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Meet the youngest Plateau House of Assembly candidate

At 25 Haruna Yusuf Abba is believed to be youngest politician vying for an elective position in Nigeria. He is contesting for a seat at…

At 25 Haruna Yusuf Abba is believed to be youngest politician vying for an elective position in Nigeria. He is contesting for a seat at the Plateau state House of Assembly to represent Jos North/North constituency under the platform of Democratic Alternative (DA). In this interview with Plateau Benue Chronicle, the 25-year old Jos-born politician speaks on what attracted him  into politics, the challenges he has been facing and how, if given the mandate, he will improve  the living conditions of his constituency. Excerpts:

 

Could you tell us your background?

Haruna Yusuf: I am Haruna Yusuf Abba, I am 25 years old. I was born in Anguwar Rogo of Jos North local government area of Plateau state. I graduated from Federal Polytechnic Bauchi from the Department of Public Administration, and now a 300 level student of Political Science of University of Jos. I am now vying for the seat in Plateau State House of Assembly to represent Jos North/North Constituency  under the Democratic Alternative (DA) in the upcoming 2019 general election.

What motivated you to venture into politics?

I ventured into politics because the members representing us haven’t done anything to improve the conditions of people in  my constituency. Now I came with a slogan tagged ‘Reformation 2019’.

What challenges is your constituency facing and how do you intend to tackle them if you are voted?

One of the clogs to the wheels of development in my constituency is the lack of adequate and proper representation.  My constituency has been battling with bad primary healthcare delivery, poor education as public schools are in bad shape. There is lack of socio economic development, youth and women empowerment and the absence of youth participation in governance. My constituency doesn’t have potable water.

So, I realized that I have what it takes to remedy most, if not all of these anomalies. An executive function most of it are, but with a vibrant and egalitarian representation, projects that would remedy most of these problems can be brought to our constituency via lobbying.

Moreso, each representative has a certain amount set aside for constituency projects. I would make sure this fund is adequately and properly utilized by channeling it to projects that would meet up the immediate needs of my constituency and you know every community in my constituency has its own peculiar problems, which require peculiar response.

I would also carry out a survey to identify the immediate needs of the communities, it would be carried out on a community to community basis and the identified needs would be addressed.

Some of the needs that can be funded by the amount set aside for constituency projects would be addressed directly by me and for those that cannot be taken care of by the constituency project allowance, the powerful instrument of lobbying would be employed and projects that would solve the problems would be brought to the communities.

Your constituency is one of the largest in the state, what are your plans to utilize its human resources?

Yes, my constituency is blessed with a pile of human resources that have remained untapped. I would harness the availability of the human resources via the empowerment programmes that would be brought forth most of which would focus on strengthening the entrepreneurial skills of the constituents.

Do you think if elected you would be able to achieve all that?

It is not rocket science, it has been done, as we have seen it done in other constituencies that have been fortunate to have good and egalitarian representatives. My drive and vision towards being a representative is to see and ensure a prosperous Jos North/North constituency in which there is mutual trust, where employment and development opportunities exist for all irrespective of creed, religion or background.

How would you be different from those legislators before you if elected?

Yes, if given the mandate I would be accessible to all and sundry as my constituency offices would be open and active to receive complaints, suggestions, and information from the constituents. Such information, complaints and suggestions would be addressed.

Do you have the capacity to do what all that you have promised if given the mandate?

I know I can’t do it alone, but together we can. A greater, peaceful and prosperous Jos North/North we are all craving for.

Do you have enough finances to compete with other candidates?

I don’t have the financial muscles, but I have ideas and I have reached out to people and told them about my vision and mission.

What was the peoples’ reaction after you have reached out to them?

They were very happy and ready to support me, it may interest you to know most of my sponsors are the constituents who are willing to do so, and they have given me many campaign materials free.

Who are the people that you have reached out to so far?

I met with various stakeholders, including youth organizations, religious clerics and women. I told them politics wasn’t about money and told them I would do my best and make sure I did all the required and necessary as far as election is concerned.

It is being said that you are the youngest house of assembly candidate in Plateau state, did you know that?

I am not only the youngest house of assembly candidate in Plateau state, but in Nigeria.

How did you know about that?

I am a member of Not-too-young-to-run group, and I was in Abuja last week, they told me I am the youngest candidate vying for the seat of a house of assembly in Nigeria.

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