By NBF News

A chieftain of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Alhaji Salihu Isa Nataro, has said that people should not expect miracles from the Jega-led INEC in the 2011 elections. This is because, according to him, the time available is insufficient to reposition the commission for the expected performance. He spoke with Daily Sun in Abuja. Excerpts:

Now you want to run for Kebbi State governorship again after your 2007 attempt?

Dakingari did nothing in Kebbi State. No good programmes in place. There are no checks and balances between the executive and the Assembly. I once told Dakingari to bring out the financial statement of the state for us to know what to do to move forward.

I asked them to audit the report, the whole transactions, but Dakingari refused to publish the account. We need to know where our money is going to. Nothing is happening in the state, people are not getting the democracy dividends we are talking about. I can do better than Dakingari.

Relationship with Adamu Aliero in 2007
My only relationship with Adamu Aliero was when he introduced rice farming scheme in 2007 before elections. That's the only reason I am praising Aliero. I am criticizing Dakingari because he refused to move with the same rice farming scheme introduced by Aliero. It was introduced in collaboration with the Federal Government, but Dakingari refused to go with the initiative.

He dumped it and betrayed Aliero at the same time. A lot of people are asking me whether Aliero will support me in 2011, actually, I don't know but I need his support. Even Dakingari is supposed to resign his position by now because there is no way he can provide the basic needs of the Kebbi people. So the best solution for him is to resign so that he can allow us to go freely.

Aliero didn't support me in 2007 because he didn't know me very well as he knew and trusted Dakingari. Now Aliero knows me very well. Some people who are with Aliero now, those who are going with Aliero, all what they want is Aliero's support for some of them to be governor. At the end of the day, they will betray him.

Why do you think Aliero would not think you too will betray him?

Aliero knows that I am not going to betray him because of my my background. There were several times I was looking for Aliero in his office when he was a minister. His Chief of staff said there was no way he could tell Aliero that I wanted to see him, I was shocked. They thought may be I was looking for a plot in Abuja I don't need a plot in Abuja. What I need is for Kebbi people to have the dividends of democracy.

But you are in different parties?
We are not of the same party with Aliero, but party doesn't mean anything in Kebbi State. What people need is the person, the personality of the person, whether he can deliver. Everybody knows that I am going to deliver. My own home town in Jega, everybody knows they are very enterprising. Everybody knows them in Nigeria, everybody knows the people of Jega they are very enterprising. So, I am the same. I come from Jega and I can deliver.

Aliero is in PDP but there are speculations that he is going to CPC. I happened to be with General Mohammadu Buhari and his people for more than 20 years. NDP my party, is sponsored by General Ibrahim Babangida. But one thing that we want in this country now is a credible candidate, be he Goodluck Jonathan, el-Rufai, Babangida, Buhari or Atiku.

Why depending on Aliero's support?
I have a mass popularity in the state and everybody knows it. Aliero has his own people, Dakingari has his own people, myself as a candidate I have my own people. So if you want to win, you need to to look for all supports. I have to look for his support, he's very good I know.

Extension of time for INEC
Everybody knows INEC cannot produce these items in such a short time. INEC needs to undergo certain changes. One, to recruit community leaders who are honest to run their INEC offices in all the local governments in Nigeria. Two, to carryout administrative changes. Three, to equip its offices nationwide with modern equipment.

Four, to train people on how to handle all their equipment and how to move with all the equipment. INEC needs to count statistically all the polling booths in Nigeria. INEC needs to know about all the political parties activities, this is very important. Before INEC can conduct free and fair election, even now we need more than one year.

It will take up to one year for INEC's Professor Jega to be able to conduct free and fair election. If we conduct elections even by April, we are going to have problem. Give them more time, they will do very well. Everybody expects INEC to do very well. It is not just about extending the timetable for the 2011 elections. We are looking at the future elections in the country.

Are you seeing the whole issue around INEC as a trap for Jega?

No, I don't want to call it a trap. Goodluck Jonathan appointed Jega because he knows Jega is a credible person. Everybody believes Jega can make free and fair elections.