Prince Nehemiah Kangiwa is a seasoned civil servant, Proprietor of Schools, and a politician. His burns with the desire to serve his people through politics and firmly believes he would one day get there after some failed attempts. In this interview with Okerafor Athanatius in Jalingo, he bares his mind on the sorry state of things in the state and canvasses good governance as the only remedy. Excerpts.
Why have you not gone into more contests after losing in 2011? That is a very good question. Politics is not all about contesting. Sometimes, the parameters, sometimes the political scenario on ground might not give you the opportunity of saying that you want to contest but instead, you want to contribute. inmy own case and my community, we stepped down all our ambitions in contesting elections because we wanted all our votes to be in block for Arc. Darius Ishaku, we wanted also to vote in block for Hon. Mark Useni, who is our member representing Takum II at the State Assembly. Without Hon. Useni, the linkage between us and Governor Ishaku will not be complete. I stepped down my ambition because; I believed that if Mark Useni is there, it is as if I am there.
Are you assuring the people of Takum II Constituency of coming out in 2019 to contest when Hon. Mark Useni’s tenure will elapse? I think it will be too early to begin to give a statement concerning 2019. And I am praying that God will give us the grace to make 2019. And let that time come, my House of Assembly ambition is not an individual issue, it is an issue that concerns everybody from my constituency. They are in dire need of my service, I want to serve them and that has been my dream all these years. I have not said, precisely that in 2019, I will be contesting. It is only the living that will decide what happens in 2019 and I pray that I will be among the living
You said that you are a Civil Servant. How can you be a committed Politician having being a Civil Servant? That is a very important question too. I think, if you don’t start the game when you are in the Civil Service, when you come out, you will completely be a novice. I resigned my appointment before I contested in 2011. So, when I couldn’t make it based on honorarium, I came back to my office. One thing is this, “Politics is not a classroom issue, it is all about participation. Making you available where it is necessary. You do not need to write books, you do not even need to enter classes. Politics is a profession everybody can belong to. So, I am not properly active, but I am in the game. I am also playing the game with them. I always strive towards seeing that the right person is chosen to serve the people and that is what I have been doing. I might not participate effectively like other people but I think that I am making my marks. I hate bad leader, I hate greedy leaders, I hate people that lack vision. I am not interested in money; I am interested about service. That is what I want you to understand but I believe that with time, I will get there. It is about determination and time and I am not giving away my ambition because ambition is inbuilt. Going to the House of Assembly is inbuilt. You will not take away a vision, you can take away all other things but vision and determination, nobody can take them away and I believe that God believes in people who believe in their dreams.
What is your stand as it concerns Taraba politics? All of us who are politicians in Taraba State are in the system to see how the State can grow. Some of us are into politics because we feel we have something to contribute. Well, I am doing fine, I work in a very good place but that is not enough. I want to work where I will have the strength to be able to work with my people. That is why I left Abuja, walk down to Jalingo to see how we can further our political interest. I am so much interested in being a grass root politician so that we will be able to allow the dividends of democracy to reach every nook and crannies of this state.
As a school proprietor, what do you think of the educational system in the state? I think Taraba is seriously left behind most other states. Taraba is down. I am into education and I am telling you, the schools I visited, I discovered that most Teachers are just sitting down, waiting for salaries to be paid. My children go to public schools and that is only in Taraba here and I discovered that most of the times, they come back home without assignments. The education sector in Taraba is a problem and needs to be rescued. In terms of Civil service, Taraba needs to be rescued. Apart from that, developmental infrastructure like roads, water and electricity are the areas that were not even operational before, they were almost down. Every nooks and crannies of Jalingo, the state capital, you discover that there is almost 24 hours power supply. I think, where the Governor has to do proper rescue operation is the area of road network. Taraba has no roads, particularly Jalingo, the state capital. Almost all the major and minor roads in Jalingo are not tarred and are not motorable. People want all the roads that link every part of Jalingo to be properly rehabilitated and tarred. We should not shy away from the truth. If you enter Jalingo, apart from the major roads, all other roads you enter, you will just be embarrassed. It looks like there is no government in Taraba. I am particularly talking about the road that starts from the State Secretariat to the Taraba State Broadcasting Service (TSBS), down to the by-pass road in Mile Six. Others are; the State Primary Board area, Magami and many others. The road from Road block – Mayo Dassa, going to Kona is also very important. Even though I can hear the Governor is doing something about it. I applaud him for that initiative. When you go to other States, you hear that the State Governors are building 125 kilometre roads and they are not building only one, two three, they are building almost four, five, ten at the same time. In Taraba, you don’t see such things. You only hear that they are building only one and half kilometer road.
What specifically, do you expect from the government? Looking at Taraba roads, especially, maintenance and rehabilitation, Jalingo township roads and its environs should be the Governor’s best and first priority. Let the people have access roads. If they are properly connected, you will discover that the high cost of transport will come down. If you look at what the immediate past Governor (His Excellency, Danbaba Suntai) did, you will discover that he gave Taraba the look of a modern city. He gave us the by-pass; he made sure that all the roads that matter were opened. I think the present government should build upon it. The most important thing that Taraba needs is the network road that connects Jalingo to the small, small towns and communities in the State. If you join the major road to Jalingo Main Market, you will discover that the next road is at its deplorable condition and completely not attended to. The Governor must go beyond that.
How can he achieve all these considering the state’s dismal financial status? I don’t want to speak on areas I don’t know much about but I think the present regime had spent almost four months in office and I am believing that President Muhammadu Buhari will be able to send down to all the States, a kind of stabilizing fund. That will help him to take off. Let’s talk about your political life. All my life, I have been in politics even though I happen to be a Civil Servant but I create time to make sure that I participate in political activities. You don’t go to my ward or community and talk about politics without people telling you that I have the knowledge. I am well informed of what happens in my community. I have been in active politics for the past ten years. I participated in the 2011 election, contesting for the House of Assembly, Takum II Constituency but lost at the primaries to Hon. Mark Useni and since then, I have been in politics and has remained in PDP, playing my role, trying to see how we can make the party to stand..