Kaduna — Alhaji Hamza Ishaq Danmahawayi was recently appointed Secretary to the Kaduna State Government. In this interview with our correspondent, the SSG bares his mind on the level of peace so far achieved by the Ramalan Yero led administration in the state and efforts put in place to sustain it. Excerpts:
What are the challenges you are facing since your appointment as SSG?
There are challenges in any human endeavour; the office of the SSG is not an exception. Given the sensitive position of Kaduna in the political calculation of Nigeria, the challenges of the office are enormous, but with the support of the governor and cooperation of Kaduna people, I believe that we'll achieve success.
What role would you your office play in the present administration?
My office would implement the programmes of the government of His Excellency, Governor Ramalan Yero to take the state to another level of development. Our party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) has a manifesto and elected officers of the party are the people to implement this policy to translate to what is said to be dividends of democracy and this is what we are here to do and by the grace of Almighty Allah, we will achieve success for the people of the state.
Bearing in mind the volatile nature of Kaduna, what are you doing about the security challenges in the state?
Security is the business of all including you and me. If there is no peace you can't be here conducting this interview, so security of the state is for all us, but from government circle, let me say without any fear of contradiction that the government is in control of the situation at the moment. Security has improved in the state in recent times. Unemployment of youths is being frontally addressed to curb restiveness among the youth which is one the cardinal threat to peace. We want Kaduna to return to its glory of being the safest state in Nigeria.
You were chairman of Giwa Local Government of the state before becoming SSG, what can the people of the area remember you for?
I would rather you ask the people. But when I was the council's chairman we did our best for the people, the records are there. When I was in Giwa, the first thing we did was to show that governance is about the people and not a privilege to amass wealth. We ensured that qualified teachers are employed to improve the standard of education in the grassroots. We ensure that befitting classrooms and furniture are provided to make teaching and learning conducive for the teachers, pupils and students. We also distributed books and uniforms to the students because we know that very many of the pupils and students are indigent. It was during my tenure that we linked Danmahawayi with Gwafikaya and Gwatida with Madaki. Tsohon-Gida was also linked with Luna. Water was provided for human and livestock. We took note of perennial problem of water and reservoir network for at least 20 boreholes to reduce the problem of water. Like I said, the people will answer this question better.
The North is said to be educationally disadvantaged, do you agree?
There is no pretence that the north is making concerted effort to wake up from educational backwardness. Lots of work needed to be done for the north to catch up with other parts of the country educationally. Modalities have been put in place to see that the education sector is given a boost in the region but it takes some time to achieve but efforts are on to address this. The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) is aware of this and they are working on the transformation of the education sector.
What are the plans of the state government on women and youths development?
Youths are the strength of any nation and unless you educate them, you'll be breeding hoodlums so we are focussing on education for transformation. On the part of the women, they are fast adapting to modern realities and are acquiring modern education. Governor Yero as a visionary leader is aware of this, and he's working hard to make sure that development of women and youths takes root and we are behind the governor.
Problems facing the girl-child and Almajiri system persist, what will the people expect from the government in addressing this?
The Almajiri system in the North is an age long thing that cannot be done away with overnight despite modern realities. The state ministry of education is collaborating with the federal ministry of education to address the Almajiri system in the state. On girl-child, Kaduna is one of the states that have promoted the girl-child education, Governor Yero is working along the formulated policy of the state on girl-child and the challenges of the sector are being addressed.
What is the government doing to enhance Operation Yaki?
Recently the government distributed patrol vehicles and other communication gadgets to the operation outfit. The governor is ensuring that the level of peace attained in the state is maintained so that development can be enhanced that is what government is doing on security. You can see that in the recent times, the level of peace in the state has tremendously improved; this is what the government is doing, and this what it intend to do until Kaduna takes its proper place as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.
People lost valuables in the course of religious and political violence in Kaduna in the recent past, what is the government doing to cushion the effect of this on the people?
When this administration was inaugurated, the governor swiftly attended to this. Let me remind you that he approved certain amount of money for all the victims in the three senatorial zones of the state. People were in various refugees' camps and the governor seeing that this has overbearing effect on the people came to their rescue. During the violence, some people lost their houses and others valuables so the governor made sure that such people are settled so they can return to their houses and begin business again.
What would be the effect of the mega party on the PDP?
We are in Nigeria; we have seen threats of mega parties in the past. In the second republic there was such plan but at end of it what was the result? But that is not say the PDP should go home and sleep because the world is dynamic, what was not obtainable then can be possible now but let us wait and see. I don't see any threat to the PDP. Politics is not about the gathering of orators or wishful thinkers. The PDP has been in power since the inception of the fourth republic and Nigerians know what the party has done in providing quality governance, so I don't really think that Nigerians are prepared to substitute the PDP with the party they have tasted.
The manifesto of the PDP has provision for all Nigerians. Nigeria was in a mess of indebtedness before the party assumed power in 1999 but in first 8 years of the party in power, the PDP government of the former President Obasanjo make Nigerians heave the sight of relieve and the party has done such much for the country that I think that Nigerians cannot just fall to any cajoling or sky scraper promises that cannot be feasible at the end of the day. The power sector reform of President Jonathan is yielding result. Today Nigerians have power supply of at least 15 hours which is a plus to the PDP.
What of the banking reform? Armed robbery has reduced on our roads because people don't carry large sums of money, you can go anywhere in Nigeria withdraw money and do your business without fear. Communication has made life easy for Nigerians. The party has done a lot for Nigeria and Nigerians and you can't change a winning team.