BY AMOS TAUNA, KADUNA – Former Vanguard Correspondent for Kaduna State, Luka Binniyat, on Saturday disclosed to the press why he is aspiring to represent Zango Constituency in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) at the Kaduna State House of Assembly (KDHA) come 2019 elections.
Binniyat was charged to court and detained for over three months in Kaduna Central Prison last year by the government of Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai over alleged false report that had to do with mass killings of Southern Kaduna indigenes by suspected Fulani gunmen.
He resigned his appointment with the newspaper, citing connivance against him by the newspaper and the Kaduna State Government.
Speaking in Zonkwa, headquarters of Zangon Kataf LGA, Binniyat, who is an aspirant on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform, said, when elected, ‘commitment to service, sacrifice, courage to stand for what is due my constituency and robust consultation all year through with stakeholders will be the trade mark of my tenure.’
According to him, “I have deployed my constitutional rights and civil liberty, both as a journalist and a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, to the pursuit of justice, equity and rule of law so that true peace and development can be attained in my state, especially in Southern Kaduna which had been besieged by heartless armed Fulani herdsmen in the near past.
“Zango constituency, as indeed most part of Southern Kaduna, has been suppressed, molested, insulted, exploited and neglected both in terms of projects allocations, appointments to political offices and general security under the present government like never in the history of this country.
“I’ve tried pointing out this unacceptable prejudice through my tireless, accurate, balance and fair reports, especially of the mass murder of our natives and the mind-blowing destruction of our communities and farmlands by invaders.
“Strangely, as I exclusively broke the news for Vanguard on 3rd December, 2016, Governor Nasir el-Rufai knew the foreign counterparts of the killers, traced them to their various African countries and paid them huge sums of undisclosed amounts, saying it was to stop them from returning to kill more. He did nothing to bring relief to surviving victims. And the pogrom only heighted around the time he paid them.
“I have also been involved in civil rights issues and also in the politics of my area right back to 1999, but from the background. But I became more active in politics in 2014 during my annual leave. I used the opportunity to campaign for the senatorial bid of Chief Danjuma La’ah, as his Director of Media and Publicity, and we won the election under the PDP.”
Asked why he wants to represent Zango constituency at the KDHA, the Zamandabo-born journalist and now politician said; “People have observed that I have committed myself to the well-being and progress of Southern Kaduna, making a lot of personal sacrifices and taking risks alongside other concerned patriots of the area. It has also been noted that we have been doing what our elected officials ought to have been doing, especially those locally representing us at the KDHA. So, I was encouraged to come out and vie for a seat at the KDHA so that I can have an official mandate to stand for my constituency to do even more that what I was doing as mere concern native of Zangon Kataf LGA.”
He added, “I want to introduce commitment to service of my constituency through sacrifice over selfishness; courage to stand for what is due to us, improve on community development and most of all, maintain robust consultation all years through with stakeholders. These will be the trademark of my tenure if given the chance”.
When asked if it was an indictment of the failure by the current occupant of the seat that was making him to contest, the veteran journalist said, “It will be unfair and uncharitable for me as a contender for his seat to pass judgement on him. I believe that the best persons to access him are his constituents. And that is why some of us are coming in should in case their judgement don’t not favour him,” he said.
Pressed further if he had faith in the delegates that will elect the flagbearer of the party for the general elections, Binniyat said, “look, I come from a largely exposed and very enlightened constituency. Our people may lack material wealth, but our faith in God, hard work, dignity and honour stands us out as a noble people. Zango Constituency is also unarguably among the most elitist in Nigeria when you consider the calibre of great Nigerians it has produced in all fields of human endeavour. That is why all our delegates have attained at least secondary schools education not to mention those with degrees and above. So, I trust that they will not elect anyone that will not reflect the high rating of Zango as a constituency of class and status seeking for quality representation at KDHA in 2019.
“I also believe that they will not settle for a one who, in their own thinking, does have the courage to stand up for their rights. I come from a constituency where fear and timidity must be replaced by courage and fortitude. Our history of survival is based on these. I know that these are the qualities they will be looking for. And I am happy to note that among us that are contesting from my constituency delegates will find in me the most of these attributes as their choice to represent the party at the general election,” he said.
When asked what were his chances of winning the primary elections, he said, “I am as confident of winning as anyone who is contesting for the seat. I said so, because I am very confident and sure that the delegates will elect an aspirant that will make them proud to stand before not only members of our great party, PDP, but the electorate. They won’t elect anyone that the party and Zango constituency will regret. Because, as far as Zango constituency is concern, the APC-led government in the state has denigrated, maligned and suppressed us, therefore, any good candidate of the PDP is considered a winner in the general polls,” he said.
The primary election of the PDP for States Houses of Assembly comes up on 15th September. At least, no fewer than eighth contestants are jostling for the seat of Zango constituency, while not less than 20 are pursuing same seat of Zonkwa constituency at the time of filling this report.
The currents members representing Zangon Kataf LGA at KDHA are: Wing Commander Danladi Kwasau Angulu (rtd) and Barrister Jerry Kantiok for Zango and Zonkwa constituencies respectively.