Former Kaduna State Commissioner for Education and factional Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr. Mataimaki Tom Maiyashi, in this interview with ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE in Kaduna, the state capital, says there cannot be genuine reconciliation in the crisis-ridden chapter because Governor Nasir El-Rufai will frustrate it.
Is there any difference between the ‘APC Akida,’ the Restoration Group and the faction, led by Senator Hunkuyi?
I think this question is important for the sake of clearing the confusion around these issues. APC Akida started right from the onset when we noticed that the principles and philosophy on which he party was founded was being renaged by the party in government The people elected the APC into government. They did so based on certain principles of the party, which they believed were going to implement, if elected into power. And the slogan of ‘change’ was not just a mere slogan; we are saying that something was wrong and there was the need to shift to move away from that and bring about the fundamental change that is going to affect the lives of ordinary people like workers, artisans, craftsmen, students and so on. Right from the onset, when we noticed that the state government under the leadership of Nasir El-Rufai had started betraying those principles, we sensed that there was going to be danger and the danger was that if we do not make amends and come back strictly on those principles (Akida), the party was going to run into trouble. Because there will come a time when the party will have to account for his actions. So, it is not just the Governor, and whether you like the governor or not, he is an APC governor, he is not an independent candidate, so the party will have to come back to the people, seeking for remandating from the people. And it is then that the party will be faced with the reality of what it has done and whether it has deviated.
If it has deviated from the principles of which it was elected to government, that will be the day of reckoning and it will not be pleasant and that is why from the onset, we named our selves APC Akida. Restoration Group came much later. It is a very recent development. They were with El-rufai. Even, when we were fighting Nasiru, they were there and we kept telling him that this thing has the capacity of spiralling into something that could throw the party and even the government into very serious crises. Well, they taught that they could manage it from the inside, until lately they now realise that they couldn’t manage it and so they formed what they called Restoration Group. In that case, we are on the same page, they are Restoration and we are Akida, and we came right from the unset.
Before you took up the fight against the governor, did Akida fight from within?
No, there was no fight from within. We are members of APC and nobody can deny that. So, if we see somthing that is wrong and we say for example that to us ita absurd that the governor took the line of action he took, to us it was a complete betrayal of the trust of the people, and we were going to be part of the explanation of what he has done in government, been members of the APC. we cannot now say its when its time to seek for remandating that we now say we are not APC, of course we are. And people will ask us questions anyway, because they know us to be APC.
What we try to do was try to draw the attention of the governor and series of meeting were held, we sort audience with the governor severally, memos were sent to him, seeking to get round the table and discuss the issues. If you want to verify this, you go to the national headquarter of the party, you will see our communication with the party on what was happening. First quarter of 2016 , around March/April, the national vice chairman northwest for APC, barrister Inuwa Abdulkadir was mandated to come and sit with us here, where he finished his work and submitted his report to the national headquarters.
In October, November, December 2016, another committee was formed under the leadership of the governor, his excellencency the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari and there are two sittings Senators present, Kabir Gaya from Kano and Dr. Abdulahi Argungun from kebbi, they were members of that committee, they came and we instructed all our people to give them maximum corporation to that committee and provide the committee with every information that they required with a view that this thingswill be understood from holistic point of views so that it will be sorted out and party get back on its course. That committee finished his work and just like the governor humiliate the northwest chairman, he also humiliate the Masari committee. You will recall that the governor directed that the family house of the national Vice chairman on Yakubu Avenue to be destroyed, just because he was committed to getting everybody round the table to sort out this problem. So a lot of effort had been made.
There are even friends and colleagues who had even intervened, but the governor remained adamant. You will remember he said anybody who was not happy with what he was doing should go and climb Kufena hill and go and commit suicide. But, we will not go and commit suicide. You also remember May last year at a town hall meeting in Giwa where he named us by name, that we were ants that he has spike shoes, that he will crush and mutilate us and gather the rubbles in wheelbarrow. Well the ants are still here. He doesn’t know that ants are great warriors. I think he needs to go back to history, during the Jihadist days, where ants brought down Chariots on horses, so that is why we are still here and we are on ground.
In the face of all these, what do you think is the future of APC in Kaduna State, especially as we approach the 2019 general election?
It is a very important question. Some of your colleagues have asked me this question and my response has been that- when you have a mandate, you have a contract with the people of Kaduna state that you are going to run a government that is going to respect, promote human dignity, happiness and development, while bringing about change to those people who have been so marginalised over a period of time and have been living in a state of penury, agony and poverty, this is the change APC promised the people of Kaduna state.
As we speak, non of those promises have been fulfilled. Instead the governor has persistently tow the line of antagonizing the same people who gave the APC this mandate that enabled him to become a governor.
Our local government workers have been sacked, traditional rulers have been sacked and many of them humiliated. Teachers have been sacked; as we speak, there are still some people in the civil service who are still receiving their termination and sack letters. As at the last count, we have 36 thousand workers who have lost their jobs in a state, not a Federal Government. The implication of that is huge, and if you take particularly the teachers issue, completely the education system has been dislocated and destroyed, and once you go into destruction, building and developing is not an easy thing.
From the time that the 21,780 teachers were sacked, in some of the schools, its only one teacher remaining. Now, with the promise that some 25 thousand were going to be employed immediately to fill the vacancies of those that were sacked, the whole thing is crazy, that a teacher who did not score 75per cent in an examination is useless and he should go; what is magical about 75 percent? And that exams is the most unprofessional thing that I have ever seen. It is reckless. Some 46,000 were said to have applied, and out of which some 25 thousand are supposed to be selected, and about 10-15 thousand are said to have been found eligible for employment, so assuming that those ones are in place, you will still have a balance of 10 thousand, but as we speak, those ones are not in place yet . You can imagine the loss of contact hours and several weeks, this children have no contact with teachers, imagine the gap of this dislocation? Not to talk of the very poor infrastructure of some schools. If you put all these dislocations together, I don’t know how we are to reconstruct the education in the state to be effective even just at the basic level.
There is no person on earth that will boast that they have all the capacities required in other to perform their duty, be it an Army, Medicine or whatever, there is always a capacity deficiency, and what normally is supposed to be done is to do an evaluation, capacity assessment and see where the capacity gaps are, and you organise capicity building programmes to fill in those gaps. Those that completely may not be able to get to the basic standard required, you turn them in and let them do something else, but not to wakeup just one morning and sack 21,780 teachers, that is the most craziest thing I have ever come across in my professional life, it is complete madness and we will have to explain these to the electorate, because as we speak, the schools are still empty, teachers are not there, so the day of reckoning is near and I don’t know what the governor has as plan to convince the people that that is the route to take to bring about change in education.
Do you think reconciliation is possible and do you think the governor can tow the line of APC Akida?
First of all, the governor, by his orientation, completely is a misfit in the change project. You can see this clearly, when you want to bring about fundamental change in society, it does not rely on your sole knowledge, that, it is you alone who knows what to do and even the people that you are working for should have no say. In education, there is something we call learner voice, which means you as a teacher should prepare to hear from your students, because the reason why the institutions were established was because of them. If there is no learner, then there will be no Permanent Secretary, Director in the ministry of education, or Commissioner of Education. So, the learner voice is very important, not to talk of democracy where you are supposed to be managing the affairs of men and you say that nobody’s view is relevant, that you will run your policy and evaluate yourself that you have done well, that is madness. That is the orientation of El-rufai, for he will not change.
Look at what happened few days ago. The secretariat, which is Hunkuyi’s house was demolished. That is even Hunkuyi who has been his companion, and a very close ally, who even paved the way for him to win the election. No leader in his responsible sense will do that type of thing. Once anything touches him, (El-rufai) you just flare up. No responsible leader in democracy will do that, this is tyranny. So, he will not change, and so there will be no resolution of this crises. I can tell you that Nasiru El-Rufai will not change and then there will be no resolution of this crises.
We are very happy that the President took this initiative, by instituting the Asiwaju committee. Asiwaju has been governor before. He is highly a respected leader of the party and we know he is committed to the wellbeing of the party. But, I can assure you, I am not a prophet of doom, but Nasiru El-Rufai will not change and so their will be no resolution.
We are prepared. On our side we are prepared, because all along our commitment has been come back on cause and safe this party from ridicule and ruin and humiliation and we have, the state local government election around the corner, you just wait and see, the expression, the reaction of the people , that is going to be a testing ground before 2019. I can tell you as it is now that we have no product to sell to the people. They gave us the mandate and we betrayed the mandate. We have antagonised them, we are fighting them and we are not even prepared to listen. The President in his new year speech apologized for suffering that people are going through, and that is a true sign of good leadership, but here we have a governor who benefited immensely from the credibility of the Mr. President, but he is too big-headed to listen to anybody or let alone even apologise.
You remember his speech at Umar Musa Yardua Centre at Murtala Square, he said he is not afraid of fighting, and he has enough stamina and energy to fight, that he had faught two Presidents; one is in his grave and the other one is in his village in Otuoke. Tell me, can a human being in a respected position make such statement? It is insanity. If he goes to this extent, then, I don’t think miracles are not possible, miracles are possible, but as a human being, the way I see how this government is going, there’s need to blow a trumpet into his ears before he listens and I have not seen that type of trumpet.
In case there is no such micracle, what are your plans in Akida and the Hunkuyi faction?
I can tell you that politics is a matter of opinion,it is what we think we should be doing and political parties are organizations that you join voluntarily, Nobody is in the position to say people must remain in APC. Already there are people who are already leaving, that’s why you hold your views and determine where you are going to realize it. And that’s why the constitution of the federal republic guarantees freedom of opinion and freedom of association, so political parties are associations that you voluntarily join which you can walk in and walk out .There is nobody that can make a law and say you must remain in a political formation as to whether you like it or not. I know many people who are members of APC and their minds are already walking away from the party.
If you study the number of people who voted from 1999 to 2015, you will see that the number of voters is declining, this is because majority of Nigerians are loosing confidence in our elites. Even in this 2015 election which General Buhari won by 2.5 million votes or there about, peoples Jonathan has 10 million votes, Buhari has 12.5 , so if you put the numbers together, it amounts to 22.5 million or thereabout, out of over 60 million eligible Nigerians, which means we are even running a minority government. Many Nigerians have lost faith in the political class.
I am the chairman of Akida, but I am not GOC or Brigade Commander that will command everybody into line. We all have our perception before joining politics, I am in politics becuae of what I wan t Nigeria to be, so if I see that what in what ever formation I’m in is not going to materialise, then the most natural thing for me to do is to look elsewhere, where I can achieve this.
Source: Nation Newspaper