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Defeating PDP in Kaduna won’t be difficult – Ashiru

Why are you aspiring to govern Kaduna State?Sincerely this project was consummated by some of us under the auspices of ‘Save Kaduna Group’ who have…

Why are you aspiring to govern Kaduna State?
Sincerely this project was consummated by some of us under the auspices of ‘Save Kaduna Group’ who have concern for the state because things have been deteriorating since 2007 in the state on daily basis. Kaduna, our home state, the former headquarters of northern Nigeria, is no longer what it used to be. There is no commitment to the development of our people and people are divided along ethnic and religious lines. We were having sleepless nights and decided to come together and take a bold decision to contest in the governorship election. That was why I deliberately left the Peoples Democratic Party for the APC after due consultations with my constituency.
I have been in government in the last 16 years and I feel even if it means declaring my seat vacant for the sake of saving my state, let it be. I will continue to pursue this project to its logical conclusion. The truth of the matter is that we are here to salvage Kaduna state and I am assuring you that we shall succeed.
There is a clamour for an indigene of Southern Kaduna to be governor, how would you respond to that?
We went to Southern Kaduna and people were agitating to produce governor but I am not a member of the PDP. That clamour of wanting to continue the tenure of late Governor Yakowa is within the PDP. We have competent people from the area in the PDP and if they could be given the opportunity to contest, good for them. But if we have such situation in the APC we can negotiate and see areas where we can carry everybody along.  
Have you been able to sponsor bills in the House of Representatives?
I have had the opportunity to sponsor about five bills and co-sponsored many others. Appropriation bill is an annual ritual and as deputy chairman of the committee, I don’t want to blow my trumpet but the National Assembly is there for you.
How do you intend to increase internally generated revenue in the state?
I was a revenue officer for 19 years in Kaduna State before I retired in 1997. We set up a 13-member committee under the leadership of Professor S.U Abdullahi which came up with the details of what we intend to do in government. This is all encompassing and we have the opportunities to generate revenues in almost every human endeavour. We have a lot of untapped resources and with the exposure we have at the national level, we shall rescue the state. There are also some donor agencies that northern states were not able to exploit. Some states are ignorant of the availability of the funds and with my knowledge of the debt management committee; I know that money can be sourced from development partners to fund projects for the betterment of our people.  I know about nine states that have been benefiting from the southern part of the country. With the coming of Governor Kwankwaso, Kano is the only state in the North getting funds from donor agencies. Again, with the restructuring of the revenue board and blockage of leakages, you can turn around a lot of things in the state.
You will be contesting against an incumbent. How prepared are you?
We are not bothered about those in power because we were in the PDP for 15 years. Politicians often use incumbency to frighten people in the sense that you can’t challenges those in power in an election; it is not true. In Zamfara, Yari defeated Governor Shinkafi, Shekarau defeated Kwankwaso in Kano and Yuguda defeated Mu’azu’s candidate in Bauchi. You cannot always have your way because if you don’t deliver, God will not assist you to win re-election. So I am assuring you that crushing the incumbent government will not be a problem to us. We shall be sworn in on May 29, 2015 at 10am, God willing.
What about the intra-party squabbles within APC in Kaduna?
I will say there is hope in APC because all the seemingly ceaseless problems in the party will be addressed. The faction strategizing to edge us out in the electoral process will not succeed. Yes! There were a lot of things that went wrong in those days when names of candidates were either swapped or substituted in primaries. The people you find at the helm of affairs of the APC are people from different parties and as a member of the National Executive Committee, I know we had several meetings where internal party conflicts were addressed. So, whoever thinks he can manipulate the primaries by illegally substituting candidates is deceiving himself because people are becoming more politically conscious.  People want good governance and for people to vote for their candidates and you substitute that candidate, they will not accept.
The alleged appointment of Nasir el-Rufa’i as a member of the BOT without the consent of the party leaders in the state is diversionary. If you think your personal interest will supersede the general interest, then you are deceiving yourself. There are laid down procedures for the appointment of the members of board of trustees, including a stakeholders meeting summoned by the chairman and endorsed by the members to nominate a person as BOT member. You have to attach the signatures of those in attendance with the minute and send to the national secretariat through the national vice chairman, North-West. So, that appointment is not over but what is before us now is 2015 elections.
There are allegations that you are being sponsored by former Governor Ahmed Makarfi?
I am sure you are aware that Makarfi is in PDP and I am of the APC which separates us politically. But he was my boss when I served as a chairman of appropriation committee in the House of Assembly and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve under that government. I am representing him now in the House of Representatives and we relate closely. I told him of my ambition and asked him to pray for me which he did. I left PDP and I don’t go close to them; I took a bold and wise decision.

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