The governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), promises to be a tough contest with seven aspirants, jostling for the party’s ticket.
Jonathan Adamu Kish, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for justice, the only aspirant of the PDP from the Southern part of Kaduna state, prides himself as the most qualified.
He spoke on his agenda for Kaduna state should he pick the PDP ticket and eventually gets elected as governor of Kaduna state. Excerpts:
You are one of the several governorship aspirants of the PDP in Kaduna state, what is your agenda for the state assuming you eventually emerged as the flag bearer of the party?
From my experience in government and as I go around, a few things have come to my mind. I have notice that the state is divided. So the first ting I would like to do is to find the way to unite the people.
I have also discovered that for so many year, there had been attempts by various administrations to bring about development. Whether they succeeded or not is a different thing, but I have realised that the biggest challenge we face is insufficient revenue to be able to meet the challenges confronting the people of Kaduna state.
So I would like to use technology and other tools to find a way to improve revenues so that we can attend to the needs of the people in terms of infrastructure, education and other areas.
Having said so, in terms of specific areas, I have five issues that I would like to address if I am elected Kaduna state governor.
I would like to see how we can improve the quality of teachers, improve the learning infrastructure in terms of expanding the classrooms where necessary because in some areas, schools run several streams in a day. We will motivate teachers by improving their wages and provide basic learning facilities.
We will train and retrain and re recruit qualified teachers.
I will also focus on the health sector. People get ill and there is no guarantee that they can get good health care services.
We will see how we could improve the National Health Insurance scheme as it affects residence of Kaduna and increase universal access to health care. We will improve on Primary Health Care system and the general hospitals in the state. We will get more qualified doctors into the system.
The nurses, while they are doing a lot of work, sometimes, their human relationship is not very good. You find out that there is psychological part of the healing process. We would like to work with a team of people in the health sector to improve the way they handle patients and make our hospitals more friendly by providing more equipment.
I will also address the issue of infrastructure. The quality of our infrastructure can be better. Former Governor Ahmed Makarfi did excellently in terms of road infrastructure. In the Yakowa administration under which I served as Commissioner for Justice, we also attempted to improve the road infrastructure during the short live of the administration.
I would like to build on what we had wanted to do at that time.
I will also like to see how we can build an integrated transport system. The first time I went to Munich, the public transport system was so effective. From the airport, I got a train to the city centre, basically from your house, you don’t need a car. The transport system is so well connected that there is ease of movement and at an affordable rate.
First, we will come up with an integrated transport master plan before we can gradually find resources for implementing it because it is quiet expensive.
We will also explore how we can take advantage of the reforms in the power sector and bring it down to Kaduna state.
As attorney general under the Yakowa administration, I was part of the power committee of Kaduna state and we did quite a lot of work in trying to see that the Kudenda power plant, a federal government project was put in place. We will tried to see how we can generate power from Gurara Dam to the industrial area of Kaduna. We tried to see that some of the NIPP projects were commissioned.
Drawing from that experience, I will ensure that power is put where power is needed so that micro, small and medium enterprises can begin to flourish and bring about job creation.
I will also ensure good governance, we will deal with issues of corruption and ensure transparency. We will embark on civil service reforms and improve workers’ welfare and renumeration and so on.
We will build a better and efficient civil service, better housing for civil servants and residents of Kaduna state. These are some of the ideas I would like to bring into play if I emerge as governor of Kaduna state.
You spoke of the state being divided, how do you intend to unite the people?
We had this inter religious harmony committee that was set up so many years back by the Makarfi Administration, I would like to see that it is revived to promote regular interactions.
The Peace Commission set up by the present administration was my idea as attorney general during the Yakowa administration. I wrote a memo to the governor on that. What we thought of that is not what they have today. What we thought about was more like a truth commission.
The idea was to create an environment which people can talk about the pains that they had gone through. Where somebody will see his accuser and respond to his accusations, where somebody can challenge his oppressor, they can talk and there can be forgiveness and bring about closure of some of the deep cleavages we have in Kaduna state, where we can have frank interaction under a legal framework that grant amnesty to people.
So I will like to have that inter religious harmony committee that will meet regularly with all the various religious groups, the traditional institution and so on.
We also tackle the issues that cause division among people, especially injustice.
In fact the focus of my administration, if I am elected governor, is a new Kaduna state anchored on justice. If we are just and fair to everybody, it will further unite the people.
There are speculations that you are angling to be become deputy governor, how do you react to that?
In politics you will always hear all kinds of rumours. I am glad that you have taken the time to ask me this question.
First of all, my posters are everywhere, I have my campaign materials and I have been campaigning for the office of governor.
I have never hinted or said to anyone, either by body language or by insinuations or by suggestion, in whatever manner that I am looking for any position other than the position of a governor.
I was the attorney general of Kaduna state, a very influential and powerful position, with all the people who are running for the governorship, with due respect, other than Mukhtar Yero who has been governor before, nobody has better credentials than me to be governor of Kaduna state.
So I don’t understand how somebody would think that I am angling to be deputy governor.
In Nigeria, people judge you based on how they perceived themselves. So people who feel they cannot be governor other than deputy governor would begin to spread those kinds of rumours that this is what I am aspiring to be.
Sometimes they cook up this kind of stories as a way of de-marketing you before the electorates. If I were angling to become deputy governor, I would not have stayed on the course up to this moment. By the way, I returned my nomination form on Friday.
I have told people over and over again that you don’t aspire for deputy governor, it is a foolish thing to do, because after a candidate emerges from a party, different factors will come into play that will lead to whoever becomes the deputy governor…
With due respect to all those people who are angling to be deputy governor, I don’t see how that kind of strategy would work. But in politics, you keep your option open.
Assuming you don’t get the PDP ticket, what would be your next move? Will you move elsewhere to actualise your ambition?
I am a loyal party man. I keep telling the party at all meeting to ensure that the process is fair and free. Let there be leveled playing field for every aspirant. If these minimum democratic conditions are met, there is no reason to be dissatisfied with the outcome of the primaries.
I expect that I will win. If do not win, I will work with the candidate of the party who won freely and fairly.