In this interview, a business mogul and astute politician, Alhaji Sani Ahmed Mohammed, a chieftain of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), spoke on the ideology of his party, his aspiration to contest for the House of Representatives, representing Ankpa/Omala/Olamaboro federal constituency and many more topical issues. Chamba Simeh brings excerpts.
What pedigree qualifies you to contest for the House of Representatives?
Yes, thank you. I am Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Sani, born into royalty from Ankpa local government area of Kogi state. I am a business man with interest in real estate, oil and gas, travel consult par excellence. I am presently the vice chairman, Board of Trustees of NANTA.
I graduated from the Usuman Dan Fodio University Sokoto with a BSc in Management Science and masters degree in business management. Over two decades ago, I set foot on the paths and, to say the least, my experience in the political realm has been quite encouraging and challenging. Being in politics has opened our eyes to a lot of issues that we hitherto gave no consideration.
For instance, we have come to know that the overarching responsibility of political leaders is to meet the needs and aspirations of the people over whom they lead and that without that sense of obligation, and sincerity of purpose, there is no need for political engagement. We have come to realise that when good people do not get involved in these things, the bad guys will always hold sway and the lots of the people would always remain worse for it.
We have also been able to reflect that politics is not altogether dirty but the minds of individual politicians may be dirty. We went into politics out of discontent with the prevailing order and a determination to replace them with a better political environment. We ventured into politics with a dream, a vision and a mission to liberate our people from the strangle hold ofconservative elements, and to reverse the trend of underdevelopment of our community and people.
As a man who is playing politics with morality, equity and justice, I know too well that what Allah has ordained is a miracle and no one is big enough to constitute himself an obstacle when Allah is willing to perform a miracle.
One of the ancient Oriental philosophers and sage says, “Remembering a wrong is like carrying a burden on the mind…Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.”
I have come to the realisation of the common fact that one moment can change a day, one day can change a life time and one change life can turn things around the world.
I have come to change things in Ankpa/Omala/Olamaboro federal constituency and the people shall soon come to terms with my assertions, by the special grace of God.
Why did you decide to join the NNPP, and what is the ideology of the party?
Many have watched with keen interest the present political happenings in the country and have come to the conclusion that the behemothic ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have failed the people of this country. PDP came into governance of this country in1999 when the military decided that democractic governance was the way to go. The PDP squandered the goodwill of Nigerians and the people decided to turn to the APC, because of its change mantra. The broom revolution was embraced by the people who trooped en masse to support the alternative to the then ruling PDP. The President Muhammadu Buhari government, that came after the people voted out the PDP, has today been adjudged by majority of our people to have failed in all its ramifications. The people are now calling for a viable alternative and this birthed the formation of the NNPP, which, hopefully, is the panacea to clean the democratic and economic mess those two parties have created for our country.
What does your party intend to do differently and how?
Very simple.The NNPP is a child of neccessity. The need to recruit the leadership that can fight the symmetric and assymetric warfare of the citizens of this country against the present system where the people have been left ruderlessly to fight individually its battle is what brought about the creation and general acceptance of the party by Nigerians. Again, there is this realisation of the fact that for us as a people and country to develop, we need a new type of political dispensation and that is what mirrors the idea behind the formation of the party.
What are the economic philosophy of the NNPP, is it inclined to the socialist or capitalist idealogy?
The world has really moved on from the socialist or communist trend. Our country today is moulded around the capitalist economy. We in the NNPP want to introduce a new type of capitalism. An economic model which embraces the compassionate capitalistic trend that will take into recognition the fact that our people matter and all economic policies that recognise the aqent seeking mantra against the progress of the majority of our people would be discarded. We will be very careful not to make some greedy segments of our society to be a god to their fellow human beings by formulating policies that would take care of all. This party believes that as a people, we all matter.
Some people are already of the view that the NNPP is only there to dance to the political whims and caprices of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. What is the real situation?
I can tell you with all sense of responsibity that the man, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is not the founder of the party. NNPP has been there for the past 12 or so years. Kwankwaso joined the party just recently and this party I assure you would outlive all of us because it is not founded on any individual. This is not to say that Kwankwaso is not a pillar in the party. I think he is one of the best politicians that has come out from this part of the world and as the national leader of the party, we trust him.
Let us now turn our attention to you as an individual. Why do you think the House of Representatives is the best place to be?
After many years of politicking, i have come to the conclusion that at this point in time, I have to go to the House of Representatives to make a difference. I have consulted widely and sincerely the result of the consultations shows my people want me to be different.The present occupier of that seat, to my mind, has done the best he can but his is not good enough. My people are yearning for a representative that can make a positive difference in their lives; a leader that can be trusted to impact their lives with development and infrastructure in all its physicality. The House of Representatives is not a tea party. It is an arena for trading in ideas and making laws for the good governance of the country. I will, through my membership of the House of Representatives, introduce a new type of representative dispensation that recognises my constituents as kings and the source of my participation. I will attract socio-economic and political development to my people through consultative activities and introduce laws that will accelerate the development of my people.
Your constituency seems to be the largest in the state and you are talking about lack of development at this time?
Our present situation development wise seems to be pathetic.This constituency, as you rightly observe, is the largest in of Kogi state. Like Nigeria, the problem is leadership and I can tell you the leadership resource we have recruited overtime lacks the basic knowledge of what we need to bring development to our doorsteps. I intend to change this narrative for the benefit of our people.
What does your decision to contest for the seat portend for the people?
Ans: When i decided to come out and contest, I saw the decision as a divine call after several requests from majority of our people. My people see my decision as the end of the speculations as to whether or not I would accept their calls to represent them. My decision to contest portends the end of an era where the people are represented by leaders who do not have their interest at hearts.
Why do your people trusted you so much?
I have paid my dues in the political landscape of this constituency and in recognition of my service to my people even as a businessman of repute, my people trust me. My excellent relationship with all strata of the society, especially the poor, the needy and my philantrophic gestures which recognise the downtrodden as ones who need our help, a lesson i learnt from my father as a plus to my being trusted. I want to use my political life as a vehicle to better the lives of my people.
Why do the people consistently call on you to serve them?Trust has never been a commodity that can be bought, it is earned. My people have consistently and persistently asked me to serve them and I have heard their voices clearly and I think that it is time for me to accede to their demand. I have and will continue to leave an indelible mark in the development of my people. I play the politics of compassion and my demeanor is a translucient glass of piety. I will bring succour to them.
If you are voted by your people, what will be the focus of your legislative agenda?
By the grace of God, I will make empowerment programme, urban development, infrastructure for growth and industrial development and qualitative knowledge economy will be my priorities. My legislative agenda will focus on these key areas through which I will deliver on my promises and targets to my people.