From the street leading to his house, a first timer will think he is going into a market street, but alas, it is not a market street, but the street of a governor.
Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State virtually lives among the people and they have access to him anytime he is around. When asked why he decided to demystify the office of the governor, Wamakko said he lives for them as a servant and not a master.
In this interview after his election as a Senator, he shares his aspiration and assessment of the just concluded presidential election and the prospects of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the forthcoming governorship election. Excerpts:
By Jimoh Babatunde
On his assessment of the election
To the best of my understanding and judgement, the election in the areas I know like the nearby states was free and fair as well as credible. People are happy with the way and manner it was conducted.
People commended INEC for being able to conduct free and fair elections in the country. I will want to commend Nigerians for the maturity shown during and after the elections.
Also, it goes to show that yes, Nigeria is maturing to become a nation that can compete favourably and globally in terms of political maturity and other aspects of good governance that are needed in the comity of nations.
On his election as senator and what Nigerians should expect from him
I want to thank God that my people still want me to go and represent them at the National Assembly. I must thank the entire people of the state for the support I have been given.
This is the sixth time I am winning elections in this state.
I was twice deputy governor, two times as governor, local government chairman and now as senator and each time people have supported me.
What I intend doing is to ensure that I go to senate to argue not base on sentiment. I am not going to the Senate to make governance difficult for anybody, but I am going to the Senate to make laws that will conform to the needs of the governed and to make laws on the realities on ground as to what our nation needs to do right anywhere.
For example, many people in the Southeast don’t have good understanding of what desert encroachment is, many people from here don’t understand what gully erosion is.
Many of us in government don’t even know the country very well which is very sad. We must try to know our country first of all. Many Nigerians know more about Europe and America better than Nigeria.
That is why you see many debating many a time without facts and figures, but based on some parochial sentiments.
On his major interest when he gets to Senate
The first thing I will push for is security for Nigerians all over the country. We must have a secured country where everybody can go about freely doing his or her business without fear or harassment.
Secondly, I will push for economic diversification, because we all rely on oil money which is so bad. Nigeria is so blessed that its economy can be diversified. We have so many solid minerals we can look at. There is agriculture and other things that should be explored; we could have had a better economy than we are having now.
Once we diversify our economy, job creation demands will be tackled. Needs for infrastructure will be addressed, just as education will be addressed and many other things you might need to call government a responsible one will be .
I am confident that APC as a party with the calibre of people that formed the party have this commitment to ensure there are jobs for Nigerian youths, just as provide security for Nigerian people as well as food security for all.
We want to see agriculture given a rightful place in our economy in this country.
On the chance of the party in the gubernatorial election in Sokoto state
By the grace of God that election is almost a foregone issue. Sokoto state is today known as home of APC. It is a stronghold of APC, so I am confident that by the grace of God come April 11, you are going to see a massive turn out of people that will vote for Aminu Tambuwal as the next governor of the state and also the APC assembly members.
I am confident that the incoming government under Tambuwal is going to continue from where we stopped and ensure that our party’s manifestoes are fully implemented in the state right from the local government level.
While the federal government will also ensure there is harmony in terms of service delivery in the entire country.
On what he wants to be remembered for as a governor
I want to be remembered for all the good projects I have been able to execute as a governor of the state. I also want to be remembered as a governor under whose tenure people started knowing that government is their servant and not their master.
I also want to be remembered as a governor in whose tenure the position has was demystified. Coming in here you did not see road blocks or many security people around me. I live in a market as nobody is harassed coming into my house, we don’t move about with bullet proof cars .
But equally I want to be remembered that I used all the resources of the state for their service. I gave almost all my time to their service during my tenure.
Since I resumed there has not being any issue of non indigenes , no matter where you come from you don’t pay a dime for school fees in the state.
Take education for example, during my eight years period, I have been able to put in place five solid tertiary institutions in the state including a state university.
I want to also be remembered as a governor under whose tenure oil has been discovered in the state. We are almost at the level of announcing the details about oil in the state.
I am also a governor that explored all the potentials of the state in solid materials and we will not need oil money if we explore all the solid minerals we have here.
I want to be remembered as a governor whose tenure is the most peaceful in the history of the state, this is so because we treat everyone equally.
There is a mutual trust and respects. We also carry everybody along in our diverse state. I have Yoruba, Ibo and other tribe as advisers.
I also don’t treat security agency in the state as federal agencies, I see them as my state agencies by providing them whatever they demand to perform well.