By Suzan Edeh
Senator Babayo Gamawa is the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. He had before now served as the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Deputy Governor, Bauchi State, and as senator representing Bauchi North Senatorial District. In this interview, Gamawa speaks on how the PDP will recapture power in 2019, assesses the various presidential aspirants in the party among many other issues. Excerpts:
What is your assessment of the performance of the APC administration in the past three years?
You are a Nigerian, you can go and ask around if there is any change they have witnessed in the area they live . Ask them whether the present administration has been able to bring the dividends of democracy such as provision of social services to the people. Find out if they have really provided infrastructure to the electorate, eradicated poverty, provided security, curbed unemployment and many others?
When you ask them, you will know if the APC has really performed in the last three years.
But as a politician you go around, are you saying the APC has achieved nothing?
You too as a Nigerian, are you not feeling the hardship, poverty, unemployment, unavailability of goods and services, high cost of living? If you want to go to Mecca or Jerusalem to worship, you cannot afford it because the price has risen high and everything has become more difficult in Nigeria.
But it is claimed that the PDP government brought the hardship?
If I may ask, are the members of PDP still ruling the country? Three years now and we are outside the government, go to the hospital in your area, it was built by the PDP administration. Again, check the schools that your children are attending now, they were built by the PDP administration. Also check the markets and other infrastructure like water supply, road constructions and rural electrification, they were all built by the PDP administration when we were in power, so where is the change they have been talking about?
All the institutions that are fighting corruption in the country like the EFCC , ICPC were all created by the PDP administration. What has the APC brought to the people in order to improve their living condition?
But the APC administration recorded strong success in the area of security, especially in fighting Boko Haram. Is that not an achievement?
The abduction of 110 girls at a school in Dapchi, Yobe State confirmed that the ruling APC has a lot to do in the fight against insurgency in the North East. Initially, they said when PDP leave power, they will wipe out Boko Haram, but today is Boko Haram not around? They are still around. Boko Haram came from Maiduguri and Yobe State, find out, is there no Boko Haram in these two states today? What we are witnessing today was not happening during the PDP.
Today, what we have is series of kidnappings, robbery, assassinations and various criminal activities. If you want to travel to Sokoto, Zamfara or Kebbi from Kano State, you will be praying until you reach your destination safely. So also from Kano to Abuja, you will be nursing the fear that while you are going on the road, some people will stop your car and kidnap you or rob you of your phone and money.
Can the PDP find a credible candidate who can unseat President Muhammadu Buhari?
Yes, we have many credible and respected aspirants across the country and each one of them have excelled in their areas of endeavour .
You ruled this country for 16 years what have you left that you want to come back?
The APC administration has failed to fulfill the campaign promises it made to Nigerians before the 2015 election. They always make fake promises to deceive Nigerians. The change that APC is talking about has brought hardship on Nigerians . You can ask people and they will tell you that they felt more comfortable during the PDP administration than what they are experiencing today. What they are facing now is purely hardship, hunger, poverty, unemployment and insecurity. Even the real fight against corrupt practices was initially started by the PDP because the PDP created all the agencies that are fighting corruption like EFCC and ICPC. The PDP created universities in all the 36 states of the federation.
Look at the prices of pilgrimage, how much was it during the PDP and how much is it now? Look at the Almajiri schools, across the country, PDP came with many poverty alleviation programmes. Even if you are not working, the PDP took care of you through various intervention and poverty alleviation programmes.
We still have many new programmes that will improve the living condition of Nigerians if we capture power in 2019 .
What advice do you have for Nigerians as the 2019 election draws nearer?
My advice for them is that they should try and get their Permanent Voters Cards and ensure that they elect credible leaders that will improve their living condition and not leaders that will bring more hardships on them.