Wednesday, September 9, 2020

El-Rufai is Clearing PDP’s Mess In Kaduna – Namadi

Engr. Muhammad Namadi is the immediate past Director General of Kaduna State Bureau for Interfaith and a former PDP stalwart who is now a member of the ruling APC. In this interview, he makes a comparison between both parties in the state.

The re-election of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, will you say that the mandate given to him has been justified?

Anyone who is living in Kaduna State, whether he is a politician or not, whether he is in the opposition or in the ruling party, will know that Malam Nasir el- Rufai has changed the face of Kaduna State for the better. In fact, even people outside Kaduna State are saying the same. His developmental strides are too numerous to mention in an interview. I suggest that writers like you should write a book on the achievements of the Governor of Kaduna State, so that it will serve as a blueprint for others. The people that voted for him have not been disappointed. We that campaigned for him have been vindicated because we are seeing what we expected. As far as we are concerned, so far, so good. He has brought change to Kaduna State, which is the slogan of our party.

But  not many people will agree with your position. In particular, former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero has claimed that el Rufai is merely implementing PDP programmes and projects. He said that all what the Governor is doing had been conceived by PDP but for the change of leadership, his administration  would have implemented them. What is the truth of this claim?

First and foremost, I have been in politics longer than Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero; I started politics in 1998, after retiring from the civil service as a director of Engineering at the Kaduna State Agricultural Development Project(KADP). Secondly, I have been a founding member of PDP in Kaduna State; I have contested and won and lost election. I have been part of all campaign organisations from 1999 to 2019. I was an Executive Director at Kaduna State Development and Property Company(KSDPC). I was the first Administrator of Kawo Development Area and Director General of Interfaith.  So, I know the civil service, politics and party organisation. I gave you this background so that you will put my answer side-by-side  his claim.

I am saying categorically that PDP, under all past governors, has never conceived any of the projects that Governor Nasir el Rufai is implementing. The Ali Akilu way road expansion contract that they awarded was grossly inflated. Malam Nasir had to review it downwards and added several components to the project. Apart from that, what the Governor of Kaduna State is implementing is in line with The  Restoration Master Plan and APC Manifesto. Former Governor Yero said that PDP designed the projects that El Rufai is implementing. At the same time, he said that the blueprint has been there since the days of Sardauna, the Premier of Northern Nigeria. My question is simple, why didn’t the PDP implement the projects in the 16 years that it had been in office? Well, there is a proverb that says that ‘’success has many fathers but failure is an orphan’’. This explains why Yero is trying to claim what he or his party didn’t conceive. I can understand.

But there is the accusation that the governance model of Governor el Rufai is infrastructure-centred as opposed to PDP’s which dwelt more on human development…

I’m surprised that this is coming from the PDP. What is human development? The United Nations has a  standard of measuring Human Development Index and it includes education, life expectancy and per capita income. The present administration has improved on all these. It has improved education, by building new schools and upgrading some of them. It has employed qualified teachers and almost doubled the enrolment figures of both primary and secondary schools. Education is free from primary to secondary schools; absolutely free, no PTA fees, no hidden charges. Also, el Rufai has provided  Primary Health Centres in each of the 225 wards in Kaduna State. He has recently introduced the Health Insurance Scheme, where people can access health care even when they don’t have cash on them. Again, Kaduna State is the first to pay minimum wage, at a time when some states are still battling with NLC. He has also increased pension. Some people were collecting as low as N3,000 during PDP era! So, I want Yero to tell me what his party did in terms of human  development like he claimed.

But the present administration has retrenched a lot of workers, especially primary school teachers, that is why critics say that the el Rufai government’s policies have no human face. What is your opinion on this?

The el Rufai administration sacked primary school teachers who were not qualified to teach. PDP officials used to send thugs, party loyalists that have no qualifications,  to teach in our primary schools. We knew of this practice, what el Rufai did was to subject every primary school teacher to a  test and 22,000 failed and they were asked to go. In addition, 25,000 others were recruited. So, I don’t know which human face you are talking about.

In addition, younger people, who have the requisite qualifications and skills have been recruited into the civil service to rejuvenate the service. Don’t forget, I retired from the civil service about 22 years ago as a Director. I was surprised that some of my colleagues were still in service when our children that have graduated from the university were at home, unemployed. So, what el Rufai did was to replace  ‘’fathers’’ with their  ‘’qualified children’’  in the civil service. So, what human face are you talking about? It is unfortunate that PDP wants to confuse people and you journalists seem to be aiding them!

In the last few years, the el Rufai administration has demolished structures…

(Cuts in) What do you mean!? You mean that people should be allowed to build anyhow without regard to the law? You mean structures should be built in violation of planning laws? You mean that when there is an over riding public interest, buildings should not be pulled down? el Rufai is clearing the mess that PDP had created in the last 16 years. Land was allocated anyhow, carve-outs were given in GRAs, instead of opening up new lay outs. In all areas where houses were demolished because either a road construction or a project, government has duly paid compensation. And for the first time, compensations were done without complaints. In fact, in some places where roads projects passed through, people were even begging government officials to include their houses in the list of houses that were marked for demolition, even when their houses were far away. Houses whose market value was N2 million were given N5 million. So, the el Rufai administration is demolishing in order to build; to bring development and to enforce law and order.

It is alleged that almost all the Urban Renewal Projects are concentrated in Kaduna North or other urban centres like Zaria and Kafanchan. Why is this so?

First of all, the name of the project is Urban Renewal Project. So, do you want them to be cited in Makarfi or Kudan? Secondly, the projects are not just concentrated in those local governments that you mentioned. In Kaduna town for example, the projects are spread across Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi and Chikun local government areas. In Zaria, the projects will reach Sabon Gari and even Giwa local government. In Jema’a, the projects will extend to neighbouring towns. People are talking of Urban Renewal Project as if it is the only construction project that the present administration has executed. Before then, contract for close to 80 urban roads were given out and by 2018, about 69 of them were completed. These projects were spread across the 23 local government areas of the state. In Kaduna South, a 23 kilometre road, costing about N2.4 billion was awarded in Barnawa. So, before Urban Renewal Project, there were other projects that were executed all over the state.

There are rumours that you are planning to leave APC and various parties are reaching out to you because you were not re-appointed by the present government. How true is this rumour?

Have I spoken to you like a person who is likely to leave APC? Which party can equal to what APC is doing in Kaduna State. Like I told you, I was in PDP before I left because of compelling reasons of lack of a development agenda for the state. Has that situation changed? On a personal note, APC is in control at my ward and  local government, why should I leave such a party, to where I cannot even deliver my polling unit? As a politician, I follow where my people are and pitch my tent with a party that will deliver for them, the dividend of democracy. That party is APC. If elections are held in Kaduna State again today, el Rufai will still win.

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