Barrister Attahiru Maccido Malami, a lawyer and politician is the chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kebbi State. He recently fielded questions from journalists on some of the mid-term achievements of the party in the state. LEADERSHIP was there
APC has just celebrated two years in office nationwide. As chairman of the party in Kebbi state, how would you assess your party’s achievements in the state?
In the last two years, the APC government, both at the national level and in the various APC-led states has done tremendously well in all facets of human endeavour. There is a silent revolution taking place in areas such as agriculture, education, health, youth empowerment and security. For example, in agriculture, Nigerians are well aware of our partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide loan facilities to our rice and wheat farmers in the states popularly known as Anchored Borrowers. The federal government gave us a mandate to produce one million metric tons of paddy rice which we have achieved. And our farmers, we thank God are up to the task and are producing it in large quantity.
Our agricultural programmes have greatly reduced poverty among the farming population and have provided employment opportunities to our teaming unemployed youths in the states. Based on our track record in rice production, other states have continued to partner with us. Infact, states like Lagos, Kastina, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi have visited us to understudy our rice production techniques and borrow a leaf from us.
What have been your achievements in the educational sector?
On education, I must confess that the Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has turned around the sector. He has renovated several schools, both primary and secondary and provided enough teaching and learning materials. He also sent teachers on training and retraining programmes mostly in science and technical subjects. Recently, he paid over N300 million as scholarship for indigent students of the state origin studying within Nigeria and abroad. He also sponsored no fewer than 25 students to Sudan and Indian on specialised trainings in Medicine and other science-related courses. We should not forget that the governor recently improved feeding allowances of secondary schools from N35 to N100 per meal, per day.
What is the state government doing to revive the health sector?
The APC government in the state has performed creditably by renovating and equipping all the general hospitals in the state. All the existing comprehensive health centers in the rural areas were not left out as they were provided with necessary drugs, equipments, qualified personnel to man them. Few weeks ago, 29 American doctors on medical mission were in the state to render free medical treatment to people in various ailments. The exercise took place at the Kalgo Specialist Hospital. Over 2,800 patients were attended to by the doctors and they were given free drugs while 684 underwent successful surgeries. We thank God, no single life was lost during and after the exercise which lasted for three weeks. It is also worthy of note that the Kebbi State government in partnership with ToulsiChanlri Foundation of Indian came in with her team of doctors to carry out free eye treatment and surgery. Within this period also, APC government in kebbi State voted over N500 million to purchase state of the art equipment and also carried out total renovation of the Sir Yahyah General Hospital in Birnin Kebbi. Even the maternal and child health delivery has also received priority attention by the government, so you can see how we accorded utmost priority to the health sector.
Similarly, road networks, security, water supply and general administration of the government have not been neglected and every citizen of the state would attest to this.
Your party has been working towards wooing some of the opposition chieftains, especially those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into your fold, majority of these chieftains have just joined your party. How would you describe this development?
They joined us because of our party’s performance in the state and the commitment of the state governor in ensuring his deliverance of his campaign promises. We received 30 PDP chieftains, including one time state chairman of the PDP Alhaji Bello Doya, a former SSG, Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, over 20 local government PDP chairmen and various state Assembly members. They defected along with their followers.
We are expecting more decampees. Our doors are always open to welcome them.
In what ways to do you think these decampees would add value and strength to the party?
Our party is already strong and firm on ground and the decampees are also experienced politicians whose wealth of experience would undoubtedly impact positively on our party’s structure. Therefore, I have no doubt in my mind that their coming to APC will be added advantage to the general wellbeing of the people of Kebbi State.
One of your campaign promises before 2015 general elections was centred on youth and women empowerment. Would you say this has been accomplished in the last two years?
Yes, our party in the state has so much empowered women and youths since we took over government two years ago and more empowerment are still coming. You will agreed with me that almost 80 percent of our campaign promises have been met. Many women and youths were trained at the skills acquisition centres at the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development on different skills such as tailoring, knitting among others. Our government also collaborated with the Federal Incubation Centre where our youths underwent four weeks training course in soap making, mattress making, shoes making among others.
Preparations for the coming local government election across the state were held in some local government areas where there were alleged imposition of candidates on the electorate. How far is this true and what is your reaction to this?
The APC constitution allows for consensus and the party leaders in the local government areas were given the mandate to shop for consensus candidate and where that failed, the party would organize primary election and whoever emerges as winner automatically becomes the candidate of the party. It is not as if we are imposing candidates on the people. There was a particular local area where a consensus candidate emerged but the electorate opposed his candidature because they argued that he had been council chairman for three times at various times. For such candidate to be returned for the fourth time, the people of the area rejected him and the party has no option than to conduct the primary. Therefore, there is no imposition of candidates as far as APC is concern.
Would you say your party is prepared for the local government election slated for July 15?
We are fully prepared and ready and we are going to work hard to ensure free and fair election. What is going to make the election unique is gender equality. For the first time in the history of democracy in Kebbi State, we have four vice- chairpersons and 21 of them as councilors.