Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, in this interviewin Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, spoke on why the next chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC should come from Nasarawa and the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, bloc; how his inclusive style of administration is winning opposition members to APC in the state, and how allies of the Boko Haram sect were dislodged from the state, among others.
Your party, APC is receiving hordes of people from opposition parties and Nasarawa is gradually becoming a one-party state. How do you intend to manage those joining you in the APC?
I don’t think anyone will take the credit for the mass exodus of opposition to our party. I think since we came in, we have worked as a team and we have displayed fairness as an administration.
We have been very truthful. We don’t have anything that we are hiding. We don’t deceive people. I think that has helped us. We are running an inclusive government. We have the records of areas that did not vote for us but the people are citizens of Nasarawa State and we have qualified people from there to hold positions and we gave them the positions. So that is our way of inclusiveness.
Any time there is an opportunity to discuss the interest of Nasarawa State, we invite beyond our party line. We invite people from the other parties. Any time an opportunity for some kind of intervention comes to Nasarawa State as a result of either the challenge of the economy or other issues, we share with everybody.
So, we have exhibited in words and in action that we are actually a government for all. So, if people are leaving other political parties to come to us, we thank God. We believe very strongly that we have displayed an acceptable style of administration. Our attitude is in line with our actions and activities that are in tandem with the expectations of the people.
On how far he has gone in getting the APC concede the national chairmanship of the APC to defunct CPC bloc
I think we have gone beyond advice now, we are campaigning. We are going round campaigning. I have met major stakeholders in the APC, we strongly believe that what we are asking for is fair. What we are asking for is not too much for the party to do. What we are asking for will actually keep the party together. So that is what we are saying.
I will tell you I have gone far beyond just making a plea. I have got to the stage of making consultations, speaking with the right people, speaking with the highest authority of the party especially with my colleagues, the governors.
I strongly believe it should come to North Central and Nasarawa State in particular. I always add that. I didn’t want to stop at coming to North Central without mentioning Nasarawa State because that is why I said I am going full swing. There is justification for that. We are not just saying that for the sake of saying it. APC is actually a product of an alliance of three former independent political parties.
The ACN, ANPP and the CPC. The two former members of the alliance have all produced twice the national chairman of the party, the only one that has not produced so far is the CPC and if you are talking of the CPC, Nasarawa was only the state with the CPC that went into the alliance.
Right now I think we have gone full swing; we are campaigning for people. We want people like Tanko Almakura to take it. We have not been hiding that.
Recently you raised an alarm, telling President Muhammadu Buhari that Boko Haram insurgents are relocating to Nasarawa State. What steps are your government taking to checkmate them?
I have tried as much as possible to expatiate and to explain what we meant so that people don’t get panicky that Boko Haram had moved from Borno to Nasarawa State because that is not what happened.
What happened was that around 2016, a group, Darusalam, was sent packing from Niger State. They didn’t find any other place to go and settle but Nasarawa State. So, they came to Hutu in Toto Local Government, a village where Basa used to be. Since Basa are no longer there, they settled there. That is what happened.
Then, they now started to sympathize with Boko Haram and entered into some kind of agreement and started paying allegiance to Boko Haram.
How did we hear this news? We heard it directly from the captured women and children when they were dislodged. They were the people that told us the story, when it started, and their allegiance to Boko Haram among others.
Like I said, Mr. President came in strongly and supported the state and we had a joint operation of the Police, the Military, the Airforce and the Navy and they were able to dislodge the people. That is why we captured their families that we brought in.
Unfortunately, some Darusalam members who started paying allegiance to Boko Haram started gathering in some other locations. Again, the police amd the military that we spoke with, came in and dislodged them.
You are one of the few governors that embraced the National Livestock Transformation programme. Why did you embrace the programme that early, and what is the idea behind it?
Let me correct that impression. What people didn’t understand is that the livestock was there before our administration came in May, 2019.
Before we came in, 24 states had indicated interest and Nasarawa was one of those states. What I did was to align with the administration of Tanko Almakura. Everything Tanko Almakura started, I didn’t abandon. I tried to build on them. The NLTP was one of them. Nasarawa State was one of the states that was there.
When I came and saw the reality of our treasury, and security, I felt very strongly that this will help Nasarawa State greatly. There are other states that didn’t have to wait for NLTP such as Kaduna, Zamfara for instance because they have the resources. They have gone beyond waiting for NLTP. In reality, what they are doing is the same with what NLTP is doing.
So, we are going to develop a site. At the site we are going to have abattoir on the side, we will have schools for the people, we will have police stations for the security of the people. We have different kind of grasses and we will have water in the site.
All these cost money and that is what NLTP is about to do anyway.
Since we didn’t have the money and we still don’t instead of waiting until we have the money I became more interested and more aggressive for the NLTP so that the NLTP will come. When those who were inspecting the site came, we impressed them more than any other state because we are prepared for it. That is why they selected Nasarawa as one of the the pilot states.