THIRTEEN YEARS OF DEMOCRACY: NIGERIANS HAVE BEEN SHORTCHANGED - GARBA
Alhaji Isyaku Garba, the Matawallen Dass, was recently awarded the Best Agriculture Consultant in the North by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). Though he partakes in numerous political activities, he remains loyal to his traditional occupation, agriculture, and still believes that it is the key to achieving economic independence. In this interview with Salisu Alhassan Bichi, he bares his mind on our 13 years of democracy and other issues.
Sir, Nigeria has just attained 13 years of continuous democratic governance. What comment can you make in that respect?
In a nutshell, the politicians have actually shortchanged the Nigerian masses because their priorities are by far not the priorities of the average Nigerian. We should have taken to agriculture from the onset because the Nigerian economy whether we like it or not is an agriculturally based type of economy.
It is only in Nigeria that you find rivers, lakes, ponds, surface and underground waters all over. There is no country, all over the world that is bestowed with this type of natural endowments. Properly harnessed, Nigeria would have been exporting food rather than importing everything we eat. This alone is regrettable.
Are you saying that within the 13 years, no development has been recorded economically?
When you talk of a nation like Nigeria and you talk of an economy, you talk in real terms. Real development will bring about real change in the society; change that will benefit generations to come. The Nigerian economy presently is bunkum. It is an economy that is being destroyed day in, day out.
Not to talk of the total lack of energy supply, even the communications sector that the politicians claimed to have developed has turned out to be a fraud in front of our eyes and the politicians could do nothing about it.
Look at the escalating insecurity which has pauperized, maimed and killed a large number of Nigerians. I don't think this is the right time to even talk about economic development when you are not even sure of what becomes of your life and property.
What would you say about Bauchi state with Gov. Isa Yuguda in his second term?
Democracy in Bauchi state is good although there is still room for development. The level of insecurity has been brought to the barest minimum compared to the ethnic/religious clashes that were rampant years back or conflicts between Fulani, Sayawa and Gyarawa.
People in Bauchi state are now living in peace if not for the new wave of insecurity that has pervaded the Northern states presently. Furthermore, the water situation has been adequately addressed. A new teaching hospital has been established, an airport is in the offing, education has been considerably improved, youth empowerment has been greatly enhanced as most of the youths have been employed by the state government and some of them assisted to become self employed.
This is not to talk of the numerous road projects that have been completed and many other developments for which government agents can explain more.
Last month, you were awarded the best Agric consultant in the north by the Northern Youth Consultative Forum in Kaduna. What warranted that?
Yes, we were awarded at the Arewa House Kaduna along with the Kaduna, Bauchi, Kano and Kebbi state governors along with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. You must know that I am an agriculturalist. I left the Kaduna State Agricultural project in1984 as an agric extension officer and then went full time into agric consultancy and I am still into it.
What are your successes in that area?
I have assisted in establishing some of the most successful farms in this country like the Niger First Integrated Farms belonging to Gen. Wushishi, Wadtari Farms, Zuru belonging to Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, Agudama Farms in Bayelsa State, Amaryawa Farms belonging to AVM Isiaka Abdulrahman and Nadabo \farms belonging to Gov. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state, to mention a few.
As the Matawallen Dass, what call would you make to the politicians on behalf of your area?
The Dass emirate council is really in need of attention but our basic priority is to have a higher institution like a polytechnic or a federal college of education established for us.