Abubakar Muazu is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governorship aspirant in Gombe State. In this interview with RUTH CHOJI, he bares his mind on what he intends to do if given the chance to govern the state
Why do you want to be the next governor of Gombe State?
I am running because I want to bring change in Gombe State. Mr president is doing a good job at the center, so I want the people of Gombe to experience it. We want a government that everybody will participate in and respect the citizens.
Does this mean that Governor Dankwambo has not done enough?
He has tried his best. We are lucky in Gombe that we have always had good governors but I want to bring change, I want to take development to the grassroots. The governor is more of an urban man but my plan is to reach the grassroots. The governor did not do much in the area of agriculture and most of our people are farmers. We have two big dams, (Dadin kowa and Balanga dam). So, I intend to focus more on agriculture so the state can be like or even surpass what is going on in Kebbi State. We have the land and manpower but that sector was not exploited. The state would have benefitted from the massive support agriculture is getting now from the federal government. Agriculture will create jobs and shore up even the IGR of the state because we will farm for export. We will also get lots of support from the federal government if we diversify to agriculture. If APC were in power, Gombe would have enjoyed some of these privileges.
The opposition PDP has accused the FG of targeting the opposition in its fight against corruption. Do you think this is true?
This ongoing fight against corruption started since the time of Obasanjo which was more political than this. I think this government is being fair to all. Obasanjo was not a democrat unlike Buhari who is trying to allow the law to run it’s caused. Buhari does not interfere at all. Look at the case of the SGF, did the president interfere? That is the first time a political office holder like that was ever questioned and removed from office in Nigeria. He is close to the president yet he did not shield him? Corrupt people are more united than honest people. They tend to protect each other. You can see that things are are different now.
Gombe was among states effected by insurgency. What has happened to the affected communities and what will you do differently?
In 2015, a lot of places were attacked in Gombe especially areas that have close boundary with Maiduguri. But thank God Buhari came in and took care of it. If given a chance, I will continue from where my predecessor stop. We will also join hands with the president to secure and maintain peace.
You want to contest against an opposition that has been in control for years. How do you hope to achieve your dreams?
I am not new to this because in 2003, Gombe was under ANPP, yet we took power from them. I was part and parcel of that process. There is nothing new there except for those who are afraid of power of incumbency. Look at what happened in 2015, with all the money PDP had, Buhari won the presidency. Gombe will not be different. It will be easy because the people of Gombe are tired of the misrule of PDP. The state has seen the disadvantage of not being part of the ruling party. With me as a governor, the people know that they will gain more because of my passion for helping people.
Politicians are beginning to form coalition now that INEC has released timetable. Are you afraid of the APC?
I am glad that they are going out to form new parties. It will help sanitize APC because some came to the party just to remain in power or shy away from corruption. Now they have realized that APC cannot shield them. Obasanjo did not make Buhari president, it was Nigerians. This election will not be like what happened during Iwu’s time where they declared results before they finished counting the votes. With card readers, I think there will be transparent elections. Obasanjo thinks Buhari is a magician but he forgot that, after he had spent eight years, he started campaigning for a third which according to him was to allow him finish what he started. So, Buhari needs a second term to finish what he has started. Besides, Obasanjo is a serial critics of everybody. I want him to know that nobody is perfect.
It’s common knowledge that money plays a major role in our politics. Some also have godfathers backing them. Where do you stand on this?
This issue of money is a problem for our politics. Aside logistics, some people believe that, you must give them something before they vote for you and this has made so many governors unresponsive. They see their time on the seat as recouping their funds. That is why Nigerians must vote their according to their conscience. The issue of money is disturbing particularly for the younger generation who have good plans and vision but because they lack money, nobody votes for them.
So many people have indicated interest in this same seat. What will make you stand out?
What will make me different is that I am a grassroots politician. My political antecedent is speaking for me because of what I have been doing for my people. As a Prince, I made it a point to pay fees of over a thousand students yearly, I have constructed boreholes before I ever thought of contesting any position. I also have grassroots support.
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