By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
Muhammad Abubakar Sadiq is the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). In this interview, the businessman turned politician spoke with Newsdiaryonline on leadership, economy, education and the elections postponement.
On why the SDP, especially when the APC and PDP are overwhelming
I have studied the political environment in Sokoto and have mingled with the people of the state. They believe that the two predominant parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have failed. In the history of the state, the people have never had a third party option. It has either been the APC or PDP. The people have had no third choice and this is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Sokoto to shift to the third option. I am glad to inform you that their mindset has now changed to the SDP. I believe the 2019 general elections will be a shock to many Nigerians. In the former cases where the score has been either left or right, this time, it will shift to the middle. Nigerians will not vote for political parties but individual personalities.
Why he thinks the SDP will beat the APC and PDP
People are angry with their leaders because of non performance. In Sokoto, people are suffering; people are dying because there are no drugs in hospitals. Look at what our youths have been reduced to. Competent leadership is not found in mega political parties. Insecurity, unemployment, economic meltdown, social ills, poor education, poor roads, lack of unity, and more have been found to increase during the leadership of either the PDP or APC. So, a new third option is the needed and the SDP is here to provide that leadership that will tackle these ills.
There has never been any time that any of the PDP or APC candidates came to power with a blueprint. Verbal empty promises are what they have continued to offer to the people. The SDP in Sokoto state is different. We have a blueprint which details what we shall do for the state at both local government and ward levels. The PDP and APC have been assuming power unprepared. It is only when they come to power that start thinking of what to do for the people. For those who have godfathers, they take dictation from them as to what to do for the people and what the people actually want.
At a recent governorship debate organized by BBC, I told governor Tambuwal that, given his exposure, he has performed dismally poor. We are disappointed in him. There is virtually nothing he has done for the people of the state. Sokoto has remained underdeveloped for years and under the leadership of the two parties. They certainly need an option and the SDP has offered to bring the desired development.
How will you fund development outside federal allocation
As a leader, you don’t hinge blames on the federal government. The FG becomes faulty only when it denies your allocation from the Federation Account. If other states enjoy federal projects and yours do not, then ask yourself. What do others do to get it that you don’t? Sometimes, our leaders feel too big to pursue things that will help in developing their states. Why are our neighbouring Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara states better in roads network than Sokoto? It shouldn’t be so anyway.
There are ecological and educational problems in Sokoto. But the state has not been able to access ecological and educational funds from Ecological Office and Universal Basic Education Board. The funds are there only waiting for states with such problems to apply. But Sokoto state that have these problems have failed to access them.
On internally generated revenue
On Internally Generated Revenue, I will strengthen the Sokoto state Revenue Service. I realize that the state does not charge ground rent. I will ensure the generation of N500 million revenue as against the average N80 million now being generated by the present government.
On elections postponement
I won’t fault INEC for the postponement. It is neither disturbing nor shocking. It is normal. They gave their reasons as logistics problems and that is normal. Nigerians should have confidence on INEC. It did not postpone the elections to favour a particular party or disenfranchise Nigerians from carrying out their legitimate constitutional role.