Zanna Gaddama Mustapha is a factional Chairman of the Borno State chapter of the PDP. In this interview in Abuja, he speaks on the struggles of being an opposition party in a state dominated by the ruling APC.
What is your take on the claim in some quarters that the Buhari Tsunami which took place in the 2015 elections will repeat itself in the 2019 elections?
I do not think so, the Buhari Tsunami has worked, but it will not work again because the expectations of the people have not been met. The people thought that if Buhari came to power, in three months’ time, the Boko Haram would not be there and they would go back to their communities.
They expected that a bag of rice which was N8,500 would come down to N3,000, while their salaries would increase, their purchasing power would increase and they would have an easy life.
That was the thinking of the people at that time, which made them come out en masse to support Buhari. But today they have seen the other side of it. The rice that we are talking about is now N18,000. When you talk about other means of livelihood, everything has gone up without succour from the government. There is no job for them, our young men and women that have finished schools have been roaming the streets without jobs.
The WIN programme that was done by the Jonathan administration, which was judged as the best in the world, was scrapped by this government and no better replacement was put in place.
When you go to the streets of Maiduguri, many people have become beggars. When people get breakfast in Maiduguri they don’t know how to get lunch; after getting lunch they don’t know how to get their dinner. This is how our people are suffering down there. Then you think with the hunger in them they will come out and vote Buhari, because they did it the last time? I don’t think so.
PDP has not been in government since 1999 in Borno. Do you think it can mobilise resources and win next year?
In Borno, it is not money that plays the major role, it is enlightenment. When Ali Sheriff was the governor in 2011, he had all the resources at his disposal. This is someone who left N65bn in the coffers of the government when he handed over in 2011; but he was defeated in the Borno Central Senatorial election by over 60,000 votes. Why was this so? It was not because the APC had money, but they were able to mobilise the people against him and revealed the negative sides of his government.
So I tell you this time around it will be worst than 2011, because we are still enlightening them.
Don’t you think the resurgence of insurgency will affect the 2019 elections in Borno and environs?
Insurgency is not what you can finish in a day; it is guerrilla warfare. When you think you have finished it, it springs up somewhere again; like with the Dapchi girls. The government told us that they had finished with Sambisa and that Boko Haram was about to finish, so we were surprised with the Dapchi attack; that is terrorism. You have to be proactive. It will take us time actually. But for the elections, even in Syria, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they went for elections; so what will stop us from going for elections? We will go and we are sure we are going to win.
With the security challenges in 2015, we went for elections, although it was not the way we expected it. But this time around we have the experience because in 2015, most of our people were in the IDP camps, and these camps were fortified by the state government. We were not allowed access into the camps to campaign.