I left NNPC to serve underprivileged in Kano — Waya
Inuwa Waya is a British-trained oil and gas expert as well as consultant in International Energy Management who contributed to the transformation of the Nigerian oil and gas sector in his 32 years of meritorious service at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Kano-born legal practitioner voluntarily retired as Managing Director, NNPC Shipping and Coordinator, Optimisation Project in September 2021, two years ahead of his statutory retirement, to join the 2023 gubernatorial race in Kano. He spoke to MURTALA ADEWALE about his development agenda buoyed by the interest of the masses.
Why did you resign your job in NNPC to join the race for 2023 governorship in Kano?
I have been inundated with questions and queries as to why I decided to voluntarily retire from my very important and prestigious position in NNPC to join partisan politics and to chase some people’s opinions on what they thought might be an impossible journey. But I know why I decided to quit even though I know it is not easy, especially having reached the climax of my career. I have been in NNPC since August 26, 1991, and witnessed the
corporation’s growth through the years. With the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, the corporation has assumed a new dimension in terms of more accountability, more profitability, and responsibility to justify shareholders’ resources. I am happy that I left the NNPC in an excellent position.
There are times for individuals to come and the time to leave the stage for the younger generation. With all the reforms already taking place, which is designed to increase the commerciality of NNPC as a limited liability company, you need to realise as senior and management staff that these changes will usher a rebirth of the corporation and for us who have been there for long, it is time to step aside and allow the younger generation take the mantle of leadership and deliver it to the promised land.
What kind of leadership do you think Kano requires at this time and what will you do differently if voted into office?
We have to understand that we are elites and most of our lifetime achievements are limited to what we achieved during our services in mainstream civil or public services. My involvement has gingered the political class to begin to think of probity and accountability. On what I would do differently, I believe in the party’s manifesto. I support what the Federal and Kano State governments are doing as APC governments. What I’m going to do differently depends on whether or not APC changes her manifesto. But for now, I fully support what the APC government is doing in Kano and at the federal level.
What is your development agenda for Kano if you become Governor in 2023?
My concern is education because I realised that without it, we could not develop. After all, we don’t have quality and functional education. I realised that our major challenge began from lack of education and that is why I commend the policy of free education being implemented by the Kano State government. The policy of free and compulsory education is commendable and we need to support it. But the challenge the state will face is resources to sustain the system because schools will no longer charge any fee and that means the government will need to find alternative means to sustain the system.
For me, I have decided to assist the government on the policy of free education with the provision of instructional materials, uniforms, and the like, especially to children of the less privileged. I do this in public schools in the state. We introduced debate and competitions in the schools to encourage scholarship and we give gifts to best-performing students.
Again, we have the issue of drug abuse in Kano, which is also largely due to a lack of education. This unfortunate act has led to school dropouts and resulted in insurgency and terrorism. If I become governor, I will build more schools, rehabilitate existing structures and ensure that teachers are not only well paid but qualified enough to provide the services they are employed to do.
There is no time for criticism because I don’t want to be an armchair critic, which is very reason I joined the race in the first place. I understand when one is in power, you understand the situation well and you hope it will be better but when you leave the government, you begin to criticise. Every government wants constructive criticism.
There is division in Kano APC. How would you circumvent the situation, given the complexity of Kano politics?
I’m not a novice in politics. When we were in secondary school in Rumfa College, we used to visit Mallam Aminu Kano to see and learn how he addressed his political disciples. I cultivated the habit and had a conviction that one day in the future I will take full part in politics.
When I graduated from college, I began several movements in politics and it was my involvement in politics that made the then governor of Kano, late Abubakar Rimi, to employ some of us to work in the research unit at the government house, set up by the late Dr. Bala Muhammad. Our responsibility then, included administering questionnaires to the public to sample public opinion about government policies and activities.
I did that for a few months before I moved to the school of preliminary studies preparatory to my university education. When I was there, I was students representative, later the speaker of the assembly, and then became president of the students’ union. So, with all these participations over the years, I don’t think you can refer to me as new. The reason I’m joining the race is to protect the interest of the poor and I will not fall into any intimidation or harassment by any politician.
With crisis in Kano APC, people may want to know where you belong?
The crisis in APC is normal because everyone gets more interested and you begin to see alignments and re-alignments. I’m also in alignment with some groups and as far as I’m concerned, APC in Kano is one. As far as I’m concerned, Abdullahi Abbas is still the chairman and the current executive of the party are the recognised leaders of the party. Where you have splinter groups that want to bring about conflict because of the protection of their selfish interest, then you know it is about who gets what, where and at what time.
I’m in politics to sanitise the system and make it more accountable and reliable. We would continue to campaign against violent use of children of the poor by politicians who have denied them education in the first instance. I have told the youths to tell any politician who asks them to take drugs and carry dangerous weapons against their opponents to bring their children to lead the fight.