The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna State in this interview denies he submitted fake credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as alleged by his critics, including members of his party.
He also denies he signed any political ‘agreement’ with other PDP aspirants during the party’s governorship primary in Kaduna.
Mr Ashiru denies he signed any document issued by the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) before they voted for him at the primary election. He then speaks on how he hopes to defeat Governor Nasir El-Rufai in the 2019 election.
PT: A gubernatorial aspirant in the last PDP primaries recently accused you of not honoring an agreement you all ‘agreed’ to before he reportedly withdrew for you during the primary. Was there any agreement?
Ashiru: I promised never to speak on this issue but let me speak now. One aspirant who recently left the PDP raised two issues. I was told that he said we had an agreement, myself, himself and Senator Ahmed Makarfi before the primaries and that was what necessitated his withdrawal from the contest.
I want to tell you now that I have never sat with anybody to write an agreement. We were 11 in the contest before his withdrawal. I can’t sit with one out of 11 to write an agreement even though I do not know what was the content of the agreement he was talking about. I don’t know if he has availed you the opportunity to see the agreement.
There was no agreement, if you are supposed go into any agreement with an aspirant, the party needs to be involved. What I know is that I met with him and Senator Makarfi and (he) agreed that he is going to withdraw for me at the primaries and that is because he has seen clearly that I am ahead of him.
He has been relating very well with Senator Makarfi and that was why the senator brought us together for the brief meeting so we can ‘understand’ ourselves and if subsequently we triumph at the general election and form a government, we should understand each other.
That was what we discussed but there was nothing like signing an agreement at the meeting. He is entitled to his own opinion and he has his reasons. He is not the only politician that left the PDP. Sagir Takai from Kano and Abubakar Hafiz also left. Sani has his personal reasons for doing what he did.
PT: Are you also aware of the attack coming from some politicians including Sani Bello that your educational qualifications are not authentic, that you submitted a fake WAEC certificate. Did you submit a fake certificate?
Ashiru: All my educational results and certificates are authentic. There is no single one that I have doubt about. I wrote my WAEC and got into the polytechnic in Katsina. I did my HND in Kaduna Polytechnic afterwards. I also did my PGD (post-graduate studies), in Kaduna Polytechnic and participated in the mandatory NYSC. I served in Borno State. I also got my master’s degree from Bayero University Kano. I worked in Kaduna civil service at the Ministry of Trade and Tourism. I retired in 1997 and right now, I am a pensioner.
PT: Back to Kaduna, if you win, what are you bringing to the state?
Ashiru: I was elected member representing Kudan constituency in the state House of Assembly for seven years, from 1999 to 2007 and later elected House of Representatives member and I served two terms. Re-uniting our people is my priority.
El-Rufai has destroyed the civil service. We don’t have a civil service in Kaduna State anymore. Kaduna was a point of reference before we left in 2007. People come to Kaduna to seek for guidance when it comes to administration. That is not what we have now in Kaduna. All the inherited asset were sold by this government, but let me tell you, it is just a matter of time. By the grace of God we will be there and we will bring our people together.
PT: You decamped from PDP in 2015 to the APC and not quite long you moved back to the PDP, what went wrong?
Ashiru: Same thing that made me decamp from the PDP to the APC made me move back to the PDP again. At first, in 2015 some people hijacked the party and did not allow some of us to participate as members of the party. We were denied every opportunity to participate then, so we left and joined the APC.
I participated in the governorship primaries with Governor Nasir El-Rufai and when they say I did not win, I joined hands with him to deliver Kaduna to the APC. But later everything changed. The system became a master-servant relationship, we then formed the APC Akida so we can salvage the party in the state but it did not work out so I and other aggrieved loyal party members sought for option elsewhere. I returned to the PDP. The impunity that is in APC is greater than what people say PDP did. I still feel PDP is the only way to go in the state.
PT: What is your view of El-Rufai’s 2019 Muslim- Muslim ticket and choice of a woman?
Ashiru: It is quite unfortunate that he had to go that way thinking that he will have his way. Whether we like it or not, we must live together as one in the state. We are destined to come from same geographical entity and we must live together as one. It is only fair that one does the right thing.
He thinks even after what he did to Kaduna people, he can manipulate his way by bringing in a woman as his running mate and win. Kaduna people have not forgetten what he did to them and time will tell.
PT: Was it also true that you signed an agreement with Southern Kaduna elite that when you win you will share equally responsibilities of the state with them and give them ‘juicy’ appointments?
Ashiru: That is absolutely not true. I heard that too but let me tell you what happened. I met with some leaders of the Southern Kaduna groups including SOKAPU leaders and in the course of our discussion we rubbed minds and I told them that I will surely be a governor for everybody in the state notwithstanding which part you come from. I told them I will make right decisions for the best interest of everyone in the state. But there was no signing of agreements.
PT: Do you think you can defeat El-Rufai in 2019?
Ashiru: Power belongs to Almighty Allah. If Nasir can be governor in Kaduna, I can also be governor of Kaduna. But by the special grace of Allah, with what is on ground, surely we (are) beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We shall triumph and everybody in the state will be happy with us.