Muhammad J.Zakari is the Commissioner for for Information,Culture and Tourism in Nasarawa State.He has the mandate of the Governor to coordinate media related matters ahead of President Muhammadu’s Buhari’s second term reelection campaign rally in Lafia slated for Wednesday February 6,2019.In a chat with members of the State House Press Corps in Lafia, he said the state which he described as the incubator of APC has made 100 per cent preparations to receive the President. He also slammed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party,PDP which says APC has failed. Danlami nmodu,mni was there for Newsdiaryonline. Excerpts:
Ahead of the President’s rally what is the level of preparation?
For us in Nasarawa State, it is a homecoming for the president. For us we call Nasarawa state as the laboratory of the ruling APC.If you like the laboratory of the President himself.Because when the President entered into the alliance that produced the APC in 2014,we went into that alliance with one state, that the party was controlling at the state level,which is Nasarawa state.At that time,it was CPC,Congress for Progressive Change.
So we have been in the vanguard of producing the president, we have been in the vanguard of partnering with the president.His Excellency the Governor of Nasarawa state has been a loyal party man ..Nasarawa state therefore is considered as the incubator..as far as the emergence of APC is concerned.So the president is therefore coming back home because he has been here severally..
Now that he is campaigning for his reelection, it is common knowledge by virtually everybody in this country..the president has performed, as far as we are concerned,well above average.As a matter of fact,I will score him an A..It is only natural therefore that we will request that he should recontest and secure a second mandate.The idea is for him to consolidate on the achievements so far recorded…
So the people of Nasarawa State and the government are eager to receive Mr President and his campaign Team tomorrow(Wednesday) and we have pulled all the stops to ensure that preparations are in top gear to receive the president.. and ensure a successful campaign. And our people are going to come out en masse to support our President. And so from the point of view of preparations for this visit, we are virtually 100 percent ready, and we are only looking forward to a very successful outing
What has Nasarawa State got to showcase as its achievement to convince people to vote APC?
The slogan of the current government under the leadership of Tanko Al-Makura is seeing is believing.We are not people that talk about make beliefs.We don’t talk about abstracts.We talk about physical, provable things.So we insist that people must measure the performance of this government by seeing for themselves projects that have been achieved over the last seven and a half years. When His excellency took over ..Nasarawa state was a glorified local government as far as the State Capital was concerned. But with the emergence of his Excellency, the Executive Governor in 2011 up to this moment that Iam speaking to you, there is massive, unprecedented provision of infrastructure across the board. Whether you are talking about schools, you are talking about roads, you are talking about hospitals and other social amenities and facilities that the people require to ease their burden,to facilitate their everyday struggle for livelihood,this government has endeavoured within the limit of its resources to provide.In Nasarawa State,one example I give you is that before 2011, there was not a single kilometer of asphalt quality road.As I speak to you, across the length and breadth of the state,we have constructed over seven thousand kilometres of roads, most of them high grade.Now this is a jinx that we have broken.So the excellency is committed and he has proven that these things are doable and therefore he has provided a template for his successors.My concern is for all of those people who are jostling to succeed him,because the template of performance has been set by this governor and they cannot afford not to perform because the people understand that it is no mystery.His excellency has provided a lot of schools,infrastructure.. and he has done a lot in that area.I can assure you that a special school,one of its type in this country; about three of them have been established in the three senatorial districts of the state.And it is State of the Art …So His excellency has done a lot across the board. And we have every reason to be proud of what he has done and we have every reason to always demonstrate and showcase this as we go along.And the synergy that has been going on between the President and the governor is something that is enviable …so for us like I said the coming of the President is one of those things that we take seriously and we have pulled all the stops to ensure that we have a successful outing.
You said the people are eager to receive Buhari.And you also mentioned the fact that the Governor has performed.Why are the people eager to receive the president? And how do you juxtapose your argument of performance with the contention by the opposition,especially PDP that APC has failed and should not be voted for..?
Let me start with the last question. You don’t expect your detractor to say anything good about you,so we don’t expect the PDP to praise the APC..As a matter of fact, your detractor will always look at your faults not your strengths and what you have done to impact people’s lives and so on.And this is politics,if the PDP would speak good of APC, nobody is going to look at PDP.So it is understandable that they would look for excuses and garnish it with lies and say whatever they want.That is just about the PDP. I think the APC has done and bested the effort of the PDP in the last 16 years that they (were) in power and these are provable also.One of the issues they like to talk about is security and we have mentioned it repeatedly, that the security situation in this country has improved.And most of the incidences happening in Nigeria, we will not want to justify any incidence as normal.But that incidences and conflicts will always come up..But from the point of view of what we met on ground: take the Boko Haram incidence as one example, you will find that Boko Haram was in control of almost 28 local governments.As we speak today,in spite of the pockets of resurgence of attacks that we have seen here and there, they are not hoisting any of their flags in any territory in this country.If that is not progress,I don’t know what that is.The incidence of farmers –herders’ clashes has been there from time immemorial; what we are having are people who take laws into their hands.Both the farmers and the herders happen to be in some cases impatient and therefore taking laws into their hands and create situations that had become difficult for people (to manage).But you could see that in the last couple of months,these incidence has also died down.It means that there have been spirited efforts to ensure that security improved and to ensure that the people move to places of their pleasing without anybody harassing them.If you look at the economy, it has also been improved in many ways than one.About 20 or above that number of states in 2015 were unable to pay salaries, they had to be given bail outs and so on and so forth. And so the government has done a lot in those areas and I can assure you that even the PDP knows this.Of course they will continue to make the argument that this has not happened.But it is not a mirage.It is something that is seen, that people know and the Nigerian electorate are going to decide which side of the argument they believe.So we are getting there, 16th February is going to decide on that.
But what I can tell you is that the People of Nasarawa State like the other states of Nigeria are eager to always have the president in their midst because they understand that this is the only politician in our current circumstances that speaks for them, that understands their struggle and their pains,that shares the burden of their hopes and aspiration and that would support them the best way he knows how, without any personal benefit to himself.And so they are always eager to meet with this kind of phenomenon which the president has become in the political firmament of the country….So they will have to seize the opportunity to meet with the president, to look at him and try to understand what has made him who he is and encourage him to be of service to Fatherland..I think this is the basis of the excitement of the people over the coming of Mr President.