Senator Bayero Usman Nafada is the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in Gombe state in the forthcoming general elections. He was the pioneer Speaker of Gombe State House of Assembly in 1998-2003, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and now the Senator representing Gombe North Senatorial district. In this interview with journalists, he bared his mind on the chances of the PDP in winning the general elections as well as other political issues. Excerpts:
What are chances of the PDP in the general elections?
The chances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Gombe State and other parts of the country are very bright and the coast is very clear for the success of the party in the upcoming elections at all levels.
You see, success doesn’t come on a platter of gold or by mere rhetoric but one has to work for it and device productive means to actualize it.
In Gombe State, what our people know is the PDP as far as politics and good governance is concern, PDP is conterminous with the development of the state especially under the rein of the present Governor of the state, His Excellency, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo in which the administration has successful transformed the state to an enviable status.
It’s an undeniable fact that, all the sectors of the economy have been overhauled; education, agriculture, heath, infrastructure and what have you.
We were all aware when the Buhari and APC’s ‘tsunami’ that swept all the PDP in the Northern part of the country during the 2015 general elections met a hard brick wall in Gombe State with Gov. Dankwambo and his Taraba counterpart, Darius Ishaku defied all the APC’s propaganda and emerged victorious in their respective states and what’s going to happen in 2019 is just a replica because the APC led government has failed Nigerians and if PDP could win in 2015 when the APC’s ineptitude wasn’t exposed, what more of the 2019.
But you were in the APC before?
Yes, how many people were in the APC and left when they’ve realized the party lacks implementable manifestoes? When you are in a ship and realizes that it will not take you to your destination or the captain is a novice, what you should do is to disembark for your safety. And in Gombe State, those in the APC are the problems of the state and most of them ventured into politics just to accumulate wealth to the detriment of the masses. You could see how one of their leaders stymied President Buhari’s budget in the national assembly and it sound ridiculous for that person to come down to Gombe and talk about party ideology. I can’t remain in a party that has become an individual investment in the state.
You were the pioneer Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and now serving Senator; don’t you think others deserve to be given the chance to serve?
Politics like any other meaningful ventures requires experience and familiarity and electing someone that doesn’t have a vast knowledge of the workings of government and legislation, will surely take the state back and that, we’ll never allow.
As you rightly said, I was in the State House of Assembly as the Speaker and I later moved to the National Assembly where I served as the Deputy Speaker and now serving in the Red Chambers as a Senator and can you match my credentials with someone who was only a Commissioner in the state?
If elected as the next Governor, what will you do differently?
Government is a continuous process; we came from deep-rooted democratic cycle from the state to the National Assembly, from Green to the Red Chambers and coming out with a lot of experiences and accomplishments. I will deploy such skills and experiences to further develop the state and boost its economy to more advanced and sustainable status. I’ve to continue from where my predecessor has stopped and consolidate on the gains of democracy the state has been enjoying.
Some of the people who contested the ticket with you are aggrieved with the result, what are you doing to assuage them to support you?
I’ve said it severally that as far as PDP is concern in Gombe State, there’s no looser and we are all winners. About 12 of us contested in the primaries and with deep knowledge that only one of us will emerged at the end of the process. And for those you called aggrieved, I don’t know them because PDP in the state is united and committed on winning the upcoming election.
Two of the contestants, Jamilu Gwamna and Abdulkadir Hammasaleh left the party to the APC after the primaries and alleged irregularities?
I don’t want to mention anybody’s name or join issues with anyone but since you’ve already asked me, let me tell you something. It’s normal in politics, the way they are leaving, others are equally joining the PDP and for Jamilu Gwamna, no one will tell you when he joined the party (PDP) because he was last seen or heard of in the state politics since 2007 and he all of a sudden came out from political hibernation claiming to contest for the highest seat of the land. While, I’ve overwhelmingly defeated Hammasaleh in the Senatorial contest in 2015 and you can imagine how could someone who can’t win at the Senatorial election dream of contesting gubernatorial election.
But the most important thing is that, they are all prerogative to join any party of their choice and we in PDP, we’re united as other contestants are assiduously working with us for the success of the party at various levels. I’ve been a grassroots politician and politics is also about dialogue and I will use this avenue to call on any person that felt disenchanted to come forward and resolves the gray areas for the betterment of our party and the state in general.
How do you measure your capability to be the Governor of a state like Gombe?
What do you mean by capability? If an ordinary former Commissioner in the state will feel capable of governing the state, I think a former Speaker in the State Assembly, former Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly and a serving Senator is more capable, qualified and deserving.
What is your reaction to the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria?
Though, there were different legal interpretations and divergence reactions from Nigerians but in my candid opinion, whatever we are doing as government, we should do it within the confines of the law and avoid over heating the polity unnecessarily. In this particular scenario, the hastiness of the suspension and the timing was questionable and people may smell political motives behind all the drama because for the government that failed to honour about five different court orders granting bail to the former Security Adviser to former President Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki to hastily suspend the CJN on a single court order, there must be political undertone and the judiciary as the last hope of a common man should and must be allowed to operate independently without any sense of prejudice.
The APC is the ruling party in the country; can you beat it in Gombe State?
Politics is very local and voters are the determining factor in all the contest and I want to assure you that, Gombe is a PDP state and I’m very optimistic that God’s willing we are going win the 2019 elections at all levels with or without the federal might. Let me tell you, during the election, everybody must be at his own local constituencies and we’re going vote and protect our votes in Gombe.
Are you comfortable with the preparations of the INEC so far to deliver a free and fair election?
So far so good and the only thing I will say here is that, INEC as an electoral umpire should as much as possible maintain its independence and provide equal opportunity for all candidates by conducting free, fair, and credible election and anything contrary to this, Nigerians will not tolerates any act of injustice and impunity.
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