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Wednesday, August 04 2004

Vol 17 No.30

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  • Why I am joining PDP

    Why I am joining PDP— Ex-Jigawa governor


    Alhaji Ali Saad Birnin Kudu is the first civilian governor of Jigawa State. A lawyer and prudent manager of men and resources, he has distinguished himself in the field of politics in Jigawa State and Nigeria in general. He spoke to Correspondent, Bashir Said in Dutse on a number of topical issues including his recent decision to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from National Democratic Party (NDP). Excerpts:


    Sir, can you give us a brief account of your political profile?

    I joined politics as far back as 1979 when I was a student in the University, during the second Republic politics of NPN, GNPP, NPP, UPN and PRP.

    I was a member of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) at that time. We were in the youths wing of the party in my local chapter of Birnin Kudu. I was actually involved in all activities of the party at that time till when there was a split in the party between the faction led by Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, the then governor of Kano State and the other faction, led by the leader, Mallam Aminu Kano. As fate would have it, I was part of the Santsi faction led by Governor Rimi and later when the Santsi faction moved into NPP, I found myself contesting the federal house of representatives seat to represent Birnin Kudu Local Government. I lost the election. During the third republic, I joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the old Kano State before Jigawa was created. When Jigawa was created, I was made the gubernatorial candidate of the party and by the grace of God, I was elected the first civilian Governor of the state.

    The elections I contested include the election into the Constituent Assembly which I lost, the election into the Federal House of Representatives and the governorship. So you can see that I contested three elections, lost two and won one.

    Early in this dispensation, I was neither a member of PDP nor the ANPP but I latter joined the NDP and established its branch in Jigawa State, and I entered the race for the position of governor under that party and towards the eve of the general election in 2003 we had a meeting of all those who have a stake in the political development of Jigawa State, and we came up with the idea that it was better we put up a common candidate against the ruling ANPP in the state so that we can form a formidable group to be able to win the election. And because of the love I have for the people of Jigawa State and the development of the state, I made the sacrifice of stepping down and supporting the coalition that came up with the candidate of the PDP, who eventually contested against the present governor of the state, and the rest is now history. At the moment, arrangements are on for my declaration for the PDP, at a grand reception that will hold soon.

    What informed your decision to join PDP?

    A number of factors. Basically, we realised that at the moment only two parties are really national in outlook, ANPP and PDP. And in, fairness, PDP is a stronger party than ANPP in Nigeria comparing the number of elective positions it has won right from the councillorship to chairmanship, to state assembly, governorship, national assembly and presidency. And as a party in government, it has impacted on the lives of the people across the nation and people who are experienced, old hands who also have the nation’s interest at heart and who have been working tirelessly for the progress of this nation are in PDP. Besides, I believe I will feel more comfortable in the PDP with my friends with whom I share similar views, than to be somewhere that I think I will not be able to actualise my dreams and aspirations.

    Sir, despite the bad performance of PDP in the last general elections in Jigawa where the party won only a seat at the state assembly, you still decided to join them. Don’t you think you are making a wrong choice?

    You don’t just join a political party because you wan t to win an election, but you join a political party based on what that party stands for. I have gone through the manifestoes of PDP and other parties, and I am satisfied that PDP has the best manifestos from among the other parties and when religiously implemented, we would have a change and tremendous progress for this nation. And there are a lot of other things that appeal to me as a person and my followers in PDP.

    I see PDP as a party of the future, where young people like me will have a role to play. So we decided, based on these reasons to join the party and I believe our joining the PDP will certainly bring good fortunes to the party at the state level because we have tremendous followership that will bring changes in the political equation of the state.

    There seems to be factions in the state leadership of PDP at the moment, what are your comments with regard to this issue?

    I am not aware of any faction in PDP at the state level and even if there is one, I am joining PDP as a party and I am not aligning myself to any particular faction even if there is one. I hope my coming into the party would bring progress that will touch the lives of the people of Jigawa State.

    Your decision to join PDP was said to have been facilitated by somebody. Can you give us an insight into that?

    Like you know, as a Nigerian, I am free to join any political party, because the constitution guarantees me the right of association. We had series of meetings between me and my supporters and when we decided we were going to join the PDP as a party, we went to the party through the known party machinery. From information I received, the state PDP has done all that is supposed to be done regarding our joining the party, that is, communication between the state and the national secretariat of the party, and subsequently, I believe there will be an organised rally after a press briefing in which I understand national leaders and other notable people will come to Dutse on the scheduled date to witness this historic occasion.

    It has been said that you are joining the PDP purposely to assist General Ibrahim Babangida, former president of this country, to realize his dream of ruling this country again on the platform of PDP. How true is this?

    If you could recall, I was a governor when IBB was the president of this country and we worked together. As a governor of a state, I related with him as a president of this country. we had a very good working relationship. Twelve years after I left office, we still relate. He is my leader, I respect him for the position God has bestowed on him as a former president and we meet quite often. There are speculations that he would contest election come 2007 under PDP. There is another speculation that vice president Atiku Abubakar will also contest. As we get into PDP, we will see what happens and take decisions based on reasons that appeal to our sense of judgement.

    What are your opinions with regard to zoning?

    Zoning is commendable and should continue to the next dispensation for it gives everybody in the party a sense of belonging and it is good in a democracy to zone offices. It is not faulty because during the second republic, the zoning system was adopted by various parties for the purpose of carrying everybody along.

    With how many of your followers are you joining the PDP?

    I cannot estimate the number now, but the number is great. You will be briefed during the ceremonies, Insha Allah.

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