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Kaduna: The Challenge before El-Rufai Is Daunting – Sen. Aliyu

Sen Lawal Aliyu is a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC). In this interview with journalists, Lawal said the transition committee should establish the exact debt profile of the state and

people who took them. The former chairman of the defunct ANPP also pledged that the governor elect, Nasir El-rufai would transform Kaduna. SUNDAY ISUWA was there. Excerpts:

What is your assessment of the gubernatorial elections which APC won?

So far, so good; this is a struggle we started 17 years ago and by the grace of God, we’ve been vindicated. The true strength of our party is now manifest, we thank God and the good people of Kaduna State for standing with us for the number of years we’ve been in the opposition, their trust in us and today, they have voted us into power.

How do you assess the performance of INEC and the security agents?

We must give kudos to INEC this time around under the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega INEC who introduced the PVC and the card reader. It was the instrument that brought about transparency in the electoral process. On the part of security agencies, we have to commend them because they understood that the mood of the nation was for change. People are tired, there was insecurity, impunity, corruption and poverty at a level never witnessed in the history of our dear nation. Security agents were being killed at an alarming rate. Nothing was working and people needed change and this is where we are. This is a new Nigeria and a new beginning and we believe, it shall be well with us.

Before the election, there were bitter campaigns. What will you say about all that transpired?

This is politics and basically, you disagree to agree but definitely not to destroy. Everybody has the right to contest for positions and people contested, some lost, and some won.  But what is important is

for the party to focus on emancipating our people from the clutches of these dangerous people that have enslaved us and destroyed every single institution that we have. We want to make sure we have a Nigeria of our dream where there will be peace, justice and equity.

Now that the APC has won, what plans does your party has for Kaduna people?

APC has a lot of plans for the people of Kaduna State, but you have to understand that we have lots of challenges. The first challenge is the huge debt. It must however be said that when Governor Makarfi handed power to Namadi Sambo, Kaduna State was not indebted to any financial institution. Infact, Kaduna State received refunds from Federal Government on account of debt forgiveness during Obasanjo regime. Today Kaduna is the second most indebted state in Nigeria, with nothing to show for it. The debts were primarily acquired eight years ago by Namadi Sambo, Patrick Yakowa and Ramalan Yero. In essence they are easily traceable and thank God, Sambo and Yero, the architects of these loans are alive.

These seemingly bogus loans must be verified, the people of Kaduna State must know the quantum of loan, the projects if any accessed in terms of content, relevance and cost for the incoming government to decide as appropriate. Otherwise, what this cabal has planted will continue to hold this state to ransom for the next 50 years without people knowing who is responsible.

Secondly, it is not only the state government that is heavily indebted. Local Governments are equally indebted to the tune of billions of naira without even a culvert to show for it. So all state resources

have been stolen blue and black and the future mortgaged. The only consolidation is that, a stop is now being put to this disaster called PDP government in Kaduna State. Thirdly, there is also the challenge of dwindling resources from the Federation Account; this singular challenge has already made it impossible for some state governments to pay salaries in some cases for a year now. These are the challenges of corruption. They have succeeded in corrupting every official of government including the Local governments. Some LGAs have over 100 drivers with no more than 3 functional vehicles. Some LGAs can’t pay salaries. So, the governor will have a lot of challenges in Kaduna State. The only good thing is the quality of the governor that we now have in the person of El-rufai. Everybody knows that his capacity to deliver is not in doubt even his enemy can attest to that.

Fourthly, we also have a total decay of infrastructure. In most cases there is none. In zone one where I came from, in five LGAs of zone 1, there is no single decent functional secondary school. I’m talking about Kudan, Ikara, Kubau, Soba and Lere Local governments; this is not talking of institutions of higher learning. If there is, I challenge anyone to come and tell me where it is. In these LGAs that am talking about, there is no single decent functional hospital. There are only two hospitals in these five LGAs which where built in the 70s. Go and find out, there is nothing in those hospitals. These scenarios I’m pointing to you in zone one is what is obtained in zone two. Go to Igabi, Chukun, Birnin Gwari and Giwa LGs. Same with their schools and hospitals. So, the challenges are too many to count. But I’m very sure the governor is equal to the task. I want people to understand this and not expect magic because of the level of infrastructural decay, debt, and corruption that was entrenched in our dear state.

You have been an active politician in Kaduna and Nigeria. How can APC deliver dividends of democracy to the people?

You have to understand we are a party built on people’s will. The focus of this government will be service to the people as opposed to the previous system where political godfathers siphon state resources. Where politicians, big and small feast on state resources.  This government will be about

service delivery. We got peoples’ votes freely and willingly and we must give them development in return. So, I can tell you, without mincing words, the governor has the people of Kaduna state at heart. I

know he is prepared to be governor. I know he is very clear about the quantum of problems he is inheriting from the PDP government whether in Education, Security, Health, Water supply, and several other things that I cannot even mention. I can assure the people of Kaduna state that we have reached a point where we can begin to see the dividends of democracy. We will begin to see government that identifies with the poor and try to solve their problems. Build up the capacity of the children of the poor, education, health system, jobs, roads and provide water to the people of Kaduna State. These would be in contrast to what was obtained under the PDP where the Zaria water project (in the town where Sambo came from) has been going on for close to 20 years without completion with billions and billions spent without result. The people of Zaria have been suffering because of mindless corruption

and insensitivity on the part of Namadi and his PDP.

With the emergence of El-rufai as governor, coupled with the type of leadership Kaduna people has had, a lot of people will be eager to see how Kaduna will be transformed. Do you see him performing?

I have no doubt about that. The elected governor has the capacity to and will transform Kaduna State. The only thing is that he will inherit monumental challenges because of the staggering debts. State grants from the federal account is declining, the people should appreciate this. Its not going to be easy and I will crave the indulgence of Kaduna people to be patient with him and give him some time to settle down and plan how to tackle these issues. I have no doubt in my mind that there will be development in Kaduna. What we will experience now is the era of peace, prosperity, and service delivery; we will never see the bad things we saw under the PDP led government.

The party has won and if you look at it, must people that won elective position also held offices within the party both nationally and in the state. How can APC build a strong party that will maintain the winning spirit beyond 2019 elections?

If we can be able to win an election with a brand new party that is barely a year, winning election in 2019 won’t be a problem. We’ve shown the PDP that in a free and fair election, we can defeat them

over and over again. I have no doubt in my mind that with our performance, when elections are going

to be held in Kaduna State, come 2019 there won’t be PDP again. We would show people the difference between PDP and APC which is like black and white. We are not going to disappoint anybody and history

will judge our performance.

How will APC bring out good people that will help them in governing Kaduna State?

Well, this is the primary responsibility of the governor. And am very sure and confident with the capability of the governor being very educated, experienced and excellent track record, we can be

very sure of having good people in place to serve our state. The leadership is the best a state can hope for. People should not entertain any fear about what to expect from Mallam Nasir El-rufai.

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