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JONATHAN, SHEMA CAN'T BE STOPPED - TUKUR, EX-YAR'ADUA'S DEPUTY

By NBF News
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Alhaji Tukur Ahmed Jikamshi was Deputy Governor of Katsina State, during late the President Umaru Yar'Adua's first term as governor. He told Daily Sun in Katsina that President Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, have nothing to fear in the April 2011 presidential and governorship elections.

Jikamshi is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Katsina South Senatorial seat. Excerpts:

What informed your quest for the Senate?
 In fact, it is service to my people. I have the desire to continue to serve my people and my desire to serve as a senator is not new. During the defunct Abacha's transition in 1997, I contested and won only that we were not sworn in before the transition was truncated. I feel being in the Senate is one of the best opportunities for one to serve his people. To give them very good representation at the federal level. By so doing, I will be in a better position to promote and protect the interest of his people, particularly to bring about rapid development of the zone which presently consists of 11 local government areas. And I think it will serve as a bridge between the government and the people in my zone.

My edge over other contestants
There are so many things that give me an advantage over other candidates in other political parties. What is most important is that I have been tested and trusted, I have occupied various offices and I have been involved in the development of my zone.

Can you reflect on the quality of representation that your senatorial zone has received since 1999?

It is unfortunate that we had very weak representation, particularly in my zone for many obvious reasons. That is why I am contesting to give that full commitment and absolute loyalty to my people.

Jonathan's chances
The electorate will decide that but as far as I am concerned, the PDP has a bright chance of winning the election. I have never used sentiments in my politics, I always try to avoid sentiments in politics. Shekarau, Buhari and any other candidate have their own parties and my candidate - the President - has his own party. So, each and every member of the respective parties would try to sell his own candidate to the electorate.

I don't see anything wrong with this, it has happened before. The late Nnamidi Azikiwe, Aminu Kano, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and the late Obafemi Awolowo all contested and somebody won. In 2003, Buhari, Obasanjo and Ojukwu all contested and Obasanjo won. So, there must be a winner in the coming election.

Jonathan has promised to serve only one term if he is elected in April.

What is your response to this?
His decision not to contest in 2015 is a welcome development. It shows he has made a pledge and we are praying that God will give him the wisdom and the courage to fulfill that pledge. We are also praying that if he serves only one term, the presidency will come back to the North.

Prospects of Shema in the April polls?
Shema will win squarely because he has performed, that is one of the reasons that I am with him in PDP. This is a governor that has done very well; somebody who assumed power at a time the state was just developing. We had so many on-going projects started by the late President when he was governor and he (Shema) completed them. Shema has done what so many governors could not accomplish. Look at infrastructural development, health, education, he touched all sectors. Shema performed, he has followership and people have confidence him. We, as political leaders, support him and our people give him their support. He will win squarely.

Message
My message is that they should come out and vote so that they can exercise their civic responsibility. Come next April, people should support PDP candidates because we have been tested and trusted. Somebody like Shema who has been governor for only three years has brought so many changes in our state. He has even brought in some political reforms which people may not realize. If you look at the primaries, if you look at some other things, these are some reforms which he may not have officially announced but implemented. We should support PDP and all its candidates in order to continue to promote and protect the interest of our people and bring about development in Katsina State.