Why I’m running for third term – Senator SaBi Abdullahi –

Why I’m running for third term – Senator SaBi Abdullahi – The Sun Nigeria

From John Adams, Minna

Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who is representing Niger North Senatorial District in the Red Chamber is the current deputy chief whip of the Senate.

He was recently endorsed for a third term by the people of his Niger North Senatorial District after purchasing the N20 million nomination form him.

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But his third term ambition is being threatened by the state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello who is equally eyeing the seat.

However, the outspoken two-term senator in an interview with Sunday Sun in Minna, said that his ambition is not in anyway threatened as he has the endorsement of his people. Excerpt:

The people of your constituency have just purchased the nomination form for you, why do you want to seek a third term?

Thank you very much, you see politics is about the people and like I always said, you can’t do anything without the people. You put people first in everything you do especially in politics, so when the same people you are serving said this is what they want, you can’t turn it down.

As a current senator who has been privileged to. represent my people, I have done my best to provide the dividends of democracy for them in the last seven years plus, and I strongly believe that is in the strength of that that  the people brought themselves together and bought me form to contest for the third term. So,  as it is now I am in the race again by the will of Allah and the endorsement of my people. It is an opportunity to consolidate on the good work I have been doing in my constituency which is now speaking for me by the overwhelming support from the people.

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There are a number of people-oriented projects either completed or ongoing which I need to consolidate and by the special grace of God when I am returned I will complete them.

Right now the incumbent governor has signified his interest to unseat you, are you in anyway threatened by his ambition?

No at all, I am not in anyway threatened because like I said earlier, politics is about the people and these are the people that have demonstrated their support for me by purchasing the nomination form for me. The people followed me to the National Assembly to present the form to me with high hope, so there is no encouragement that is more than that, the people have spoken by that singular gesture and I’m highly humbled by that. When you have the support of the people, you don’t feel threatened by any circumstances around you.

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Some political stakeholders from your zone are of the opinion that the Senatorial seat should be zoned to Kontagora Emirate where the governor comes from because Borgu Emirate where you come from has produced the chairman of the party in the state, are you aware of such zoning arrangements?

Honestly speaking, I am just hearing this for the first time, I am not even aware that there are issues around zoning in my constituency. What I knew as zoning in the state was governorship which has been there since 1999 and the APC caucus met recently and took a firm decision on that for justice and fairness.

I am not aware of any arrangement like that until when I saw a press statement by the state party publicity secretary, debunking any purported zoning arrangement apart from the governorship. So to the best of my knowledge, there is no zoning of such office.

Now that the governor who is the leader of the party in the state is in the race with you, don’t you think that you will be schemed out at the primary election, and if that happens what will be your next action?

Let us wait until we get to the bridge before we know how to cross it. Remember I told you that I didn’t just enter the race, the people of my zone, having been convinced with my good representation, asked me to continue. And let me say this clearly that I have faith in the people of Niger North Senatorial District to do what is right for them. I have been trusted and they believe in me strongly and my works will speak for me. In every aspect that I have to stand up in the defense of my people, I have done that. I am always with my people, I am not a Diaspora senator. Above all, I believe in the Almighty Allah who gives power to whom he wants. He gave me the first one in 2015, he gave me the second one in 2019 and am still trusting and depending on him in 2023.

At the end of the day if you are schemed out at the primary election and your people whom you so much believed in, decide that you should move to another party to realize your ambition, will you respect their will?

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The will of the people is the strongest, it is one thing that I so much respect, without them you cannot do anything. But I also know that my people can never be manipulated for any reason, so they will be firm with their choice of candidate to represent them. So, the will of Allah and that of the people will prevail at the end of the day.

Because of the current situation in the country today, a lot of people have expressed fears that your party, APC  will face serious resistance from Nigerians in 2023, what is the strength of APC in your state?

The strength of the party is the people, and I believe the people of the state still have strong faith in the party, and they will continue to support the party. We may not be perfect because there is no single entity that is perfect  but I think the people of the state still have faith in the party.

Why I asked this question is that a lot of people believe that the performance of the governor in the last seven years plus now has greatly de-marketed the party in the state and therefore the 2023 elections will be about individual and not party, do you agree with that?

Well, a lot of people are saying so,  but in fairness to his Excellency Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, he has set the ground norm for the success of the party in the state. I got briefing from our party executives at various levels in the state that the governor said APC is acceptable by the people, but where candidates are forced on the people, it will not be good for the party. So he called on the people to ensure that they liaise with the people at every levels to support only candidates who can win election, and I respect that singular appeal. It is the same message that President Muhammadu Buhari gave when we had our NEC meeting in Abuja recently. So,  if those saddled with the responsibility of conducting the delegate elections refused to allow the people have their say, then the result is good as what you can get. We must have creditable people that can win election for the party at the general elections.

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In view of the security challenges in parts of the state, do you think that there will be a credible elections in the state in 2023?   

Well, the security challenges are not peculiar to Niger State, almost the entire North-central, Northeast, Northwest and other parts of the country are facing the same challenges. However, Niger State security challenges are understandable because by our landmark, we occupied about 76,000 square kilometers, about 10 per cent of Nigeria landmarks, therefore, securing this landmark is a great challenge. But let us look at the fact on ground, the Insecurity in Niger State is a spillover of the successes being recorded in the theatre of operations in the Northeast and Northwest, so the criminals are looking for a safe place, and giving the large landmarks, it becomes difficult for security agents to curtail them. Again because of the central location of Niger State, it now serves as transit for the criminals who are fleeing the miitary operations in Zamfara, Kaduna and Katsina to the southern parts of the country. Hardly do they leave these places without passing through Niger State, so we are located in a vulnerable spot. Remember that Niger State is bordered with Kaduna through Sarkin Pawa in Munya local Allawa through Shiroro local Pandogari through Rafi local and also Kebbi State through Rijau and Mariga local areas, so there are a lot of windows through which the criminals carry out their attacks.

Nevertheless with the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari through massive deployment of troops across the troubled areas, we are beginning to see some level of peace and stability. The way they usually move in their hundreds is no longer there, so we thank Mr. President and equally commend the security agents for their efforts so far. The governor is also trying his best within the limited resources available and we must commend him too. So to answer your question, I don’t think the Insecurity will affect the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the state.

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