Dikko Umaru Radda is the governorship candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Katsina State, in this interview with journàlists, he explains how the 2022 Electoral Act will prevent APC and PDP from manipulating the 2023 general election results. Ikechukwu Okaforadi was there for People Daily. Except:
APC could not conduct a special convention to elect its presidential candidate. Don’t you think INEC has failed by compromising, despite its earlier position?
I don’t think so. I do not share that sentiment. I think the 2023 general election will be the most credible poll. Why? Because there is a new Electoral Law. And the new electoral law allows the transmission of results from the polling units to the Central Collection Units. That makes it impossible for people who block roads to snatch result sheets and change figures. Even if you block the roads and collect everything and change the results, it will not change anything because the result is already on the website. And everybody in the world has access to the result. So, I think it will be one of the most credible elections. Even from the party primaries, there are so many things that happen or that are happening, including that you cannot contest an election under two political parties at the same election. That has stopped people from coming to a party if they lose a ticket in another party. So, that is bringing a lot of sensitivity, and credibility to our political process. And I know if we continue in this direction, we will be able to get to a certain stage that our democracy will be near perfect. Can’t you see the primary elections we have been conducting in the parties? The governors and everybody have been longing for an extension? But, the INEC chairman refused to extend it, until he found out that only one week does not affect its timetable. All the political parties, including the main opposition party, have been clamoring for an extension of time. So, it is not APC that has been clamoring for it but PDP also clamored for it more than whatever.
Since you clinched the APC governorship ticket in your State, have you reached out to your opponents?
A total of nine of us contested for the ticket under the party. It was keenly contested and it was one of the most transparent elections that have ever been conducted in the state. All of us were at the venue and it went on smoothly. Even at the point it was ongoing, you can hardly say who was going to win the election. But, it was at the end of it that we were able to know maybe with a little margin. But it was keenly contested. All the opponents have played a key role and they have shown their strength and capacity. And I am very glad to say that we thank Almighty Allah that it went on smoothly and I became victorious. This does not mean I will fold my arms and start feeling superior or as a hero to others. I am not. It is only God that made it possible for me. And since the following day, I have started reaching out to all my co contestants. Even at the point when the election was being conducted, and I was declared the winner, I have started reaching out to them. Almost all of us came from the same political family. We have been in politics together for over 20 years. So, we are friends. Some of us even have personal relationships, and family relationships. That has been a very good outing, all the aspirants have declared their support form and they agree that they are party men and they will work for the party and the state.
Politicians in Katsina believe that before you can win general elections, you must have the support of Alhaji Umar Ganji. Do you have his support?
I will not say that I do not have his support. Because even after the primary elections, I have reached out to him and we have been together for so many years, right from Yar’dua’s time. I see him as a father and as a senior brother. All of us playing politics in Kastina see him as a commander who commands the war for the party. And we still give him that respect. We have reached out to him. And he has promised to work for the party.
What are those reforms you want to embark on as Governor if you win the State Governorship election?
First, before you start aspiring for anything, you have something for the state. And I think since when people started agitating for me, for this office, I have started building areas of focus because I have been a player in katsina and I know what is going on. I was Chief Of Staff to the Governor and I know how the state is being run. I believe the major issue the state has right now is the issue of insecurity. And this is the first thing I will want to address when I become the governor of Katsina state. I will put more emphasis on security. I will spend a lot more resources to make sure people are secured. In that area, what I intend to do is to involve the use of the locals to gather intelligence reports in the communities. When you gather intelligence reports in the communities, then you now engage the locals who will now work with the conventional security; police, army as well as other security apparatus. We will try to give them all the necessary support in terms of equipment, vehicles, and moral support. And, again for you to succeed or any government, you will need a public service reform. You will need to reform the machinery of government that you are going to use for the reforms, because once you do not have the machinery, once there is no bridge for you to cross, you cannot achieve anything. I will want to encourage public service reform by giving them the necessary training. Placing civil servants where they need to be placed without favoritism or favor. Whoever deserves to get whatever he or she needs to get, let him get it.
Nigerians believe the emergence of Atiku Abubakar is a threat to the APC. What do you think the ruling party should do to defeat the PDP?
I don’t think it is a major threat because Atiku Abubakar has been running. He has run elections for many years and I think this is the 6th time, most especially for the presidency. I think attention has always been there. APC is in government now and we have 22 states or more that are in the control of the APC. And I want you to wait till next week for the person that will emerge as the presidential candidate of our party. I believe the party will bring somebody who will match Atiku from the beginning to the end. Nigerians are becoming wiser now. What they are looking for is competence. People who can deliver. Who can give Nigerians the kind of leadership they need. I don’t need a Hausa man to be president. What I need in the North is to have the security of life and properties. If it is an Igboman or Yorubaman that will bring peace and security to my people, why not him? Why must it be a Hausa man? Or a Muslim? Why must he be a Christian? We must go above board in Nigeria and try to think rationally and be able to bring leaders who have the capacity to transform the Nigerian society. And increase the economic activity in the country and provide employment for our teaming youths, and then get the educational sector to perform better.