Coordinator of the Women For Namdas organization, Hajiya Halima Mohammed-Hayatu is one of the major supporters of leading governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas. In this interview with journalists, she explains why she is backing the lawmaker representing Jada/Ganye/MayoBelwa/Toungo Federal Constituency of Adamawa State and how he won the support of women across the state. Hayatu who served as commissioner for Women Affairs under the Muritala Nyako Administration also spoke on the politics of Adamawa State, the problems facing the APC in her state and why Namdas is the APC’s best bet in snatching power back from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Why have you pitched your tent with APC governorship aspirant, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas, among the many other aspirants?
What actually attracted me and other women into joining his campaign team is his simple gesture of recognizing us. When he decided that he wants to contest for the governorship of Adamawa State, the first group of people he met was women. He called women from different works of life from the 21 LGs in Adamawa. He addressed us, he told about his ambition and we asked him many questions of which he answered in a way that indicated sincerity. His answers to the problems, challenges and aspirations we have as women left us convinced that should he make it into government house, he will keep to his promise and never leave women behind. It was at this meeting that most women representing diverse groups from all the LGs decided to throw their weight behind Hon. Namdas. It was at the meeting that women decided that this is the right person to support. He mentioned a lot of things that Adamawa women need as mothers, as small scale entrepreneurs, he talked about education for the girl-child and the protection of women and girls. He spoke about securing Adamawa State because when there are security problems women and girls are most affected. As chairman of the House Committee on Army he has the knowledge to keep his promise of securing our state. Hon Abudlrazak Namdas is a seasoned politician and media professional. He started out as Secretary of the Adamawa Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), he was Chief Press Secretary to Governor Boni Haruna for eight years, he contested as Deputy Governorship candidate of the ACN in 2011 during which they came second. He later contested for a seat in the House of Representatives where he served as spokesperson of the House and now chairs the Committee on Army. In a nutshell, Hon. Namdas has been part of politics and governance since 1999, he understands the issues in Adamawa and Nigeria as a whole. He understands the needs of the electorate, especially the women. Hon . Namdas made use of his journalism background by interviewing women across the state to know about their problems, so he has firsthand information of what women really want. It is our belief that once he becomes governor in our state, women will be first on his agenda.
You already are speaking of his becoming governor, but how do you rate his chances especially when you remember that your party lost to the PDP in 2019?
In fact, Namdas is gaining a lot of support because he is the candidate who can successfully challenge the current governor. We have a PDP governor because of the internal crisis in the APC back in 2019. But now, Hon. Namdas has gone round all the stakeholders in Adamawa State, he has talked to the upper class, the middle class and everyday people. He is the only aspirant who has gone round the 21 LGs in Adamawa to tell people about his intentions. He has held meetings with women, youths and elders and he has gotten these people on board. More importantly, Hon Namdas reached out to those that lost out during our party’s congress, some of those who lost out were angry. Some of them wanted to leave the party, but Hon. Namdas called them back. He pleaded with them that they should remain in the APC, so we can all work together to return the party to winning ways. So, Namdas has worked so hard to build bridges and reconcile aggrieved members and this singular act of his endeared him to people. He is the only one with governorship aspiration that has visited the 21 LGs in Adamawa. So the peace that he has brought to the APC, the bridges he has built has made people in the APC love Namdas across the 21 LGs.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar happens to come from Hon. Namdas’ constituency and he belongs to the PDP. Don’t you think Atiku’s presence in your preferred candidate’s constituency will have negative impact?
I don’t think so, this is because Hon. Namdas still has a good relationship with former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, though they are different political parties. Like you already know, Hon. Namdas won his election in 2019 on the platform of the APC while the former Vice-President was in the PDP. Ultimately, it is the people that vote and they are already supporting Namdas.
An aide of the governor wrote in an op-ed that Hon. Namdas should have re-contested for the House of Representatives rather than contesting for governor as his boss is doing well. What is your response to this?
Why should he be bothered about Hon. Namdas’ decision to run for the governorship? It shows they are already afraid. They know that Hon. Namdas is the person to beat. Whatever developmental interventions the governor is carrying out, Hon. Namdas is doing something similar at his own level as a member of the House of Reps. We know Hon. Namdas is a very popular candidate and they also know this and this is why they have been doing all they can, spreading rumors so that Hon. Namdas will not emerge as APC candidate. In fact, they are praying that someone else emerges as APC candidate, so they can easily defeat the person. But we want development in Adamawa and we know Namdas can fast-track development in our state and this is why we will work with him to pick the APC ticket and then defeat the PDP at the polls.
Still talking about reconciliation, Hon. Namdas has helped in stopping aggrieved party members from leaving the APC, but some people are still smarting from your party’s loss in 2019. What have you done as a mother and women’s leader to help in getting people to forget your past failure and work for the party’s success in 2023?
Well, you know that managing human beings or human relations is a tough job. Achieving genuine reconciliation hasn’t been easy but we can get it done. Remember that when we lost the election here, it was like the APC had been buried in Adamawa. But surprisingly of recent, when you drive around the state you see more billboards of people contesting under the APC. Our party is strong and standing firm; we will continue with the reconciliation. We will continue to support Hon. Namdas to promote cohesion in the party. We actually know that we are better off prepared for elections. We know what we have been through as a state being under PDP when it is the APC governing at the center. With reconciliation which is spearheaded from the national level to Adamawa, we are working to get everyone on board. Team Namdas is not only reconciling APC members we have even convinced others to join the party like Adamawa ADC which collapsed its entire structure into APC. APC is getting stronger by the day and this means PDP is getting weaker also. We have achieved about eighty percent of reconciliation and this is a good mark.
Your former governor Sen. Jibrilla Bindow is also interested in contesting for a second term. Why do you choose to support a new candidate instead of supporting a former governor?
Well, I am just hearing that the former governor is interested in contesting from you, till date, he hasn’t told anyone he is contesting. He is the immediate past governor of our state, so, if he is vying for election we should be seeing evidence all over. But we have not heard from him or his supporters and apart from Namdas, nobody else has come out to say he is interested in the APC governorship ticket. So far it is only Namdas who we know and he has as high as ninety percent of our members behind him. It just may be too late for anyone coming after him.
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