Lecturer turned politician, Dr. Nghargbu K’tso, contesting under the platform of the PDP to represent Keffi/Kokona/Karu federal constituency, in this interview, told Tobias Lengnan Dapam & Mashe Umaru Gwamna that if elected, he would use 100 million Naira for political empowerment in the state and provide foreign scholarship for students. Excerpts:
Sir, record have shown that you are an embodiment of intelligence- with distinguished records from primary school to You PHD. How do you intend to replicate that in politics, considering the unfriendly political environment?
It won’t be easy coming in with the ideas that are far taller than what the current political terrain in Nigeria is. But we all know that ideas drive the society forward. Therefore, we cannot compromise politics of ideas, politics of development and politics of issues in favour of politics of sentiments, tribes, geography and religion. We want society to move forward. Based on that, it will be an appeal to political elites to give ideas a chance. By doing this, the generality of the Nigerian populace will see the difference.
From your study of the political environment, what new idea are you bringing to the scene?
I have a very strong vision for development. About 95% of our politicians are into politics for investment. They are only interested in the money. They see it as money making venture. Most of them also depend on political godfathers. And when they win the election, public funds become private funds.
Secondly, I will bring about knowledgeable representation. Today, we have members who will sit in the legislative chamber for four years without uttering a word. I will debate and contribute effectively in areas that concern my constituency. I will use 100 million naira for political empowerment. I will encourage a lot of people to contribute their quota and will also use the money to support them. These days we hear of economic empowerment, with just small money being put in place to develop small scale businesses. But if we must answer the leadership question right in Nigeria, we need to raise good leaders. I am coming in with a strong gospel of good governance. For me, that is an addition that is not common emphasis today. The emphasis today is about whom you know and how much you have paid delegates. I intend to change that and bring about a deliberate political empowerment programme.
Another new thing which I have not seen from previous legislators who have represented my constituency is the foreign scholarships. What they have been given is bursary. I would like to take it beyond giving bursary allowances by giving foreign scholarships to the best students. I will also use three months of my salary for the political and economic empowerment of the poor and needy in the society.
You talked about giving scholarships to students in the constituency, how do you intend to measure it?
The scholarship will go to the best students. A screening committee will be in place to choose the best student in Keffi/Karu/Kokona, constituency. Additionally as requirement for the scholarship, the students must be indigenes of the three local governments. Also, non indigenes residents within these three local governments, for the minimum constitution of 12 years will also benefit from the scholarship. There will be no gender bias. Before the screening takes place, applicants will submit transcripts. For instance, if you are applying for post-graduate programme, the committee under me will screen the transcripts, and if we feel it should go beyond transcript, we will put them to test and the best student will emerge- just like JAMB and Post-UME. Not only that, I will also give scholarship to students who do not have anybody to sponsor their education.
You are reeling out your programmes with so much confidence, what makes you so sure of winning?
My international exposure has taught me a lot, the need to integrate and bring things that are obtainable elsewhere. We are in the era of global village, and by that need to welcome innovations. I have a rich political background. I was born into public service, my father died serving people. I will also do my own part to replicate legacies left behind by him. I have done a lot of public service before now. As far back as 2007, I built a primary health center for Saura village under Keffi local government area. Another one was in a rural community under Karu local government area council, called Angwan Toni. I participated in the building of nursery and primary school and also paid salaries of two teachers for three years. Talking about the total well being of a man spiritually and physical well being, one has upgraded the spiritual status of people in Karu, Keffi and Kokona. We have planted mission fields- built churches and provided logistics for evangelism. I have paid salaries of pastors in outreach stations. Also, my family provided 10 hectares of land for the building of Baptist High School Marke. My family single handedly donated a 300kg transformer worth 2 million Naira after one year of blackout in my community. More so, I have paid a lot of school fees for students, WASCE, NECO and JAMB fees. Presently, one of them is in Badagry, studying French, after I paid 85,000 Naira fees. My passion and calling to help people is begging for manifestation. I am confident that this aspiration will lead me to a greater height.
How do you intend to erase the politics of the stomach infrastructure that has beclouded Nigeria’s political environment?
I am happy you asked that question. What we must do is to shun moneybags politics. We have started creating awareness through workshop on good governance. Recently, we gave 30 youths free training on entrepreneurial development on financial intelligence and the testimonies we received were wonderful. They got ideas and certificates that will help them in life. That way, they are able to learn that politics goes beyond money. I am also introducing an American policy. Recently, I held a fund raising dinner and two professors confessed that they have never seen that happening around them. To those who came, it was a concept. By doing that, I am trying to letting people understand that we are not waiting for people to bring money for us. If we wait, it is the few bourgeoisie who have made it that will come with the money and buy our vote and our conscience, including our future. I have given my people a breakdown of my spending, that way they can know what I am doing and hold me accountable when I steal their money. Presently, I am already converting the electoral circle from politics of money bag or selling of conscience to politics of good governance, where the people decide who leads them.
Most politicians during campaigns come with different promises to people in the society. If you win, will you be available for the people?
Since 1999, most of the legislators didn’t keep offices; they never wanted people to gain access to them. One of them tried to keep an office but it was always locked. I will not run one constituency office. I will run 3 offices in all the local governments and fix a day of appearances in each of the offices to allow people access to me. Taking about empty promises, I have told you what I have done before now, if I can do all those things in the past with my money, then what will stop me from doing them at 40 years of age?
What message do you have for the electorates and the bourgeoisie in your constituency?
For the electorates, I promise them a good deal not politics as usually,where the elected people don’t avail themselves to their electorates until another election year.
Those kind of people only become good men when seeking political offices. They become philanthropist over night and disappear after winning election. I am not like those people. If given the mandate, I want my electorates to recall me if I don’t fulfill my promise within six months.
For the bourgeoisie, they should see politics differently and begin to discuss issues against money. They should encourage development and not to steal from the people through the back door. I know most of them make their money through hard work but they should also create a sane environment for everybody in the society. They should focus on development and not to exchange money for votes.