In this interview, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State advances reasons why he wants the North Central to produce the next national chairman of the ruling APC even as he makes case for the election of his predecessor, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura, to the coveted seat.
While revalidating your membership of All Progressives Congress in Gudi, you appealed to your party to zone the chairmanship seat to North Central and Nasarawa State to be specific. How far have you gone in rallying support for that?
Well, when you advise, then you start to campaign. I think we have gone beyond advice now, we are campaigning. We go round and in the process of the campaigning we carry out different levels. I have been in contact with the major stakeholders in the APC, that we strongly believe that what we are asking for is fair. What we are asking for is not too much for the party to do. What we are asking for will actually keep the party together. I will tell you I have gone far beyond just making a plea, I have gotten to the stage of making consultations, speaking with the right people who are supposed to be part of this, speaking with all the decision makers, speaking with the highest authority of the party and especially speaking with my colleagues, the governors. For some of them who went to Abuja yesterday, they would tell you I had a meeting with them towards midnight yesterday and it was all connected to that. I have been trying everything to ensure that we plead for this position to come to Nasarawa State. I am going on the full swing, I don’t want to go half and stop. I am saying that I strongly believe it should come to North Central and Nasarawa State, I always add that, I don’t want to stop at coming to North Central without mentioning Nasarawa State.
APC is actually a product of an alliance, an alliance between three former independent political parties, the ACN, ANPP and the CPC. The two former members of the alliance have all produced twice the national Chairman of the party. But the only one that has not produced so far is the CPC. And if you are talking of the CPC Nasarawa State is the only state with the CPC that went into the alliance, so, that is the justification that we have. But I don’t want to just stop at that, I keep saying let it come to Nasarawa State. Because I don’t want people to feel that the person am looking for the position, may be because of one reason or the other is not the right person. So, let it come Nasarawa State, give us in Nasarawa State, you have to be fair to CPC first, because it was the only state that joined the alliance, when it comes to us we will look for it. Right now I think we have gone out full swing, we are campaigning for people and we want people like Tanko Almakura, to take it. So we have not been hiding that.
Recently, there was mass defection into your party, APC, in Nasarawa State with some senior stakeholders of the opposition party joining. Are you concerned that Nasarawa will become a one-party state? We would like to know how you intend to manage these very senior stakeholders coming to join you in the APC…
Thank you very much. I don’t think any one person will take the credit for that. I think since we came in as an administration we have worked as a team and we have displayed fairness. We have been very truthful. We don’t have anything that we are hiding. What we say is what it is. We don’t deceive people; we don’t say anything untrue. We just say everything from the heart, I think that has helped us. What I mean by that we keep saying we are inclusive government. And since we are inclusive it has to show that we are inclusive. We have had areas, we have the records that did not vote for us but they are citizens of Nasarawa State. And we have qualified people from there to hold certain positions we gave them the positions. So, that is our own way of inclusiveness. Anytime that there is an opportunity to discuss about the interest of Nasarawa State, we invite beyond our party. We invited people from other parties, anytime an opportunity for some kind of intervention comes to Nasarawa State, as a result of either the challenge of the economy or so we share with everybody. So, we have indicated in words and actions that we are actually a government for all, therefore, if something like that is happening, when people are leaving other political parties to come to us, we thank God that we have seen this. And also, on our own part we believe very strongly our display of action, what we say, our attitude in connection to that is in line.
What is the general direction of your administration?
One area I have always spoken with the press is I want to see press as partners, that is the reason why I never run away from questions coming from the press. Because I want the press to understand that we truly come to this state with the agitation and with the vision to develop it and I don’t think it will happen, especially with our vision to attract investment without partnership with the press. So, that is why when you are having a little bit of difference; the corresponding chapel or premier chapel or this chapel, don’t like it. Because I strongly believe that you should always come together to see them. Sometimes I travel and I don’t see so and so person. I ask; they would tell me he is so, so chapel. Any paper you touch, LEADERSHIP and almost all the papers, everybody is giving us the coverage that will help us to bring investors to the State, because people will believe that there is peace in the state. The second part is about reporting, I want you to ask me any question you feel. If I don’t know the answer, I will tell you I don’t know. But please let me not say this and you say he meant that, when I say it just report it the way I say it. I am not afraid to hold on to whatever I say, but the only problem is that when asking a question and he say that, in reality what he meant was that, that take us into a different kind of bracket all together.
…Your Excellency that is interpretative journalism.
I don’t want interpretative journalism, I want journalism that will tell the world what I say, I think that is part of the direction. You know I am an Engineer; I am a practical person. Maybe I will make a mistake in saying it, but I will say it exactly the way it is. That is one side I want the relationship and the partnership in that line. Another thing is that, sometimes people would say this person is not from Nasarawa, I don’t believe in that. As long as you live in Nasarawa whether you are an indigene or not, you are a Nasarawa person. You should be interested in doing whatever to promote the state. Some of us our great grandfathers come from somewhere, but we don’t know where they came from. Like Sandford, mentioned at one point, because he is a black man, they say you come from African, he said am not from Africa am from California. They said no you are not from California… your great grandfather came from Africa, he said that is their business. I don’t know where he came from in Africa, but for me am from California. That is where I was born and brought up. So, that is the way am looking at it, as long as you live here, you are going to have children here and marry somebody from here, then you are from Nasarawa State. So, we take it for the development of the State and the future of the state. And that is why I will ask you for this one for partnership and to thank you for what you have been doing together, all the cooperation you have been giving to the CPS. I want you people to continue that way so that it will be better for every one of us.