the loss of revenue from tax exemptions or tax holidays is granted to industrialists, that would result into employment generation for the youths and income generation for a large percentage of our people, then so be it. I am ready to allow for that, as we are ready to collaborate with the business community, the industrialists, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other stakeholders to put together an aggressive package of industrialisation. One of the problems we had in Kano has been a recurring decimal of industrialists of going into the same line of production. Once furniture is in vogue, everybody will veer into furniture production; no diversification. We will have to harmonise the situation by sitting down with the stakeholders and agreeing on result-oriented programmes, as the basic line is power and the issue of tax incentives by way of tax exemptions and other macro-economic inputs, which we can give to industries. That would be done and we are hopeful that the results would be positive. Our focus would be on revitalisation of industries, so that the economy can be expanded to have absorptive capacity. Once you increase the absorptive capacity of the economy, it will absorb these young men and women you find roaming the streets and it will generate income and savings…
If you are elected Kano State governor, what would be your promise to Kano people?
I will promise them that we will run a good government that everybody would be proud of.