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‘I don’t believe in what you call North or South’

By Abdulsalam Muhammad
Alhaji Ali Wakili, is the  immediate past Commandant of Nigerian Custom Training School, Kano. His entrant into partisan politics was welcomed by network of friends scattered across the country.  He is a politician with positive thinking on how best to raise the lifestyle of an ordinary Nigerian.

He is among the very few that see things and say them the way they are   He spoke on a number of topical issues, and his ambition to actualize his dream at the Green Chamber. Excerpts:

Do you think electoral reform is the only way  to ensure free and fair poll?

Definitely, we need electoral reforms. The late president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua admitted it. He did set up a committee headed by Justice Muhammad Uwais and the recommendation is still before the National Assembly for adoption. The complaint is that people are not given the fair chance to determine who their leaders should be.

All of us have been complaining about that. We need internal democracy in all the parties. Even a section of the PDP chieftains today is crying about the absence of internal democracy. The ANPP has been factionalized many times without number due to this  problem of internal democracy.

So you are in support of the move by the reformation group to achieve the goal?

I would not want to dabble into that problem. What we need is a unity of purpose; we need a more united PDP so that we can confront the problem of the nation..

The PDP is still battling to reach a consensus on the issue of the rotation of presidency between South and  North. Which side of the divide do you belong?

If you look at the constitution of Nigeria , it is very clear right from chapter two that each part of the country must be given a sense of belonging. So I think we have over flogged this issue. In any situation, because of our multiplicity and diversity, there must be the spirit of give and take so that each and everyone would feel a sense of belonging. By our configuration, we have to give everybody the right to aspire to any office of his choice.

But their view is that those who have found themselves in the corridors of power as a result of power shift have not lived up to expectation of the region?

I don’t believe in what you call the North or South, is it the North of the Bauchi man or Katsina man or is it the North of the Kogi or Kwara man when it pleases him or her? Sometimes we make sweeping statements when it suits us to say northerners or northernization.

A section of Nigerians still see members of the National Assembly as a group of self serving individuals? Do you agree?

It would be very unfair to me to make a sweeping assessment of members of the National Assembly. In Nigeria , there is this penchant to see everything as bad. We have this tendency of criticizing our leaders without looking at the merits and demerit of their actions. Certainly, we know that there are very good people in the national assembly that are working very hard for their respective constituents and the country in general.

What was your experience when you visited your constituency recently?

My constituency is Bauchi South senatorial district comprising of Alkaleri, Kogoro, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Toro, Dass and kirki local governments – about seven local government areas that constitute more than two third in terms of population of the state and in terms of resources.

It is bigger than some of the states of the federation. The condition of my people is very pathetic. I observed that ninety five percent of the area is not accessible in terms of road transportation and other means of communication. This is due to the fact that the place is very rocky and some places are very sandy and it is so because of the ecological problem around the area. The economies of the areas are in shambles because there is noticeable poverty everywhere just as you have in the state and in the entire country.

There is a high rate of unemployment most especially affecting women and youths which has led to restlessness and social vices among the youths in the area. The problem is compounded by the fact that most of our youths are not interested in agriculture because they have not been adequately motivated due to the near absence of fertilizer and farm implements.

When I went round my area, I discovered that successive government have done their best, but their best is not good enough for the people. The people still lack portable drinking water, health facilities especially as it affects how to ensure child heath and safe motherhood.

Is this noticeable problem due to poor representation and bad governance at either the state or federal level?

In a situation like ours as a developing country, sometimes those we elect end up the masters and not the servants of the people; they in most times are not accountable to the people and some times, it is we _the voters because of our behaviors fail to take our destinies into our hands to determine our own fate. So the problem is two sided – one the issue of bad governance and bad followership.


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