Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri, former Police Affairs Minister, is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Yobe State. In this interview with journalists in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, he unveils his plans for the state if elected governor in the February 28 polls. He also chides the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in the state over its failure to meet the needs of the people. Uche Uche, was there.
ou have just formally launched your campaign for governorship of Yobe. Can you tell us your plans and worries?
As you are aware, I just flagged off my gubernatorial campaign in Yobe State capital here in Damaturu, a few days to first elections; we have deliberately decided to make the flag-off secondary and used the high-profile decampees as our star attraction to send a message to friends and folks alike that the PDP in Yobe which has undergone serious internal crisis has become cohesive such that it would attract serving key members of the APC administration in Yobe State and high profile former members of the government into our fold. This is a clear manifestation that the wind of change which we are aspiring for, which is eminent, is very realistic come 2015 elections. It is said that everything that has a beginning has an end and it is our wish and determination that the 2015 elections could bring an end to the mere dominance of the political landscape of opposition parties to PDP in Yobe and it is my rare privilege that I will once again lead this campaign and restore good governance by overthrowing the APP/ANPP/APC administration in Yobe. The party had undergone severe mutations which has made it to lose its value, its direction and its responsibility to the citizens of the state and we have all- empirical statistics that have been gathered by international and national agencies from the United Nations (UN), UNDP, DFID, National Bureau of Statistics, National Universities Commission (NUC), West African Examination Council (WAEC), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB); all show Yobe scoring the least in various areas ranging from the health care delivery system, water and sanitation, education, to employment opportunities, and in terms of filling our quotas in the various vacancies in the leadership position of this country. I am determined like my boss, Chief (Gen) Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd). When he came on board in 1999 as president, Nigeria was a pariah state. Then, we were suffering international disdain and condemnation; within four years, he was able to restore the glory of our country to take its rightful place in the comity of nations. I pray very hard that God will give me the opportunity to take Yobe from the least position in Nigeria to the best position in the North East in four years and move it to the group of first 12 states in all human endeavors in Nigeria. This is my mission and I hope God and the people of Yobe State will give me the opportunity to achieve this ambition and offer Yobe good leadership and good governance.
What can you say on the dwindling oil revenue in the country?
Yes, it is true that the country is suffering dwindling oil revenue such that the various components of the country are also going to experience low revenue to run governments. I have said without mincing words that Nigeria and Yobe were in similar situation in 1999; path to forceful leadership restored good governance and global economy improved. The most important thing we want to remember is that even if Yobe has 50 per cent revenue, it cannot run the affairs of the state. There is so much corruption, there are so many leakages, there is so much wastage in government of Yobe State and my reputation for zero tolerance is going to reduce corruption, leakages, and wastages. It will now make available resources that are being siphoned for economic development; that is first, and secondly, it is in a situation of lazy leadership for Yobe to rely almost 98 per cent on federal allocation to run the government machinery, Yobe has got available resources but they can’t be exploited through partnership with local and international businesses that is going to improve the revenue base of the state. Let me give you an example, in Yobe we have gypsum mineral that is being mined manually and this gypsum is being transported to Ewekoro Cement Factory, Benue Cement Factory, Ashaka Cement Factory and even to Sokoto Cement Factory. The tools being used are shovels and diggers; no leadership in Yobe has recognised the revenue potentiality of that single mineral resource. It is going to transform, first, the lives of the people where the mineral resource is located and the overall economy of the state. Go to northern part of Yobe, we have potash. The way it is being mined now is the same way it was mined 500 years ago. If you go to the outskirts of Yusufari, you will see abandoned potassium plant for which a lot of money was expended to import the machinery. The shells of the building are there; nobody, no leadership in this state deem it necessary to recognise the enormous revenue that can be derived from modernised potassium mining, nobody recognised the impact of modernisation for the benefit of the local populace and this potassium is transported to all parts of this country and is used by pharmaceutical industries. All these they do, not anybody from the mars does it. All that is needed is a committed, patriotic leadership that will do things better and there is no better time than when you are suffering from severe economic crunch, because they say, “when you are challenged the best of you comes out”. That answers part of your questions. The remaining one will be answered when we reach the bridge.
How would you overcome the problem of insecurity in the state?
I am determined to succeed if voted into power. But for me to succeed there must be peace; there must be security of lives and properties; for that to happen, the people that are aggrieved must have peace and the leader believes, yes, he can bring a change and these people that are aggrieved know me, some by name, some by face. The problem is that I do not know them but I will know them if I am sold. It is my responsibility to bring peace to my domain and they know that over the years, I do not say what I will not do. I only say what I can do and I have had leadership position where, compared to many others, I have come out clean. So the first thing is internal dissatisfaction by the led. It is for the led to believe that they have chosen a leadership that was given the mandate and they can predict what the leadership can do. Secondly, I do not believe that the leadership in Yobe wants to bring about improved peace and security of lives and properties. I do not believe so because few days ago, I went to General Hospital, Potiskum, the oldest hospital in Yobe built in 1968, to visit victims of bomb blast. It was a sorry sight. It is part of the public pronouncement that the relatives of the victims are the ones buying the drugs. I even showed members of my entourage the room I was admitted in 1970 where I spent ten days in that hospital. I have eaten the food of that hospital, what we see in Yobe is our leaders visiting and condoling people who have lost their fathers and mothers. This is what we see but that is not where people should see their leader. People should see their leader in bringing water, good health care delivery system. There is a hospital commenced by late Senator Mamman Ali in 2007. Is still uncompleted and it is not in any remote village but in Damaturu; the water situation in the state has not improved from Bukar Abba Ibrahim’s time to date; our educational system has fallen; there is no reason why every indigene of Yobe who is in Polytechnic, College of Education and University is not enjoying free education. How many are we producing? The numbers are too small. There is no reason why our students should be the last and failing. I finished from Government Secondary School, Potiskum in 1971. We were the first. Our set has the best result. The first key to insecurity is for the people to believe that this leadership will bring change. People should not be denied their basic needs. Work for them! When they elect me, they have imprisoned me because I would be sworn-in with my Holy Book to be a just and fair leader. Some have been sworn-in on the same book but they have not been just and fair and that is why we have insecurity and that is why there have been killings. It is the job of the leader to find out: ‘Why are they against me? Who are those against me? What do I need to do to bring about sanity in my own territory that I’m leading?’ I had a meeting with some top Civil Servants who pledged their loyalty and they told me in the course of discussing, innocently, that all governments in Yobe use them to rig elections, that they have been highly politicized. I said they are in safe hands with me because the fact that you have been politicized, that is why you are not working. If you elect me you will be civil servants because I will come with policies and you will be machinery to implement it; that is your job. They said ‘yes’ because they are also tired.