Alhaji Umar Abdullahi Tsauri, TaTa, Garkuwan Talakawa and Katsina State governorship aspirant is a household name in the politics of the state and beyond. A man of the people, who joined politics based on the opportunity to serve his people, believes that we are one another’s keeper and the beauty of life is measured not by the amount of cash we have in our bank accounts but how many lives we have touched. Within the period of his involvement into politics, he has undertaken several philanthropic activities all geared towards making life better for the less privileged. These include but not restricted to giving out motorcycles, cars, ambulances, free drugs to primary health care centres, schools’ clinics and general hospitals across the state, distribution of food items free to do the needy and the indigent, reconstruction and rebuilding of several houses for the less privileged, construction and renovation of mosques and Islamiyya schools, construction of community secondary schools and additional classrooms to both primary and secondary schools, hiring of houses to accommodate indigenes of the state in tertiary institutions outside the state, electrification of several villages and connecting them to the National Grid, construction of open wells and boreholes, expansion and purchase of land for cemeteries, construction and equipping of laboratories in secondary schools in Katsina, repairs of roads and construction of culverts and bridges, and several women and youth empowerment initiatives by giving out knitting machines, grinding machines, sewing machines, water pumping machines and many more. In this interview, the grassroots politician with the rare ability to do great and uncommon things in the society speaks about his mission and vision as well as his master plan for Katsina State. He also talked about his plans to industrialise Katsina State and put it in the global map. Excerpts:
What is your master plan for Katsina State?
My master plan hinges on one thing and that is the economic development of Katsina State through the provision of constant light through independent power plant. To achieve this I have as part of my master plan, by the grace of God when I become the governor of Katsina State, to establish a 200MW of electricity generating plant. I want to build the plant conscious of the fact that Katsina only required 79MW electricity to have an uninterrupted power supply. Achieving 200MW will give me enough even with an excess which I am not willing to share with any state anyway. My major reason is that I want to set phase for industrialisation of Katsina State. According to Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, in 2013, over 860 industries were closed down because of the cost of production associated with lack of power in the country. With the provision of uninterrupted power supply many industries will spring up in Katsina using whatever economic and commercial activities, I could utilise. How could I achieve this? As a result of or closeness to Niger Republic which has a working refinery that is just around 30-60km away from where I want to site my power plant. I will do all I can with the assistance of the federal government to have my plant.
How will you source fund for this gigantic project?
International global price per 1MW is $1 million when you put all together, the total cost of what I need at $200 million and converting the $200 million to naira will give you N36 billion. I can get N36 billion through a consortium from Katsina without going anywhere. This is my vision in the independent power supply and I’m not going to shy away from what I will need to succeed. The National Electric Regulatory Commission has provided for generation and transmission and I will exploit it. I will set my power at the same time with the PHCN – the consumer had a choice to buy from me or from PHCN. I was so happy when I learnt that American government is committed in investing its money in Katsina State to develop 1000MW of electricity using the system I have in mind and they said as of that 1000MW, they will drop 300MW just for Katsina State. I will achieve this God’s willing with virtually investing noting.
What plans do you have for the teeming youths?
Problem of youth goes down to the simple factor that youth should be carried along. A good leader is always putting the interest of his people first just like a shepherd put his flocks ahead of him. In my desire to industrialise Katsina State, I will have all-the-year-round farming which is going to be different from the present seasoned farming. I will have more dams in the state, procure more assorted fertilizer and distribute them free.
You have the best and powerful empowerment programme. How were you able to achieve this?
We are taught in Islam that we should always give. There is a Yoruba man Chief Felix Ogunwale who taught me about open handedness. He was a senator, he told me an adage which says if you allow N10 to fly away, N20 or N50 may come your way, that is the secret people don’t know when they say that I’m generous. There is joy in giving and as a result of this that is why Allah has been blessing me to prosper.
To what extent has this helped you?
This has opened my eyes to the plight of the people and that makes me to give more and in return the people have been praying that God should deliver Katsina to me to govern. All these things started four years ago.Follow Us on Social Media