In this interview with JULIET OYOYO, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, being one of the governorship aspirants in Kaduna State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). speaks on his present political ambition and other matters.
What are your plans ahead of 2015?
We came along with my colleagues to formally inform the state branch of the APC of my intention to contest for the governorship of Kaduna state. We think that it is a necessary first step to inform the party officially that we are intending to do this before making any formal declaration. We also used the opportunity to congratulate the party leadership for its efforts in unifying the various factions, the groupings that constituted the APC. The chairman and his team have done a great job of trying to reintegrate and reconcile all warring factions. We saw it important to encourage him and to ask the team to do more. I have also offered, as part of the reconciliation effort, if I am needed, if my presence will help forge reconciliation and unite the party, I will be happy to be part of any such initiative. We also came to present the party with some vehicles because the party has little or nothing by way of operational materials or equipments, as you can see the party office is not yet furnished, we are going to work with other stakeholders to ensure that the party offices are furnished. But we thought that at this point we are approaching the primaries, there is a need for the party leadership to go round the state, or market the party as well as sensitize the citizens of Kaduna state of the collection of permanent voters card and the continuous voter registration that will be announced by INEC soon, for Kaduna state and 12 other states. We thought that the party needed vehicles because since there will be election, the party leaders have been using their personal vehicles and we gave them some vehicles as first step, we hope to do more, and we hope other aspirants will do even more because among the aspirants, I am about the poorest.
Defeating an incumbent governor during elections is a very difficult task and with the likes of Vice President Namadi Sambo in the PDP, how convinced are you that APC can win Kaduna?
I decided to run for the office after a long period of consultation and reflection because I’m really angry at the state of Kaduna state. I think that my state has gone backward compared to our neighboring states. My state has unacceptable level of insecurity and with those in power appearing not to care. People get killed in this state in tens and hundreds and the sitting governor will not even go to condole those that lost loved ones. It is impunity of the highest order and it has made me very angry and many others and this is part of the reason why we are driven to come together and try to run for this office. Defeating an incumbent is not difficult because, the PDP did not even win the last election, it was rigged. The CPC won the last governorship election in Kaduna, we all know what happened. We all know the efforts at militarizing the state to rig results and we are going to resist it this time. I have no doubt in my mind that the PDP in Kaduna is gone, it’s history. It’s just a matter of time. In February 2015, we will prove that. The incumbency (factor) is not a problem at all. A non-performing government that has heightened the level of insecurity cannot win elections.
With the Vice President –?
What Vice President? He has not even won election in his polling unit. So forget about the Vice President. It is not about big names, it is not about titles, it is not about money. It is about the people and the people of Kaduna state will never vote for the PDP, Vice President or no Vice President.
What is your take on the politics of godfathers come 2015. Do you rely on one?
I don’t have a godfather; the only godfather I have is the God Almighty. I have never have godfathers in my life. In my political life, I have mentors, people I respect, I respect General Muhammadu Buhari who is the leader of our party, I have great respect for him. I worked with General Obasanjo, I had great respect for him, but even General Obasanjo cannot tell me to do the wrong thing and I will do it. I am not designed like that, I am not made like that.
You are accused of hijacking the leadership of the APC in Kaduna, how true is that?
As I have said the leadership of the party has been working to unite the various factions. It is normal in politics for people to make unfounded allegations and when you are successful in politics, you are the subject of attacks. Nobody will attack someone that is not successful, nobody will attack someone that is not a frontrunner. I am the subject of attacks because from day one when the APC was formed, I was the only person from Kaduna state that was in the National Executive Committee of the party. So that set me up to be a target. Hausa people say,Babba Juji ne when you are the leader, you get attacked and I have accepted it in good faith and I don’t even respond to the attacks. What I think is important is that all those that care about the APC and care about the state of governance in Kaduna state, ought to come together because the enemy is not those of us in APC, the enemy is the PDP. So we should unite to eject the PDP and stop wasting our time and energy attacking one another. It’s just helping the PDP and those that are doing it are PDP agents. We know some of them. We know they are being sponsored by the governor and the government. We know what they are doing, we will not respond. As I have said, we are in this to make Kaduna state better. We are not interested in making money for ourselves; we are not interested in settling scores with anybody. We want to make Kaduna state better. We want to see that Kaduna state is the best example of good governance in this country. Whoever abuses us, we ignore him; we don’t abuse anybody. We just focus on the issues that concern the people of Kaduna state and our commitments to resolving them.