By Olalekan Bilesanmi
Ibrahim Kiyawa, until recently, was a prominent face under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Jigawa State. He was a member of the House of Representatives and a financier of the PDP especially immediately after the party’s loss at the general elections in 2015. In this interview, Kiyawa explains why the All Progressives Congress, APC, will win the coming governorship election in the state.
You were a strong member of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Jigawa. Why did you defect on the eve of election?
I didn’t just leave now. I left the party as early as October last year. It was all in the news at that time. I left the PDP because of the injustice within the party. Virtually everything in the party was based on connection, nothing on merit. You didn’t need to have anything, once you know the leadership, you get whatever you desire even if it is detrimental to the generality of the people. The party was being controlled by an individual and there is no way a party of PDP magnitude would be controlled by an individual and there won’t be problems. I thought having lost out in the 2015 elections, both in the state and at the federal levels, we would have learnt our lessons and going forward; a lot of things would have been more open and transparent such that when all these values were adhered to, even if you lose in any contest, you accept it without bitterness. But in a situation where somebody manipulates every process to his own advantage such that whatever he says or does must be adhered to, that is no longer democracy. That is purely dictatorship. Once it is like that, what are you still doing there? These are some of the issues that made me to decide to cross to the ruling party where things are transparently done.
You said injustice was a major reason you decamped to the APC, can you be a bit specific, was it different from what happened to Yakubu Ruba, a former Attorney General of the state?
There was a lot of impunity in PDP Jigawa. In any political party, you must be able to carry every one along. That is why it is a party. Party is made up of people, not one person. The kind of treatment meted to Yakubu Ruba is a bit different from mine. Ruba was prevented from contesting even when he bought forms. Mine was totally different. I was the one taking absolute responsibility of the party immediately after we lost the general elections in 2015. I was the financing the party till I left the party. My time, resources were expended on the party till 2018. Nobody spent a dime on the party, everything was on me. I was the only one shouldering the responsibility of the party for years. Even at that, it was a known everyone that I wanted to contest for the governorship of the state on the platform of the party. The PDP was a strong party before the 2015 general elections. But immediately after the elections were lost, everybody deserted it. I had to take it over and nursed it to were it is now. Now, before the primaries, the former governor of the state, Sule Lamido, swore to God before me that he was not going to interfere in the primaries of the party. He said people would be allowed to participate freely, there would no be manipulation and that he was not going to impose anybody on the party. But he breached that trust. How can you continue to be with such a man that does not keep to his own words?
Why do you think APC is better than PDP, after all?
Things are done transparently in the APC. Again, the crop of leadership you have in the APC , from the governor to the exco members of the party, they all have element of sincerity in their actions. These are the type of people we need in the polity, people with sincerity, people whose words you can take to the bank, people who will respect the rule of law even if they are affected negatively by the law. If the field is level to accommodate everyone, there won’t be rancor in political parties. That is the kind of what you see in the APC Jigawa and that is why I think majority of the opposition parties are crossing over to the party. That is why I also decided to join the party so that I can be able to operate freely. I joined the party immediately after it had its primaries. So I didn’t join so that I could contest immediately. I joined the party so that I could also contribute my quota in helping the party , not only to win elections but to improve the lives of the people. I am not desperate to be leader.
What are the chances of the party in the coming elections?
The elections are already won and lost even before they began. The mood of the people in the state is an indication as to what to expect in the elections. Everywhere the governor went to campaign, it has been massive turn out, even in the night. There were some rallies that the governor arrived late in the night, and yet they were all patient, waiting for him. Some of them are even spending their money to support the campaign of the governor. That is no longer politics. It is like a movement. The amount of job this administration has done so far in the last three and half years far outweigh what the PDP did in their eight years of administration. Definitely the presidential election victory will rub off on us, no doubt about that. Having said that, even without the presidential election, with the level of achievements already on ground, there is no way the Badaru administration will not win by landslide victory.