Fatima Danladi Isa, popularly known in Kannywood as Fati Asirka recently emerged Kano State gubernatorial candidate under Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP). In this interview, Asirka talks about her plans for Kannywood and the entire entertainment industry in Kano State, among other issues. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: You are well known as an actress. What inspired you to go into politics?
Fati Asirka: I was inspired by the recent legislation, the Not Too Young to Run bill that gives young people the opportunity to run for political offices so as to contribute their quota to national development. I was motivated by that law to test my popularity with the people of Kano. Moreover, I was encouraged by the fact that for many years the politics of Kano and northern Nigeria has been dominated by men. I am determined to break the jinx and set a new paradigm in the history of Kano State politics. Even if I don’t make it, at the end let it be known that I did something fresh, so that in future reference would be made to the attempt I made, and probably a time may come when a female governor will emerge.
WM: You are contesting under the platform of the Restoration Party of Nigeria (RP). Why RP?
Asirka: When I wanted to join politics and contest, I made serious visibility studies of the existing political parties, out of which I settled for RP. I then identified myself with the party leadership and members and got registered. As I said earlier, with the Not Too Young to Run law in existence I was encouraged by friends and political allies. I picked the party nomination form and won the primaries. As God will have it, today I am the flag bearer in the governorship race.
WM: Was getting the RP ticket an easy ride?
Asirka: In the beginning I discussed with my state chairman, after which he asked me to get the form. I went to Abuja to our national head office and obtained it, filled and submitted. After that, I came back and a primary election was conducted to select the party candidate. Delegates came from Abuja and INEC representatives came as well. I was elected unopposed. After the primaries, all gubernatorial candidates of the party converged in Abuja, where we had our first national meeting of party candidates. It wasn’t as easy as one may want to think it was.
WM: It is campaigning period. How do you juggle Kannywood and political activities?
Asirka: They are two different things. Kannywood is my business and whatever I become in life, I will still have every reason to be proud of being part of the industry because it was my first constituency. Politics on the other hand is a call to service, a call to help contribute my quota to nation building. For now, I am more focused on political activities because it is campaign season.
WM: What are your plans for Kannywood if you emerge winner in the 2019 general elections?
Asirka: Alhamdullilah, Kannywood has helped me a great deal and it is obvious that Kannywood has been one of the largest sources of employment, not only in the state but in the entire region. I will do my possible best, if elected Governor of Kano State, to advance and upgrade the industry through periodic empowerment of young artistes and indeed all youth benefitting from the value chain of the industry, like the make-up artistes, lighteners and many others that seek to make a living in the industry. Some of these youths are very talented and committed to making a decent living. I intend to unveil an empowerment package that will carry them along in terms of trainings and other logistics that will make them self-reliant.
WM: How would you rate the support you have been receiving from your colleagues in Kannywood so far?
Asirka: It is very important for you to have the support of your colleagues in the industry. I don’t even have to beg for it because we are like one big family. If anything happens, we support one another. During weddings we offer support to each other, and we are always there for each other during moments of grief. So, I have been enjoying a lot of support. Some call me to offer advice. My constituency is a hundred per cent in support of my candidature and we are in constant touch with each other in trying to get people’s votes in the elections.
WM: If you become governor, do you intend to continue with your acting career?
Asirka: If I win, I may not go back to Kannywood as an actress, but rather as a patron of the industry, so as to ensure that it gets all that it requires to reach its highest peak.
WM: What are your plans for the people of Kano?
Asirka: My government will be an all-inclusive government. There will be systematic and effective empowerment plans for the people of the state. Also, free education at all levels will be my priority with special consideration for the health, education, power and water supply sectors.