The PDP Chairman Nasarawa State, Chapter in this interview with head of our Abuja Bureau, Ohia Israel and Desertherald Nasarawa Correspondent Rabiu Omaku, spokes on the issues bedeviling the state, how the party will take over government in 2015 and other issues.
As the chairman of Nasarawa State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP you have been on the saddle, how has the road being and how challenging is it.
The road, has been rough, narrow, and crooked, but we thank God, that God has always provided for its own. And to those who are believers in the living God, knows that the way to heaven, the bible describes it as rough, narrow, and crooked as well, meaning that there is no place that is better than the place of God, that is heaven and for you to follow a crooked, narrow and rough road to heaven, that is the best place for any man to be, as there can never been any better place for any man to attain without following rough road. God has even provided his own wisdom, protection, and provision. Though the road has been rough, but we thank God almighty because he has always been at our side, and by the Glory of God the party has come back to her stand.
Now that the party has come back to her stand, just like you said, and as 2015 approaches near, how is the party planning to capture the Guber election?
Well for me to tell my plans to the whole world now, I think is not for any reasonable, responsible leader to say. But I want to tell you that PDP as a party in Nasarawa State is not leaving any stone unturned, to ensuring that PDP clinch back the power come 2015. To buttress my point is the just concluded local government and councillorship election, which some of you was aware of. Local government came and gone, but references are still being made anywhere, any day, by even those of them who are in government today. If you are sitting down with them to give critical analysis, they will tell you we didn’t win anywhere, that is what they will say we didn’t win anywhere. If you didn’t win anywhere, then who won, PDP won, but because the power that be, they took it, away, we are contending that in the law court. But we are telling the whole world, that what happened in Ekiti State played out earlier in Nasarawa State, though the electoral body of Nasarawa State was owned, financed, empowered by the State Government. What they did was to remove all the presiding officers towards the election, before they did their shameful and shameless conduct at the local government election, so for anybody to ask me what I think is going to be 2015, I think for our party in Nasarawa State, we are only waiting for the D-Day, because we are poised to clinch back our power, come 29th May next year.
The defection of some power movers and shakers in Nasarwa State, like Senator Ewuga, the Deputy Governor, and other members of the National Assembly, to the PDP is clear testimony that PDP is poised to capture Nasarawa back in 2015, but the problem the party maybe facing is the issue of who will be the flag bearer of the Party, how do you intend to address this issue.
Like I was telling you, during the local government we amazed the entire world, there is an internal mechanism that the party has in resolving whatever problem it has, APC underrated PDP during the local Government election, yes we didn’t have the resources to go round and campaign to the people, but we were doing it in our own best way which seems possible and they saw it. In local government election out of the 13 local governments, only two local governments had election, the remaining ones were just adoption because we had a consensus, out of 127 electoral wards only 22 councilors we had primaries for them, the remaining ones were by adoption based on the consensus by the party on the agreement we have across the state. By that it gave us an edge over party primaries that were conducted today by APC, tomorrow another person is declared, and next tomorrow another person is declared. So what I am trying to say in essence is that the issue of candidate should not be your worry, because the lord God we are serving, God who has brought this party this far, will get us to the end and we are going to come out with a candidate. And I want to assure you that whoever emerges the candidate of the PDP, is as good as the Governor Nasarawa State come 2015.
You gave instance with the Ekiti election, one thing that worked for the PDP in Ekiti, was that the people of Ekiti enmass desired this wind of change, do you think the people of Nasarawa are ready for this wind of change.
Let me tell you, if the people of Ekiti were tired, the people of Nasarawa State are more tired. They are more tired than any other state. Do you know why, Nasarawa State, I want to say like I have always said before, the coming of the APC government in 2011 was divine, divine because God wanted to show the people of Nasarawa a lesson, and because of the people of Nasarawa state failed to do what they supposed to do, so many things are ought to have been done to won the 2011 election, but we they failed to do so. People that ought to ensure victory left it under and this is was what happened. The moment this government came into power, people started crying, people started weeping, and the Government started paving way for a kind of crisis we have not seen in Nasrawa State before. Nasarawa state was engulf in crisis for more than three years, killings everywhere because the incompetence of the government, because of the insensitivity of the governor, and he was not there to ensure that the tribal linings of Nasarawa state was put together; that angered the people of Nasarawa State, that is not what we bargain for. Now the people yearned for was, employment, service delivery, good health services, but what they saw in return was a massive sack of employed youths, which now rendered them at the mercy of anything that comes around them. Like the saying goes, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, since over 12,000 youths were engaged, and when this APC government came in, they were relieved in the labour market. Like I said since they were already angered, vexation, anything that comes on them the act on it. I want to assure you that the people Nasarawa State are more tired than any other state among the committee of states in the country. So what transpired in Ekiti state will happen in Nasarawa State, where no man, not even Lai Mohammed, not even John Oyegun, not even Tinubu, will have a mouth to speak, because uptil now we have not heard what they said about what happened in Ekiti. Forget about the cosmetics around the state; forget about the propaganda by the APC led government in the state in the televisions and radios, because they owned them. We are happy that Nigerians are aware of what is happening in Nigeria and they have already taken their decisions.
Assessing the APC led government in Nasarawa State, if you are score what will you score them about their achievements in three years.
Well, you in some school, forty percent is let my people go, while in some others fifty percent is let my people go. If I am to score this government, I will score them less than forty percent. My reasons are that, whatever work you think that this government has done, it is only done in Lafia Township. Lafia Township is one out of 13 local governments that made up the state. The cosmetics of roads and traffic light that you see in Lafia are things the go about telling the whole world that they have done. Now the question is if you are judging, you judge according to the money received by this government from the Federal allocation. Apart from the Federation allocation that comes in billions, in fact some months this government collects what Nasarawa State never before collected in one year, he collects it in one month. Where is the money going? If he says he has done this one, he has done that, what is the cost of the work that he has done in Lafia, what is the bidding process, who applied for these jobs, who did these jobs, these jobs are they delivered to whom. These are questions that have been left unanswered, now let’s look at the income, the total of income that has come to Nasarawa State like I said. The local government money for the past three years has been the money he has squandering. That is the reasons why no place in the state other than Lafia, has received any developmental boost. As it is today, the IGR, allocation from the Federation account and other things nobody can account for it in Nasarawa State, yet Toto Local Government which my local government has the same stake like Lafia Local government, Nasarawa Local Government has the same stake like Lafia Local government. So what are we talking about, let’s forget about all these ones, there are some other funds that comes to the state, such as SURE-P money, the SURE-P monies has come in their billions, but nobody can hold that this what it was used for or where these monies are. The man sold this state back when he said he was going to collect bonds, he collected, he collected 10 billion naira, bond, and where is the money, he said he collected the bond for rural development, which rural area has been developed in the state. If he has, has much has been spent, these are issues we are asking that have no answers. So the only best option is for us throw him out of government house by February next year, and there after we handcuff him and take him to where he belong, that is the only option left for the people Nasarawa State. So if you are asking me to score him, like I said I will even score him less than 4o percent, because Toto Local government not even one kobo has been expended in that area, not to talk of Keffi, Nasarawa, Karu, and others, all these place are also part of the state. What can I say then about Akwanga, Wamba, other areas and they are there for anybody to go and verify. Infact the local government’s funds are not there for anybody to see, the chairmen are in place now, as it is now; they are in their third month in office. They have not received any kobo from the local government joint account, that one we are working on it, we are going to sue him and he is going to tell the world where the local government funds are. The previous ones he said, he was pilling, he will tell us where he kept those monies.
In 2012, the Federal government doled out four hundred million naira, as flood relief fund to Nasarawa, out of this four hundred million naira, fifty million was spent by this government. Uptil this moment nothing is being done or said about the remaining balance of three hundred and fifty million. What is your take on this?
I have always said this, this money was specifically for flood victims, people around Tunga area, Umasha Area, suffered this devastation by flood, Federal government, in his own magnanimity, doled out four hundred million as you said, we are made to understand that fifty million naira has been spent, that the remaining three hundred and fifty million naira, is kept there for the development of projects around the riverine areas. Nothing has been heard about that, two years after. Yet this government claims it is a responsive government, yet this government is a people’s oriented government that is in quote. However, we didn’t keep quiet, what we did was to engage a consultant, we went round all the places that were affected, and saw the level of damage that has been done to them, we have the reports in our hands. We have also written to Mr. President with this report, the actual things that happened and that are where we are today. We are waiting and very shortly we are going to expose them.
Comparing and contrasting this government and the former Government in the State which was your party, the PDP’s government, can they be equated?
They are two parallel lines, which cannot meet, they cannot be equated, there is no variables that can be brought together to measure their equitability. I have just said here that what this government has received in one year with, the 12 years spent by PDP, the PDP government never received it. So which means by implication, if these are a people oriented government, if this government were not headed by a thief, by somebody stealing here and there and pilling money somewhere, I want to assure you that Nasarawa State, would have been a developed state more than this. But for the fact the he doesn’t even have the ideas, the he doesn’t have the competence to do it and that is where where we are today are. That is why all the problem associated with criminality, social unrest have become so rampant in Nasarawa State, because he doesn’t even know what to do. He doesn’t have trust on anybody, the commissioners are left without being attended to, and they run helter skelter with their memos, nobody is attending to their memos, it is what he wakes up, any morning, whatever comes to his mind, and show few people whom he calls his advisers, he will say let’s go and do this thing today, they do it and to make matter worse, officially were meant to understand that there are some projects, that were giving as contract, TAAL and his co went and bought from the people that it was originally meant for, and even so after buying the project he didn’t do the job, but they all collected their money. Is that the equation, is that what you are asking to know the equitability between the two, the former governments of the PDP and the APC. Such kind of injustices we are seeing now, we not seen during the PDP regime. All these people that were sacked today were all recruited by the PDP government, because we have human feelings. People have gone to schools, people have studied their books, they have read and they have their certificate and to give back to Nasarawa State what they have, TAAL said no, no way. And he openly said it during the democracy day speech, he said he has not employed anybody and he doesn’t have the intention to employ anybody, yet lump sums of money are coming into Nasarawa State every month.
The Governor shortly after assumption of office, said he will build two airports, for the state, which many people of the State has criticized. What is your take on this?
What is the level of work if I ask you, after spending two billion, on it, there is nothing heard of it? This is what we are talking about. Initially that project was conceived as a conduit pipe for him to siphon the state funds, otherwise if not for that he wanted to import drugs as some of them are known for, I don’t know what cargo airport he is talking about. We have Abuja here, how many indigenes of Nasarawa State flies from the Airport in a month. But he has siphoned the money, he went and acquired the land and very shortly he will acquire it back and said the land belongs to him because he is a land dealer that is what we know him for, even in Abuja. In fact the airport project is misplacement of priority and he is going to account for it.
There are some campaign of calumny by the members of the ruling APC in the state, that there is no physical Federal presence in the State, do you share this view.
For anybody to say that there is no physical Federal projects in the state, done by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, that person is only being naive, shortsighted and un-objective. If we are to follow one by one, projects sighted in Lafia zone here, you will agree with me that goodluck Jonathan is the only President that was able to make a mark in Nasarawa State. Lafia-Obi-Awe Road is there completed and people are plying that road now, this road was conceived by Goodluck Jonathan and delivered by goodluck Jonathan. Federal University Lafia, is being built, conceived by Goodluck Jonathan, the road from Lafia here to Doma, conceived by Jonathan and delivered by Jonathan. We have Central Bank that is ongoing here; we equally have Federal Secretariat building that is ongoing. We have Gitto-Bagana-uweto road, from Nasarawa –Orego road. There is is this bridge that is gulping over thirty seven billion naira, we were there last week with the Minister of Works and the Federal Minister of Information our son was also there. The contractor said by October next year that project would have been completed, because it is 65 percent completed. Even the Federal High Court, here. Even the Keffi-Akawanga road is being earmarked for dualization. The PDP in Nasarawa state are making a big impart in the state even though we are not in government in the state.
The PDP has always been characterized as the Party that rigs, the Ekiti election, have it vindicated the PDP.
That is it, only when we wins, they will say it is rigging, but when the wins, they will say they election was free and fair. Thank God the Ekiti State Government has come out to say that the election was peaceful.
Prior to the decampment of the deputy governor to the PDP and even after that, when it was reported that the State Assembly members are poised to impeach the governor, the governor and his people accused the president of being the brain behind his crisis in the state. How do you react to this?
That is because of their desperation they will always attribute that happens in any state to President, you can see if it happens in Nasarawa State here it is Jonathan, if it happens in Benue, it is Jonathan, wherever it happens it is Jonathan. You can never eat cake and have it, each person signed a bond with their people while the president signed for the 36 states and the FCT, each one of them signed for their state. If Tanko Al- Makura has done his job the way he supposed to do, I want to believe that State Assembly will never see any fault or anything to hold onto any issue of impeachment if there is any. Because as I am sitting here as the chairman they cannot do a thing like without intimating me, am not aware of any impeachment threat against him. And I want to assure you that if we mean to impeach him, he doesn’t have any where to run. If he run he should hide inside the water, just like some governors are doing now because they refuse to receive impeachment notice. But because we said we will not impeach him, we want to remove him from office through the ballot box.
As 2015 approaches what should the Nasarawa people expect and what should be their attitude.
The expectation of people Nasarawa State is nothing short of victory by the PDP in the 2015 guber polls. It is going to come from God and not from man and I don’t expect any of members to hold on to daggers, knives, and machetes and so on. I have always called on all aspirants to be peaceful and good during the election times.