Former Chief of Air Staff and ex-Nigerian Ambassador to Chad Air Marshal Sodique Baba Abubakar is the overnorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State. He spoke with reporters on his plans last for the Northeast State and chances at the poll. EMMANUEL OLADESU was there.
Why are you in the race?
I left the service not too long ago, but I decided to join politics because I believe that we can add value to what is on ground. I have been very lucky and went through a very functional system while growing and so because of that, we were able to go to school. But, it is sad today that access to education has become so limited and that to us is totally unacceptable and it is going to bring much bigger problems in future and that is why we decided to be part of the process to see how we can add value.
As a retired three Star General, I have been trained, I have gone through so many processes and I don’t want to just retire with that knowledge in my village and just keep it to myself.
So, I see no reason why somebody would finish in the state civil service and would not have access to check his blood pressure or to check his sugar level, these are basic things, but unfortunately they have no access to this. So, that is another area of major concern to us.
If elected, what is the first thing you would do to address all these issues you have raised?
The first thing we will do is to look at the educational sector. Like I said if you want to destroy this society, please don’t waste your time going with weapons, just deny them education. But what we want to do immediately is to take a very crystal look at the educational sector and see what is it that we need to do to open the gates of schools and bring back those children that are out on the streets into schools, make them very comfortable, create the enabling environment where they would sit down, not where we are having today where children are sitting under the tree to learn and then you have animals roam inside the classrooms because the classrooms have so deteriorated because no human being can sit down there. Reverse is the case. You have children under the trees learning and then you have goats in the classrooms.
So, the education sector is very important and I think that is the first thing that we are going to do and make sure that as much as possible, we get people back to school.
You said development and security are two sides of a coin. What is your view on the state police?
When you are talking of police, you are still talking about physical insecurity. It is all about human beings going out. The fundamental issues that we need to address are those issues that concern the socioeconomic dimension of security and that is why we are talking about schools, that is why we are talking about health, that is why we are talking about empowerment of youths.
We have physical dimension of security and social dimension of security. Police, whether state police or not, creation of state police falls under the physical dimension of security. What I am bothered and worried about and in which in most cases, we are not looking at is a socio-economic and political dimension of security.
So, state police, as a retired general, I will say it is an avenue to work together but what I am worried about, what I think is more important is to look at the social and economic and political dimensions of security and try to see how we can deal with the problems that are emerging from that source.
For instance the lack of education, we have so many people that can be easily mobilised to violence simply because they are not educated. So what we need to do to prevent that is to make sure that education is provided and the beginning point is the states and local governments. The federal government is also supporting education but the beginning point is what is the situation in our local governments, what is happening in primary schools? Are the teachers properly trained? Do we have the infrastructures? Are pupils sitting down on floors to write? All these are generators of insecurity. Unless we deal with that, getting state police would not solve anything, that is one. It is when you have dealt with that you now begin to talk about physical dimension of insecurity where the police come, the kind of ammunition they are getting, the kind of training, that is when you start looking at that. But, you ignore the most fundamental issues, you are not likely going to solve the insecurity problems.
So, my take on the state police is yes, we can look at it at a much later time but unless we solve the social, economic and political dimensions properly, state police will not change anything.