BY ABDALLAH EL-KUREBE
Muhammadu Yusha’u Ahmed, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, governorship candidate in the 2012 election in Sokoto State in this interview speaks on burning issues ahead of the 2015 polls. Excerpts:
WHAT kept you away from Sokoto State since the 2012 governorship election?
After the election, I traveled out to handle my businesses. I also had an accident where I broke my led at the gym. I am back in Sokoto and from what I have gathered so far, the people of Sokoto are yearning for a change; they are yearning for betterment of their lives; they are yearning for economic and social changes and I think the way forward now is in the way that opposition parties are coming together to change the course of the nation. This change is what in particular, Sokoto State needs. This state requires a new, dynamic and visionary leadership and that is what I am here to offer; to galvanize the people towards that change during the next election.
How did the 2012 election affect your business interests?
Some of the businesses suffered some setbacks; some of these businesses need close supervision without which they suffer. These were some of the effects but it is a sacrifice that we are ready to make to make sure that people are salvaged.
You said that Sokoto State and the country needed change. In what area has the nation failed?
I think we have failed in all areas. We have failed in inter-personal relationships; we have failed in community settings; we have failed in the educational sector; we have failed in healthcare delivery; we have failed in security, which is a basic ingredient for any country to develop. One important and basic right for each individual is for the government to guarantee his life and property. From what is happening in this nation today, nobody needs to tell you that we have failed woefully in that respect, especially with the blood-letting found everywhere in the name of different kinds of ideologies.
It is worrying and every right thinking Nigerian should be disturbed about what is happening. I am yet to believe that Nigeria will break up for whatever reason. The security challenges we are facing are not insurmountable. In the area of infrastructural development, you will agree that we were better-off in years past than we are now. In terms of economic development generally, where have we fared well? We have retrogressed instead of moving forward. This country needs very significant and strategic structural changes.
And unless we bring those changes, I think we are not going anywhere. You cannot bring a change unless you have a visionary leadership, that is, a leadership that has the strategy to deliver its vision; a leadership that has the capacity and commitment. If you have a leadership that has no realizable target or one that has no capacity, we cannot go anywhere. This country should not be where it is now. It is supposed to be among the developed nations.
But we are still grappling with the problems and challenges of the Third World that we would have forgotten several years ago. We have seen countries that lagged behind us now at different stages of development. Many of these countries have become investment hubs of the world but what have we gained? Who will come into this country with this security situation to invest? Nobody will risk that because they have options to invest in different parts of the world.
One most important ingredient for investment to exist is security, which unfortunately, we are lacking in this country. We need as a nation, to have a leadership that will confront these security challenges head-on. Whether we like it or not the failure of governance has led to this situation we are in. We have the capacity as a nation and as a people to overcome these challenges. I am positive that by 2015, we will hold our elections peacefully and I believe there will be smooth handing over of power to the All Progressives Congress, APC government.
You ran for governorship in 2012, what are you up to this time around?
The election is about two years to come and political environment is very dynamic. It can change anytime and very significantly. For now, the focus is to galvanize the masses for them to understand and realize their fundamental rights and then to fight for those rights. Now, there is no gain-saying that every citizen of this state has realised the need for us to have a change of leadership.
There is the need for democracy to work for the masses. We are holding political discussions and we believe we will have a platform under which, if God permits, we could run. But naturally, we are APC members. APC, as you are aware, is an amalgam of the three major parties – ANPP, ACN and CPC.