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Degree of religious intolerance in Nigeria is worrisome – Abba Aminu Kano

By Obire Onakemu
24 September 2022   |   2:37 am
Dr. Abba Aminu Kano is the son of the late seasoned politician and First Republic presidential candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Mallam Aminu Kano.

Dr. Abba Aminu Kano

Dr. Abba Aminu Kano is the son of the late seasoned politician and First Republic presidential candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Mallam Aminu Kano.

In this interview with OBIRE ONAKEMU, Abba, who is the President, Mallam Aminu Kano International Foundation and Chairman of Zeefass Aviation Services, speaks on the state of the nation and the political situation in Kano ahead of the 2023 election.

What is your general assessment of the governance of Kano State and the country in general?
GENERALLY speaking about both Kano State and the country as a whole, I will say the situation is the same. This is because the performance is below average in terms of the expectations of the electorate which include addressing infrastructural decay, tackling corruption and social injustice, ensuring the safety of life and property and so on.

The Kano State House of Assembly recently approved a 10 billion loan request by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje- led administration. What is your take on this?

If the loan is to be utilised for the purpose mentioned, that is to provide enhanced CCTV cameras in the Kano metropolis, it is viable because it will go a long way in checking the deteriorating security situation in the city.
What are the qualities you expect from the next president of Nigeria and governor of Kano State?
As mentioned earlier, the situation at both levels of government is quite similar, so the qualities expected of the governor are still the same for the president. They should be people who will lead by example, honest, selfless, courageous, dedicated to duties, patriotic, and believe in equity, fairness and justice. They should also be people who will champion the cause of the downtrodden in society.

How confident are you that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will retain Kano State in 2023?
The APC in Kano has an edge and the chance to retain Kano because the incumbent is from the party. The Peoples’s Democratic Party (PDP) has an internal crisis in terms of party leadership and primary elections, which are all subjects of litigation. It will really diminish the chances of PDP at the polls in Kano State. Also, for NNPP, the party is new to the people and some followers of Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso have chosen to remain in PDP rather than move with him to NNPP. These literarily will split the vote for PDP and NNPP.

Is there any need to sit down and re-plan Nigeria ahead of the 2023 general elections?
Of course, there is a need. This is because we have seen how many things went wrong, which need to be addressed immediately. For example, the marginalisation of some parts of the country, unbalanced and lopsided federal appointments and social injustice have to be addressed. It is important to sit and address these issues before we go to the polls.

Do you entertain any fears over Nigeria’s unity and existence as a country?
Yes. In reality, there is fear, unless we are not being honest with ourselves. There has never been a time in our nationhood when we are polarised as witnessed today. The degree of religious intolerance is worrisome, plus the north and south dichotomy. These, for sure, pose a great danger to our corporate entity and existence.

Do you think the federal government is doing enough to end insecurity in the country?
It is a well-known fact that the security situation in the country has never been as bad as what we have now, so definitely something is wrong with the way security issues are handled. There’s a need for the government to sit up to its responsibility to provide adequate security and protect the lives and properties of the populace.

What’s your take on the obvious monetisation of Nigeria’s electoral process?
It is quite unfortunate the way the political class has made money a basic requirement for political relevance. The electorates are left with no choice. Credible people have been deprived of participation due to the challenge of having limited resources to fund their campaigns.

Do you see the political class deliberately making efforts to undermine the integrity of our elections?
I am of the opinion that there’s a significant improvement in the electoral processes. We have clearly witnessed it in the recent elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. Some factors responsible include the introduction of BVAS by the electoral umpire, as well as the new Electoral Act 2022.

It seems the political class has made elections for the highest bidders. What’s your take?
I prefer to see a new breed of politicians as presidential candidates of the major political parties, irrespective of their ethnic or religious background. We have many of them spread across the length and breadth of the country. The insistence by the northern APC governors that the next president must come from the southern part of the country led to the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as APC presidential flag bearer. It demonstrates the respect for power rotation between the north and the south, which really indicates adherence to the principle of equity, fairness and justice.

How do you see the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Tinubu as the presidential flagbearers for PDP and APC respectively?
As for the PDP presidential flagbearer, former Vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his emergence generated a lot of controversies, internal crises and divisions in the party, with Governor Nyesom Wike of River State, some PDP governors, party leaders and followers becoming aggrieved by the decision of the party to jettison the zoning arrangement between the north and the south, which is enshrined in the party’s constitution. It is a clear breach of the principle of equity, fairness and justice. If this is not addressed quickly and appropriately, it will undermine the performance and fortunes of the party in the 2023 presidential election.

What is your advice to the electorates?
The electorates have a responsibility to vote for the right candidates, irrespective of political party affiliations, and ensure they vote based on merit, not sentiment, and their votes must count. They should bear in mind that their action will determine the future of Nigeria, their children and the children yet unborn.  
I urge the electorates to shun violence and the political class should have an issue-based campaign that promotes peace and tolerance among their supporters as we approach the campaign season.