…Taraba people are disenchanted with the PDP deceitful government
Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi the caretaker committee chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Taraba State chapter has held many positions since emerging in the political space. Most notably, he served as Secretary to the State Government (SSG), attorney general and commissioner of Justice and was also elected as member federal house of Representatives, representing Kurmi/Sarduana/Gashaka Federal Constituency. He also served as special adviser on legal matters to former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
In this interview with CHUWANG DUNGS he speaks on the failure of the PDP led administration in the state and how APC is gearing up to take over power in the state come 2023 and other issues. Excerpts.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT IN THE POLITICAL TERRAIN IN TARABA STATE, YOU ARE A FOUNDING MEMBER OF PDP IN THE STATE, YOU HAVE ALSO HELD MANY POSITIONS, INCLUDING SSG. TELL US WHAT WENT WRONG THAT YOU ARE NOW THE CHAIRMAN OF THE LEADING OPPOSITION PARTY IN THE STATE?
As far back as 2014-2015, I started noticing changes in the attitude of those people whom we were in the same party, PDP. I am a principle person, I don’t Iike deceit, I don’t like lack of performance. I saw some crops of individual that were insisting on holding the affairs of PDP and governance in the state, I therefore quickly and swiftly left PDP and announced on the floor of National Assembly that I have defected to APC, this is exactly what happened and I have been vindicated looking at what is happening now in PDP. People are disenchanted, disgruntled and are not happy with the activities and performance of the PDP in Taraba State, the government is not working, the followers are not enjoying the dividend of democracy. We are not asking government to park money and give out to people freely but government should work and in the process people will surely benefits directly or indirectly that is the essence of democracy. Those were some of my reasons for living PDP and the trend of events in the state, like lack of security, go to the ministries grasses have covered everywhere, no running costs.
TARABA HAS A HISTORY OF BEING PDP STATE RIGHT FROM INCEPTION, IS YOUR PARTY PREPARED TO BATTLE PDP?
Obviously we need just little preparation by putting our house together and bring one or two people in the selection process of governance in the state, then we vote the right people once we do that is ok, because PDP has already campaign for any party that is ready to take over power. Like I said before, the present government has not done anything compared to previous administration how can they start campaigning to people. As at today you cannot pinpoint any project executed from the beginning to end by the present government. Governor Darius has only succeeded in destroying the gigantic projects of former governor Nyame and late Danbaba. The only project of Darius for six years is the overhead bridge and the dualization of the federal road which construction still on going. That is not enough for six years. Is an under performance as far as we are concern. Unfortunately some PDP folks will tell you that they have executed projects in all the local government areas across the state, and they will go and point to you projects sponsored by CSDP or world bank assisted projects. Where world back injects 90% of funds for the project which the community chooses and there are criteria, the state government, contribute 10% and we are not fools we follow this things very well and what the state government does is to approach banks and solicits for loan to finance the project and when the money comes you can take away your 10% and the use the remaining 90% to execute the project which means is 100% sponsored by world bank. In writing the should clearly state that the project are executed in partnership with world bank or world bank assisted project but they do not do that, they instead wrote DDI in the roof of some of the projects. So as far as we are concern this are not projects executed by Taraba state government but by the World Bank. Even the water project that he is claiming that gave him the award of water man of the year, that project started during the Danbaba’s administration and meticulously followed by Rebo Usman and it is also a world bank assisted project, is not 100% executed by the Taraba State government, why would he claim a project that he neither initiate nor finance 100%, so we are saying that project is not his own. He should independently execute projects lets see then we can accept it.
The only efficient project in Taraba state in the last six years is marriages of DDI’s children, those are the only vibrant thing that happened in the State and unfortunately the marriages do take place in either Abuja or Kaduna. We challenge him as a governor to conduct the marriages of his children in Taraba state so that people can come and see the mess he has turn the state to, maybe they will pity us and invest in some areas. His SA on political affairs accused us of being Abuja based politicians, I have a house here, which you are right now, a day to Sallah, I have my wife with five children. Every blessed month I come to Jalingo but I sneak in because there is no security in Taraba and there is no enabling environment for us to do business, how do we continue to feed our family if we continue to stay in Taraba that he has muzzled us economically. The keke NAPEP people cannot operate beyond 9 o’clock everything has come to comatose, no business is moving in Taraba state, does he want us to stay here and die when he has not economically made the environment suitable, so we have to go out to other greener pastures. As a lawyer I cannot get a brief of more than a hundred thousand, I cannot survive it so I have to move out of Taraba, however, I am in constant contact with my people, my relatives, my party leadership and my political associates. The world today is a global village I don’t have to go to Rivers to know that governor Wike is working the social media is there, I don’t have to go to Borno to know that Zulum is doing great work for his people despite the insurgency there. I have to give them that credit and how do I know, is because of the media. Is not for you to come out and make noise let him show us practically what he has done just like Wike and Zulum. They buy airtime to showcase their achievements, if you claim to have execute project in 168 wards, take Journalists round and show them those projects and we must cross check to ascertain if they were executed with Taraba state resources.
The most annoying aspect is that even the modest structures that were build by past administration could not be maintain, the state motel has been overtaken by snakes and reptiles, the stadium has been taken over by hoodlums and a lot of unwarranted activities has been going on there, go to the specialist hospital, go to the school of nursing even the government house and presidential lodge where the governor is staying cannot be maintained until during the North east governors meeting some renovations were done. Part of the roof of the building where he was staying was blown off by wind, the have to remove the entire roof to give an impression as if it was on going projects, while we know the gimmicks. This shows you that the government of PDP is doing nothing rather than squandering and siphoning the resources of Taraba state and we have to say It.
Lest I forget his political adviser one Abubakar Bawa in reply to my recent press conference instead, of him addressing the issues that I raised, was saying that governor Darius is more educated than APC chairman and that the governor is more older than me and is not in our tradition to call an elderly person a liar and that he is more political experience than me. I think that kind of a person does not deserve to be a political adviser, how can you talk of age in politics when your grandson can stand right in front of you and abuse hell out of you, if you don’t want to be criticize or abuse then you shouldn’t go into politics. Today, President Buhari is older than almost all of us but on a daily basis he is being castigated and lambasted from all angles. If you don’t want to be abuse then live politics. I as chairman of APC I am daily being abused.
Now talking about education he is an architect and I am a lawyer, so what’s the basis for the comparison what has a lawyer got to do with an architect. More so does it mean that those that did not have the privilege to go to school cannot criticized him if he is misleading them. 90% of those who voted him to power are illiterates or secondary school leavers, so they should not say anything because they have become slaves. So his statement doesn’t accord to common sense or reasoning that we should not talk because we are not educationally in parity with the governor, so is only professors that should criticize him.
Talking about experience in politics yes, I accept I have never been a governor he is therefore more experienced than me, but being a governor is even more simpler political position because if you have able lieutenants everything will go well for you. If you engage educated and capable people they will do the work for you, your responsibility will be only to monitor them and ensure that they are performing. I want to tell Bawa that I started politics in 1990 and I don’t know where Darius was in 1990, I want Bawa to know that I was a special adviser in 2002 up to 2007, I was SSG, I was attorney general, I want to tell him that the very first time we knew governor Darius as a politician was when he was appointed a minister but before then nobody knew him inTaraba state, nobody knew him in Nigeria, and as at the time he was made a minister, I was already in the house of representatives and I would tell him boldly that Darius appealred before me in the committee of power. Let Bawa ask his boss and therefore he is more experienced more than me politically I don’t know what he means as a political adviser let him tell the world.
ONE OF THE GREATEST THING THAT IS CAUSING YOUR PARTY SETBACK IN THE STATE IS MANAGING DIVERSE INTEREST. HOW TO YOU INTEND TO MANAGE THAT AHEAD OF THE COMING ELECTION?
The question is of interest in politics is there and you can’t wash it away, contending forces whether economic interest, power interest, whether tribal, religious or whatever but with the misadventure and mal-administration of the PDP every Tarabians have learn a bitter lesson, and we are now ready to bring out people that have the interest of the state, people that understand the political terrain and the feelings of the people to come and govern us, we would seat down and discuss with those that matter people of like minds and sieve and bring out people that know Taraba very well, those that have been in the art of governance since 1999 or even before 99 to date. We we would collectively, agreed on those to lead the state this are some of the method we intend to adopt and a lot of them having suffered the tyranny of the PDP government are aggrieved and they are in touch with us, asking us to bring out people that understand the state. We will cross the bridge when we get there. Of course before the primaries there will be a lot of noise but I am assuring you that after the primaries we will move forward.
IT IS BEING ALLEGED THAT THERE ARE MOLES IN YOUR PARTY, PLANTED BY THE PDP TO CREATE CONFUSION. ARE YOU AWARE OF THAT?
Well I have heard such accusations and we are investigating and when the chips are down we will know where to direct our searchlight and fish them out and isolate those that have been sent to cause confusion or apathy whatsoever and we will tell the whole world.
LET’S GO BACK TO NATIONAL POLITICS, WHAT IS ACTUALLY DELAYING YOUR PARTY CONVENTION?
Our experiences has taught us a lot of things we have to form a committee to sit down and look at all the litigation that we have had and what cause us to lost our seat in Zamfara, that the entire structure was given freely to PDP. The committee have sat down and review our past guidelines and the want them to go in tandem with our constitution and the National Constitution they are through with the process on the 31st of July we will be having our first Congresses at the ward level then subsequent congresses at the local and state levels respectively.
HAVE YOU ZONED THE POSITIONS AT STATE LEVEL?
Well naturally we are going to sit and see those positions that will be zone at state level, we want to finish the ward and local government congresses first then we will sit down and zone positions across the three senatorial zones, once that is done we will set the ball rolling for elections and we will produce the leadership of the party.
BASED ON THE LAST PARTY REVALIDATION, WHAT IS THE MEMBERSHIP STRENGTH OF YOUR PARTY IN THE STATE?
Our membership strength is more than a million we are waiting for the last batch of the exercise which is coming in on Wednesday once we get the figures we will let you know.
HOW DO YOU INTEND TO MANAGE THE LARGE NUMBER OF DECAMPEES JOINING YOUR PARTY IN VIEW OF VESTED INTERESTS?
The new comers are the same with the old timers, they have equal rights once we know your political weight and value we will allow you leverage to thinker with whatever is in your area, we want to restrict people to their wards and local governments without interferences. But we would also remind them that after reaching this height you don’t need to temper with any structure because you are for all and the interest of the party should be paramount. Many of them have agreed while some are saying they need to rejig some of the wards and executive of some local governments and that leverage as been granted to them.
FINALLY ANY CALL TO MEMBERS OF THE PARTY IN THE STATE?
I am appealing to them to calm down and make sure that they vote for executives of their choice, we are not interested in imposing any person on any member, everybody is free to go and buy the form and contest for any position of his of her choice.