25 September 2010

Nigeria: ANPP And Yobe 2011 Senatorial Polls


The southern senatorial zone, called Zone 'B' in Yobe State has since 2007 remained the hub of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is why at the moment, a PDP man represents the area at the Senate in the National Assembly following the 2007 elections.

The zone comprises Fune, Fika, Potiskum and Nangere. The PDP had in 2007, also won one seat (Potiskum/Nangere) for the House of Representatives and some for the state Assembly even though the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) won two senatorial seats and most of the seats in the Reps and state Assembly across the three zones.

One problem the southern zone had faced was tribal politics, where many paid undue attention to the ethnic background of aspirants and candidates. This, to many, was why the ANPP, which I believe is structurally closer to the grassroots, lost the 2007 senatorial elections because of split votes. Today, the result is that members of the ANPP, regardless of their ethnic groups, became united in penury by caging themselves out of favour, lack firm representation at the National Assembly. Because it is the first time since 1999 that zone 'B' is not represented by an ANPP member in the Senate, every member of the ANPP from that zone has perhaps learnt a bitter lesson, that voting along ethnic lines as against quality representation retards collective progress, or in fact, works in favour of the opposition. And like what obtains now, the aftermath is that all ANPP members are shut out regardless of ethnic divide, while the opposition members, notwithstanding ethnic divides have representatives they can at least approach to facilitate opportunities they may be eyeing in the areas of employment, education etc at the federal level.

It is remarkable to note that ethnic politics has changed in zone 'B' as evident in the unprecedented crowd that graced the ANPP rally in July, 2010, during which thousands came out en masse in solidarity with a highly detribalised, humble, eloquent and generous Yobean from Fune: Alhaji Abdulkadir Alkali Jajere, the state's commissioner of Works who wants to emerge as a senator in 2011. Jajere's antecedents have endeared him to the people of the zone who are solidly behind him.

He has offered assistance to many Yobeans too numerous to mention - families, students etc.

Owing to Jajere's gesture, it is apt to say that since 1999, the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP in Yobe State has never attracted tremendous support of the youths, men and women of the zone as witnessed during the rally.

But beyond his accessibility, his antecedents since taking up appointment as a member of the Yobe State Executive Council in 2007 make him ANPP's unique selling point ahead of the 2011. As commissioner of Agriculture from 2007 to 2009, Jajere led his ministry into realising numerous objectives in line with the vision of the Yobe State government. And the list is a long one. Under his tenure, within just two years: youths were engaged in farms established across the 17 local government areas of the state which boosted food production in addition to job creation. 700 tractors were successfully procured and allocated to farmers, 12,000 farmers were engaged in castor seeds production to pave way for export for generation of castor oil, under the state castor oil production programme.

Yobe State scored 92.7 per cent agricultural index in the federation which qualified it to participate in the national Fadama 111 project in 2008. The state enjoyed the routine procurement of raw materials for the Gujba fertilizer plant and successful distribution of fertiliser to the satisfaction of farmers; implementation of government's policy of procuring grains from farmers after harvest and selling to the public at subsidised rates during critical times, prompt control of quela birds and other crop pests; popularisation of fish farming allocation of loans to farmers engaged ruminant animals, vegetable and poultry production as well as allocation of ox-bull sets through the International Funds for Agriculture (IFAD) amongst others.

What was really outstanding about Jajere's attitude during his sojourn in the Ministry of Agriculture was that at every point, he was numerically conversant with the number of fertiliser bags allocated, areas covered, areas awaiting and the number allocated or in government's custody. This was clearly owing to not only intelligence but commitment to the development of agriculture in Yobe and beyond.

Strikingly, the man has already repeated the same feat in less than two years as commissioner for Works, of course under a political will created by an amiable governor, Ibrahim Gaidam. Over 1,000 kilometre of roads have been initiated across the state. As can be attested to by passersby, Damaturu, the Yobe State capital now wears a new look owing to road network and drainages springing up all over the place, stretching up to 30 kilometres (roads) and 60 kilometres of drainages. The 300 units of completed housing estate along Damaturu-Maiduguri highway different roads stretching up to 10 kilometres are at advanced stages, also at the 256 units of housing estate along Damaturu-Gashua road, network of 6 kilometre roads are springing up. The state government has also moved into highways, connecting towns and villages with roads in an unprecedented manner since the state was created.

Three things really stand out here the political will created by Governor Gaidam, the high quality of the roads and the commitment of Alkali Jajere who relocates to sites, moves from place to place, interacts with contractors, supervises progress of work, ensures compliance with standards and specifications and also ensures none stoppage of work to meet deadline set by the governor who has always shown keen interest and anxiety to meet the desires of Yobe people.

Today, Yobe government's performances stands tall, particularly in the area of roads, and this naturally makes Alkali Abdulkadir Jajere one of the most performing commissioners under Gaidam's administration, and of course the reason he should be our representative in the Senate come 2011.

Tikau wrote in from Damaturu, Yobe State.

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