While many are moving towards it, Hon. Dauda Kako Are, defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to Accord Party and clinched the Mushin Federal Constituency 1 sit, despite stiff opposition. In this interview, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Information, spoke why he left APC when others are rushing in, party politics and other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Congratulations on your victory, how did you feel when you were eventually announced the winner?
Thank you so much, sincerely I was happy and feel fulfilled that the voice of the people has finally prevailed.
Did you ever think you were going to win the election considering the fact that your party was not as popular as the ruling parties in the country?
Yes, I believe I would win because of the fact that people know me so well and I equally have their trust so I was expecting to be victorious at the end of the election. The fact that we have two dominant parties – People’s Democractic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) is not really the bone of contention here but the fact is that people want dividends of democracy. Over the years, we have been able to give them that which is normal for them to vote for me in the election; the people were not looking at Accord Party, rather, Hon. Dauda Kako-Are.
You were a strong member of the progressives, why did you leave?
I want to also believe that Accord Party is also progressive. The issue of leaving the APC is all about internal democracy because those that must be in the party offices must be elected and not selected. What they have now are selections and the same selected executives cannot vote for somebody that is going to work for the elective party. So those are the areas where we have our conflicts, that is even progressive because anything that is progressive should be primary related. If anybody is going to represent you, you should have a voice, vote in who the person is and this is currently lacking in the APC and this is the main reason why we left.
Is it possible that you might go back to APC?
I don’t want us to look at the fact that without APC we cannot win. I strongly believe that power belongs to God and the people of Odi-Olowu decided who to give their mandate to. In the House of Representatives election, they voted massively for me, when it came to the house of assemblies even though we had some issues, they voted for APC candidate. As to whether to go back or not, today, we are still Accord members and we still hope to maintain the party; although political issues in the future might determine whether to stay or not.
What is your general opinion about the 2015 general election?
For me, it seems very fair and free. I must give kudos to the INEC chairman, Prof. Attairu Jega and his entire team for their doggedness and also give praise to the out-going president, Goodluck Jonathan who promised that the election was going to be peaceful which we seems to have witnessed at the end of the day. The only issue was the card reader that malfunctioned. So many voted without the use of the card reader and I know that before the election, Jega said no card reader, no election. So what I am saying here is that some place where manual accreditation was done, what happens to such place since Jega insisted that no card reader, no election.
You were a member of the state house of assembly. Some are of the opinion that the house has not performed up to expectations?
No, I don’t want to agree that the House has not performed up to expectations. We have done the very best that we can do, although we have allowed politics to play in our legislative functions which is not good at all. Of course, there is nothing anybody can do about that, after all, we are all politicians. The time frame, resources and the entire situation of things can prove that we have performed reasonably well. We have always been on the side of the masses through our bills. I think the problem has always been that the executives do not implement most of our legislations. For instance, the local governments are closer to the people and we have recommended their self-autonomy but the bill was stalled by the state government. So, if you look at most of these issues, it is not really our fault but the fault of the executive arm of government. I think the leadership of the house has performed very well.
Looking at records of achievement here in your constituency, you have contributed to the grass-root development, what brought out the much talked about Mofebe free school ride?
I have been opportune to travel out of the shores of our great country and I know in most countries, student don’t necessary have to struggle before going to school and also in most countries where the distance between the homes and school is much, the government comes in to assist without the parents laboring themselves to get their wards to school. I know also that the poverty level here is very low, because I know of some students who ordinarily ought to be in school but because of unavailability of transport allowance from their parents, they won’t go, so I thought it wise to come in from that angle and we thank God that it was well accepted by the people and the principals of schools can also attest to the fact that the population of students have increased in schools now.
Will it be right to say that the distribution of PMS to religious organizations was also one of the strategies employed during your campaign and eventual success of the election?
You see, let me clear this area because I have embarked on most of these programmes before coming into the office. For instance the free school ride project has been in existence for about 22 years now; it is a function of relating and giving back to the society, even before I became a politician. I was doing them without any plan of leaving APC. Also for the fuel project, though we never envisaged that the situation will arise like this, but we were aware that electricity has been the major challenge and places of worship are where we need to encourage people to go. Some people stopped going because of their inability to contribute money to buy fuel. It is the failure of the government to make electricity available to the people, so I just felt whatever little contribution I can do in that angle, I will.
Now that you have won the election, what new innovations are you bringing on board?
We will intensify more on what we started. For the free school ride and PMS distribution, we will definitely continue on that and bring in new buses for the use of the students. In terms of legislation, I am looking forward to a situation where we are going to look into our mortgage laws and make the funds readily available to lots of Nigerians. My key area will be making sure that a lot of Nigerians have their own houses because the laws that we have is not in favour of the common man to own a house. We will look at the possibilities of expanding government projects in most of these our constituencies.
What of the area of youth empowerment?
I am an employer of labour and through my various projects; I have been able to take out so many youths off the street to key in into my programmes. In my constituency as we speak, some of the youths handle the fuel distribution and holiday coaching project I organize. One of the key areas I want to focus on this time around as part of empowering the youth is to look out for budding youths who have good working ideas and we assist in setting them up with finance and other assistance from our capacities.