POLYCARP DANLADI GANKON is the Kaduna State gubernatorial candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). In this interview with our reporter, AMOS TAUNA, he says he has the answers to turn around the fortunes of the state, among other issues
What is the main thing lacking in Kaduna State that inspires you to contest for the governorship of the state?
My names are Mr. Polycarp Danladi Gankon, l am contesting for the governorship of Kaduna State on the platform All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and by the special grace of God, l have a very strong desire and also a very strong burden in me for the people of the state. By virtue of my professional background as an Agricultural Research Scientist, l have been into Agricultural extension and activities that has to do with the development of Agricultural technology in Kaduna State directly with the Kaduna Agricultural Development Project (KADP). And l was the state experiment officer of Agricultural research and l deal directly with this organization. I have the love for agricultural development because of my years of service, l feel a have so much experience that l can transfer it to the people of the state. Our over dependance on petroleum is causing us a lot of problems and a point, we expect it to decline and the only number one base that is directly has to do with the people is for the agricultural industry to be developed. As a result of my experience with the agricultural activities all through the years as an agricultural scientist, l felt l have gathered enough experience to transfer same to the people of Kaduna State. Even if the petroleum is there, the people need to be empowered and if we want them to be empowered, there is nothing we can do than to give them the right agricultural produce that could be in terms of rainfed and irrigation agriculture. Kaduna State is the only state in the whole country that has four research institutes that are agricultural base. These research institutes have a lot of agriculture technologies that can be tapped to empower the people, l know what we can benefit from these institutes because l was there. We develop the KADP by ensuring all the necessary agencies are working with proper funding and good supervision; the right result will be obtained. More extension workers are needed to transfer the knowledge to the farmers in the village by getting the farmer extension ratio of the World Bank because in Kaduna State, the ratio of one extension worker is about 3,500 farming families but the World Bank standard ought to be one extension farmer to about 800 families. Agricultural wise in the state, if you look at the state, from Zaria up to Lere, this is an area that is very good in the production of Maize and other grain agriculture, of course, they do it, there is need for the right thing to be done. During the dry season, nothing is going on there. There is a dam at Zuntu and it can be improved to a level that will ensure real irrigation farming in the area throughout the year that has to do with onion, tomatoes and so many other things can be produced. Areas like Shika, Giwa and other places could also benefit from such arrangements. There is a dam in Giwa that could drain and developed for irrigation farming for the farmers to be empowered. In southern part of the state, tree crops agricultural development like oranges, banana, mangoes, apples and many other tree crops could be produced in large quantities. I have all it takes to impact positively on the people of the state agricultural wise. Kagoro hills can be developed because it has a beautiful weather better than the Obudu , l have been there and if the place is fully utilized, it will attract people all over the world for tourism. It is the issue of bringing in investors to develop the area, the people will be empowered and many jobs opportunities will come the way of the people of the state. In Jaba and environs, they have very good tourism attractions that will attract the attention of the world, besides other agricultural produce that can be produced. In Birnin Gwari, it has one of the best weather where cowpea, groundnut and many other cash crops could be produced in very large quantities. Groundnut could be produced, while irrigation farming could be harnessed for the benefit of the people. All these places, as a research officer, l have gone round all these places and l know what each area in the state can produce in large quantities if properly harnessed to develop agriculture and empower the people of the state. Earlier before now we have National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) developing agriculture plants and given out to farmers. If you go to places like Saminaka, Soba, Makarfi and environs, these are places that are very good for agriculture and sugar cane farming. If properly developed and are given water from the canals, the issue FASCOM will be developed when these places are being given to individual farmers for subsidize rate by the government. The government will put a substantial amount of money to realize its objectives. The potentials we have at the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority at Niger State For which Kaduna State is under it are not being explored. It is under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, all that is needed can be gotten from the Niger River Basin to develop our dams. The Agricultural Extension Transformation Agenda initiated by the present administration and it was developed by my institute, where l worked and we gave it to the government which it is using in the country and results are coming out. I have been part of it and what will make me not to develop it in Kaduna State.
Kaduna State has been facing security challenges for some years. What do you think could be done to ensure peace and unity in the state?
Most people in the state are disgruntled, unhappy, cheated and downtrodden. As such, they are not happy with what is happening in the state, especially on the issue of insecurity. The motto of APGA says the day has broken for the people of Kaduna State because we are leaving under a situation of darkness not knowing what to do and with the party’s slogan, “Be your brother’s keeper.” It is apt at this material time in the state for us to be our brothers’ keeper for peace, unity and development to take place in the state. If we become our brothers’ keeper, there will be no fighting on the basis of religion, tribe or party affiliations. If you are your brother’s keeper, why wouldn’t you help one another? And all other things that are necessary for the common good as human beings? The state has one of the highest military formations in the country. If properly utilized for the peaceful coexistence of the people in the state, peace would be maintained at an appreciable level in the state. Our retired military officers and personnel can be brought together for their contribution on the way forward for peaceful coexistence and how best everybody in the state will have a sense of belonging for everybody to be carried along. These are things that are needed for us as a state to properly utilize for our overall development and harmonious existence. I have a wife that is a serving military officer and with her by my side, l have the believe that she will give the best security advice needed to implore measures that will enhance the security network in the state.
What are your chances of winning the governorship election in Kaduna State?
My chances are very bright, very bright in the sense that the state government has failed the people and nothing on the ground. Make a comparism of the developmental strikes in states like Kano, Katsina and others, it is not the matter of party. The people are crying loud and the voice of the people is the voice of God. It is on this basis that l have offered myself as a sacrificial lamp to salvage the situation in the state in all spheres of life. I see myself as an advocate of development especially in Agriculture and Tourism. I see myself as an advocate that can make positive development in the lives of the people of the Kaduna State. I see myself as a commoner, l will identify with my fellow commoners to restore their dignity as human beings that have been thrown to the dust pin to wallow in abject poverty. I am a youth, l will identify with the youth to initiate projects that will be beneficial to them. I will also identify with the women, especially the widows because l was once a widower. I will identify with the workers because l was one-time unionist in ABU. In the areas of education, health and other sectors that are begging for answers in the state, they need a leader that is articulate, focused and with determination to ensure positive change and strict supervision that will restore the lost glory of the state and be reckoned with in all spheres of life with other states. Good working conditions have to be put in place for the workforce while most of the dilapidated industries will be revamped to reduce the teeming unemployed youth roaming the streets looking for jobs. All these need sacrifice and political will on the part of government to ensure the realization of the set objectives.
APGA as a party appears not well known in the state and your structure appear almost absent. How are you going about your campaign?
Our campaign is not a campaign of money to be used anyhow, but we are into grassroots campaign where we sensitize and educate the people of those things they have been missing as a result of bad leadership the state. We are making the people aware of their rights in a democratic setting like ours and what a party like APGA has in stock for the people of Kaduna State. People are queuing into our ideology and the need for change of leadership in accordance with the principles of APGA. These are all evidences that are giving us hope, strength and conviction that the people are anxiously waiting for the governorship election to vote APGA into power in the state for the realization of their dream, a dream of an ideal society that is transparent, honest, responsive and responsible government in place in Kaduna state.