By Marok Nuhu Haruna, Kaduna
Barr Sule Kwasau is seeking to represent the people of Zonkwa Constituency in the Kaduna State House of Assembly in the 2019 election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with ELANZA News, Kwasau said being a lawyer has given him an edge over other aspirants since the job involved legislative drafting.
QS: How can you describe the leadership of the present administration?
To be candid with you, if there is any adjective to describe the abysmal leadership that has been demonstrated by the present crop of leadership of the APC, I think I will say the leadership is a complete failure. complete failure in the sense that the leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari has left Nigerians more divided than ever before. Since from post civil war era. The government of Buhari is not only rude less, it is clueless and on nepotism, unredeemable. Let me tell you, the present administration’s campaign promises was on a three main issues. We have Security, Economy and the anti-corruption. Now let talk about security. Are Nigerians more secured now that the government is in power? Certainly no, the present government is part of the security problems that we have today. The level of injustices in this country is what has brought about all manner of crisis. We cannot talk about peace without justice. Look at the lopsided appointments, look at the appeasement policy toward the Fulani herdsmen. This are things that are fueling the crisis in this country. When we talk about anti- corruption, for God sake, you know the level and quantum of corruption going on under the present administration is far worst than what former President Jonathan was accused of. Corrupt people have surrounded the government. Look at the grass cutting scandals. Look at the accusation and allegation against top government officials. The anti-corruption is so selective that if you are in the ruling party, you are been given a clean bill of health, and if you decamp from opposition to the ruling party, you are also given a clean bill of health. However, that is why Senator Shehu Sani once said that the government of Buhari is fighting corruption using insecticides for the opposition but uses deodorant for the ones in the ruling party. Has he succeeded ? Certainly no. Look at the economy. The economy went into recession and all they excuses the government gave was to blame PDP government. But the annoying thing is that must of this people in APC where the key players in the PDP administration for 15 years. How can they now turn around and accused PDP? They are corrupt people who had literally pick tents with the APC. So, for me, the government has failed woefully. There is no redeeming feature in the present administration.
QS: From your wealth of experience in the legal profession, how can you describe the policies of the Buhari’s administration?
Yes by the grace of God I was called to the Barr in 1989 having read law in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria as my first Degree. I proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in Lagos. That came after my NYSC in Plateau State. I started my practice in Jos, Plateau State. I had my masters in Law in University of Jos. I have been in active legal practice for 29 years now.
QS: You are contesting for the Kaduna State House of Assembly under Zonkwa Constituency. Can you share with us what the people should expect if you win?
Well every aspirant has the hope and confidence that he or she will succeed. But for me, my success first and foremost, is depending on God’s will and the support from my people and the supporters. However, the position of the House of Assembly Member representing my own constituency only give me advantage as a Lawyer and when you look at my own manifestos, I have said that my legislative agenda is to ensure that appropriation laws are made to take care or incorporate social amenities in my constituency. These amenities are: Roads, Water, Electricity, Hospitals and Schools. Hence, if you look at the state of education in Kaduna State, because of maladministration and the insecurity problem, no investor want to come in. I will work seriously hard along side my members to ensure that they enthrone an enabling environment where peace and stability reigns and where people can leave in peace and harmony. That certainly will attract foreign direct investors.
QS: How do you intend to relate politics and your legal profession?
Well, Law and politics move hand in hand even in the international arena. 70% of those who served as secretary General of the United Nations are Lawyers. As a Lawyer, you are already an administrator. As a Lawyer, you must know the laws that will enhance the well being of your citizen. so, the good people of Zonkwa constituency has alot of advantages having me in the chamber of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. I have been a member of legislative advocacy in the National Executive Committee of the Nigeria Bar Association during the reign of Odakoba. Also, i have been exposed in areas of drafting of Laws as a professional and as a consultant. So it won’t be a new thing. In fact, for me, I see been a Lawyer and a legislator at the same time, eating cake and still having it.
QS: What do you think is needed in the electoral law to suite the present challenges?
Yeah if you were a follower of government of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, there were several committees that were formed to come up with electoral reforms. However, Law is dynamic. So long as society is dynamic, law must keep peace with the changes in the society. We have seen areas in the electoral laws that need urgent amendment considering the level of violence that election has experienced over time. Ballot box snatching , vote buying and other electoral offenses need urgent attention. We need laws that will address some of this challenges and the electoral process. Are we going to use card readers or not? Even nations that are not develop in African and other third world countries, card readers is part and parcel of their electoral process. We have tried it in Nigeria with limited success. Now we need to know why the success is limited. Could it be that we lack the capacity or we don’t have adequate electricity to power the machines? This are the issues. Card reader is a game changer in any electoral process and if we introduce it and make it part of the electoral law, i think our election will get some form of credibility.
QS: What is your take on the Not-too -young to run law?
Well, it is an idea whose time has come. If you look at the political scenario in Nigeria and Africa according to Chinua Achebe in his book, a trouble with Nigeria, he said the trouble with Nigeria entirely is the problem of leadership. He said it keep recircling within some people. As the old people are going out they are literally handing over to their children. The poor man has little or no hope ascending to leadership. But if you look at some developed nation like a president in one of the European countries who is about 31 years, I think the creative energy of Nigerian youths should be Chinua Achebe. If you look at when General Yakubu Gawon ascended to the throne of leadership, he was about 31 years old. Now you find out that when you see a 31 year old Nigerian graduate, he has no job. A lot of graduates are roaming the street in search of what to do. So it is time we work against those huddles that stood against the youths ascending into political leadership. But that can only be achieved when we don’t emphasized money politics. In PDP, we paid about N600,000 for the form and we pay another N100,000 as administrative cost. So, where would a young graduate get that kind of money? I think we should introduce free forms for youths just like in PDP women don’t pay for nomination form. Women only pay N100,000 for expression of interest form. So, why can’t we do that with the youths? And I tell you once we do that, the youths will begin to come in and I assure you, there will be a paradigm shift on the level of governance in Nigeria. The country will improve with the injection of fresh blood into the system not old and tired people.
QS: What are your challenges considering the present political train in the country?
Yes the challenges I face are not personal to me. I think any other aspirant must have one challenge or another. I see political apathy among our people because must of them are peace off following the past experiences. People may not come out to vote because they are disenchanted with the system. It is our duty as aspirants and politicians to engage in effective voter education. Let encourage our people to go out and register. Certainly, some of them have logistical challenges. The issue of money politics is a challenge. If you don’t have money to do politics in Nigeria, only the grace of God will see you through. Each time you call for a meeting, because of the level of the challenges they have in the villages, there is so much poverty. And most people just look for what to grab. That is why we have political blunders. There should be a paradigm shift in the kind of leadership we offer our people. Any leadership that is not people oriented, or centered on people is not leadership. It should not be the leadership by the elites and for the elites. It should be for the entire people especially the poor. If there are Rivers in and around your constituency, build bridges so that the people around those places can easily move their goods and their farm produce to the market. It is not enough to build a primary health center if you can’t employ qualify staffs without drugs. It should not be mere structures. The clinics and the educational sector is worrisome. I have gone round some of this villages, I have seen some of the school buildings in bad conditions and the elites go to this villages without doling anything about it. Recently in Kaduna State, the Governor sack over 20,000 teachers and I see it as a bad decision. Even though he had to reversed his decision, if the teachers are deficient how much component of teachers retraining is require? Have you put in the system like induction courses and refresher courses? If you train them, they will be at pace with new teaching method in line with global best practices. So government was going after symptoms rather than the causes. So, this are areas that are of great concerned to me and I think by the grace of God, if the good people of Zonkwa Constituency give me the mandate, I will hit the ground running.
QS: What is your last word to the electorates?
Well, I want to assure them that i am in this race purely for a good reason. I am not coming into this race because I am looking for a job. The interest of the people is rooted in my heart. If you move around, you will see the level of poverty our people have been subjected to. I feel very unhappy. I believe that the Nigerian electorates generally and the Zonkwa constituents in particular deserved a better deal. It is not much but it seems we can do something much better if given the mandate. I assure you that they will be happy to have voted for me by the time we begin to impact on their lives in ways that they have never expected. So, I am calling on them to come out and give us the necessary support so that we can move this constituency forward.