For eight years that the former governor of Zamfara State, Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima held sway, Alhaji Haliru Andi (Maina of Gusau) was the spokesperson of the governor and came to limelight during the introduction of Sharia by Yarima in the year 2000. He later served former Governor Mahmoud Aliyu Shinkafi as the Director-General, Media Affairs. In an encounter with SAMINU IBRAHIM, the former Special Adviser, who has remained some silence until recently, opens up on national and state issues, giving insight into why he jettisoned Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); saying however that Dokubo Asari cannot intimidate the North over his recent outburst on Jonathan.
Could you tell us why you have remained silent on political development in the country for so long?
During the era of former governor Ahmad Sani Yariman Bakura of Zamfara State, I was very visible because I was a Special Adviser to the governor on Public Enlightenment, but shortly after the expiration of his second tenure as governor of Zamfara State, he was elected as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I refrained from political comments and this could explain the silence.
There are reports that you have dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and have joined the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); could you give an insight why you left the PDP?
I joined the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in response to the Patriotic calls by some concerned citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for us to join hands to oust the ruling PDP that has failed to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians since 1999. I believe in change. A change that will usher in prosperity, progress, peace, security, constant power supply, development in all sectors of the economy, in addition to bring laughter and smiles on the faces of the masses.
Recently former Niger Delta militant, Asari Dokubo was reported to have said there will be no peace in Nigeria if Jonathan loses election in 2015. What is your view?
As I have said earlier, Dokubo’s statement is both frustrating and inciting and it goes to prove that Asari Dokubo is not a good Muslim, because in Islam, a good Muslim is not expected to make some statements that can incite public disturbances, create fear and worry in the minds of fellow beings. But despite the fact that he is a practising Muslim, yet he went ahead and made such a reckless statement. I totally condemn the statement, I reject it. I am sure that all right thinking Nigerians will reject and condemn the statement, because it is against the cooperate existence of the country and against the peace of the country and can lead into war. The statement to me was informed by greed and selfish motives. So I totally reject and condemn it and wish to use this medium to inform Asari and his people that he cannot intimidate us.
And I appeal to all Northern leaders not to campaign for Jonathan in 2015, because if they do, that means Asari’s threat has succeeded in intimidating the North. So to show him that we cannot be intimidated informed my call to northern leaders to jettison Jonathan in 2015. Because Jonathan did not emerge as president based on votes from only the south-south, it was the whole nation that voted him into power, so for any south-south to publicly come out to say Jonathan is their own is nonsense. I repeat it was not only the south-south that produced Jonathan. I am sure if you can go to INEC today to cross check the number of votes cast in favour of Jonathan by the north and number of votes from the south-south, you will find out that the votes from the north are more than the votes from the south-south. Hence why should anybody come to blackmail and intimidate us, because he is being awarded a juicy contract by the federal government. So our stand on Jonathan come 2015 is informed by the reckless statement by the likes of Dokubo Asari.
The Federal Government proclamation of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa has generated many reactions, why is your view?
You see many northerners have voiced their views on this issue, some for and some against. For me as an individual, I am against it because history abounds with what happened to civilians who have soldiers in their midst; it leads to so many things, instead of peace keeping or rescue mission operation, you find that most of the time civilians suffer a lot- they are raped, maimed etc. Hence that is why we fear the presence of many soldiers among civilians. And I believe that there are so many ways we can use to solve the problem without recourse to an intimidating military presence in the three states.
Your party CPC has gone into merger with the ACN, ANPP and a faction of APGA and the party is to metamorphose into All Progressives Congress (APC), do you think you can wrestle power from the PDP?
With the present merger of political parties, with sincerity of purpose, coupled with the current happenings under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, the possibility to defeat the PDP is very strong, because many Nigerians are fed up with the party. For instance look at the North; the issue of insecurity and lack of development and welfare for the people, corruption are all factors that could militate against the chances of the PDP to establish the next government in Nigeria. For me, I think Nigerians are yarning for change, so as to provide a more purposeful leadership that the country needs, therefore it is an easy thing if the citizenry are ready for change and I believe Nigerians desires change.
The history of merger or alliance in Nigeria has not been successful; do you think this one will be different?
Like I said earlier, the present situation in the country informed the merger, the level of insecurity. There was never a time in the history of Nigeria that insecurity and corruption became so rampant like now. So that is why people are seeking for change, a change for better, a change that will bring prosperity, peace, security, welfare, development etc. The change is informed by the happenings in the country. President Jonathan is the most educated among all Nigerian leaders since independence, but sadly the performance is poor and below expectation and that is why people have lost confidence in the Jonathan led administration, and that is why change is inevitable in Nigeria. Just go to the nooks and crannies of the country and talk to the common man, they are unhappy and fed up with this PDP government.
There are reports by the western world that Nigeria may cease to exist in 2015, do you believe in this report?
We need to remind ourselves that these western powers that are making this prediction are mere mortals, they are not God. It is only God who can say, decide and direct what happens next and not human beings. They have been saying this for long but I am optimistic that the prayers being offered by Muslims and Christians in this country is what has kept us as one entity and I believe by the grace of God, we will continue to exist as one indivisible country known as Federal Republic of Nigeria. For me all this talk about disintegration of Nigeria is nothing to be scared of.
Do you think the emerging APC can match the PDP in Zamfara State in 2015?
Well, you see the PDP in Zamfara State is so unfortunate. The truth of the matter is that when you talk of support, it is the PDP that enjoys the support of the masses, who are principled politicians, but the party lacks leadership in Zamfara State and that is the reason why the ANPP always has an edge over the PDP at election. The ANPP is blessed with good leadership, a listening, caring and shows concern for the welfare of the masses. To this end, I think it will be easy for the APC to defeat the PDP come 2015, because of the most recent happenings in the state couple with the performance of the PDP in the past, while the ANPP is doing all it could to win and attract more supporters into its fold, the PDP is fast losing many of its supporters. Even some of the most principle supporters of the PDP, some of the founding fathers of the party are leaving the PDP in droves in Zamfara State.
Let me give you examples, people like one-time chairman of Maradun local government, Yahaya Chado Maikudin-Kaya Maradun and so on are leaving the party because the PDP leaders in the state are frustrating them. So how can PDP win election in Zamfara in 2015? I want to use this opportunity to tell President Jonathan that he has nobody in Zamfara State. Throughout the eight years of former governor Ahmad Sani Yarima, he did everything possible to lure the likes of Yahaya Chado into the ANPP but they refused, but now they are decamping on their volition. That means something terrible is happening to the party, but unknown to the masses.
You said PDP is fizzling out in Zamfara State, yet there are notable members like former national security adviser, General Aliyu Gusau in the party.
Why the party is having this problem is that some of the big time politicians in the state are against General Aliyu Gusau because of his military background. Some of the politicians are against the leadership of military men and that is why there is a friction right from the onset among PDP elders in the state. Those against his leadership claim they are the natural politicians and such they should be allowed to lead the party. So whenever it is time for election, they sabotage the party and apathy set in among the leaders of the PDP. For instance in the 2011 governorship election, the PDP-led state government with all resources at her disposal, with a sitting governor lost to the ANPP, so if the ANPP could defeat the PDP in 2011 while the PDP was in power, how do you expect the PDP now to beat the APC. You se, contesting and winning election is about how you care about your people, good planning, and unity of purpose etc. In the PDP there are many cracks at the state level that will make it difficult or impossible for the party to win election again in 2015 in Zamfara State.