Mallam Ibraheem Musa, the Director of Strategic Communication and Spokesman of the All Progressives Congress Campaign Council, in this interview with GODWIN ISENYO, speaks on the Kaduna gubernatorial election and shed light on Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s apology, stating that there was nothing wrong for the governor to seek forgiveness, after all, to “err is human”
In less than 100 days from now, Nigerians will be electing their president, governors, and other representatives in the 2023 general elections. How prepared is your party, especially at the state level?
The All Progressives Congress has been preparing, and it is indeed prepared for the elections at all levels. Senator Uba Sani, our gubernatorial candidate has been campaigning, meeting with focal groups and holding town hall meetings with stakeholders, including trade unions, tribal associations, and nearly every stakeholder in Kaduna State.
Likewise, our senatorial candidates are reaching out to their constituents, listening to their concerns, and promising to better their lives through quality representation in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly. In the same manner, our candidates that are running for the House of Representatives and the State Assembly are out there in the field, knocking on doors, seeking support and canvassing for votes.
The campaign council, which was inaugurated on November 24, has not just hit the ground running, but, as one very senior government official remarked, “the inauguration met the campaign council running.” In other words, even before the inauguration, members of the campaign council have been up and doing, ensuring that APC wins the presidential, governorship, national and state assembly elections. Given what the candidates and the campaign council have been doing in terms of reaching out and campaigning house-to-house, door-to-door, and in virtually every neighbourhood, the APC is ready for the election even if it holds today.
You sound rather confident; what makes you think that your gubernatorial candidate and other candidates will be victorious at the polls?
Broadly speaking, three major parties will contest elections in Kaduna State. I mean the serious ones—they are the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, the New Nigeria Peoples Party, and the Labour Party. Of all these parties, Uba Sani is the candidate to beat in the 2023 election. First, it is his stellar performance as the senator with the highest number of bills that have been signed into law in the country. Before that, he was a human rights activist who collaborated with other democratic forces and the media to usher in democracy in 1999.
Besides, he has vast political experience, having been a graduate of the Malam Nasir el-Rufai School of Governance and Policy, which is another factor. He was President Olusegun Obasanjo’s political aide when Vice President Atiku Abubakar was a virtual opposition figure in government. Sani was instrumental in taming the then-vice president.
In 2015, he was the political adviser to Governor el-Rufai, whose office coordinated the town hall meetings where citizens of Kaduna State interfaced with the governor and asked questions. And when he went to the Senate in 2019, he headed the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Committee, where he helped the country recoup the loans that a few fat cats took from banks and refused to pay. In the amended Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria law, there is a clause that empowers the agency to undertake “property tracing,” whereby, irrespective of what a debtor pledged as collateral, AMCON can seize any of his property in any part of the country to cover the debt.
The Senate Committee discovered that there was a lot of insider trading in the course of giving those loans, which threatened the banking sector. High net-worth individuals gave collaterals that were not commensurate with the huge loans that they took, so they didn’t mind losing those properties. So, Sani’s bill, which amended the law, has stopped that racket, and more so, AMCON has recovered a lot of money as a result.
Your candidate has consistently said that he will build on and consolidate Governor el-Rufai’s achievements. What are these achievements?
Even our worst critics concede that Governor el-Rufai had not just changed the face of Kaduna in terms of infrastructure, he had also re-engineered the governance of the state. He has transformed government from a cost centre or Father Christmas into a vehicle for service delivery.
El-Rufai has attracted a total investment portfolio of $4,488,000,000, comprising actualised and announced investments, and has created 75,750 direct and indirect jobs in the last seven years. Kaduna State is also the most improved state in the 2018 Ease of Doing Business subnational report by the World Bank, and it has a very investor-friendly environment.
His administration raked in N52bn as internally generated revenue last year, the highest in the North. He accomplished this without imposing a new tax; he simply closed loopholes and improved revenue collection efficiency. Don’t forget, IGR was N11bn in 2015 when he assumed office.