Adnan Mukhtar, 26, is the candidate of the United People Congress (UPC) for a seat in the Kano State House of Assembly where he hopes to represent Nasarawa Constituency.
He is an activist who dedicated most of his university days to students’ politics. He is also a former member of the then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Progressives Party (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Mukhtar was among hundreds of young candidates who gathered in Abuja earlier the month for ‘The Convergence.’
In this interview with QueenEsther Iroanusi, he explains why he dumped the ruling and opposition parties, his fallout with a former governor of his state, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and how his (Mr Kwankwaso’s) “unpatriotic gesture” has motivated him to run for a position at the State House of Assembly.
PT: When did you join politics? How long have you had the plan to run?
Adnan: I joined politics in 2011 during the CPC days, I joined the CPC. Even then, my father was a student leader. I went through some of his documents and realised that he participated in the Students’ Union.
For me to understand and practice politics, I started by engaging myself in students’ politics and I was elected as the Deputy Speaker in the students’ parliament in the university and also the secretary-general in the student union.
So, even after graduation, I’ve had this plan and determination to contest in 2019 as far as the ‘Not To Young To Run Bill’ was passed into law.
PT: What prompted you to want to run for the State House of Assembly?
Adnan: I was part of those people that have been hoping to see that this bill is passed by the Kano State House of Assembly because I knew I would be one of the beneficiaries of the bill. But unfortunately, the Kano State House of Assembly denied the bill passage, I was unhappy. Fortunately, it was passed and signed into law.
That has given me hope and determination to contest so that I will inspire other young people so that I will take charge of the practices of democracy of this country.
PT: You will be contesting against mega political parties that can pull millions of votes in your state alone. How do you intend to get that number of votes for yourself?
Adnan: You see, I have come up with a new strategy of enlightening the young people that this is their time.
As far as they constitute a large number of the population, they are at a better chance of bringing change.
I have adopted a very good strategy of massive mobilisation, social media campaign and reaching out to the different wards in my constituency to tell them what I have for them as well as the kind of laws I’m going to make for good governance.
I have been telling them that I don’t have the money to give them but I have so many good plans that will benefit them, their children and grandchildren.
PT: How would you rate your relationship with your constituents?
Adnan: I have a very good relationship with them and I can assure you that wherever you go in my constituency, I’m one of the youngest candidates.
I have granted interviews to different radio and television stations and through that medium, I have been able to reach many people.
PT: What will you do differently if elected?
Adnan: You see, I have been telling the people what is possible, not the impossible. The last time I visited a ward, I told the people that I’m not going to be elected so that I will be building mosques and schools for them. I would be elected to go and make laws, to come up with bills that will ensure good governance that will impact on health, education, employment and youth development.
These are my plans. My plans are not to carry out the duties of the executive arm of the government. I am a lawmaker and I’m going to make laws for them.
This way, they will know I am not a liar or a betrayer like other politicians.
PT: You sound so confident; do you have a political godfather?
Adnan: So far, I don’t have a political godfather, I have political mentors.
I was in the APC. I was following Senator Kwankwaso in Kano, he knows me very well. I am a writer and have written articles in national dailies in Kano State.
When he decamped to PDP, I followed him. When I went for a consensus meeting in our constituency, he was presiding over the consensus.
Kwankwaso, who is the former governor of my state, told me that I am too young to contest. He said I just finished my NYSC, I’m not strong, I’m not married, I’m too young and I should not contest. That’s what he told me.
That provoked me because it is against the wishes of the young people and against the aim of the Not Too Young To Run Movement. If I choose to listen to Senator Kwankwaso, then I would have compromised the Bill and the confidence that the young people have in me.
So, I decided to dump the PDP and dump Senator Kwankwaso because of his unpatriotic gesture to the young people like me. So, I joined a new party to bring something new and to bring change because I believe that we can make it even in the small parties.
It’s all about awareness and the strategies we are going to adopt.
PT: Do you support Local Government Autonomy?
Adnan: I support Local Government Autonomy 100 per cent. Because Local government is the government that is nearest to the people. The state governments have compromised the local government which, I think, can provide the dividends of democracy to the people more than the state government.
The local government which is responsible for the primary healthcare, education and other social amenities that will reach the people easily, are being denied autonomy.
How then do you expect us to develop when the local government that is nearer to the people is denied autonomy?
We have a long way to go. So, I support local government autonomy, legislative autonomy and judicial autonomy. Let every arm of government have full autonomy for the betterment of democracy.
PT: Will you publicly declare your assets if elected into office?
Adnan: Yes, I will. I don’t have much assets. I just graduated. I just have a degree, a house my father left for me and the car I’m using. Those are my assets.
PT: Where do you stand on state police?
Adnan: I am not in support of state police for only one reason. You see, if the state government will compromise local government elections because they have the opportunity of appointing the heads of the state electoral commission, then they can compromise the police institution because if they have state police, the governors will be using them for their own political gain.
It’s just like what is happening now, the state governors are using the commissioner of police to serve their own personal and political gains. How much more if they are granted the opportunity to have the state police? Things will become more worrisome.
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