May 29th In Nigeria, Is Not Worth Celebrating – Isah Dansallah

Nigerians were seeing Buhari as somebody who was coming to salvage a situation. They had almost 100% confidence that when Buhari emerges, things are going to change in this country but, now as you can see, the reverse is the case. It is even worse, now………Dansallah
Honourable Isah Dansallah requires little or no introduction among the good people of Kajuru Local Government Council area of Kaduna South Senatorial District following his immense for contributions and empowerment programmes of youths and women of his constituency.
Having served as administrator of Kajuru Local Government under the Nasir el-Rufai’s government as a member of the APC, his dissatisfaction with the lack of internal democracy compelled him to take the decision of dumping the ruling APC for the opposition PDP.
Dansallah spoke with World Top News Ng Team on the May 29th Democracy Day Celebration, his aspiration to run for the Federal House of Representatives come 2019. He also talked about the President’s Corruption crusade and many more. Excerpts:
Sir, May 29th is usually celebrated as Democracy Day in Nigeria. As a highly celebrated politician and stakeholder from Kaduna South Senatorial District, what is your view about May 29th?
Is it really worth celebrating, considering the present situation in the country today?
Permit me the opportunity of introducing myself. I am Honourable Isah Dansallah from Kajuru local government. I have served under the All Progressives Congress. I was an APC member and I was in Kajuru Local Government as Sole Administrator under the government of His Excellency, Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai.
Now, I am back to the PDP based on some reasons best known to me. But, to look at the issue of democracy, holistically, to me, in Nigeria and now that there are some activities that are being marked in order to celebrate May 29th in Nigeria, is not worth celebrating.
To me, it is not worth celebrating in the sense that, if I must be honest with you, when His Excellency, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari was vying for this position several times years ago, Nigerians were seeing him as a messiah.
Nigerians were seeing Buhari as somebody who was coming to salvage a situation. They had almost 100% confidence that when Buhari emerges, things are going to change in this country but, now as you can see, the reverse is the case. It is even worse, now. This is because, one; this is three years of this administration but there is just nothing to show for it completely.
Now, tell me, that is, if you have anything to tell me. Then, there is nothing to show for this three years as there is no any single project they started and ended talk less of commissioning it, up till this very moment.
All the few things that have been commissioned are projects executed and completed by the previous administration. But, this government has absolutely nothing to show of completing. The moment they came into power, all they did was to stop the importation of so many commodities into the country of which they have not even made or work out strategies on how to get these things available, domestically and locally within Nigeria.
These, therefore affected the issue of foreign exchange. You can see the issue of forex especially the United States Currency which is a major problem today. Look at the issue of fuel; the way it is today when compared to when the previous administration was in power. There are a lot of things to mention.
The only thing this administration will tell you is that they are fighting corruption and, the kind of corruption they are fighting; the way and manner they are going about fighting corruption, I term it as just a witch hunt. A witch hunt of perceived enemies, perceived opposition and even within their party.
Those they perceive as maybe they are going to leave the party to another party; already, such people are being hunted down. Especially people that are seen to have political strength and influence over their people and could affect them in trying to regain power in 2019, are being hunted down.
To me, corruption is beyond that. What is happening is just an individual thing; witch-hunting individuals who are perceived to be opposing the government’s decisions of the day.
So, corruption is beyond that. If you want to fight corruption, corruption is a systemic problem. It is a systemic problem because, I have been a Local Government Chairman and I have seen how this government system works. You cannot tell me that a public office holder can go and start looting institutions’ funds, without the support of the civil servant who is there.
As an administrator; I worked in the local government for six months, up till the time I left that local government, I don’t even know the colour of the cheque of that local government and how it looks like. In government institutions, what is happening is that, it is those that are within the system that; you as a politician, whether by appointment, elections or whatever, when you go and meet these people, they are the ones that will tell how to go and corner these funds, into your own personal use. And, by way of doing that, they too must get their own share.
So, you can see what is happening. This corruption we are talking about is a system thing. It is a systematic problem that is still there.
The President did not sit down to really do his home work, by going into the root cause of this problem; do a root cause analysis before you start implementing what so ever interventions you have with regards to that. So, no analysis was done to even know what the root cause is. The root cause is there and they are still harbouring these problems. The problems are there in the government institutions. The people who are there, they are harbouring them and they are still there and they are the ones that show the public officers how to steal these monies. These people are still there and the government is still harbouring them. So, how will corruption stop in Nigeria?
You stated that you left the APC for the PDP. Some reports say you fell out of favour with the governor which prompted your decision. How do you react to that?
It’s not about whether been favored or not. I single handedly sponsored the formation of APC in Chikun/Kajuru even before I get closed to the governor. This includes during membership registration, my offices in both local government areas were the meeting venues and even when the party were to secure it’s own offices in both LGAs, I contributed financially.
I worked for APC victory in 2015. I decided to leave because of the lack of internal democracy demonstrated by this administration and you will bear me witness that it is even worst as it is right now. The just concluded primaries that give birth to two (twice) state chairmen vindicate me on this. This and many more issues within the party.
Sir, the issue of insecurity is a worrisome trend which concerns everybody, especially the issue of herdsmen. You were an administrator of a local government council for six months and that local government had cases/issues of attacks by herdsmen. What do you think could bring about a lasting solution to the issue of herdsmen attacks?
The issues of insecurity, herdsmen, kidnapping here and there, I can tell you that; it is all about commitment from the government. If the governments are committed and they want this thing stopped, they will stop it. That is the truth about it.
If the government really wants to stop it, if not “somehow somehow that the government is benefiting from this, if the government really wants to stop it, the government can stop it”.
“Nobody is above the government”.
Another issue that recently drew that attention of people in Kaduna state and many of her neighbours, was the recently concluded Local Council elections on the 12th of May, 2018.
The Kaduna state government introduced the use of electronic voting machines which many people have spoken against. What is your own reaction to the EVM’s?
I do not see anything wrong with the use of the machines. That machine you see was very perfect. I was in my polling unit in my Ward. We conducted our elections peacefully and the results were printed out and that machine was perfect.
And, you can imagine, it is an online kind of thing. The moment whatever is being done there; it is being transmitted back to the KADSEICOM’s office. Now, the machine, like I said, is not a problem but, the government of the day; their interference through the electoral process, which took place all over the twenty three local government areas in Kaduna, is the problem.
Had it been that they did not interfere and had allowed KADSEICOM as an independent body as claimed, to do its job, everything would have gone on smoothly. This is because; these results are there and were transmitted to the Data Base at the SEICOM level. If the SEICOM can bring out the real Data Base of what transpired of this process, you will be surprised. You will be shocked at what even they are projecting as “the ruling party won in so many local government and what have you”.
That is not true. But, at the end of the day, the government of the day interfered with the process and you can also see that there are issues of bye-elections here and there; even my own local government; Kajuru. You know, the Opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP won elections in nine political wards and they only won in one ward, which is Kajuru but they had wanted to claim our victory. That is not possible!
Their interference from what we saw, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Uba Sani and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, imagine that these two gentlemen are not SEICOM staffs but they were going around with military men, police and harassing people and then, changing these results in different hotels in different locations and then, changing the results and having different announcements and so on.
To me, that is very dangerous and it is not good for democracy. Certainly, it is not good for democracy.
Your statement as regards two prominent aides of the government at the state level concerning their perceived roles during the Council polls is said to be indicting. Do you have evidential proof to back it up?
The issue of the two governor’s aides is no longer any news. All media organizations reported during and after the elections. Press conferences organized by groups and opposition parties also reported their full involvement during the local government elections in Kaduna state.
Uba Sani was in my local government and the electoral officer disappeared after he left and that is one the reasons why our local government is one among the local government where KADSIECOM reschedule to conduct fresh elections.
Lastly, it has come to our notice that you are aspiring for the ticket for the Federal House of Representatives, come 2019. Sir, what is the driving force that is compelling you to seek for this higher office?
Ordinarily, what I do is “Humanitarian Service”. I am a Civil Society person and I am the Founder of an NGO which is primarily working on Health related issues. Service to Humanity is already a part of me. The passion is another push too. I even see being elected or appointed into any office as an opportunity to further expand on my scope or, my ideas and ideologies and, try to reach out to so many people.
So, representing my people; yes, that is the key thing. I want to be able to bring effective representation, most especially, my constituency; Chukun and Kajuru. We have the incumbent who has been there for almost 16 years now. The question therefore is that; “how good has he represented the people of Chukun and Kajuru”? Seriously, there is need to ask this question again; how good has he represented the people. Now, what we are saying is; ordinarily, had it been he is representing us well, even if he is representing us well, at least sixteen years is enough.
We have other people within these same constituencies that can still go and do better. So, the idea now is that, I, with my experience from the Civil Society Organizations, CSO’s and the NGO’s that I have successfully run, already having the passion to be of help to people, I am going to adequately represent the people of Chukun/Kajuru Federal Constituency, by the grace of God Almighty if given the mandate and, at the end of the day, I believe if they give me the mandate, they will see the difference between what I can do, with any other person else.
Your intention to contest for the House of Reps against a popular candidate has been described as a tough task. How do you intend to achieve this?
Ordinary, I don’t have personal issues with our representative. The point is that Chikun/Kajuru federal constituency is comprised of two Local Government Areas and he, the incumbent has been representing us for almost two decades now. I challenge him to mention or point out just one individual that he has empowered so far.
All the people around him still follow him around for just peanuts with nothing to write home about.
No single constituency project to show for and there is no connection between him and the electorates until after every 4 years when is about to seek their mandate again. No community initiatives in terms of town hall meetings to determine the problems faced by his constituency members. Since inception, the constituency office that is meant for him to get closer to his people remains under lock and key.
Only few selected individuals that usually help him to clinch the party’s ticket are always carried along though with still nothing to show for all these years and they have been playing same game at the detriment of general public. No single under graduate or graduate has been empowered either by way of employment etc.
Reps from other constituency do provide such opportunities to their people but the reverse is the case when it comes to Chikun/Kajuru.
I am aware that the role of the legislators is to make laws while representing the interest of their people. But others have been able to go beyond that by impacting positively on their people. They initiated constituency projects, human capital development etc. The people of Chikun/Kajuru are now empowered with all the necessary information on how bad it is to keep doing the same thing without meaningful impact.
Based on the above, the task is made easier as the people shall decide, comes 2019.

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