As the 2015 general election gathers momentum, gubernatorial aspirants have started declaring interest in the Kano State governorship office. The latest contenders for the position recently argued that they were only coming out to satisfy the pressure from their numerous supporters, who are convinced of their abillities to ensure serious competitive economic growth and rapid development of the state. Prominent among the top contenders are the incumbent Deputy Minority leader in the House of Representatives who is serving his third term in the House, Hon. Kawu Sumaila, and the former Commissioner for Education and Commerce, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, who contested for a senatorial seat on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011 but lost to a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.
Mohammed Abacha, son of the late Head of State General Sani Abacha, too, has been demonstrating interest in the plum job, having contested for it in 2011 on the platform of the CPC. He was almost prevented by litigations over who the authentic governorship candidate was. Saturday Newswatch reliably learnt that all the top contenders are waiting for to flag off their campaign is the outcome of the merger talks among the CPC, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to form the All Progressives Congress (APC).
During an interview with Usman Alhaji, he said the CPC is very committed to ensuring the conclusion of the merger arrangement to form a new formidable party that could challenge and eventually uproot the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria. Going down memory lane, he recalled that General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) was among those who started and encouraged the merger talks among the opposition parties with a view to saving the country from doldrums. He said: “We are waiting, hoping and always praying that the merger arrangements are concluded smoothly,” adding that “very soon, the new party will spring into action and of course the contest will not only be for the gubernatorial election but also all other contestable political offices.”
He, however, cautioned against Buhari anointing a candidate, a situation that could lead to crisis. “We should realise that the coming together of so many political parties would still attract many other interested parties; we are hopeful that this new party will metamorphose into a bigger party with a constitution. “What would make the new merger parties different from the PDP are two factors -internal democracy and the manifesto. The aim is to move Nigeria forward instead of the stagnant position it has been for a pretty long time. Nigeria deserves a better deal, and that is what we hope will happen,” he said..
On the merger arrangement, Alhaji expressed confidence that if the 16 northern states allegedly won by General Buhari in the 2011 presidential election are added to the ACN-controlled five states and those of APGA, “victory is very certain and apparently, by the grace of God, there would be a change of baton in 2015 for the betterment of everybody in Nigeria.” Alhaji added that as an indigene of Kano State, “while people may believe in me and call on me, I have to decide and declare my interest to serve. As I said earlier, I want to serve in other capacities, and if the people call on me to do so, then I will present myself and allow them to give me the mandate to serve them.”
The guber hopeful remarked that if he emerges as governor, his priority would, among others, be in three basic areas of necessity. The first is agriculture, principally because 70-80 per cent of the indigenes are engaged in that sector; they could tap from the large irrigation project and many unutilised dams that abound in the state to stem youth unemployment and poverty to the barest minimum with the prospect of eventual eradication. He listed education as the second priority because as a former Commissioner for Education, he knows the importance of education as well as the number of children that are out of school and roaming the streets.
“Without education, there cannot be progress,” he said, adding that education as a priority would ensure that all children of school age in the state are given opportunity to enjoy free education, while government would assist the undergraduates through a loan scheme so that the less fortunate but talented ones would have the opportunity to acquire the highest level of education. According to him, his third focus would be on commerce because of the economic nature of the state as the centre of commerce. He recalled that having been a director-general of the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for three years, “I am fully acquainted with and aware of the need for commercial development and how to actualise it.”
He explained further that the fourth attention of his government if elected, would be to study the prevailing security challenges and proffer solutions, which he said could not be solved over night. When contacted, Yakubu Musa Fagge, who is the spokesman for Sumaila, explained that his boss, if he eventually emerges as the preferred gubernatorial candidate for Kano State, would re-enact what he has done before for members of his immediate constituency in Takai Sumaila Federal constituency.Kano people, he remarked, are interested in fresh and tested leaders, who have the wherewithal to take the state to a level of economic prosperity and steady growth, pointing out that Sumaila has age on his side and could stand up for long hours to put a smile on the faces of Kano people by providing all the 44 local government areas with adequate necessities of life.
What Kano people need for now are new breed politicians who can march words with actions and politicians who would tell the people what their ears want to hear and not what is practically impossible.Fagge assured that his boss, who has been in the House of Representatives for 12 years would bring his years of experience to be bear as well as use his influence to execute human-oriented projects for the Kano people, lamenting that the people are suffering from artificially-imposed hardship, which liberate them from and launch them into another level of economic prosperity.According to him, all those, except his boss, that are vying for the Kano State Government House in 2015 lack international exposure to move the state forward as well find an enduring solution to the lingering security challenges in the state.