Not that it’s my business to teach PDP how to be a respectable opposition party, I still find it patriotic to advise the rested giant on how best to be a toy elephant with enough size to be seen as serious even if without the energy to be effectively serious. This much is provable from a recent interview with the Chairman, Katsina State Chapter of the PDP, Hon. Salisu Majigiri, in which he went ballistic; shooting in all directions although with most of the bullets expectedly ricocheting and hitting PDP directly.
More than anything, Majigiri’s interview leaves no one in doubt about the unreadiness of the PDP to reclaim power in Katsina state or maintain the position of the main opposition party even in a distant sense. At the rate, style and quality PDP is conducting the business of opposition politicking, any of the obscure political parties aimlessly roaming the political highway may soon chase PDP off the table of the opposition league. This much could be said to be the summary of the very contradictory interview hosted by the Chairman, Katsina State chairman of the PDP.
Honestly, this is more a tribute to the many dexterous, resilient, reputable and well tutored politicians who, against all the shortcomings of PDP chose to pitch their tent with the party only to be reduced to mere spectators y the self-appointed lords of the party who spent more time trying to legitimize their ownership of the PDP than providing quality opposition in Katsina state. These are savvy and well equipped politicians who could keep any administration on its toes yet, made irrelevant and invisible by the somewhat confused self-appointed leadership of the PDP perhaps for the leadership’s fear of losing relevance to the few qualitative members who could infuse some level of dignity into the party.
I always feel embarrassed on behalf of these accidental and fully asphyxiated PDP members each time the party go out galloping on its thoroughly exhausted horse of propaganda. I cannot imagine any of them going into a radio studio to tell Katsina state citizens that APC/Masari has nothing to show of the value of N3bn in the 6 years of this administration. And this is because they are sophisticated and enlightened enough to know this is akin to a retarded kid messing with a dangerously sharp double-edged sword. Discerning minds will like to know, if APC/Masari has nothing to show of N3bn value after after applying 6 annual budgets of averagely N150bn (N900bn), why is PDP yet to compile a comprehensive petition and send to EFCC/ICPC for a thorough investigation, rather opting to waste its “Facts” in 30 minutes political programs of FM stations and social media pages?
Please discount the fact that PDP could even make 5% of the N900bn APC/Masari stole courtesy of the whistleblowing policy of the Buhari administration. Alternatively, an acknowledgement copy of PDP’s petition to the EFCC/ICPC will go a long way in destroying the reputation of the Buhari administration, agreeably a lifetime ambition of the PDP top to bottom. If this is not enough to puncture holes into PDP’s childish allegations, not even the bank alerts of the entire transactions of the APC/Masari administration from 2015 to date could.
To say the least, Majigiri’s interview is the clearest case of all motion no movement. His overly disingenuous method of probing governance given his experience as a former member of the National Assembly and a one time Chief of Staff to former Governor Shema must have embarrassed, as always, the more visionary members of the PDP who are more the victims of his frequent verbal diarrhoea than his intended target — the APC/Masari administration.
Coming from anybody less than the man on top of the PDP hierarchy, one wouldn’t invest time responding to Majigiri’s incoherent compilation of political and administrative events of the last 5 years in Katsina state obviously crafted to lower the esteem of the APC/Masari administration and to dampen the spirits of the managers of the administration. This is a gimmick to reposition the rested PDP for the upcoming 2023 season of elections. Majigiri is playing the oldest trick in the books of democracy — “Where you don’t have facts to destroy, invent!”
I don’t begrudge PDP for resorting to desperate antics like this though. Actually I’m happy. Discarding the politics of cudgels and machetes for the politics of verbal banditry is a good omen and a sign PDP may be fully civilized one day to discard its template of coercion for that of persuasion for democracy to thrive happily ever after. First things first though. Let’s briefly review the history of PDP in Katsina state to make sense (or lack of it) of Majigiri’s hyperbolic interview by highlighting the discrepancies, inconsistencies and contradictions contained therein.
It beats me silly how a key player in the disgraced immediate past PDP administration in Katsina; one who served at different levels the profligate administration whose senior managers are now jumping from one courtroom to another, attending to cases of corruption, get the courage to get involved in public debates about the past, present much less, the future of Katsina state? In a saner clime, Majigiri or any Katsina PDP stalwart wouldn’t be caught near any arena where public debates about the development of Katsina state could be the topic even if accidentally. Not with so many unanswered questions of corruption and administrative randiness still hanging brightly around their necks. Perhaps, relying on the old maxim — time heals — PDP is beginning to believe and act its lies about being a functional party chased out power by propaganda. How much far it could go on this fantasy ride, only time could tell.
But for PDP’s lifelong habitude to always put the cart before the horse, Majigiri would have done a lot better investing his time trying to explain to the good people of Katsina a recent viral audio clip that was the topic of discussion in the state. In the scandalous audio clip, Majigiri’s successor as Chief of Staff in the Katsina Government House was caught giving graphic details of how billions were siphoned from the state’s treasury by the ousted PDP administration. Shouldn’t Majigiri, as the chairman of PDP in the state concentrate on disputing the “From-the-horse’s-mouth” allegations of the massive and unprecedented heists as confessed by his successor in Katsina Government House? The least expected of him is to be seen apologizing to the people of the state for the self-confessed obscenity alleged to have been perpetrated by his party under his watch as exposed by his successor instead of trying to downplay the significance of ongoing efforts by the APC/Masari administration to correct as best as it could PDP’s banditry in the state by the provision of the numerous life-touching projects executed or being executed by the Masari administration which he’s pretending not to see.
By the way, the aforementioned audio clip was only a confirmation of findings by different investigative panels appointed by the APC/Masari administration in its early days to verify the books of the sacked PDP administration. This is saying, with many cases of corruption against the PDP at various levels of litigations in different courts, Majigiri is safer with his book of apologies than his book of disputation. Also, this is to remind Majigiri of the ancient maxim encouraging people to look at the robes of those promising them new robes just to have him avoid debate arenas like this. The many cases of corruption against the PDP are enough proof that one is better running around naked than with the PDP robe of morality Majigiri wore to the self-indicting interview under review. I will not mention the multi-billion Naira properties confiscated from some PDP members by the EFCC some of which are already fully forfeited to the government while others are at final or semi-final stages of forfeiture. Just how PDP feel qualified to sit and judge or even complain about the affairs of a state they left bloodied and half dead beats me.
The desperation of the PDP to warm its way into the hearts of Katsina citizens by insidious campaigns of calumny against the APC/Masari administration is akin to cutting grass to feed a dog. It will take Majigiri or anybody a lifetime and all the tricks in the books of democracy to explain how PDP could both be the saint Majigiri sees and not the devil we know. Unless if he is aiming for the PDP to become the one and only “St-Devil” in human history, he will get better value for his time trying to explain how PDP could be “So good, so prudent, so accountable and so compassionate with excellent record of service yet, most of its warlords are either regulars in the eerily quiet interview rooms of the EFCC or have graduated from the EFCC class into various courts to fight cases of corruption of alarming degrees. This couldn’t be anything but the resume of “Saint-Devil.”
Let’s quickly review the high points of the interview.
Majigiri said and I quote: “Babu mai iya cewa ga iyakar bashin da ake bin Katsina.” Loosely translated: “Nobody could say how much debt Katsina has accumulated in the 5 years of Masari’s administration.” Not done playing analogue, Majigiri also said: “Babu mai iya fadin kudaden da gwamnati Masari ta samu daga kafuwar ta zuwa yanzu.” Also loosely translated: “Nobody could say how much revenue the Masari administration generated from inception to date (all emphasis mine).”
This is embarrassing coming from a leader of a 21st century main opposition party. It vividly explains why there’s no quality opposition in Katsina state — the kind generally approved as healthy, civilized and people-oriented. In this age of internet when information is always a fingertip and 10mb away, it beats me how Majigiri could cheaply disgrace the opposition by making public its analogue disposition. How much will it take a serious critic to visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO) to locate and calculate the revenue inflows and debt liabilities of Katsina state for a more informed and robust engagement?
It’s lazy for anybody to just sit back and claim “Nobody could say how much revenue Katsina state generated or how much debt it accumulated” unless if by “Nobody” he’s talking about himself and others like him who are yet to appreciate the convenience of the internet put at their disposal. It’s just as lazy to mount a podium and start asking the government of the day how much revenue it generated or much debt it accumulated. That’s nothing less than asking the government to add the job of the opposition to its job description. The world over, perhaps with the exception of Katsina, it’s the job of the opposition to dig for facts with which to subject the government to forensic scrutiny. Please wake up! Nobody will hand you bullets to shoot him with. In its days as the opposition, the APC used to write and publish quarterly reports cards for PDP to defend. Where APC said so and so was not done, it will prove with facts so and so was not done. Is this so much a rocket science for PDP to learn and copy?
PDP’s obvious case of stunted intellection may also be the reason why Majigiri chose to lampoon the APC/Masari administration by using the mischievous allegation of accumulated debt for the state. Without saying when or how the so called debt accumulates, he went berserk. That’s not without a reason though. In PDP’s fiscal template, “Debt for the state” is one and the same with a largess for the bosses of the state hence the suspicion by PDP that its template is still the operational template and any debt sourced for the development Katsina state (as is unavoidably usual in governance the world over) is an unnecessary and avoidable liability for the state.
Talking about debt, Majigiri should have first express remorsefulness about the multi-billion Naira unnecessary and largely inexplicable debt burden the immediate past administration left behind — debts that are still hazy and contentious as made so by the PDP in the handover notes it refused to present to the Masari Transition Committee until a day before it exited office when there was nowhere left to run. Beginning with the more than N11bn unpaid pension and gratuity liabilities for which President Buhari has to come to the rescue of Katsina state with a bailout of N11bn to save the lives of retirees who were neglected like societal rejects; their pathetic situation insensitively and inhumanly ignored by an administration in which Majigiri was a Chief of Staff, how’s Majigiri a good candidate to lampoon the Masari administration on the issue of debts?
Ok, Masari is building an underpass bridge with a loan. So what! He’s not building a new Government House for his personal comfort. He’s building a bridge to ease the lives of millions of people who must move from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ to eke out a living while fulfilling other social obligations. If Majigiri could see nothing wrong with PDP building an overly ostentatious state of the art luxury mansion for the comfort of a Governor while retirees were dying of depression and hospitals and schools were dilapidating at a rate never recorded in the history of the state, how’s he reliable enough a judge to assess the significance and relevance of providing the bridges he’s condemning?
Majigiri’s take on the bridges is no less irritating. On one hand he appreciates both the unprecedented rural-urban migration as escalated by rural banditry which foundation they set and left behind and the need to accommodate the fallout of the unprecedented phenomenon — the overwhelming influx from the rural areas which expectedly is upsetting traditional governance by over-stretching facilities and every aspect of governance. On the other hand he’s questioning the logic of providing the underpass bridges to ease vehicular and human movement which in turn will enhance economic activities of people in the state capital. What could be more contradictory?
Let me at this point also remind Majigiri that nobody ever bought the bunkum about PDP building the new Katsina Government House with proceeds from fixed deposits — an explanation probably scripted to lessen the insensitivity of the willful mismanagement of lean public resources at the expense of more credible and biting demands. Bankers here will agree that, at between 7% to 10% returns of fixed deposits, either Katsina never had the kind of money to fix and generate the needed profit to build a multi-billion Naira new Government House or if by any magical possibility it did, it’s very reckless and insensitive for it to fix such huge sums in a bank while millions of citizens were dying of as preventable diseases as cholera. PDP should pick its choice!
Majigiri is also of the opinion thus: “Ruwan sha yayi wahala a cikin Katsina.” He half-cleverly refused to say the whys “Ruwan sha yayi wahala a cikin Katsina” or what’s being done to solve the problem. This is not without a good reason though. By saying the whys and hows there’s perennial shortage of portable and hygienic water in Katsina, he would have shot down his kite by himself. Then he will have to tell Nigerians that the perennial water shortage in Katsina metropolis was because of the obsolete and dysfunctional status of the Ajiwa dam which has suffered sustained neglect from successive administrations including the one Majigiri served as Chief of Staff, which instead of maintaining and upgrading the Ajiwa facility opted to build a magnificent Government House for its overly flamboyant Chief Executive which was punctuated with boreholes to isolate the Chief Executive from water shortage while the rest of Katsina state was preventably being dehydrated.
Of course, saying the whys of the water shortage in Katsina metropolis by Majigiri would also debunk his outrageous and unfounded allegation of “Duk Katsina babu aikin N3bn” (an absurdity very popular in the Katsina PDP community). Then he will have to explain if the desilting of Ajiwa dam and the total overhauling of the Katsina waterworks is being carried out by a charity organisation or if its being paid with cowries. If he is aware of the activities of government in Katsina he couldn’t have missed the multi-billion Naira upgrade Ajiwa is receiving from Governor Masari much less, allege Masari has not execute a project of N3bn worth.
Just as much, Majigiri couldn’t have missed the multi-billion Naira commendable collaborative efforts of the Federal Government and the KTSG which saw to the rehabilitation and upgrading of Zobe dam which has been comatose for 4 decades without attracting the attention of successive governments including the immediate past. Zobe dam Dutsinma was recently commissioned by President Buhari and is already rehydrating Dutsinma and parts of Katsina metropolis. Incidentally, Dutsinma is the hometown of the immediate past Governor of Katsina state, Barr. Shema, Majigiri’s political boss and mentor, yet their administration left without making any attempt to address the problem of perennial shortage of portable water in Dutsinma and environs. And this is somebody saying “Duk Katsina babu aikin N3bn.” What could be more disingenuous?
Apparently to Majigiri, only “Make me shine” projects like a new Government House are worthy of being seen as judicious and equitable application of public funds while projects more relevant to the needs of the general public must be classified as wrong-prioritization. His bizarre assessment template made this clear. He’s still beating his chest about the flashy Government House their administration built which has no relevance to the socio-economic development of the teeming rural dwellers of Katsina state whatsoever yet, he could not see, much less commend or even appreciate the Masari administration for the rural roads and numerous ongoing new and rehabilitation of dams alongside overhauling of waterworks across the state.
Just as much, PDP is yet to appreciate the commendable efforts of Governor Masari for going into the nooks and crannies of the state to provide boreholes as diligently and verifiably carried out (and still being carried out) by RUWASSA. Suffering such amnesia, I don’t expect Majigiri to know about the thousands of dilapidated schools across Katsina state which the Masari administration inherited from the PDP and which are now fully rehabilitated and functional with new ones constructed where none exist before. If PDP chose to see only the few which dearth of funds is yet to allow their facelift without seeing those wearing new looks, that’s a sickness which cure science is yet to discover. We can only wish them well.
That Majigiri Majigiri forgot the N7.8bn Danja dam under construction and almost at completion level; being built by the APC/Masari administration to provide Danja, Kafur and Bakori with portable water only says one thing — PDP’s fixation with misplaced prioritization of Government projects. Danja, Kafur and Bakori, just like Dutsinma mentioned earlier, were left without portable water and had to resort to their own devices simply because in PDP’s book of governance a governor must first have a befitting castle before his attention could be drawn to the problem of absolute lack of hygienic water in villages and towns across the state.
Of course, if Danja and Ajiwa dams could pass Majigiri unnoticed, it’s excusable if the rehabilitations and upgrade of Daberam dam in Daura Local Givernment, Masabil Dam in Ingawa, Ruwan Sanyi dam in Malumfashi and Tafoki dam in Faskari Local Government escapes his attention much less, qualify as commendable in his book of criticism. These are dams receiving Governor Masari’s attention not only for the purpose of providing drinking water but also to boost irrigation activities in the mentioned areas to economically empower poor citizens and upgrade their economic levels. One could only see and appreciate this if one is not fixated with “Make-me-shine” make-belief projects that are designed more for the comfort and financial gains of “Government House dwellers” than for the socio-economic development of the masses.
Majigiri is also obsessed with the irritating idea of inviting Masari to duplicate the two previous PDP administrations by building institutions like Umar Musa Yar’adua, the stadium and Amadi Rimi Hospital etc. It’s a amazing how it make sense to him that every government must repeat what a previous government has already done before it’s seen as talented or people oriented. Is governance no longer an ever evolving phenomenon? Why should the Masari administration build a university when already one has been built by Katsina state Government and is jointly operating with another one privately built? Not only that, there’s another one located less than 100km from the two operating in the metropolis. Must every town or neighborhood have its own university before governance is said to be on the effective? Please give me a break! Government needs are infinite and resources always limited and scarce. That’s why judicious and equitable application of resources is a cardinal requirement for a functional system.
PDP need to graduate from this narrow-minded kind of opposition. In case it is too addicted to be cured, then it should outsource the business of providing quality opposition to very good mercenaries who could do a better job than this. PDP could then use half of its time to concentrate on who next is safe enough to “Appoint” the gubernatorial candidate in the next season of elections while using the other half to placate the community of angry members within its fold — members it should be more worried about than getting involved in debates it has no moral certificates to participate in. The truth is, opposition is a very critical aspect of democracy which should be taken seriously. Unfortunately the one being provided by the PDP in Katsina is less than none! Needless to say, this is very dangerous for the PDP because it can’t afford to be clumsy as the ruling party and clumsier as the opposition.
HAPPY BOXING DAY!