Ben Kure was the campaign coordinator of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai in the last election. He speaks with JULIET OYOYO on the new political direction in Kaduna State, among other issues. Excerpts…

People have been crying for “change”. Now that the change has finally come to Kaduna, what does the in-coming government have in stock for the people of the state?Like you rightly said, change has come, by the grace of God, and first and foremost, we want to appreciate God Almighty for His divine intervention in ensuring that this change really came to be and it is a thing of the past now. People are in the mood of celebration; it is not time to celebrate yet because if you have a sober reflection and re-examine the state in which Kaduna has found itself, it is worrisome and very disturbing. This is because, the income and the treasury has been depleted completely.Ben-Kure Kaduna is in a terrible financial state therefore, it is not going to be a magic to change the situation that is seemingly ugly, very disturbing and worrisome like I earlier mentioned, into a stage where people will begin to jump and celebrate. It is a process. Like we all know, to build takes time but in destruction, it is in a split second and it is done. Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is a fantastic human being; a man of noble character, a man whose integrity is not in doubt in any way, a man who is prepared for this big task of moving Kaduna forward to make it great again. The campaign slogan is “Let us make Kaduna Great Again”.

What does this mean for Kaduna from May 29?

What it simply means is that there was a time that Kaduna was great and that Kaduna is no longer great again and Kaduna has to be great again. And so, he chose that as his campaign slogan. We are calling on all and sundry to put hands together and work with us. Let them understand the vision that Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has. He mentioned 5-Key issues that he is going to concentrate on and this is not far-fetched from sampling opinions and making researches on areas of needs. That is the first major point of attack. He will pay attention to energy, focus on expertise and quickly turn around Kaduna into a habitable place, an economic viable environment, education knowing environment and a health free environment where people will be healthy, where people will be happy and security is guaranteed so that people can sleep with their two eyes closed. Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai is a utopian reformer, a great philanthropist who has taken a stand to study the design of Kaduna state as that was the original plan and he has taken his time to look at this and I am sure he is going to do a lot, because, the duo, that is the team; he is a Quantity Surveyor, his Deputy is an architect and with that combination, you do not need to be told what they are going to do to the face and the beautification of Kaduna state. And because he also understands economics he understands what it means to have a buoyant environment where fitness will thrive and stimulate the environment.

In what practical ways would this be done?

He has earmarked projects that will conduct change such as, the Ikara Food Processing Company, the Kachia Ginger Company where about a million people will be employed. This is because we have to shift from the dependence on oil into dependence on what is also natural to us. Before the Oil, we had the groundnuts pyramids in Kano, we had the cotton in Funtua and other places, we also had the Tobacco which people used to come and export. So, we have to concentrate now. We have Ginger in Southern Kaduna; Jabba area in large quantity which is about the best in the world and it is just to intensify more on the Ginger and all the pepper and the natural produce that we have, farm them in large quantity using modern day farming implements to increase the yields. This will help to grow the economy through the trading in these products, create employment for our teeming youths, the graduates and others in the state. And so, we are very lucky to have a man that is very sincere and is mentally prepared; he has capacity. If you look at his track record, you will see it is full of excellence.

But the men he brings around him could affect his performance –

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is the man for the job, and I am very certain that he is going to have a very good team that he is going to work with. He will make an all inclusive government and in one of his campaigns, he even mentioned that even if it is in the PDP that he sees a material that has capacity, there is nothing wrong in inviting them into the government and so, we want to let the people know that Mallam Nasir is prepared and all we need is little patience to follow him and see how he is going to start his programme of activities in Kaduna state. He will run immediately he gets in as there is no time, knowing full well there is no time for leisure. There is so much damage done already and we have to make sacrifices for this job to be achieved and concentrate on the wheels so that we can realign or achieve our promises within a short time.

Let’s know which sector is priority to the incoming government.

One of the major areas we talked about is education, which is the fundamental. If you give a child education, you have empowered a nation. We are going to have free education from Primary school to JSS III. It is free and compulsory so that the loitering you see around for the children called Almajiri will no longer be there anymore. Although there is what they call Almajiri School, which for me, the government that created it did not do well. This is because, it is a stigma attached to the psyche of the children. I personally do not see anything special attached to that name; Almajiri School. It should have just been called a “Government School” where you just do not send only an almajiri but any other child can attend. The child called almajiri didn’t choose to be so. Parents, due to one reason or the other, or neglect, threw them out. If you follow the true Islamic injunction, it does not encourage that. If you find out from great Moslem scholars, none of their children are doing that. Probably, if you find out, you will see what Governor Kwakwanso did with Almajiris. So, this policy of education that Nasir el-Rufai is introducing, will take care of the children that are loitering on the streets, exposed to danger, will be sent to school which is free and compulsory (Primary to JSS III). The foundation will be laid in such a way that we are going to build upon in a fundamental foundation. We are all products of public schools and we want the sky to just be the beginning and not the limit, for these children.

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