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Engr. Musa Nashuni was the 2015 PDP gubernatorial aspirant in Katsina State who slugged it out with Aminu Bello Masari of the APC and others. Before then, Nashuni had served under former Governor Ibrahim Shema as Special Adviser on Resource Development, Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport and thereafter Commissioner for Resource Development. In this interview, he says he is set to vie for the Katsina governorship once again under the PDP, believing that the people would vote out the APC-led government in the state.
Daily Trust: You contested for the Katsina State governorship in 2015 and failed. Why are you in the same race this year on the platform of the same PDP?
Engr. Musa Nashuni: I’m in the race because I still believe I can contribute my quota to the development of my state because in 2015, we offered continuity and we also offered progress for the state. Progress in the sense of infrastructure we put in place, the human development we’ve done, we need to utilize them and the only way we can utilize them is by industrializing the state. And that industrialization will come in two forms: the power supply system which we started which is the solar system. It was based in Kankia and in Jibia and was designed to ensure availability and constant power supply within the state. And there was also a programme designed to set up industrial parks in those places so that we can attract industries to take advantage of this power supply.At the same time, we also had a plan to enhance agriculture, agriculture cannot continue the way it is and fortunately, it employs over 90% of our population. So we need to enhance it in terms of increasing productivity that will fight poverty. We then have to take advantage of this power supply we said we are going to do to set up industries that will process our enhanced agricultural production. And also, we had a plan that with availability of power, we would not be sending live animals to the South, we rather process those animals. One, this will provide employment to our people, and secondly, enhance the value of what is going out of the state and that will also enhance revenue to the government. These are all plans we had which up till today we have not seen those things maturing, we have not seen a direction in that way because our people cannot be engaged by government. They are people that be engaged by the private sector and to do that we must bring in the necessary environment where industries can thrive and contribute to the internal revenue and employment for our people.
DT: At what point did the last PDP government leave the power infrastructure you’re talking about and why do you think the concept was stagnated almost four years after?
Engr. Nashuni: I think one of the reasons is when you are not part of the conception of a programme, it is very difficult for you to understand and appreciate it. Secondly, the transition was such that you know, in Nigeria we tend to disrupt rather than adopt continuity. Even if I am in the opposition, I am in the position to add value to the government, they should be able to tap from my experience. I don’t have any objection because it is for the development of my people. So lack of that interaction and continuity may have disrupted the zeal by which we were pursuing that programme because at the point we left, we had already put in request for the licenses and all we were waiting for was to get those licenses approved and power purchase agreement finalized. Today, as I am aware, because I am interested, I know the power purchase agreement has not been signed.
DT: What was the template you wanted to use to generate power?
Engr. Nashuni: The major one we were pursuing was solar because it has certain advantages, you can locate it where you need it. So it is not only the power plant that we were planning to set up. For instance, we had plans of setting up industries where we would be processing animals like in Mai’adua, Mashi, Charanchi and other places, we would deploy solar power plants specifically for those locations, that is the beauty of solar. Even the remotest village can deploy solar, you don’t need power lines to do that, you localise your supply, you have control over it. This was the concept. The main one will supply industrial parks where they are located and the remainder will be uploaded unto the national power grid to supply to other parts of the state. But specific areas where we have plans for industries or irrigation, we would deploy specific solar power plants at those locations so that we would tap from those resources we believe we have advantage and therefore generate a lot of employment and income for individuals and government.
DT: People are asking why Katsina did not take advantage of an initiative by the late President UmaruYar’adua government which established a wind farm in the state to generate power, what is the situation now?
Engr. Nashuni: That plant was almost ready for commissioning but unfortunately the expatriate that was in charge was kidnapped, that really stalled everything. And the state government at that time tried as much as possible to see how it can intervene, take over and complete it but we were not successful in getting it. But I believe this government if they are committed they should be able to do it.
DT: Assuming they did not, do you intend to pursue it when you win?
Engr. Nashuni: Within my first three months of assuming office, because I know that project and I was part of it also from the side of the Katsina government. I know that the entire infrastructure is in place, the power line from that place to the main station in Katsina is in place,almost everything is ready.
DT: Assuming it was working, what would have been the outlook?
Engr. Nashuni: It would have given us at least 10 megawatts of electricity in Katsina and the requirement of the whole state at that time was 60 megawatts.
DT: Now, what were the factors that actually worked against you as the PDP candidate in 2015 which you feel would work in your favour this time around?
Engr. Nashuni: I think one, we must agree and we as Muslims believe that it is God that gives power, so 2015 was not my time. But I know the people of Katsina will remember what I told them.
DT: What did you tell them?
Engr. Nashuni: I told them that all the good things we were doing, including free education, payment of salaries on time, subsidized fertilizer, free health care system and the entire infrastructure we were putting in place will continue.
DT: What did you put in place in terms of infrastructure?
Engr. Nashuni: We set up fertilizer blending plants in four locations in the state for the purpose of producing fertilizer at lower rate so that it becomes available throughout the year. That programme I don’t think is continuing. We also brought in paint and chalk making industries so that we can engage our youths, that programme I don’t think is going on. The free education through which we were paying exams fees for our children was stopped, later on it was modified that you must pass certain exams before you could benefit. The fertilizer we used to sell at N1, 700 is now N5, 000. These are things I told the Katsina people that we would continue to give them, what the PDP government brought, and in addition, we would bring in industries that would enhance employment opportunities, trading opportunities within Katsina State. So, I believe people would now remember what Nashuni told them in 2015, has it come to pass? I believe they would judge and I believe I have a good chance this time around.
DT: Do you think Katsina people would accept PDP, the platform upon which you want to actualize your dream?
Engr. Nashuni: I believe so; it is not only the party that they should look at. I believe people have learnt their lesson, they would now look for quality people wherever they are because what you need is leadership, not party. So what kind of leader do you look for? Is it the leader that would continue to drag you down, or the leader that will bring hope and prosperity to you?
DT: Within the PDP what do you think will give you an edge considering that there might be other contenders for the governorship?
Engr. Nashuni: I believe my experience of running in 2015 and the general acceptance I had will give me an edge. And also the programme I participated, I more or less led, especially the power project which is key, will also give me an advantage, including my experiences both in Katsina and in other places will give me a lot of opportunities to bring in a lot of things to Katsina which my competitors will not be able to do.
DT: Are you not afraid that President MuhammaduBuhari is from Katsina, and he will do whatever it takes to ensure that the governor comes from his party, the APC?
Engr. Nashuni: Yes, that is competition. If you are afraid of competition then you don’t need to live. With God there is nothing that is insurmountable.
DT: You think the people will vote for you against Buhari’s APC?
Engr. Nashuni: I believe so, power belongs to God, not individuals.
DT: Talking about direct and indirect primaries though you are in PDP, which one do you think is better?
Engr. Nashuni: For me, I don’t mind whichever system the party decides to set up because if you are not sure of yourself, you should not even think of contesting. You see, whatever you are doing, you must be willing to abide by the rules and regulations that have been set up by your political party.
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