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SAMBO: Jang’s Incumbency Does Not Intimidate Me

By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi, Jos
15 March 2015   |   1:32 am
My aspiration is driven by the passion to champion the cause of the downtrodden and the underprivileged in society. It is further fuelled by the desire to reduce the high level of unemployment, the persistent lack of engagement utilisation of the God-given energy, talent, innovation and creativity of our youths and women

THE Plateau North Senatorial candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mrs. Eunice Ayisa Sambo, has said that the country belongs to the citizens of Nigeria; thus, everybody has constitutional right to stand for elective office in any part of the country.

Sambo said she is standing for an elective position, stressing that nobody, therefore, no matter how highly placed and influential, he or she is, has the right to impede on her constitutional right.

The APC candidate, who stated this while interacting with journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) headquarters in Jos, was responding to a question whether she had been under pressure to step down for Governor Jonah Jang, who is also contesting the same senatorial seat with her, knowing that Jang has the incumbency power.

“There has not been pressure from any quarters from the time I started my electioneering up to this moment. The reason why I came back from the United Kingdom in 2010 is to give back to the community that trained me. So, I am very, very clear about that,” she said.

On the power of incumbency, she categorically stated the she is not intimidated by the governor, who is vying for the same position. “He does not intimidate me. As I said, he, the governor, exercised his right to stand for office when he did and that is exactly what I am doing. He is also exercising his right to stand for a senatorial seat. So, there is no question of intimidation there. People stand for elections, there is a winner and there is a loser. Either way, I am trying with it. It is worth trying.

“But hearing what people are saying now, there is no way we are going to lose this election. The incumbent is using his office and our money to run his campaigns. They use government machinery, government vehicles, government staff and even the media. For the past few weeks, a lot of people have refused to listen to NTA Network News because all you hear about is, PDP — President Goodluck is there or PDP is there. We don’t have the same platform. Every time we want to go on air, they charge us the money we cannot afford to pay. But that does not intimidate us. That does not discourage us; we are running this campaign with our own personal resources. We are doing the best we can and people are supporting us, people are helping us and we appreciate people for their help. So, I am not intimidated by him.”

Sambo continued, “actually, he is my biggest campaigner because of his record in office. Everywhere you go, people talk about him. He has done people so much wrong, not paying salaries, not paying pensions and not doing this or that. So, he is my biggest campaigner and I’m sure that I am going to win this election. Now, I have answered that question. This meting is about me, not about him.”

Talking about the rampant cases of insecurity particularly in Riyom and Barkin Ladi local councils, the only woman candidate standing, said that when she gets into the senate, one of the first things she will want to ask the security agencies to do, is to render account of their stewardship.

“When you talk about security, you talk about short term, you talk about medium term, you talk about long term and I need them to tell us where we are in the issue of security in Nigeria. Where are we? Are we in the short term, in the medium or in the long term? I went to Mahanga area in Barkin Ladi Council and we are already working with people on that ground. We are listening to them. If you wake me up at 10pm, I will go Jos North. We are talking with the people. People are tired. They want to see peace returned. So, it is easy. People are calling us, and saying, ‘we are tired of this crisis; we are tired of Boko Haram. We want peace. Everybody is crying for peace. They have made our work easy.

“Even the security agencies on the streets are tired of what is going on. As we travel up and down, we can see it on their faces and their bodies. They are tired of being on the streets. Our Army are not trained to be on the streets. Our Mopol, Anti-Riot Policemen are not trained to be on the streets. They want to go back to their barracks, and therefore, people want to work with us and that is what we will be doing, making sure that we get these policemen and military men back to their barracks and families where they belong. So, they will cooperate with us because they are tired,” Sambo asserted.

On the allegation by a group that she was approached by her opponent to step down, Sambo said, “I have not had an official representation from my opponent. I repeat; I have not had an official representation from my opponent. And even if it is, this position is not for sale. This position I am vying for is not negotiable. Let the people decide who they want. At this juncture, I also want to challenge INEC to deliver the mandate of the people.

On the rumour that she was attacked, she said,“again I will say I have not had any incident. I am not aware of any of such. There has not been any attack or attempt on my life that I am aware of. So, I don’t know where all these rumours are coming from.”

About the segregated kind of settlement on religious divides in Jos North, the APC candidate said it is a sad moment for her. “As I said, I grew up in the heart of Jos among the Hausa, the Ibo, the Yoruba and other tribes and we enjoyed being together. Unfortunately, we are where we are today. We are saddened by this development and I have a passion to see a return of it. The crisis has been going on since 2001 with the first time it exploded.

“I have talked about this and I have shared with some authorities in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, it has been largely ignored. Yes, it is our problem and we are hoping and trusting that with time we are going to redress this issue. I have a passion to see a situation where we all live together as brothers in Jos. It is already happening. The communities in Rikkos, Nasarawa, Dutse Uku, are living together. They are doing joint patrol. It is coming back little by little. It is going to be an uphill struggle but it is not mountain that we cannot surmount.”

Sambo also used the opportunity to talk about the executive and legislative functions. “Even with my legislative functions, there are very few places I will go to and as a senator, I will not be listened to. Although there is a clear division between the legislative arm of government and executive arm of government I believe that we have a say, even now, you go to any ministry that you want a job, they will say you have to be related to a senator. So, although it is in theory that there is a separation of roles, there is an interface. I know that when I become a senator I can go to the vice chancellor’s office of any university and ask him questions. He will give audience. I can go to a minister’s office; I can go to the presidency and ask questions and lobby as a national legislator. I can lobby for employment for our youth. I can lobby for contracts. I can lobby for a lot of things. So, really I don’t see then as separate. Even in the western world, it is done.”

She said that she would be able to influence the administrative of the government actually to get them to do their work, which she said she is passionate about; adding that as a legislator, she has that power to tell the administrative arm of government to do their work. “We have roles in the administrative arm and we will use our roles to the benefit of our constituents.”

“It is, for me, a rare privilege to be vying to be a senator in a cosmopolitan constituency like the Northern Zone. I dare say the most complex and challenging environment in the whole of Nigeria as it sparks of a reflection of Nigeria in its miniature nature with all the blessings of its diversities and the challenges of managing same. I must, therefore, humbly say I am a product of valued education combined with the requisite experience and exposure to which I would willingly employ to better the lot of the constituency I seek to represent.

“My aspiration is driven by the passion to champion the cause of the downtrodden and the underprivileged in society. It is further fuelled by the desire to reduce the high level of unemployment, the persistent lack of engagement utilisation of the God-given energy, talent, innovation and creativity of our youths and women. I am also sad at the level of poverty in our environment and the inability of our governments and representatives to secure our lives and property. These, I must say, have defined our main focus as a team and most importantly as a candidate.”

She listed her full-blown manifesto, which includes, among other things, peaceful and harmonious co-existence, empowerment of communities, quality legislative representation at the National Assembly.

Sambo, who has a BA degree in social Professional Studies from Humberside University, Hull, London, also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics, University of London and had worked in London for 10 years.