I Will Improve The Lives Of My Constituents Through People Oriented Projects, If Elected-Prof Doknan
The immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Plateau State University, BOKKOS Prof Doknan Decent Sheni, who is in the race for the vacant seat of Plateau Southern Senatorial District in the National Assembly created by the demise of Late Senator Ignatius Longjan, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. In this interview with Yakubu Busari in Jos, the Plateau state capital, the scholar- turned politician said he will bring his wealth of experience garnered in the academia to improve the life of his constituents through people-oriented projects if elected.
Why are you vying for the senatorial position of Plateau south senatorial zone?
I believe after serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the state-owned University, I have a lot to offer my people at the Southern senatorial zone of the state given my understanding of the challenges faced by all Senatorial Zones in the state, particularly my Senatorial District, which is the Southern Senatorial Zone.
I have traveled through the length and breadth of the Senatorial Zone and was amazed to found out that despite the fact the Zone had produced several senators in the time past, it cannot boast of portable water. Look at the agricultural backwardness of the area despite blessed with rich and verse land suitable for the production of a variety of crops, but our agricultural production largely remained subsistent.
Our people need to be trained on how to mechanized their production and direct on how to organize themselves in clusters to access several Federal Government intervention funds being disbursed by the Central Bank through the Bank of industry. These loans are a single-digit interest rate to assist farmers. This if achieved will address many social ills and youth restiveness in our Senatorial Zone and the State by implication. For example, the far Northern States like Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, and Katsina among others are spearheading the cultivation of rice due to water storage facilities and access to Federal Government intervention funds.
I wouldn’t blame the past senators for not putting in their best, but for me, I have a passion to serve my people who have been disenfranchised. l have a passion to help the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the disadvantaged. So when I look at them, it pains me to the bone marrow. And I asked myself why not offer to help them through service as a Federal Lawmaker? This passion could be seen in the Goals and Objectives of the “DECENT DANJUMA FOUNDATION”, an NGO targeted at ameliorating the plight of the downtrodden, especially widows. As the CEO and founder of the foundation, we have done a lot in all the Six Local Government Areas that made up the Southern Zone. Presently, our membership is about Ten Thousand (10,000). The foundation has trained and equipped them in various skillsets, ranging from Beat making, Cosmetology, Agro-allied, and petty trading among others. If given the chance to represent the Zone as a Senator, I think I can do even more than several others.
One of the unsettled issues in plateau politics is that of zoning. Now there is this call for Quan’pan to complete their tenure in the Senate. How do you react to that?
That is very simple, without insulting anybody, l would say I am part of the stakeholders of APC for the last six years from 2016 till date. There was no time it was decided for the zoning of the Southern Zone Senatorial seat to any District or local Government.
In the interest of justice and fairness, the Zone has had its local arrangement from time of not having the Governor and Senator from the same constituency. For the records, the Zone has three (3) Federal constituencies; Shendam/Quanpan/Mikang, Langtang North/South, and Wase.
The first person to win the Senatorial seat in the Zone was from Qua’pan, and at that time, The Governor Chief S.D. Lar of blessed memory was elected the Governor and so it continued until the aberration of 2019, where The Late Longjan and HE Gov Lalong emerged from the same constituency. In other sense, it is known as Low- Land West and Low-Land East arrangement, if I am not mistaken. People seemed to have easily forgotten this. Does it mean we should continue in ignorance? I think God has provided us an opportunity to redress ourselves and make the spirit of justice and fairness take it course and for us to once again have mutual trust and strengthen the friendship that existed among us before now, that to me is the only normal arrangement in the Zone, if my understanding of your question is correct. Additionally, if you look at appointments into the present government, you would discover that people holding political positions are from Shendam/Quanpan/Mikang federal constituency, dominating the other two constituencies.
What are your plans for the people of your Senatorial Zone, if you are eventually elected?
Going round the senatorial zone, I learned the grieve of the people, especially the fact that past Senators never spent their constituency allowances on any visible project. I want to change that narrative, which is going to be between me and the people of my zone. As I go round the zone canvassing for support and votes, I will ask them to identify projects that are important to them so that I can avoid what happened during the tenure of other Senators. The projects so identified by them would enable me to deploy my constituency allowance productively for the people.
Secondly, if some of the felt needs are beyond my constituency allowance, I shall lobby for it at the National Assembly using my position as a federal lawmaker, either through the agency I shall supervise. You see, lobbying is one of the greatest tools a legislator has at his disposal to drive Political Goods or dividends to his Constituents. That will be my contract with the people of my constituency, as Governance is a social contract between the Elect and their electorates, I have the moral standard of peeking to TRUST at any level. I want to go to the National Assembly as an Ambassador of my people.
By the Grace of God, I’m not going to the National Assembly for any wealth accumulation, I don’t need any money to feed myself and my family for the rest of my life from Political Mistrust. The little God has blessed me with a couple with my intellectual disposition, I am contented.
When l was the Vice-Chancellor of the Plateau State University Bokkos, I saw money but refused to dip my fingers into it. I just wanted to develop the University and leave an enduring legacy for children yet unborn.
Your party APC would be clocking 5 years in power soon. What would you say is its’ scorecard?
If you read the newspaper recently, you would see the achievements of Mr. President, HE Mohammadu Buhari, and our amiable Governor, HE Simon Bako Lalong published in bold print.
In the state, for example, there are the “Lalong Legacy Projects”, which compliments the manifesto of our great party, the APC.
In our APC manifesto, we have seven major areas which include Infrastructure, Agriculture and Transportation, where efforts are been deployed aggressively and interestingly, in the area
Human Capital Development, the APC led government both at the Federal and State level have done very well. But as humans, our needs are insatiable. This is to further clamor for the sitting of Federal Institution in my Zone like the university, polytechnic, and so on. As a professor, this is one of the easiest things for me to do for my people. I think it would be very easy for me to bring a branch of the open university to the Zone, for example.
I think that will be the first project I will pursue if I am voted in as the Senatorial of Plateau Senatorial District.
The other aspect of it is Skill Development. These days, nobody cares about the chains of certificates you have if you don’t have skills.
How are you coping in the rough and tumble of Nigerian politics considering that you are coming from a different background?
According to our former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, ” If good people don’t join politics, do not complain when the bad people rule.” I may not have quoted him correctly but that is the essence of his message. Politics is a social contract with your people. I believe in the communist political philosophy of Mao Tse Tung of China who in May 1938 defined POLITICS as “a war without bloodshed…”. Nobody is born a Politician, you learn on the job, that’s why you find many fields of endeavors in politics. I hope my sincerity of doing things and my manifesto would make attract the electorate who are yearning for Change. I went round one of the districts within my Zone recently, I heard some people complained that those you refer to as politicians vanish after the election and come back when another election is a few months or weeks away. Well, I told them that I am not their conventional politician. That is how I developed the concept of making the people determine and supervise the constituency project. As a senator, I would be entitled to sponsoring bills and other Legislation at one hand and lobbying for a tangible project on the other hand.