INTERVIEW: Gov. Masari’s SA (Politics) Insists Late Yar’adua, Shema Did Nothing To Show In Katsina
Usman Bala Zango, a former Speaker of the Katsina State House of Assembly, currently serves as the Special Adviser (Political) to the state governor, Aminu Bello Masari. In this interview with MUAZU ELAZEH, Zango who was formerly a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insists that despite ruling Katsina for 16 years, the PDP has nothing to show.
It is almost one year since this administration came on board. What is your honest assessment of the journey so far?
As a matter of fact, the journey of this administration has so far been fantastic. The state is being manned by an experienced governor. Governor Masari is not new to the system, as he has been in it since the past 40 years where he served in different capacities, including being a seasoned civil servant. So, as someone who has seen it all, he has derived a lot of experience in governance, having even served as the Speaker of the House of Reps. We have a governor who has high integrity and vast experience. During his campaigns, the governor pledged to run an open government and he promised to be convening town hall meetings, which he has since started. Through the town hall meeting, the governor is fraternising with people at the grassroots where he is seeking their views and opinions on his administration, while giving them detailed account of the state’s finances. So far, the town hall meeting has proven to be effective.
Is the APC government getting the sort of opposition it expects from the PDP and other political parties in the state?
Of course yes. We appreciate the fact that for any government to succeed there must be opposition. It is this opposition that will help keep the government on its toes. But unfortunately, in this clime, we have a conjured view and perception about opposition. We have made it a duty to urge those in opposition to always feel free and express their views. Even during the town hall meetings, the governor always emphasize that those from the opposition should be given ample chance to make comments, ask questions and express their views about the running of the government.
Aside the town hall meetings, are you involving those from the opposition in running of the government?
I can’t expressly say there are persons from the opposition who are serving in this government. But you see, we do work with them, seek their advice and they do come to my office from time to time to tell us ‘this is right or wrong’.
Will the government extend a hand of fellowship to willing and capable PDP members to come and serve in this government?
Never! We will not do that because they will spoil the government. We will rather invite APGA people than bring PDP because it is suicidal to invite PDP members to join this government. Do you really know how the PDP looted the state’s treasury?
You were once an active member of the PDP but of late, you are one of its fiercest critics. Why?
You see, PDP has committed so many blunders. Obviously, the PDP has nothing much to show. Everyone knows the rot caused by PDP. And for me, what motivated me to part ways with PDP was the insecurity, the embezzlement of funds, insincerity and lack of openness. The PDP people are not serious…
(Cuts in) But aren’t you aware of the views that the past PDP administration performed better than your government?
Well, the electorate can judge. You see, you can’t construct roads and leave people in hunger and abject poverty. Yes, the past PDP administration built schools but when you entered the schools you see empty buildings with nothing inside. Most of the schools never had furniture; they are just empty structures, no teachers, no learning materials and no teaching aid; nothing! As a matter of fact, it is now that the government is trying to employ qualified teachers to man the schools, it is now the government is planning to purchase furniture for these schools. So, all the PDP did was to build structures that have no utility. Why should a reasonable government spend N100million to build market in a community when the people of the community are in hunger? In all the 34 local government areas the government spent millions of naira to build markets but is that the priority of the people? PDP never sampled people opinion; rather, it did what suits it without recourse to the feelings of the people.
But there are concerns that having spent close to one year, your government still hasn’t executed any viable project.
It is unthinkable for anyone who knows Katsina State very well and who is conversant with the realities of the state to say this government hasn’t executed any viable project. Just go to Daura emirate and see the beautiful work which is on going in the Fago road construction; visit Daura General Hospital and see if it was the way it used to be. If you visit Daura general hospital, you sure will see a lot of structures being built as the hospital is currently undergoing remodelling and upgrading. It is the same with Katsina and Funtua general hospital where government is working assiduously to ensure their upgrading and remodeling, so as to make them befitting of a hospital of their status and ultimately serve as referral centres for other hospitals in the respective zones. Roads are being constructed, schools are being renovated and new ones being built as is the case. Places that for long had lived without portable water supply now have water. As a matter of fact, the list is endless. No one in their right senses can say this government has not done anything since assuming office.
Of recent, one issue that has generated controversy is the decision by the APC administration to renovate structures initially built by PDP administration but afterwards painting them in APC colours. What informed this decision?
This is politics and we are living in APC era. Go to Kano and see, where ever you see buildings embarked by Kwankwaso you will see Kwankwasiyya boldly written on them. So, what is wrong with that?
Can that be taken to mean that the APC government in Katsina State is emulating Kwankwaso?
No. We are not emulating him. I am just citing an example. In any case, that is politics and there is nothing to worry about.
Is the Katsina APC still a united home, judging from the recent happenings at the state assembly where some principal officers were forced to resign their positions?
What happened at the Assembly was politics and that is the beauty of democracy. Crisis of this nature is perculiar to Assemblies and does not in anyway suggest that the APC is not a united house. It is normal and need not be seen as a problem because it is truly not a problem…
(Cuts in) But there are allegations that those forced to resign were part of the governor’s stooge at the Assembly and so, their resignation was to send a signal that the Assembly was ready to assert its authority and independence.
No, it is not true. The changes were done solely by the Assembly members who have all the right to determine how their leaders emerge. The governor has no hand in it; he has no preferred member or members and has continued to work harmoniously with the lawmakers in line with the dictates of the Constitution and the principles of Separation of Powers.