Tina Akannam & Aliyu Dangida, Dutse
As a successful international business man, with diverse background, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, is the Jigawa State governor-elect. In this interview with Tina Akannam and Aliyu Dangida he spoke on his plans, vision and dreams for Jigawa State.
Sirm You contested side with the outgoing governor Sule Lamido in 2011 under the defunct APC and lost, now that you won the governorship position, did you anticipate the victory?
Yes, as we all know majority of Nigerians including Jigawa intelligent and have chosen the better candidate that will bring about the change they desire. They know that APC understands the economy better, they know we understand their feelings, demands and we can resuscitate the economy and build on what has been on ground in the state.
Now that the elections are over, what should Jigawa people expect from you sir?
Well, the major concern of the people are jobs. There are many youth that have no jobs, and those who have jobs are under-employed. Most of them have a small farm land to cater for their needs only. This is a massive challenge, the citizenry is looking up to us in the area of job creation and wealth creation, they believe we have the expertise to turn around the situation.
What are your major campaign promises for Jigawa people?
The major thing the APC government will focus on is creating an economy for Jigawa through agricultural development, agro processing and boost trading activities. We feel it our major challenge because the people are predominantly farmers . We will start by focusing on agricultural development in a large scale and study where we have advantage and improve on the areas which we hope will help create jobs for our youths.
We have to adopt sustainable development plan to develop the state economy do that the state can sustain itself and continue to run without depending sole on federal allocation to run the affairs of the state.
How will you tackle unemployment problem rate among the youths ?
I am a businessman. I am confident that the moment we start creating wealth by revamping the agricultural sector employment problems will be addressed. At least the educational sector have been improved in the 8years by the outgoing administration. Today, Jigawa state is longer referred to as the most educational backward state in the country, our administration will consolidate on what my predecessor had done. There is no way you will create a design for a sustainable economy without including educational sector.
We intend develop an economy blueprint, we cannot do that without defining what the existing labour force in the state.
There were quite a number of programmes and projects initiated by the outgoing governor Sule Lamido PDP led government, and even Turaki’s government, especially on industries. Will you continue with them?
Yes, Jigawa is our state, our political difference will not affect our judgment of what is good. Let me make one thing clear, we will continue with all laudable programmes and projects embarked on by our predecessors in all sectors. But we will be careful in our economic policies. There are competition around the world terms of World Trade Agreements (WTA). And the competition is high and for us to be able to compete, we have to create mega industries. For instance If you look at Dangote Cement company compared to other cement industries in the country, you will see that their cost of production is less, which is why it has an edge in market.
So, in our case here in Jigawa we have to research ant identify industries that are competitive for export or import in agro based produce..
Will continue with ongoing projects?
Sure, ongoing projects such as road constructions Yes, most of them are good. The road construction does not have issues. But, we assess other ongoing projects, if they are okey. we will continue with it. I don’t believe we will invest our money into something, then stop it because someone else started it. We have to finish it because we have invested so much money into these projects.
You have been in private sector as the president of National Association of Chambers of Commerce and now a governor. What should Jigawa people expect from you?.
I thank Allah for his blessings. As a successful businessman, I will use my business management skill to improve my state economy. The simple fact in economy is if one is good in management it doesn’t matter whether you are in the private sector or the government. The best operator is he, who manages cost and the best person that manages cost is the businessman and for any businessman to be successful, he has to make a good choice in costing, think of where to invest his money and how to invest it wisely and the returns. Our approach will be different.
The airport in Jigawa, is been named as one of the cargo airport in Nigeria by present Goodluck Jonathan How will make it work?
Jigawa airport will be a successful cargo airport, but we are looking at two or three options. The first option is to create a green house or a vegetation and garden around that area that has very good market in Europe. So if we are able to partner with some good businessmen and export our products (I know we have enough land and the ability to produce cash Crops around the airport and other parts of the state) so that we can transform the Jigawa airport into a cargo airport, with green houses around the airport so that perishables can be delivered to Europe. The second option we are looking at is creating a hanger for Jigawa. If we can get a good partnership, we will create a very good hanger, where aircraft can be fixed or repaired in Jigawa. These are the two options that we believe at this moment will make the airport viable.
With the present state of Nigerian economy, what is your advice to your colleagues?
I had anticipated this; since 1999, I have been telling the PDP led government that there is potential problem because almost every year, oil is being discovered in one country or the other, there are innovations on how to reduce the use of oil by inventing battery cars, solar cars, hybrid cars and nuclear energy. All these things are being developed so that the use of fuel will be reduced. So when you have an environment where you have a decreasing demand because oil is being discovered every day you have the possibility of price crash and that is what we are facing now. The demand is getting lower and supply is becoming bigger, that is the problem that we have.
This problem will continue in this tune over time and will create a lot of problems. That is why I keep telling the states to look inward, to see what they the have competitive advantage of doing. Unfortunately, so many things we have advantage of producing are being taken over by other countries. So we have to look inward to see what we have international comparative advantage of doing and then invest time and money in it.