Alhaji Yusuf Dingyadi is a former publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Sokoto State, former caretaker secretary of the party in Kebbi State and currently a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State. He spoke with OLAKUNLE MARUF on the victory of the governor at the Supreme Court and other issues.
THE affirmation of Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s election by the Supreme Court was declared as a miscarriage of justice by the opposition. What is your take on that?
We are aware that many people have been thinking that his victory may not be possible, but we have confidence that the judiciary would not do injustice to the mandate given to Governor Aminu Tambuwal by the people who voted for him and stood by their vote and continued to pray for divine intervention. We knew that nobody can change the will of God.
It is on record that we defeated the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 2019 election but the party cried that there were certain wards and polling unit, where elections were not held. We agreed that the results of those units with over 30,000 votes, be cancelled. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cancelled many polling units won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
We agreed that we go for a rerun election and, after the election, we maintained our victory with 342 votes between us and the APC. The same people who did not agree that we won with thousands of vote had no alternate but to agree with the 342 votes. After the declaration of the result in accordance with the Electoral Act and Nigerian Constitution, the INEC declared Honourable Tambuwal as the winner of the election.
The APC went to court to challenge the victory of Governor Tambuwal. The same tribunal gave them all the time they needed to present their witnesses. They presented 12 witnesses against us. Only one said he was around but that he just heard that there was rigging or use of law enforcement agents to rig. They were not sure, even with their 12 witnesses; their evidences were weak. They did not present pure and reasonable evidence before the tribunal.
The tribunal affirmed the election Tambuwal as governor. They appealed the case and the same thing happened. They went to the Supreme Court, again, with same reason, propaganda, mischief and lies. They wanted the court to accept their evidence and dissolve the election and give them the mandate, the same mandate given to the rightful winner and the right party, the PDP. We in the PDP believe that the governor will continue to deliver dividends of democracy to the people, promote peace and unity in the state.
On the eve of rerun election in the state, the APC candidate, to the surprise of many, suddenly announced his withdrawal and defected to the PDP. What really happen?
You know that the candidate of the APC has the right to choose what is right for him and what is right for the people. His people’s stand was that they want him to leave the APC because they found out that, even if he contested, he would not win the election and as a result, the PDP got his support. As a result, all the people of Sokoto State united to support PDP. The party has always been on ground where the rerun was conducted. We have a member of the House of Representatives in Binji/Silame. Binji is the hometown of the PDP and nobody can change it. Insha Allah, soon you will see prominent people defecting from the other party to the PDP because they believe in the peaceful atmosphere built by Governor Tambuwal.
Despite the stand of the governor on the new minimum wage, many were surprised that workers in the state received a promptly got their salary for January, as promised. What happened?
You know that when the APC started their mischief, they said the committee that was set up was useless and that it was a body of people with no ideas. But after its work, members of the committee presented their report to the governor who immediately accepted their recommendations and ordered that the new minimum wage should be paid from January which has already been done and that is a past tense now.
The people, especially the civil servants, are already enjoying the minimum wage and nobody will change it. Even up till now, the APC is still creating lies and propaganda that the minimum wage will not last. If we do one good thing today, they will come up with another form of lies against it. The people now know the true colour of APC. People now know that the era of lies and propaganda is over; we are in the era of reality and nobody can change that.
The governor was recently nominated as the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum. What is the benefit to the state?
Definitely, there are lots of benefits for the state. As a national leader, former Speaker of the House of Representatives for four years and now the governor of Sokoto State, after finishing his tenure, the people of Sokoto and Nigerians will look back at what he has done for the country. I am sure that for the reason of what he has done, he was endorsed by his colleagues who know him and choose him to lead them and the party. He will also be endorsed to lead the country and the party in 2023. I am assuring you that the challenges we will have will be less then, compared to what we have now. The people of Sokoto are happy and nobody can change his destiny.
Nigerians has been calling for sack of the service chiefs due to the rate of insecurity in the country. What is your take on that?
The call for the resignation or sack of service chiefs in the country is also the stand of our party at the national level. We cannot go against our party as we are law abiding in Sokoto State. I will call on the Federal Government to cooperate with the opposition parties in the country.
In Sokoto, Governor Tambuwal introduced one of the best programmes of reconciliation with bandits which, today, has reduced banditry in almost all parts of the state, especially in the eastern part, including Isa, Sabon Birni and parts of Rabah, Wurno and Goronyo local government areas.
I call on the Federal Government to follow the initiatives of the North-West governors, most especially that of Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states, in ensuring that they reconcile with the bandits in order to bring banditry to an end.
Nigeria is facing serious insecurity, not only in the northern part, but also in other parts of the country and it will continue, if not well tackled. The matter of insecurity is not for the government alone but for everybody. All of us must vigilant and should cooperate with the government. The people are the government and so we have to cooperate and report any suspicious event to the nearest security agent.
I call on the people of Sokoto and the entire North-West to support the government on the issue of security and pray for divine intervention in order to overcome the challenges. We must commend the security agencies, especially the Army, Police and the Civil Defence for their cooperation with the Sokoto State government in tackling insecurity in the state. But I am appealing to them to help stop miscreants and other elements, either in the PDP or the APC from using the media to promote hate speech that can lead to violence. They should not be allowed to abuse institutions that are supposed to be protected by the security agencies.