The governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Yobe State, Garba Umar, in this interview with Ben Adoga, promised to make a difference in the governance of the state if elected in the 2023 election, among other issues
Contesting under NNPP where popular political parties are already on the ground, what are your chances?
I know that we are a new party but I know that we are the party to beat in Yobe State, we are the number one party today in the state, don’t mind the fact that there is an All Progressives Congress (APC) government on the ground, we are going to beat them by the grace of God.
You want to beat an incumbent government, what are you doing to convince the people that you will make a difference?
I am already mobilising the people of Yobe, we are telling them the truth, and we are giving the people hope despite the present challenges and difficulties occasioned by the present government. I am telling the people what I will do. I am letting them know that this is a chance to have a breath of fresh air because since the creation of Yobe State they have been ruled by the same set of people, the same set of people doing the same things without good results, I am bringing change for them to see the difference. I want them to see the difference between what a good government is and bad governance has been.
Let’s talk about the economy, Yobe is not one of the very rich states in Nigeria, so, what are you going to do to make a difference and improve the economy?
Yobe is an agrarian state, we will concentrate on agriculture and turn it around, we will improve the sector and make it benefit Yobe people, we will improve on our cash crops like gum Arabic which we have plenty of we are the number one producer of gum Arabic in Nigeria. We have a very good livestock population in the state, we will improve on that, we are going to ranch our cattle, we will ranch our animals and introduce modern methods of keeping our animals and feed them to produce more milk, and we will supply Nigeria with healthy milk, we will provide Nigeria with good and healthy meat and ensure that we produce enough for the domestic market and export to earn the needed foreign exchange. These days we Nigerians cannot talk without talking about insecurity, Yobe is very prone to insecurity. Tell us what the situation is now and how you intend to curtail it, even though you are not the federal government. You know we have had our fair share of insecurity, and it has not completely left us yet, some of these things are predicated on bad governance; if you don’t improve the life of your people, if you make them poor and keep them ignorant, anyone can come and lure them into bad things with small amount of money. This is one of the major problems that we have, we are a very poor state, over the years, these people have pauperised our people, they have made them very poor and susceptible, they have wasted the resources of our state and kept the people in poverty over some time because there had never been a challenge to their government, that is why we are bringing a change and we are trusting in God that we will effect that change when we win.
In more concrete terms, tell us what the NNPP is bringing to Yobe State as a political party.
A lot, just to say a few, we are bringing honesty, we are ready to manage the resources of the state very prudently; at the moment Yobe is indebted to the tune of over N80bn which is unprecedented. As I speak, the state government is paying local government employees half their salary which is N18,000 as minimum wage; we are going to stop that, we will make sure that every naira that we spend will be justified and work for the people of Yobe. As a matter of policy, we will make sure that whatever project we have is executed by the people of Yobe, we won’t bring people from elsewhere to execute our projects. We will train our people and ensure that they acquire a very good education and get the right exposure in IT because the world is moving towards a knowledge-based economy, we will take advantage of this and tap into it and give our people the very best they can even hope for.
If given this chance, what do you want to tell the Yobe people?
I want to tell them not to despair, they should have hope and Nigeria is our country, we can make it work again. These challenges are because of bad leadership. Complete lack of leadership, the APC government is the worst government that has ever ruled this country. They don’t know it, they don’t have it, and they cannot do it or get it right any longer. Even if you give them one thousand years they will not get it. So, we have to stop them now, we are serious about that. We should make sure we carry out that change in the forthcoming elections. We make sure that NNPP becomes the ruling party at the centre, and in Yobe, we are not joking about that. Any state that doesn’t go to NNPP, we are sorry for that state, they can’t afford to be wasting their time with failing parties. We are the ones ready for the desired change, we are the ones to bring honesty, sincerity, and good governance to Nigeria, we can make new things happen and Nigerians will be happy for it.
Finally, can you let Nigerians know your pedigree?
I have been in both the private and public sectors, I was a banker before joining the government, and I resigned as a director in the federal civil service before joining politics. I ran for governorship under the PDP in 2011, because the state was not ready at that time for a change, I didn’t make the governorship, but now I guess they know better and they are ready now. After that I went back to my private business, I have been in a successful private business for the last ten years. I am bringing in my wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors as well as my sector to make things work in Yobe State. I know how to create wealth, I know how to manage men and resources, I know how to make things work, I know how to manage finances, and I know how to run a government. That is what I am bringing into governance in Yobe State.