Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Katsina SSG Mustapha Inuwa talks on joining political race-Read More


Like every other state, Katsina has its fair share of challenges, and in this interview with AUGUSTINE OKEZIE, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa speaks on a number of these challenges as well as how the Aminu Masari administration is tackling them, including the fact that the state’s civil servants get paid promptly and consistently. Excerpts:
You moved from local government chairman to commissioner for Education, and from chairman of Katsina State All Progressives Congress (APC) to Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Tell us about these transitions.
I started with this administration right from the university as classroom teacher during the administration of the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. First I was appointed the General Manager, Katsina State Transport Authority (KSTA) in 2000, soon after the 1999 elections and also doubled as caretaker committee chairman of a local government.
Later, I was appointed the commissioner for Education after the 2003 election and also in 2006 when the then SSG, Saidu Abbah Rumah became a Minister. I took over as the SSG which means I was the SSG towards the end of the tenure of the late Yar’Adua and during the eight years of Shema’s administration, from where I moved into the opposition party then.
We were compelled to move out of PDP [Peoples Democratic Party] and remain in opposition and during the opposition period, I served as sole administrator of CPC [Congress for Progressive Change] in Jigawa State for three months. I conducted the congresses in that state, from the wards to the state levels and after the congresses I stepped down as sole administrator in that state.
When I returned to Katsina State, I served as the interim administrator and the Treasurer of CPC and with the coming of the APC, I served as the chairman of the membership registration committee for Kano State as well as chairman of Kano State congress committee, where we conducted the congresses of Kano State APC elections.
Here in Katsina, I contested for the position of the state chairman which I won.
I also led the transition committee when this present government was to be sworn in, and the governor appointed me the SSG.
From your profile, are you prepared to move on to other levels, perhaps up to the national level?
Only God knows that one. If Allah wants me anywhere He will take me there. I always pray that wherever I am let me have the opportunity to bring the best to people I serve.
This brings us to the issue of S-Power project. Some have asked why the state employed 5000 teachers when the state is in dire need of more teachers.
We could have requested for 1000, 2000, or more. Let’s understand one thing, all this requires money and it is common knowledge that state governments are finding it difficult to pay salaries of existing workers.
Here in Katsina we have been consistent in the payment of salaries at the right time before the end of the month even before we go for the federation account. Many states owe and those who do not owe cannot pay until after they have collected the money from the federation account but in here in Katsina, whether we go to the federal account or not, by 24th and 25th every month we pay salaries.
We are paying gratuities, we pay pension promptly and we are paying other allowances and so on with the meager resources we get from the federation account. If it is our wish we understand, we will not go for S-power, we will go for normal recruitment of teachers and would not mind meeting the 100% demand for teaching vacancies.
There are other competing needs like the health sector, agriculture, security and so many others. What a particular state receives monthly is something that every individual can have access to, so we have to go for 5000.
On security
When the present government was sworn in, this state was virtually under siege by criminals, we have now achieved more than 80% of security through amnesty. We are still growing and will not rest until we completely arrest these criminals and crimes including banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, armed robbery, farmers/herdsmen clashes and so on.
So the challenges facing this office are largely those of cattle rustling, banditry and kidnapping, etc, also empowering the youth amidst lean resources. The demands are high, so are people’s expectation, now that they are politically aware.
Now you find people calling you, writing you and this government is an open government where the government and the governor is very accessible unlike others. So people can easily pass their opinions, make request to the government, so they expects the government to do much. We have the will; we have the determination but lack the resources.
Do you agree with the opposition that the state is heavily in debt?
There is no state in this world that is not in debt; it is the only way you can run investment. You cannot run serious business without debt. Ask Dangote, Bill Gates, and big business people if they are into debt or not but what is the most important is what you do with the debt.
Okay, what is the point? Before, we had money but nothing was done to show for it. The money was stolen but now you are in debt but you are servicing the debt and you are growing the state’s economy. What is wrong with that?
The FG is in debt, also you are in debt. I believe the opposition parties are also into debts and are exaggerating the issues.
By December, 2015, when they were preparing to hand over, KTSG had in various accounts over N30 billion, and by the time we took over we met only a little above N4billion. N26 billion was squandered in five  months. There was a case of cheque withdrawals on a day a single day of 86 cheques each reading N9.5million in one bank by one person withdrawn from a government account.
The opposition parties say you were a beneficiary of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua govt but you didn’t organise any remembrance for him.
You see, I worked under Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as I told you earlier; I have tremendous respect for him. I considered him as my leader and I still consider him as my leader. I have no apology for that. I also regretted that Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died without giving his best to Nigeria.
It is Nigeria that really lost; it is not only the Yar’Adua family that lost him. Every year, especially during his remembrance day, journalists do talk to me about him. I always express my concern for him, but to organise a remembrance, one to me, is not within our culture and I don’t see it as something necessary.
If we don’t, what of those he handed over the government to? What of Shema administration? Did they organise the remembrance for him? Did not even talk about him? Did they even appreciate anything from him? There was a time the families phoned me and thanked me for what I said about him in the papers.
I don’t even know the paper was out until when one of the members of the family called and said they are just reading what I have said about him in this kind of remembrance. He was so grateful he said the family is really proud of what I have done. You see, one I don’t believe in this sycophancy stuff. I know Umaru Musa Yar’adua; I respect and appreciate all he did. He was my leader; I worked with him and still working with him. We have mutual respect. That is why you can see he kept moving me from one place to another. And he trusted me. We have a lot of discussions on government without anybody even knowing and whenever there is a problem he asked for my opinion because he knew very well I will never say what I don’t mean.
Do you agree with some people who say the trial of former Governor Shema is political victimisation?
The court will determine that.
What is the reaction of the state government on June 12. Are you going to make Tuesday a work-free day?
I think people misunderstand what the president said. You see the recognition of June 12 was a very good decision, I believe. I have been an early supporter of June 12. We believe it is the best opportunity for Nigeria to unite, even better than the Civil War we fought but unfortunately, leaders so selfish, so self-centered, decided to do otherwise, but now you have a visionary leader who fought in the civil war, you cannot have a better Nigerian than him.
You can’t have a better Nigerian who wants the unity of Nigeria than Buhari. I think the most important thing is the declaration not whether it is celebrated or not but you can be assured that June 12 will be a work-free day
On the National Assembly’s threat to impeach the President.
The drama unfolding in the National Assembly is really something that Nigerians should advise NASS not to allow sentiments to determine their actions. I think the Senate President and Bukola Saraki are different personalities. What he has done in his personal capacity should not be allowed to influence decisions of NASS, Senate in particular,
Simply because they are not getting what they used to get from the Presidency so they rather go with the Senate President than the President. Let us not forget that Nigerians are watching, the electorate is watching and the electorate is solidly behind the president. So I think we really need to think.
They are called ‘Dattawa’ and this means elder statesmen. So let them remain so. Many of them served as governors, ministers before they came here, so we expect them to be responsible. Some of them are in their 60s and 70s. So what are they looking for? I think it is better they join hands with the president and help move this country forward.

Author: verified_user