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This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Kano

Hudu Saleh, vice chairman, Kureken Sani Ward of the PDP, believes Malam Sagir Takai who decamped to the APC jumped from frying pan to fire

May we meet you?

My name is Hudu Saleh Kureken Sani, the vice chairman of Kureken Sani Ward of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). During the era of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) of the late 1970s and early 80s, I was already partaking in the politics of Kureken Sani. I was the youth leader of Malam Aminu Kano’s PRP. That is 40 years ago. Since then, I have held many positions in different political parties till date.

Did you partake in the PDP administration of Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso’s first tenure of 1999-2003?

Yes, I participated in Kwankwaso’s first tenure from the beginning to the end. I was even the Financial Legal Adviser of Kumbotso LGA. It is because we believe in his good leadership qualities that we take him as our political leader. In the political dispensation, Kwankwaso is the only who has the welfare of the poor at heart. Not only those who support him.

Kwankwaso: The only one with masses at heart

We are not in politics for money. What we value in a person is his trustworthiness, and the fact that if we follow you, we will not regret.

We are also in politics for the betterment of our respective communities. We believe that no government will develop a community unless with the support of the locals. It is only when a government has seen the contributions of the locals, meaning they are really serious about what they need, that it acts. Even if you don’t get all you need, you will get something.

This is the reason why we didn’t stop following Kwankwaso. During his tenures, if there is any community that didn’t benefit in one way or another from his administration, it wasn’t his fault, but the fault of the community’s leaders.

Kwankwaso gave a directive that any local government that wants to embark on any project, even if it costs N15 million, the state government will sponsor 50 percent, leaving the remaining to the local authority. Hence, in every nook and cranny you visited, you will see Kwankwaso’s projects.

How is life in the opposition now that you don’t have government?

Our lives move on normally. This is because even when we were in government, we didn’t rely on government money. We were only after the development of our communities.

Hudu Saleh, PDP’s Kureken Sani Ward vice chairman

Our only problem now is that we don’t have any means to develop our societies. Even in opposition, we do advice those in government on ways to solve problems bedeviling our societies, but there is nothing to write home about.

Let me give you an example. There is this important road leading into Kureken Sani from the By-pass that links you to Mariri. The bridge on the road broke down and we informed the government. But nobody came to our aid. We heard that the road was budgeted for, but nothing happened.

So we took it upon ourselves by rallying the people of the community around and raised money to repair the bridge. We started buying building materials that include rods, cements, sands, and so on. We got a grader to remove the remaining debris.

And work began on the site. We started building tall pillars.

When the government saw that we meant business, and in order to save face, they came in and forced us to stop. They asked us to cost what we have spent already and refunded part of the money.

The way we decided to build the work in the first place was the best, because no matter the amount of rainfall, flood will not touch the bridge. Even though we will not refuse to acknowledge what they did for us, but the bridge they built is not qualitative. Whenever rain falls, people besiege us with complains that water overflows the bridge.

We showed them another work. There is a town not far from here called Unguwar Rafi. When rain falls, you cannot move from Kurenken Sani into the town. You will have to pass through Mariri, then Fegin Zara before you get to the town.

There is a philanthropist called Dan Mallam, who started work on that broken bridge with his own money. He built it up to six levels. But as it is right now, his money got dried up. We called upon the government to do something, but nothing happened.

Right now, we have decided to pool our resources together again to fix the Unguwar Rafi Bridge.

‘Sagir Takai is an unlucky man…’

Your party member, Malam Sagir Takai, moved from PDP to PRP and has now moved back to the All Progressives Congress, APC. What is your take on this?

The first thing I will say is that I pity him because he is an unlucky person. How can you explain someone that is in a big opposition party like the PDP where he was given the deputy governorship ticket but refused it? That if he is not given the governorship ticket, he will leave? You will say such person is unlucky.

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Salihu Sagir Takai and Kwankwaso before the former moved to PRP

Secondly, I would have advised him to stay in his Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) with the little followers he has gotten. So that in the eventuality that APC should scatter, since it is on the verge of demise, he can scoop supporters from the party. And then with luck, he could get some State House of Assembly or even House of Representatives members.

You cannot rule out the prospects of a small party because everything is in God’s hands. We’ve seen this before.

If not for luck, there is no way Kabiru Gaya of the NRC will defeat Magaji Abdullahi of the SDP. Overnight, late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi told his followers to vote Kabiru Gaya, and the rest is now history.

So, no matter how little a party is, you shouldn’t overrule the prospect that its candidate could become the governor of a state.

Takai is aware that APC politicians are not trustworthy; all they are after is how to use and dump you.

Another reason why I said Takai is unlucky is because before the 2019 elections, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had even wanted to make Takai his deputy. But Takai refused. It was afterwards the seat was given to Nasiru Gawuna.

Furthermore, is it a party that turned big people like Aminu Dabo, Hafizu Abubakar, and others to nobody today you will join? There were other bigwigs in PDP who thought that without them, Kwankwaso will be broken down. Eight of them crossed over to APC. Do you hear of them today?

Where is Mas’ud El-Jibrin Doguwa? Do you hear of him again? Where is this ex-soldier Dambazau? You don’t hear of him again.

Where are those that refused to cross carpet but stayed back in the PDP and fought us from within, people like Aminu Wali, Yahaya Bagobiri, Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo?

If not because of the power of incumbency, today we might have been in the government of Abba Kabir Yusuf of the PDP, not the unlawful government of Ganduje, which up till now we do not accept.

‘Why Ganduje fights Kwankwaso…’

Kwankwaso has also changed parties before, from the PDP to the APC and then back to the PDP. Did you move along with him during his political journeys?

Kwankwso left PDP for a reason. He was fighting with the then president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. How will you be the governor, but the leadership of the party is given to someone else below you? The leadership was in the hands of Yahaya Bagobiri, El-Mas’ud Doguwa and Bello Hayatu Gwarzo. Kwankwaso was left with nothing.

During that period, if the PDP were to organize a presidential primary election, Kwankwaso wouldn’t have gotten any delegate to vote for him.

Kwankwaso sent many Kanocitizens to the national level to be given appointments. This is because he loves to develop people. Anybody that fights with Kwanwkwaso today became somebody through the influence of Kwankwaso. People like Akilu Sani Indabawa, Aminu Dabo, Yahaya Bagobiri, and so on.

Even if it is me, there will be no way I will be a governor and people at the lower rung of the ladder be calling shots in the party. I will leave the party. Then the APC started wooing him. And they also gave him an offer: that his followers, senators, representatives and house of assembly members who cross-carpet with him, will be allowed to contest unopposed. That if his tenure is not over, he would be allowed to continue. That was how Ganduje became a governor in 2015.

We were among those that formed PDP. I was among those that campaigned for Kwankwaso to become governor in his first tenure. We fought hard to make him the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in 1999 over Ganduje.

The fight between Ganduje and Kwankwaso did not start today. It was since when they contested against each other in 1999.

But Ganduje’s betrayal had made me to have a rethink about people. Many people are untrustworthy these days.

You can imagine the way Ganduje stocked himself to Kwankwaso and the way the latter took him under his wings. You can recall the numerous positions Kwankwaso sought for him. Since both of them left office after their first tenure in 2003, Ganduje did not stay without work.

Even of recent, Ganduje acknowledged that if Kwankwaso hadn’t chosen him to fly the APC’s ticket in 2015, he wouldn’t have become a governor today.

How true are the rumours brewing that Kwankwaso wants to go back to APC?

I believe that is unfounded. The words we hear from Kwankwaso or those closest to him are what we use. It is true that the APC like him because they know of his worth.

Are there any benefits gotten from the APC government?

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We have never regretted any administration than that of the APC. I regret joining hands to create it. We are in politics for the masses. But today, a poor man will dig his grave and say whenever he dies, people should just bury him there.

In the past we were ungrateful. Even though it was a southerner that was at the helm of affairs of the nation, things were very affordable. But today things are very expensive.

Back then, a plate of tuwo goes for N180. There are many masses today who can’t boast of having N200 in three days. And some of them have three wives and numerous children. Some will have to buy two plates of tuwo before it will be sufficient for the house. We have not come to what the soup will be cooked with. And today a plate of tuwo is sold for about N550. What do we do?

‘Goodluck Jonathan’s government was better than that of his successor, Buhari’ – Hudu Saleh

It is this Buhari’s government that said it will champion the masses’ interest. It was my belief that a Buhari’s government will have been paradise on earth and there will be no hardships.

But what is happening today is even worse than Boko Haram. We didn’t know of kidnapping before. A peasant who does not have what to eat today or tomorrow will be kidnapped and his family will be asked to pay millions before he or she is released. We didn’t know of this terrorism until this government.

A government that claims to support farming, but has stopped people from farming; people will go to farm, but will be chased, shot at or kidnapped.

A government that claims to fight corruption and bribe, where is the money that has been recovered from the so-called ‘thieves’? What has the money been used for? It is only those who are dead that are accused of corruption. Saints like Sani Abacha.

Apart from Murtala Mohammed, there has never been a worthy Nigerian leader like Abacha. He refused to go to overseas to become their stooge. Abacha tried to restore Nigeria’s image in the international community by repaying all debts owed by Nigeria. But the White men refused to collect the money saying the time for repayment wasn’t ripe. So he kept the money with the World Bank.

If they have collected the money, Nigeria would have been free. But before that happened, God took Abacha’s soul. When he died, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar who took over was accused of siphoning that money.

Now, it is that good man who kept money in the World Bank for the servicing of Nigeria’s debts that is being ridiculed in the media, that he did this and did that.

So also is Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) who people accuse of doing wrongs. IBB is more patriotic than Buhari. We, northerners, benefitted a lot from IBB than Buhari. It was during IBB’s regime we got the dualization of Abuja to Kano highway. He created many roads, turned Malam Aminu Kano’s house into a democratic research centre.

In IBB’s opinion, one way of bringing development to the grassroots is by the creation of states. It was IBB that created Jigawa state. There was a time I went to Dutse Gadawur and was told it was a state capital. It was very local then. But today, Dutse can rub shoulders with those in the south of Nigeria.

He also created many local government areas which further brought development to the grassroots. And that is why today, places like Warawa have developed.

‘Why I don’t talk about Ganduje’

You have mentioned so many ills of the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government. Is Abdullahi Ganduje-led state government on the right path?

The reason why I don’t talk about Kano state government is because I believe the state governor’s mentality has to be checked. He drove his friends away and then moved his enemies close to him. How will governance progress?

‘Ganduje encircled himself with enemies’ – Hudu Saleh

Most of the people around Ganduje are not his supporters and they don’t like him. They are only after what they will get. They separate him from his true lovers.

If you find yourself in power again, what will you do for Kano?

Everybody in Kano already knows our plans for the state. We will develop rural and urban areas, and build schools, both secular and Islamic, in all the nooks and crannies of the state.

We were the ones that first instituted Sharia system in Kano state. Shekarau only added cosmetics to it. Wherever the system has problem, we will fix it.

We will marry off divorcees and empower women and youth. We will create centres for entrepreneurial skills acquisition. During Kwankwaso’s regime, there was a lady I took to train in one of these centres. After they were trained for two days, each of them was given N10,000.

The woman told me, “Hudu, by the grace of God, I will buy a goat.” And as God will have it, within two days, the goat delivered three kids. This was a welcome development.

But when I was still with the Ganduje’s administration, I was asked to invite some women to be trained as midwives. The woman trained for about three months. At their graduation, they were only given N4,000 each and made to thank the governor at the Government House.

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This is the difference between someone who has good advisers and one who doesn’t.

There are councilors, chairman, house of assembly and house of reps members for Kumbotso LGA. How do you rate their performances?

PDP only has one member representing Kumbotso LGA at the Kano State House of Assembly, Mudassir Lawal.

Not long ago, I told him that, being an opposition member, it will be difficult for the state government to execute the projects initiated by him. Hence, I asked him to come so we will show him little projects that he can execute from his pocket.

I told him that till the tenure of this government lapse, none of his projects will be executed. This is because even those that are right hand men of this government find it difficult for any of their projects to be carried out. Talk less of an opposition member.

Our PDP members say that till this moment, Governor Ganduje has never sat down with them; because he hates them. He only sits with his party’s members.

So, a politician who has foresight will gather his constituency and tell them: “We made numerous promises during electioneering campaigns. But as it is, we are in an opposition government. Hence, we cannot execute all we promise you. Are there any little projects like drainages, impassable roads that require gravels, etc., that I can execute from my pocket? We will keep tabs on the government, if there are other projects they can do, fine. If not, at least my little efforts will ameliorate your needs.”

In short, are you saying, these representatives have not done anything in practice?

I have not heard from any source, where any member of the state assembly was given any chance to bring developments to his constituency.

‘Debts enslave people’

There are rumours that Kano state government wants to incur debts to carry out projects in the state. What is your take on this?

As a Kano citizen, I will advise against incurring these debts. Even with all the unpalatable allegations flying around this government’s neck and their refusal to carry out any project, is it with loans they will now carry out projects? Even if a loan last for 1000 years, the state will still be owed.

The reason why Nigeria is a slave today, and the Muhammadu Buhari-federal government is still further enslaving it, is because of loans. Even in the next 50 years, Nigeria might still be shackled with the chains of debts. Nigeria is being owned more than N48 trillion. And as it, the president is still asking the National Assembly to approve more loans for him.

Foreign investors value a country on the amount of debts it owes. If you have a high debt profile, you are a slave.

Therefore, our leaders are not bringing any benefits to the populace but rather digging holes to bury us all.

What would you say about the Kwairanga housing scam hanging on Kwankwaso’s neck?

Anything the previous government of Kwankwaso did was for the benefits of the ordinary man. Those are mere rumours. There is no Kwankwasiyya person that is aware of that. It is only done to smear Kwankwaso’s name.

‘Kureken Sani needs…’

What are the major issues bedeviling your community?

The major problems that bedevil us are drainages. If we have drainages and our roads are raised up, our roads will not be eroded. Another issue would have been the issue of pipe borne water. But due to the fact that we have well water, we don’t worry much.

Hence, our greatest problem will be for the road that links By-pass to Mariri to be asphalted. This is a very important road that many people use; people living in Kureken Sani, Mariri, Wudil or beyond. Even people coming from Lagos, travelling to Maiduguri, ply this road.

Even when the member representing Kumbotso took this road project to the state house of assembly, his colleagues in the chamber supported him, saying during the years when insecurity besieged the state, this road was their alternative route.

How many units do you have in Kurenken Sani Ward?

We have about 23 units in Kurenken Sani ward.

How can one become a member of your political party?

If he meets the ward chairman, he will be registered, presented with a card and henceforth become a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Thank you for your time.

You are most welcome!

Series NavigationKano Central Senatorial District: Can Shekarau break the revolving jinx? >>

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By Faruk Ahmed

Faruk Ahmed cut his teeth at National Review, a Kano-based magazine now rested, where he rose to become Operations Manager and then Business Developer and Strategist. He is a keen watcher of political events.

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