Shuaibu Idris Miqati is an educated and experienced professional with diversified knowledge such as finance, human resources, economics as well as sales and marketing to mention but a few. In this interview, the Kaduna State governorship aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Miqati said if voted into office, the people of the state and visitors alike will experience what he described as Five Star Service Governance among others.
Who is Shuaibu Idris Miqati?
He is a man with rural background yet cosmopolitan. A disciplined and astute personality who abhors parochilism and sentiments or bigotry. Above all Miqati has a philosophy of standing firm on any thing that’s for the Common Good of Mankind!
What drives you? What are you most passionate about in governance?
My major drive in politics is service to humanity. My drive in work place is excellence, devotion to duty. I am passionate about delivering results; results that have positive impacts on mankind.
What difficulties have you encountered in terms of representations of your party policies and programs?
I have not been opportune to be in government so I do not have such experience as to challenges of selling or marketing our party policies and or programmes. In general however, one can say that PDP policies appear to be welcomed and accepted even by the opposition. PDP agricultural policy was adopted by APC and it’s implementation is still on going. PDP policies on transportation as regards rail network, inland water ways and airports rehabilitation are being implemented by APC government with little or no change. Hence it does appear that our party policies and or programmes are generally accepted by all and sundry.
Tell us your plans for Kaduna State if mandated by the people to preside as Governor for the next four years?
For want of time and space, I may not be able to provide detailed breakdown of my plan which is contained in a document or Blue Print tagged WIPER which stands for Wealth Creation, Infrastructure, Peace based on equity and justice, Empowernment and Resource mobilization and management. Each of these subject has major value drivers and an implementation strategy. In addition to the blue print, I intend to ran an all inclusive government and shall consult widely on issues. Moreover because God Himself has placed mankind on a high pedestal amongst all Creation, I shall accord everyone the dignity and respect we deserve.
In the context of partisan politics in Nigeria, what has changed between the last elections and now? What profound revelations have been made, and how would this affect prospects of a free and fair election in which the wishes and desires of the people are recognized this time around?
Although I attempted twice without success to become the Governor of my great state and thus I have no experience of elections, if what we hear people say is anything to go by, Nigerians are gradually coming to terms with democracy. People are considering voting personalities and not party. God fatherism politics is gradually disappearing. Voters are beginning to ask questions, the right questions and the fact that a ruling party lost election at the centre for the first have made everyone not to take voters for a ride. However the influence of money politics appear to still be prevalent and this has to be changed.
In your opinion and that of your party, the PDP, how would you describe current realities in Kaduna State?
There was a bandwagon effect in 2015 elections. The sympathy of the electorate to Buhari and mass followership he enjoyed helped quite a number of candidates to win elections. This was the case in 2015. Current realities are different. Voters appear to be disenchanted with the incumbent Government of Mallam Nasiru el rufai. The Governor embark on several unpopular policies and programmes which has made voters to dislike the government as evidenced by the votes cast in favour of PDP candidates during the last local government elections in the state. Our party shall if we put up a decent candidate win back the state.
How do you rate the chances of other parties participating in the coming elections, especially the incumbent party in Kaduna State?
A number of factors contribute to success in any election personalities or candidates, programmes or manifestos, resources and incumbency factor. Based on these factors the ruling party has advantage only in areas of being incumbent and possibly resources. PDP candidates are men and women of high degree of Integrity, our manifestos are people orientated and appealing to voters and we are determined together with citizens of the state from all walks of life to effect a change come 2019
What difference will your background as an urbane/cosmopolitan individual and scholar make in the saddle of power, as Governor of Kaduna State?
With a rural background, coupled with being a professional of repute, the people of Kaduna state would be having three for the price of one. A rural man, an urbane and cosmopolitan person and a professional all in one. These triple qualities are rare and when combined produce exceptional results whether in government or in private organisation. The qualities and attitudes of rural dweller as well as those of an urbane and cosmopolitan person and that of professional would form the basis of running the state. The diversity of the state in terms of tribes, religion and rural/city dwellers shall be carefully considered and managed for the benefits of all.
What are the foundations of your economic policy programme, as a candidate of the forthcoming elections in Kaduna State?
The cardinal economic policy shall be wealth creation through empowerment of citizens. The states natural resources and it’s potentials as a colonial administration base shall be harnessed. Because Nigeria is running a fairly unitary government it’s difficult or near impossible for any state to develop a robust stand alone economic policy that can stand the test of time. Issues such as exchange rate, employment, interest rate etc are all centrally managed so the states abilities in this regards may not be seen clearly or apparent.
In terms of the above view, where will funds come from to power your economic policy program, given the revenue base of Kaduna State?
As stated earlier, the blue print I developed which will be our guide if opportune to be in government recognised the importance of revenue generation. Without funding no policy can succeed. My first place of work after leaving university was Kaduna State Board of Internal Revenue as such I have some experiences in how best to harness and improve the generating capacity of the government. IGR shall be accorded it’s prime place. Areas such as signage, markets developments, ground rent and even the PAYE taxes that are not collected efficiently shall be restructured and enhanced. Moreover, there shall be strict management of Funds received from the federation account. We shall implement the concept of value for money accounting in all the affairs of government. Areas of leakages shall be identified and blocked. Wastage shall be eradicated and over bloated structures streamlined in order to save costs.
From the point of view of your programme, would you describe prospects of a first 4-year tenure as being adequate to judge you on your campaign promises?
I believe strongly that within the first 3 to 4 years of any government certain policies and programmes should be identified as possible success stories. Projects involving water, housing, health care and security have short gestation period. Areas such as education may take some time but even then people would begin to feel the impact of the government. Indeed because governors are elected on a four year tenure, those elected MUST work towards ensuring that they perform because the mandate is for four years. So I will say four years are long enough to judge any government and in any case basis for seeking election shall be performance and not excuses!
Sir, can you set timelines and target dates for you to be assessed on some of the promises you make here?
It would difficult in fact impossible to set dates when, where and how to be measured without first getting in to the system is see the current situation. What we have is an indicative idea of the situation of things which may significantly differ from the realities on ground.
What should be expected within your first 100 days in office, if voted in as executive governor of Kaduna State of Nigeria?
Again it would a bit out place to make any commitment to deliver certain projects within the first 100 days in office. What is certain is that Kaduna state citizens shall witness an era of decency in governance, all inclusiveness in running the affairs of the state and above all opportunities for people to maximise their potentials with assistance from government.
In specific terms, what sectors of Kaduna State economy are immediately open for development by local and foreign investors, from the point of view of your party program?
Kaduna state has potentials in several areas such as hospitality and tourism, agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, power and education to mention but a few. Local and foreign investors alike shall be welcomed and accorded priority as they come to help develop our state.
What incentives await potential investors in Kaduna State, given the number of opportunities existing elsewhere in Africa, and indeed, the world for them to invest their time and resources?
Investment incentives are usually the prerogative of the federal government, however, as an investment banker, an entrepreneur as well as someone with vast experiences internationally, investors shall be welcomed with delight. Areas such as land acquisition, state nd local governments taxes shall be considered and where necessary tax holiday will be considered
What plans do you have for Kaduna State indigenes in other states of the federation, and those in Diaspora worldwide, how do you intend to involve them in developments at home?
I intend to run an all inclusive governmentas stated earlier. Kaduna state indigenes and indeed Nigerians from any part of the country who has contributions and or suggestions to make honour government shall be welcomed. Open and focused group discussions will be conducted regularly and these group of indigenes would be brought to assist the government.
Will Kaduna State establish an Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, given the value this might have on effectively communicating investment opportunities to potential investors, in line with government strategic economic development blueprint?
This something that we can consider subject to availability of resources. However in the short and medium terms we shall leverage on the existence of Commercial and Economic Attache that Nigerian government embassies and missions abroad already have. Other agencies such as Nigerian Investment Promiotion Commission and it’s activities and offices shall tapped in to so as to attack investments in to the state.
Kaduna State economy remains majorly rural, not minding the availability of highly trained manpower in the state, please outline your thoughts on industrialization of the state. What are the challenges, problems associated with them and prospects for the state´s industrialization?
I will say in our challenges of Industrialisation lies the opportunities. The state requires quality roads, electricity supply, rail network, and a host of other infrastructure. As such these are opportunities for potential investors on a Public Private Partnership arrangement. The abundance of agricultural produce such as cotton, cashew nuts, sesame seeds as well as solid minerals offer potential investors money spinning businesses. Our plans to have industrial clusters would ensure provision of adequate and reliable infrastructure in clusters for the use of industrialist so as to develop the state faster. There would technical assistance with skills and competencies to young citizens so as to be gainfully employed either self or in organisations. We will aim to tap in to the demography dividends within the shortest period of time.
What unique experiences await a first time visitor to Kaduna State, if given the mandate to become Executive Governor?
A Five Star Service Governance. Democracy is said to be government of the people by the people and for the people. Citizens and indeed visitors seldom have a feel of government and even when they do it’s usually negative. The level dirts on the streets of Kaduna, the lack of traffic control, absence of planning particularly in building and structures would certainly be addressed. Scenery and the environment are the first sight of any visitor to a new place. The warmth and friendliness of the people is the next and finally markets where visitors may wish to make purchases, these would received immediate attention. Visitors shall see a different Kaduna city and indeed state
What is your advice to your party during this election?
It’s important that leaders of PDP should realise the mistakes the party made in past and ensure that those mistakes are not repeated. As students of history, we must learn from those mistakes. I am sure everyone of us still have those issues very fresh in our minds. A situation where a senior member of a party comes out to say the party will rule for 60 years posit some level of arrogance and grandstanding. Where is the will of the people? Where has the place of God in this kind of statement? Again when a senior member of a party claims that there is no vacancy in a position that is suppose to be contested by aspirants before selection of the best and people’s choice entails imposition and clear disregards to democratic principles. Worst still several members of the party were not treated fairly. Management of success became an issue as electorate were taken for granted. Unpopular candidates were presented for election because of their political mentors. Mediocares were appointed in to various positions of responsibility. Loyalty was put above competence. These and many issues should not and must not be repeated if we are to have a lasting success. However are these issues peculiar to PDP? Certainly no. Even the APC that is in its first four years of rule is guilty of these issues. The tragedy of African politics and not just Nigerian is men of ideas are not being sought to lead. Electorates are so poor and uneducated that they choose those without ideas to rule. We all have a responsibility to see that this situation change for better. Together we can make it happen. That’s my strong believe.