Danjuma Bello Sarki is a Kaduna State House of Assembly hopeful under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with Elanza News, Sarki says the ruling All Progressive Congress APC is full of gangsters among other issues.
QS: What are your views on the recent runoff elections conducted by the Kaduna state Independent Electoral Commission (KadSIECOM) in some of the local governments?
Ans: Yes, we saw the height of gangstarism, hoolganism and thuggery of the of the All Progressive Congress (APC) by the administration of the El-Rufai led administration in Kaduna state which was ably planned an orchestrated by the gang leader himself that is Uba Sani in collaboration with the House of Representatives member representing Igabi local government Honorable Abubakar Mohammed Namadi and Markus DanAuta the House of Assembly member representing Chikun local government in the Kaduna state House of Assembly as well as other political thugs who were well armed as they went out intimidating and harassing voters and INEC staff as well as party agents of other political parties in order to rig and falsify the elections. So the runoff election was just a sham in the local governments that they were conducted. To be specific, in Chikun local government, if we are in a responsible democracy people like Uba Sani, Mohammed Namadi should be in detention because they went there in the night at about 2:30am in Chikun local government office in Kujama and laid siege in the and ransacked the place and carted away Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) which is one of the most sensitive material in the conduct of the election, ran away with it. But they forgot the result sheet of the election and that is where Honorable Namadi, Marcus and Hajara Mohammed the Election Officer (EO) later came back to carry it to where they went to falsify the results but luck ran out on them as they were accosted by the vigilant youths in the area as the results sheets were discovered in the booth of their vehicle and were treated like common criminals, that is why I am saying that they desecrated the image that people are having for the APC leaders and government as well as them being leaders of their community. So elections never held in places like Chikun local government because there no SIECOM officials in the four wards we were expecting elections but later we heard that they are bandying some figures as the figures they are announcing now is even more than the figures that are announced in the past election done in the other eight wards that were concluded and announced. So it shows how primitive in the conduct of their rigging and barbaric in the style of their political pursuit. More so if you look at Kaduna south they went about intimidating and coercing Returning Officers (RO) using security agents as they connived with police and army and this is alarming as the police and army has become the security wing of the APC and this has raised fear in the minds of the people against the call for creation of state police because if Kaduna state had its own police may be we will have been counting the number of corpses that will be littered on our streets. And if you go back to Kaura, where the Deputy Governor is from, no election was held as the adhoc staffs were not on ground as they did not see any Returning Officer in the wards and local government and people there refused to allow them until they see those responsible for the elections because they allow people to go and spend their resources and time and they will hide these people believing that your vote will count as they will use the security to provide cover for them and they will just announce the results and then submit the results to KadSIECOM and claimed that they have won the elections. So the youths of Kaura stood guard to ensure that materials were not carted away, like wise in Jaba, there is still a stalemate there as I am speaking with you now because they went to conduct elections without materials like result sheet and other sensitive materials and personnel so right now there is confusion in Jaba local government, so they have conducted election in Jaba and the PDP won election in all the wards in the local government but because of the primitive way they use in rigging they refused to announce the election. So I want to say that the re-run election was a sham and fraud for people who are desperate to hold on to power despite them coming into power on a popular mandate and they have not been able to show anything despite the three years they are in power to give the dividend of democracy to the people. They have not been able to put food or develop the infrastructure of the state. They equally have not been able to develop the human capital of the state rather they have brought poverty, sorrow and sadness in the minds of the people, because they have taken us to a level of backwardness that Kaduna state had never been to since the inception of Nigeria. They have treated us worst than the colonial master did.
Qs: But the state governor’s campaign mantra then was that he was going to make Kaduna state great again, are you saying that there is no change?
Ans: yes, he said that he was going to bring change and there was change but it is in a negative way, because Kaduna people are worse off than before, so if you want to that it is change then yeah but it is in a negative way which has affected people adversely. The time they were campaigning we asked the people to ask them the kind of change they are bringing but people were carried by the euphoria of the change mantra and today they are seeing change in an adverse way. It is so sad that even us that did not vote for the change are equally not immune to the adversity of the change. So this is a fraudulent government as they have not been able to achieve anything as there is nothing to write home about the style of leadership.
Qs: So do you think the PDP is willing to challenge the results being announced by the APC?
Ans: Absolutely, we must test the law and see whether the judiciary be a culprit in the way this people are punishing the people of Kaduna state, as they are the same people they elected into power even though we do not have absolute confidence in the judiciary more especially the court injunction restraining the conduct of election in Kajuru local government as it clearly showed that there not much to be desired this is because the PDP is not a party of cowards or group of people that directionless or lack what to do. The first election that was conducted those local governments in which we are rigged out, already papers are on ground we are ready for the setting up of the election tribunal so that we can seek redress and in this too, anyone that we know we have been short changed will not in any way mince words with them as we will take to the highest court of justice in the land to seek redress.
Qs: Now with such assertions and allegations coming from you, what do think the pulse of the ordinary man is on the streets of Kaduna?
Ans: Well we want the people to remain calm but be vigilant so that they can stand up and defend their votes and democracy as these two things is greatly under threat now in the country, they should also be vigilant and know what is going on as I continue to say that politics and governance matters a lot to the wellbeing of the people and if you say that you are not interested and you allow others to connive in causing hardship on you and the people then you will continue to bear the consequences. You must be awake and resolute in ensuring they do what is right because what we are seeing now is just spec in the minds of the APC government and it is portraying what we are to expect in 2019 and this is a tip of the iceberg as this one does not concern their leaders very much because they are not electing El-Rufai, Uba Sani, Mamman Yari into office rather they are electing other persons but if you see the way they are conducting their malpractices, it is very shameful talk less of when it comes to their own. So this is a clarion call to the people to wake up and be resolute and be ready to ensure that as they move ahead into 2019, we will continue to see the funeral of the El-Rufai administration and the APC government and APC as a political party entirely that does not mean well for Nigeria.
Qs: Are saying that Nigerians are not politically aware of all this, because your statement is implying they are still in the dark?
Ans: There is no doubt about it that level of awareness in Nigeria politically very low, you find out that people might know the issues and be current but might not be willing to stand up and defend their rights as well as hold government accountable to see that what needs to be done is done properly. You will find out that when people push them they will just get discouraged. So we need more political awareness and understanding as well as willingness and readiness of the people to engage those in the system to exercise their powers as those given to the politicians to exercise. And we need those that will remain steadfast and not be discouraged in these things. As I told those in the local government were they were rigged out that they should not be despaired in anyway but rather be resolute as we will be ready to pursue to the last until we achieve our victory which was given to us.
Qs: finally, are you comfortable with the electronic voting format the KadSIECOM are presently using?
Ans: If we must move forward as a nation, certainly we cannot run away from technology and if we want our elections to be credible then we cannot run away from the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and by what we have seen done in the local governed elections in Kaduna state, then the EVM is the way to go. Nigeria should begin to put such infrastructure in place in order to ensure it cut down all lapses, because if you look at the EVM, most of the areas that the elections were rigged had no problems because at the polling unit accreditations were done as expected and people casted their votes but it was at the collation centers whereby results were coming from different polling units , it was there that the APC government in collaboration with the returning officers falsified the results and went to declare this results. So the machine is a good way to go, but going forward there is a need for it to be enhanced and the major features that should be in the machine is one, the identification of finger prints, two the integration of the voter register into the machine so that when you come and vote if you have done that before the machine will automatically rejected that vote but if you have not voted before and your name is there as a registered voter in that unit you will be automatically be allowed to vote because if they do that we will cut a lot of cost in our elections because there might not be need to use the manual voter register we are using and no need to employ many adhoc staff like the polling clerk and the assistant polling clerk, may be all you will need is the presiding officer and the assistant presiding clerk as two people can conduct elections in a polling unit in as much as the place is properly secured. This will save the cost of printing of voter register to bring the ward so it will go a long way in enhancing and deepening our democracy.