By Israel BULUS
Hon. Ibrahim Akut is an aspirant in the next coming local government elections in Kaduna State and a former Caretaker Committee Chairman of Kaura LG, in this interview with ISRAEL BULUS, he said Southern Kaduna is not longer a stronghold of the PDP and also express confidence that the ruling party APC, will sweeps all the 8 LG and Councilorship seats in the Zone.
The Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission, announced 15th May as the date for the conduct of Local Government elections across the 23 Local Government Areas, how did you receive the news?
Expectedly, I am a very informed personality, I follow event as they unfold. I had gone through the 2021 budget and discovered that the Local Government elections was included, so I had always known that his Excellency, Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i was going to give the go-ahead any time, and because I was interested in running for the seat of Chairman, I had to be ready at all times, so it really didn’t come to me as a shock, sincerely.
The APC has extended the date for its membership registration and revalidation exercise, how can you describe the process and the conduct?
It has been very interesting and encouraging, because I didn’t expect what I witnessed during the process. I am a founding member of the All People’s Party, APP, and at no time did I contemplate leaving it.
As a youth, only the APC has a place for us. The PDP is a party for the very old and rich, but the APC is for the new generation with the zeal of transforming Nigeria or you could say that it is a rescue party.
However, even before we came on board, a lot of people detested the party for various reasons and had always seen us as a bunch of nonentities and wicked people who are out to make people suffer. What they appreciated was PDP big wigs stealing money in chunks and sprinkling drops of water to the masses as welfare, but our party was more interested in a wholesome kind of development for the benefit of all, so there was no money for jamborees.
So, for such reasons and many fictitious others, they were always criticizing us and our party, to the extent that very ambitious, desperate and not too intelligent politicians with long throat left the APC to different parties in a desperate move to cling to power especially in my Local Government, Kaura, thinking they could get a better offer but didn’t, and had to shamelessly return to the APC again to contest.
Now, people know desperate people when they see them, but with time, Governor El’Rufa’i started his transformation which is not hearsay, but reality from Zones 1 to 3. It is so glaring that APC means well for our country, and our leader is a politician with a difference who is more interested in the next generation than the next election.
People don’t have a choice but to join the progressive movement, and I am glad that people have realized that, especially my people from Zone 3. As you can see, we are already massively benefiting from the APC government from the very transformed health sector of global standard to road infrastructure, and very young versatile youth in very strategic positions in government. It has never been witnessed in the history of the State after the demise of the late Northern Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, sincerely the registration and revalidation process is very impressive. I didn’t know I was going to see a day like this, at least the next generation has a hope.
How can you asses the prospects of APC in Southern Kaduna at the next Local Government elections bearing in mind that the Southern Kaduna region is a stronghold of the PDP?
Southern Kaduna is no longer a home of the PDP, it is home to visible APC infrastructural developments. every body likes “better thing.” People of Southern Kaduna are very enlightened, they now know who has been deceiving them, therefore, we will definitely win the whole Zone, God willing, and we will continue the good works of our leader Malam Nasiru El-Rufa’i.
You have expressed interest to run for Kaura Local Government Chairmanship position, what informed your decision?
As someone who was once appointed to oversee the affairs of the Local go Government in the past by the Governor, even though for a short time. I was removed not because of incompetence, but because some very self-centered and myopic so-called leaders from the Local go Government and same party, who see Kaura as their personal enterprise.
I had a mind of my own and couldn’t be manipulated into destroying my Local Government as they intended, so I left the Council very unhappy, because I had presented a very fantastic budget to the state assembly which if approved was going to transform Kaura.
However, I was not allowed to fulfill that dream, as selfishness ensued, and I was painted black before his Excellency and replaced, and because I was appointed, there was nothing I could do.
My supporters have been on my neck to contest and fulfill that which we started, because that budget was designed by all stakeholders of the Local g Government, and not the usual copy and paste kind. So, they were very impressed with the kind of leadership I had introduced. I have finally succumbed to run for the seat to really get to join hands with my people to do the right thing, “Develop our Kaura”
You were allege to have been convicted sometime 2016, what happened? Don’t you think that will affect your chances at the polls?
Yes I was convicted, but I am now born again, and I’ve been forgiven by God and man because it was a careless mistake I hate to talk about. The court charge said it was an attempt to defraud, but I didn’t defraud anybody.
What happened was that I was given 1 million naira to facilitate a business, but I couldn’t deliver as and when due. I returned the money to the owners and we parted in peace only for them to resurface when I got appointed as Chairman to seek for a contract from me, and because there was none to give, they resorted to blackmail and filed petitions against me.
I was arrested then, and my political opponents took advantage of it and put so much pressure on it till it got really messy. I had informed my principal then, the former Deputy Governor, Architect Bala Bantex, everything that transpired and he assured me he had taken of the situation.
The conspiracy against me intensified till I was jailed and I never saw Bantex again, despite all pleas from my parents and pastors.
At that point I knew I had been sacrificed. I was in jail and served for four out of a seven-year jail term, and I was granted amnesty by Mallam Nasiru El-Rufa’i, after finding out how naive and careless I was, before and during the course of the matter. I am eternally grateful to Governor El-Rufa’i, and I regret the disappointment I caused my family, friends and supporters. To err is human, but to forgive is divine.
What makes you think you stand a better chance of winning?
If you know the biblical parable of the prodigal son, you will understand why I stand a chance to win. Secondly, I am a grassroots politician who dines with his people and is always on the side of justice.
I believe the APC will win in Kaura, and I know my party members will trust me with the ticket, because I have been the only true faithful APC member amongst the contestants who has supported the party without reservation.
All other contestants for the seat have left the APC, discredited the party several times, left and returned again, trying to tarnish the image of the party.
Some of us have been in the APP, even when there was no sign of light at the end of the tunnel, but now we have seen the light so, we are careful not to hand over tickets to political desperadoes.
There are speculations that your relationship with the former boss, Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, has gone sour. What happened?
Yes, it is not entirely wrong. I served him for a while when I ventured into politics, and during the period, a lot of older politicians warned me to be careful but I ignored them, because I thought they were envious. I eventually realized that it really was true, most times he thinks he is an island of knowledge so you had nothing to contribute at all times as far as he was concerned.
Then I discovered that I will never really gain freedom, like artisans will grant to their apprentices, politically speaking. He uses you and if you are expired, he dumps you. I didn’t fall in that category of people that could be manipulated.
I realized that I was bigger than he gauged me, and so with the conviction saga where he folded his arms and allowed me walk into the lions den, I knew I had to rethink.
Again, when people become sectional leaders resist them, because they cease to become productive. Kaura belongs to all its indigenes and no one should be allowed to have the key to himself; the door should be open to all for everyone to have access to opportunity. I stand on side of justice and so shall I remain.
A lot of people have expressed fears I might lose election because of my differences with him, but no man gives power but God. This generation is for the youth, and we are ready to serve.
How will you tackle insecurity in Kaura Local Government, if elected?
It is a strategy I wouldn’t want to put on the table for now, but it is on record that throughout the time I served as Chairman of Kaura, there was no single incident of insecurity. The communities were really involved in information gathering and the three paramount traditional leaders too.
I ensured that justice was for all, irrespective of tribe or religion. Even if you were a traveller passing through Kaura, you could be assured that you were safe. So, once there is justice, everyone could go to sleep with two eyes closed. I will be a leader for everyone and for nobody.
Who is the political leader in Kaura Local Government Area?
Only God knows, but we are really trying to groom one that is sincere and has capacity to shoulder us to greatness.
Will the APC win election in 2023?
Most definitely it will. The APC is the party of the next generation, the people are beginning to trust the transparent leadership of Governor Nasiru El-Rufa’i, as spelled out in my earlier response on his achievements.
What is your message for the youth of Kaura Local Government?
Kaura youth have always been role models to youth around the State and beyond. They have never been disappointed me, and I believe that someday they will make Kaduna proud. They should continue to make efforts to make positive headline news and never allow anyone tag them lower class citizens of this nation.
We can achieve anything we want to, with persistence and consistency. They should continue to support the party of the youth and next generation and support the movement for a great Kaduna State.
How will you rate the present performance of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State?
Governor El-Rufa’i’s performance has been very satisfying and really encouraging. You sincerely know that from the colonialist times, Kaduna or any Northern State has not experienced this kind of total overhauling he has embarked upon. From infrastructural developments to standardization of every sector of the State, in all the Zones of the State, transformation is taking place simultaneously and the quality of the work is of global standard. What more do you want from a leader?
Even when we trusted him from the very beginning to lead us as a candidate to victory, and he promised that he was going to transform Kaduna State, we all thought it was the normal politicking where promises are made without fulfillment.
However, the Governor promised and fulfilled, and sincerely the people are impressed, and we, his supporters, are not disappointed. We sold a new product in 2015, and it has taken over the market, to God be the glory.
How much do you know about your party, compared to other contestants for the seat from your party, the APC?
You see, when you are consistent in anything that you believe in, you would try to make findings about that particular thing in order to improve.
We started the movement for change through the APC, but very few people accepted the party from Southern Kaduna.
At that point, we were looked upon as sellouts but because we wanted a better Nigeria for ourselves and children, we didn’t bother.
The struggle was so bleak with no sight of hope, but we still believed that there was light at the end of the tunnel, and finally God blessed the struggle. Then this set of people came in who were only interested in success and started putting up posters everywhere wanting power desperately.
From the days of the APP, when wasn’t favourable them at the time to pick tickets of the party, they insulted it, demonized it and moved to other parties where they spent chunks of money, but it still didn’t work for them, because the masses didn’t know them.
Again, they ran back to the APC to try to hijack it using money, but the true believers of the ideology of the original APC can’t be bought with money, and thE desperate politicians cannot be trusted with power.
Some of them succeeded in penetrating through the back door and got juicy appointments, but any one who reaps where he did not sow is a glutton, a thief and should not be trusted. So, we know them all and we are monitoring them because we have information that they are moles sent into our party to destroy it.
Based on their track records, we will not allow it and we shall expose them soonest.