Alh Suleiman Ibrahim Dabo (Sule wakili) was a chairmanship aspirant of the recently concluded APC primaries in Zaria LG of Kaduna state. In this Interview with, Aliyu Kwarbai and Abdulhaleem Ishaq Ringim for CONCORD TIMES, He highlighted the main cause of his defeat and more about kaduna state APC crisis, youth and governance in general.
CONCORD TIMES: Sir you aspired for the chairmanship seat of Zaria Local Government on a joint ticket with Hon. Ishaq Galadima under the APC platform but unfortunately lost the primaries, sir do you accept the defeat?
DABO: Alhamdulillah, I would like to start by thanking you for throwing this very important question to me and I want to say outrightly that I’ve accepted the defeat because the election to me, based on my own personal assessment, using key the political yardsticks in measuring elections conduct, I can confidently say the election was free, fair and credible. So I have accepted defeat.
CONCORD TIMES: You started the run alone but later merged with yet another youthful chairmanship aspirant, Ishaq Galadima and formed a joint ticket, What was the cause for that merger?
DABO: Actually there was a time we were invited in kaduna for APC stakeholders at the state house, and during the stakeholders meeting , all the ten aspirants for that particular seat of chairman of Zaria Local Government were requested to go and look into the possibility of forming a consensus. If possible according, to our seniors Stakeholders within the party, we should field a single candidate to face the general election. But eventually we couldn’t do that. So they gave us options and part of the options was for some of us to form groups or mergers, and that’s what basically led to my merger with Hon. Ishaq Galadima. we sat down and thought out carefully that the best thing to do is for me and him to merge, because we have similarities in terms of ideology, in terms of our vision and mission. We said ok the best thing to do, let us form a joint ticket . In fact we even tried to carry somebody from Tudun Wada along so that he can be the third person who will eventually emerge as the secretary to the local government council but unfortunately he declined after agreeing to our proposal from the onset.
CONCORD TIMES: What cause can you attribute to your loss at the primaries?
DABO: Well, I think there were some visible and invisible factors. I would like to talk about the visible factors only. An important visible factor was time constraint regarding my participation in the political contest. Because as most of the people are aware , I came back to nigeria I think two days after, I went straight to buy the form and that was less than 3 weeks to the primary election itself. And you know election of this nature requires enough time to make all the necessary preparations. It requires a lot of consultations , it requires a lot of logistics as well. So I think the major key factor was time constraint, which is a visible factor . Now the invisible factors, I would not like to talk about those factors because they are factors and equally forces surrounding the contest itself and I wouldn’t like to go into that.
CONCORD TIMES: Do you mean there were irregularities during the election?
DABO: No, that is not what I’m trying to say. What I’m basically trying to say is that there were some invisible hands and I wouldn’t like…. because I don’t want to drag the name of anybody into the mud, I would rather leave it the way I saw it. There were some invisible factors and forces.
CONCORD TIMES: Based on the overall results of the Kaduna State APC primaries, what do you think of the level of participation of youth and their relative success? Do you think they are ready for the challenge?
DABO: I think if you talk about the level or rather the intensity of political participation of the youth, I will like to tell you that we still have high level of political apathy. Youth are not ready to make their hands dirty and actively participate in the political process but I think gradually gradually with the participation of a few and with the level of political awareness that is gaining nomentum, I think a lot of youths are beginning to see the light in political participation.
CONCORD TIMES: In a summit yesterday tagged ‘Emerging political leaders Summit 2018’ organized by Youth Progressive Front Zaria LG chapter, you said and I quote ” we need to redefine youth itself”,can you elaborate more on this.
DABO: What I meant by redefinition of youth is simple. We are always talking about youth participating in the political process. But we need to know that it is not about the youth only, it’s about the progressive, capable and responsible youth. We have to define the types of youth that we want to see in the political process. Let me give you an example , in a situation whereby you have an old breed coming to run for a position and that old breed is credible, responsible and capable while you have a youth who is irresponsible, who lacks vision , who lacks capacity for leadership, you don’t expect me to support that kind of a youth, I would rather go for the old breed because the essence of leadership is to have the people with the capacity to deliver the goods. So basically what I meant by that is to be able to redefine what is the calibre of youth , what are the requirements, the qualities , the credentials that we require in youth to participate in the political process especially political contest, because you cannot just overnight bring somebody who is irresponsible, who lacks the capacity, who cannot even differentiate between right and wrong and tell him to come and be in a political contest. I cannot support that type of youth. That is why we should not only be talking about the youth , we should also be talking about responsible, sensible , progressive minded youth.
CONCORD TIMES: Had it been you emerged successful in the APC primaries, what would have been your agenda for Zaria LG?
DABO: If you have been monitoring my campaigns, it was very very clear. In fact my programs, my focus were very much unambiguous. I made them very clear. The first thing that has created a serious level of disconnect between the political leaders and their respective constituencies is the inability of the leaders to create a serious synergy between their leadership and the representatives of the people at the different wards for example in each ward within the 13 wards in zaria local government, you have the excos or rather the party executives, and these are the people who determine where and how the direction of politics in that area will be . So what I said from the onset is immediately I emerge victorious at the primary election, I will ensure that I constitute a committee and that committee will compose of of 5 members of the executive at each ward and I will also make sure that some of the members of that committee will come from my side. They will come together carefully look into the problems in the various wards and produce a document. Each and every ward will sit with that committee, bring out their problems, we document it and then it will be our working document when eventually we emerge victorious at the general election and even in drawing our budget by the time we get into office. We will know these are the problems coming from Anguwan Fatika Ward, these are the problems coming from Wucicciri. Aside from that, an additional plan is how do we create a micro agricultural export zone, this was part of my plans. There are a lot of agricultural commodities that are needed in high demand in the european market, which if we can create a micro agricultural export zone ,motivate our farmers, give them all the necessary support , after their harvest, we take or rather we export the agricultural produce to the western societies where we get a lot of money because the major problem today in terms of administration of not only local government ,even states and federal governments is paucity of funds. They lack the necessary financial resources to deliver the goods so that it can serve as a compliment. We should not be seen as a local government only sitting down to wait for allocation coming from the federal government to the state down to the local government level. This is basically what we’ve been planning.
CONCORD TIMES: How would you rate the current performance of the Kaduna State Government under the captainship of Mallam Nasir Elrufai?
DABO: You see , it’s natural when you are saddled with the position of leadership that you make mistakes but I want to make it very clear, in the history of kaduna state, aside from the period we had Mal. Balarabe musa steering the ship of the state , we’ve never had a governor like Mallam Nasir El-rufai. If you want to know the meaning of comprehensive development plan, go and look at the kaduna development plan. Because this is something practical, this is visible, is apparent everybody is seeing. The achievements so far are so visible even to the blind. So what I’m simply saying if you take it sector by sector, you can say that Mallam has done wonderfully well in the health sector, Mallam has done wonderfully well in education, Mallam has done wonderfully well. In fact kaduna state has been rated today as one of the best centres in terms of doing business in nigeria, one of the best, in fact the best state in doing business in nigeria. Go and look at the ratings from international organisations. Of course he has made a lot of mistakes as a human being , he is human he must make mistakes, but if you look at the overall performance, I can give him 90%.
CONCORD TIMES: As a chieftain of APC in Zaria LG and Kaduna state in general ,what can you say about the political crisis between the Elrufai camp and that of Shehu sani ,Dr Hakeem and the other senator Hunkuyi?
DABO: Well, I want to say that , conflict or crisis or whatsoever you may call it is inevitable . Wherever you have more than one human being, there is the potentiality of crisis . And absence of conflict is bad, too much of conflict is equally bad. Conflict itself or crisis itself signifies the presence of governance ,because if there is no governance or there is no leadership there would be no crisis, if there are no human beings there will be no crisis. But then ,what is important is the ability to have a leader who has the capacity to manage the crisis or conflict . And I think the way and manner, if you look at the antecedents of this crisis , you’ll see that mallam has from the onset when they started all these things, mallam has tried his best to be ignoring them. He has not been responding. But now, the crisis is taken… , you see when you have a leader who is saying no to traditional way of doing things what , I meant by traditional way of doing things is, a leader who is saying no to free allocation of societal resources to some tiny minority, because that’s the bottom line. They are saying you must be sharing the resources of Kaduna State to some certain minority and he saying no. The politics that has been at play before he became the Governor of Kaduna State is not the same type of politics that will continue and their inability to define the nature and approach of Mallam Nasir El-rufai to leadership and politics in the state is exactly what is causing them to suffer more. It requires rejection of falsehood to embrace the truth in a very simple term!
CONCORD TIMES: Finally, any plan for you in the forthcoming elections 2019?
DABO: Well ,we are strategizing we are planning, we are actively in the political process and we are not going back. And whenever we’ve taken a very concrete decision it will be in the public domain for your consumption but for now we are planning and we are strategizing. But we want to assure the public that we remain resolute, we are focused nobody will distract us. we must make sure that the society is emancipated , youth must have a level playing ground in the political process, in the political arena and that is our motivation and that is our drive.