Radda: Persons troubling Masari are disgruntled
Alhaji Umar Dikko Radda is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State. He was also a former Chief of Staff to Governor Aminu Bello Masari before his appointment as Director General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN). He told SAXONE AKHAINE why some APC members have ganged up against Governor Masari.
There was a meeting of some members of your party in Kaduna, and they were unhappy about the way party activities and governance are conducted in Katsina. What is the problem?
Honestly speaking, the way I view the meeting is that it is a gathering of disgruntled people. We have all worked together to achieve success in 2015. And Katsina State, being the home of the President, for any member to come out now and vent his anger publicly is rather unfortunate.
We should be careful not to embarrass the President. Secondly, this kind of meeting should not hold in Kaduna but Katsina, because that’s where we play our politics. So, if we want to play politics, let’s return to our state. They might not like what is happening, but not because what is happening is not right. I must tell you though, that there is no single governor in the whole of Northern Nigeria, who tried as much as possible and even went out of his way to bring everyone on board after the primary election like Governor Masari. Some of the people that attended the meeting were people who contested the primary election with the governor. So, I am surprised and wondering why anyone of them should start talking this way, because the governor has tried as much as possible to bring all of them on board by giving them appointments. All of them, I can tell you are represented in the government. Is it Bugaje, Yar’adua or ilu? Some of them have their sons appointed as commissioners. Some of them, their political associates are appointed into different offices and I believe also that a lot of political patronage was extended to most of them.
Again, we are in politics for the development of our state and not for personal gains. So, in this regard, I can tell you that the governor is doing a very wonderful job for the development of the state. And I think he has been magnanimous by bringing all of them on board. But you know human beings are never satisfied. Some people are questioning even God that created us. That is human nature, but we should exercise some decorum. As much as possible, we should try to iron out any problem we might have, and that should be done in Katsina. The governor is open. He is ready to embrace criticisms, as well as all opinions. This was the reason he was able to unite all party members after the primaries. Ask any party member whether the governor has relieved anyone, just because he/she did not support him or for disloyalty.
So, to me, the main issue in Katsina is not that of leadership, because as I said, most of the political juggernauts in the state are being represented in his government. What that means essentially, is that there is a kind of unparalleled leadership quality in Governor Aminu Bello Masari, which we should all emulate. He’s being careful because Katsina symbolises the President and any embarrassment coming from the state is not targeted at the governor, but the President, because Mr. President is a bonafide member of APC in the ward, his local government, Daura, as well as the state. He attends APC meetings in the state, when necessary. So, for any person to say he is being excluded is not true.
To the best of my knowledge, the governor has conducted stakeholders meetings about three or four times, and almost all the people I saw in the video clips attended that meeting and their opinions during such meetings are always respected. So, I think we should restrain ourselves, as much as possible, and be cautious in what we are doing, as politically, Katsina is the most peaceful state right now. So, if we want to play politics, let’s return to Katsina and sit at a round table to iron out our differences and move ahead.
So then, what could be their motive for converging in that manner to express their grievances?
I think their motive could be many. Some would like to destabilise the state politically; some would like to distract the governor and the president, and some would do what they are doing for political gains. So, in times like this, when elections are around the corner, even at the national level, you will see many groups springing up. So, one should expect these kind of agitations and criticisms.
But as politicians, we are always ready to contain it. We will contain it, and work with it. By this I mean we are going to bring all the family members to a round table.
Part of their grievances has to do with how the state delegates list was arrived at. What is your opinion on that?
As an APC member, a former national Welfare Secretary and a member of the National Working Committee, I can authoritatively say the party’s constitution has provided for consensus and what we did in Katsina with regard to the three delegates for the convention was purely consensus, and I assure you that every party member, who is a stakeholder in his local government, was invited and meetings were held in all the local governments, where resolutions were reached before the names of delegates were shortlisted. You should ask yourself why such complaint is coming now, when the exercise was conducted long ago and there was no complaint.
I remember there were states, where there were issues. Immediately after the elections, press conferences were organised by aggrieved persons. Katsina was part of the states that had crisis. So, we have been in this game for a long time, we understand certain things. And those coming up with these allegations are highly respected people we hold in high esteem. I really can’t imagine why some of them decided to associate with some of these people. It is a serious embarrassment to Katsina people.
Another issue they raised was that, since the appointment of the party chairman as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), no person has been appointed to replace him as APC chairman in the state…
It is not true. Let them be sincere. Again, why is leadership issue coming up now? This is a man that has been appointed as SSG for the past two years. Why is it now they are telling the world there is no APC leader in Katsina, when we are just few months away from elections? I remember being at a stakeholders meeting convened by the governor. I vividly recall that the meeting held in the governor’s office and at that meeting every member that is supposed to be a part was invited. For instance, all local government chairmen, local government secretaries, and every person you could think of, was there.
I remember the late Kanti Bello was there, all the senators, as well as all members of House of Representatives and political office holders. The issue of party leadership was tabled, and it was the consensus of the meeting that produced the current party chairman. To sum it all up, I was national Welfare Secretary of APC and the issue of who would replace me was discussed. Somebody was nominated at the meeting and thus, both the names of the state party chairman and my replacement were presented to the North West zonal officials, who endorsed the names and later submitted them to the party’s national secretariat.
So, for somebody to sit in Kaduna and tell you we don’t have a leader is quite unfortunate. I think there is more to it than the eyes can see.
From the foregoing, it appears your party is now divided in the state?
There is no faction in Katsina APC and nobody can tell me otherwise. If there is, who is the chairman of this other faction? I really or we would rather want to know him. I know in some of the neighbouring states we have factions, but definitely not in Katsina.
How would APC weather the current storm, so that it won’t fall into opposition’s hands come 2019?
Honestly speaking, our governor will sit with any aggrieved person or group. Some of them at the meeting are respected leaders, whom we’ve worked together for the party’s victory. So, we can’t allow them to go like that. We will do everything possible to bring them back. This is democracy, and it involves agreeing and disagreeing. It involves accepting and not accepting. Don’t be surprised to see us eating and drinking together in the nearest future. In fact, it is the governor’s responsibility, as the party leader to listen to every party member, who has any complaint. He will definitely reach out, with the view of ironing out any differences.
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