Yushau Ahmed was the governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the last 2012 election Sokoto State. He spoke to Mohammed Aminu on issues in the country and his party. Excerpts:
You have been out of the country since the last governorship election in the state. What new thing are you bringing back?
I have not been around since last year because of ill-health. I had an accident in the gymnasium where I broke my leg though I thank God that I am alright now. I am now back in Sokoto and from what I have seen and heard from people since I came in, it is clear that people of Sokoto are yearning for change.
People want to better their lives and are yearning for economic and social change. I think the way forward is all parties coming together now to change the course of the nation and that is what I think Sokoto state in particular needs now. Sokoto requires a new dynamic and visionary leadership and that is why I am here; to galvanise the people towards that change ahead of the next election in 2015.
Nigerians just celebrated Democracy Day, do you think the country has made progress in the last 14 years?
I think we have failed in all areas. We have failed in our interpersonal relationships and community settings. We have failed in the education sector, healthcare delivery and security, which are basic ingredients for any nation to develop. One important and basic right of individuals is for government to protect their lives and property. We have failed in that respect with bloodshed everywhere in the name of different kinds of beliefs and ideology.
So, all these things happening now nobody needs to tell you that we have failed woefully in that regard. In terms of infrastructure, some people will say that we are better off few years ago than we are now. I think we have retrogressed instead of moving forward. This country needs very significant and strategic structural change and unless we bring such changes we are not going anywhere.
Nigeria is currently grappling with insecurity particularly in the North; do you see this as splitting Nigeria based on some alleged predictions?
The prediction allegedly made by the United States is disturbing and everybody is worried about the insurgency in the north and what is happening security-wise in this country. I am yet to believe that Nigeria will break up for whatever reason because the security challenges we are facing are not insurmountable. I believe that we have the capacity to overcome our problems as a nation and with seriousness we can overcome the security challenges.
I am positive that by 2015, we will hold our election peacefully and I believe that there will be a smooth handover of power to the next government which I hope will be an APC government. So, notwithstanding what is happening, I strongly believe that Nigeria will remain one.
Are you going to move to APC following the consummation of the merger of opposition parties?
I contested for governorship under the ANPP in 2012 election in Sokoto. The 2015 election is still two years from now and the political environment is the most dynamic and can change anytime.
So for now, I think the focus is just to galvanise the masses for them to understand and realize their rights and then to fight for those rights. At this point in time, there is no gain saying that every citizen of this country and this state has realised that there is need for us to have a change of leadership and direction. There is need for democracy to work for the masses and not the other way round. So, as we go on now and doing political discussions with like-minds, we believe we should be able to have a platform on which we can run come 2015 by God's grace. Naturally, we are APC members because it is an amalgamation of three major political parties in the country namely CPC, ANPP and the ACN and these parties dissolved themselves to form one entity. So, any member of these parties and part of APGA is automatically a member of APC and I think the coming into being of APC if we get registration, will be a good omen for the country.
Is it true you’re not in good terms with your mentor and former governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa?
I am just hearing this from you for the first time. I don’t have any rift with Bafarawa whatsover because I have been out of the country since last year. My relationship with the former governor is cordial and we are all in APC working together towards bringing change in the state. So, as far as I am concerned, there is no problem whatsoever and it is not true that I am at loggerheads with him.