Why I want To Represent My People In National Assembly – Gen Katunku

General Katunku Simon Gora is a Retired Military Chief under the engineers department, a philanthropist per excellence and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in this interview with “Arabella star magazine” he speaks on the prospects of the party, bear his mind on the security situations in the Country and why he’s seeking to represent the Good people of Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency in the National Assembly. Excerpts 

Can you briefly tell us about yourself? 

I am Brigadier General Gora Katunku Simon (rtd), I served in the Nigerian Army engineers and retired about  6 years ago and now into politics under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Well, the outcome of that convention was a showcase for other political party in the Country and even across the world to learn because the convention was very successful with a fair, credible and transparent outcome, It also showed that we in Nigeria can actually conduct our affairs without rancour. it shows that Nigeria is a country that can do things right with proper guidance.

With the crop of leaders that have emerged in your party, how can you assess the prospect of the party come 2023?

The prospects are very high because those that emerged are seasoned and experienced hands who knows the politics of this country very well having the country in various capacities, They are men of caliber that have ideology and principles. Success is going to be certainly ours because there are lot of strategies on ground to win the populace to the party which is already happening and I can assure you that as we enter the new year definitely a lot of people are going to defect to PDP. 

Do you think the Emergence of the National Youth leader of the party who is 25-years old is a sign that Youth in the party will be given the chance to participate unlike before?

Well, it is a clear indication to the Youth that the PDP is an inclusive political party, that takes the Youth into consideration in all that it does,  because for you to have good leadership in the future you need to have the Youth mentored at this level which is a very positive sign to us as the adage would say “the Youth are the future of tomorrow” We involve the Youth in leadership of the party and in key positions in  the party structure, by the time they’re trained for few years they would understand what it means to lead and they will do it very well.

The National Assembly adopt the mode of direct Primaries and E-transmission of result, how can you assess the impact of this development into Nigeria’s democracy?

First of all, I will say the National Assembly is beginning to do what is expected of them to do, It is a good sign for political practice in this Country where everybody is taking along, everybody that has a voice and has a vote matters. A situation where we have statutory delegates for a very few members of an exco from the Ward to the national level who are the only ones that can vote at the primaries at all levels and in most of the time is not good for internal or deeper democracy. 
 It gives room for money bags to buy off the number of delegates that are sure to vote.
Some are of the opinion that this situation is going to be very expensive but I did not see how expensive it is going to be. If you’re a very popular and acceptable candidate you don’t need to spend money and INEC can cut cost by using the members of the national service corps which is a ready manpower for such an exercise. Its only where you have a question mark in  your aspiration that you would need to buy votes. But with your popularity the votes comes naturally because there must be something about you that attract the people to want you to represent them.

Some of the legislators raised concern that the e-transmission of result may be hacked, considering even some developed Countries are still battling posed by the electoral process. What’s your opinion ?

You cannot be afraid of what you have eaten because you will go to the rest room after. As a Country we have to start somewhere, perfection is achieved in continuous processes or practice in a system that is dynamic. We must start somewhere so that we’ll get to where we want, we cannot for one day get it right. If I may use the experience of Kaduna where electronic voting was used, it worked perfectly well despite minor hitches. Firstly, it saved time, secondly it brought about credibility, transparency and fairness in the system because the Machine cannot convert or increase your votes for another person or party. So, it is a very credible process and it is going to be the best process that’s going to reduce alot of legal issues after elections. The issue of ballot snatching, result overturned or election materials or papers being burnt will not arise because result from the polling unit will go direct to the server and aspirants will not have to doubt the outcome.
You have expressed optimism to run for the seat of Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, what informed your decision after retiring as a Military General ?
Having served the nation for over 30-years there are lot of things you have seen, a lot of experience you have gathered and when you come out you see how things are not done the way they’re supposed to be done especially in party representation, so with that in mind one is sure once he gets there he can always do things differently and serve the people as requested. 
I have realized now that majorly there is no inclusiveness in the representation that we have in this Country in most of the representatives that we know. Most of them see the political office they occupied as an avenue to enrich themselves, become powerful and vocal not thinking about the people they’re representing. So, I see selfishness in that representation. Ideally as a representative you need to fall back to the people most times on issues because you’re there on their mandate. They must know what you’re doing, you must tell them what you want to do and you have to always have a discussion with them. 

As a retired military Chief now joins politics, how do you intend to reconcile  this two scenario ?

Well, I  think everything depends on the individual, you cannot separate the Military service completely from political setting, they’re interwoven. Now, erroneously we look at politics as a platform were people lie, promises are broken and things are not done the way they’re supposed to be done and no respect for institutions as against what is obtainable in the Military setting. So, it all depend on the individual. If you’re discipline and trained you should be able to blend with the political practice. 

Insecurity has posed a serious economic problem in Nigeria today, as a Military Chief with vast experience, eventually you emerged, what kind of legislation will you propose to ensure this security threats are solved?

I will say we are in an era of insecurity across the globe reasons being that there are so many issues are arising as people develop across the globe. Issues of power tussle, shortage or lopsidedness in  resource allocation. The legislation is there not that it is in total absence. We have institutions that are well established to secure the environment. However what i see faulty is the implementation and the will power by the political class to ensure that this policies or laws are implemented. So, to me we have enough legislation to take care of security issues in this Country it is just the implementation that’s the problem because of political interest in some certain quarters. 

As a security expert and looking at the security architecture of this country, do you support State Police? 

From what’s obtainable or what we see today where the Military is being used for internal security as against territorial defense, is obviously necessary to have State Police and even beyond that we still need some other organization that could be trained to operate along side with the Police. Policing is not the job of the Military because if you bring out the military it means something has really gone bad. They’re only trained to bring maximum punishments to offenders. Having enough Military and by their training it is almost near impossible for them to do the work of the Police. So it is necessary that State Police or State Government be allowed to established their own policing system, however, there must be check and balance from the power at the Centre to be able to moderate the use of the Police at the State level so that those in Government will not use them as their personal instruments against their opponents.

Looking at the myriads of security challenges that has grappled most parts of the Country, would you say the security is overstretch to tackle thus problems?

Certainly the security architecture is overstretched , it’s not easy to cover the vast land or boundaries that we have in this country using the Military alone. You must know that our borders are very porous and we’re within a region that has been facing instability for all this years and the our intervention in some of these crisis in some of these Countries of course didn’t go down well with some of the parties in these struggles across some Countries, so no wonder they may want to destabilize our Country.

Should politics be separated from HV be insecurity issues, because there are suspicion that every crime has political undertone? 

Honestly speaking, you can hardly separate insecurity issues from politics because one way or the other lack of truth, fairness justice from the political class create insecurity issues. Lack of political will power to do the correct things and like I said earlier; lopsided power and resource allocation are  issues that can give rise to  self determination struggles and so many other strives that are politically motivated. So, the two are like body in a Jacket.

What’s the general security overview of the Constituency you’re seeking to represent?

We’re in a situation where there is a lot of misinterpretation of crises for the mere fact that the region is within an entity call Nigeria. It is very difficult to actually define the caused and the reason for the crises because If you look at the actors they have different inclinations either ethnic, religious or political. So, it is very difficult to say this is the reason for the crises, but however, I want to look at it as a disagreement amongst brothers which I think the Government has not done much in trying to find out ways to settle the disagreement between the parties. It is a very simple thing. These are people that have lived together for years co-existing happily, inter-marrying, went to School together and attending social functions together and belongs to the same political parties.
So, it is very difficult to figure out the reason one can aduce to the crises. When Government turn their back in a situation of that nature it would rage on. I believe that Government will one day take the Bull by the Horn and try to settle the crises.

There were a lot of security meeting, peace pact signed in different fora in bid to ensure the crises are addressed, will you still say Government effort is not enough? 

From my own point of view there is no sincerity in the peace pact or security meetings. The intention is well conceived but the people come there to discuss issues with double mind, is like a double talk what they say is different from what is in their mind. I attended one of the peace meeting, while we were there discussing how to establish peace within the region we heard that the crisis was raging on in the nearby community and we had community representatives from that very axis in the meeting and the supposed attackers  have their members in that meeting too. So, there is a lot of insincerity in the minds of the discussants. Until when we tell ourselves the truth we may not have an end to the disagreement.

Finally, what’s your call to the people of Zango/Jaba Federal Constituency you’re seeking to represent ?

I am calling on the people of Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency to give me an open opportunity and believe in my intentions. I want them to also believe that all of us will work together inclusively to change the situation on the ground for our own good. I do know that ideas when shared and accepted we can move the region forward. Principally, I want to see a situation where we can mentor our youths to be less dependent on our Government that is already overstretch. Incidentally too, we have a modern system of doing things that is largely dependent on ICT to conduct the works of so many people. We must remove the idea of depending on Government for white collar jobs which are no longer available which is one of the major causes of insecurity. We must begin to look inwards, think out the box and develop skills that can make us independent, create jobs and employers of labour. I want to see a situation where we dominate the small and medium enterprises which in most developed countries serves as the main drivers of their economies. With focus and the right direction, it is doable and achievable. Our region is blessed with enterprising human resource that requires a little push to get to the promised land. I hold the key to that if given the opportunity and mandate of representation. 

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