Why I want to be Takum LG chairman –Audu
Sunday, January 29,  2012

Prince Bulus Audu is one of those politicians that believe in the power of the people. For him, politics is about service to the people. In this interview, he speaks on his ambition to become the chairman of Takum local government in Taraba State. Excerpts…

What makes you think you are qualified to be chairman of Takum local government?
I am of the famous Audu family in Takum town, and I hold a BSc from the University of Abuja in Political Science. I was born into the strife and dreams of the 1970s; and received my earlier education in Kaduna and Jos. I have experienced several cultures, tasted the bitterness of poverty and felt the cruelty of not having enough.

Like most Nigerians, I have also been consumed by the gnawing frustration of my inability as an individual to help fulfill the aspirations of my Takum heritage – a people, diverse cultures, one Local Government. Takum the paradox, so enviably endowed with great human and natural resources yet so beleaguered in its struggle to attain a livable standard of socio-economic development and political stability; a struggle I feel indebted to join and to assist.?? While growing up in Taraba, I was greatly influenced by my parents.

My father, a politician and local musician, and my mother, a trader. Their experiences and direct involvement in both the intellectual momentum and intensely human and painful episodes of economic development process in Taraba intrigued my interest in what I would later know as nation building.
As the CEO of Runnerspoint Investments Ltd, I initiated a scholarship scheme that most Takum people have benefited from. I had been the Chief Protocol Detail to the Hon Speaker of the House of Representatives, a platform I used to facilitate employment for most Takum and Taraba indigenes at different Federal Government establishments. As the Chief of Staff to the Chairman of Northern Political Summit Group, I ensured that issues concerning Taraba were quickly responded to. I am a card- carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party I had joined since 1998.

But what informs your ambition to contest for this position?
My people have really been impoverished. There has been lack of government presence in Takum. The local government is meant to be the closest tier of government to the people, but yet this has been elusive. There has been consistent lack of focused leadership. Education which is the foundation for any development is not taken seriously; there is infrastructural decay and our health care system virtually none existent.
Takum is endowed with various minerals resources. As one of the first local governments, it shouldn’t be behind in development. Our soil is host to a number of mineral resources that can be commercially exploited. A number of studies have been undertaken by the Federal Government owned Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC, on their uses and application.

Based on the foregoing, I avail myself to liberate the people of Takum, as am so concerned about their yearning.
What would you enumerate as peculiar problems of Takum now that you want to contest for chairmanship?
The condition of life of the average resident of Takum presents a complicated dimension of the basic challenges of hunger, disease, illiteracy and unemployment; over 70 per cent of our fellow citizens live in poverty. People have been living in suspicion, and as such never claim ownership of government. And this hinders the process of development. Except the governed are carried along, there will always be the missing link between the government and the people.

If you are eventually elected, what would you want to achieve during your tenure in office?
I propose therefore a government that understands the challenges I listed above, and is equipped with the requisite intellect and acumen to meet them; a government that will transform Takum into an industrial breeding ground of sustainable growth, a government that will guide the affairs of our local government through laws and projects aimed at strengthening our development effort. I will seek to improve the lives of our people.?

How do you intend to generate revenue to fund these projects?
We have in our manifesto, detailed strategy on Takum’s transformation plan.
We have proposed new solutions for the benefit of all. indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high to permit visionless leadership. Revenue drive shall be taken seriously, as we know that the internally generated revenue (IGR) shall in no small measure further ensure dividends of democracy. We shall not curse the darkness, but we shall light the candle that will guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future for Takum. The times demand a new invention, innovation, imagination, and decision. We shall put in place a comprehensive database for revenue collection and management.

In some cases, chairmen find it difficult to pay salaries; how do you intend to tackle this situation if you are elected?
Such things are due to visionless leadership. The leadership I propose shall be focused, accountable, transparent and people-oriented. Takum is commercially viable, the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) as an addition to the allocation shall catapult and transform our land to a safe haven where developmental projects are carried out along side prompt payment of salaries. I believe employees deserve their wages promptly.

Takum is a crisis prone area; do you have any solution to this ugly trend?
I want to use this opportunity to strongly commend our amiable governor, His Excellency, Capt. Danbaba Danfulani Suntai for initiating and sustaining peace in Takum. I intend to build upon that platform in ensuring that peace is finally restored in Takum.
Our government will productively engage the services of our youth in developmental processes. It is the absence of this that makes our youth a ready-tool in the hands of mischief- makers.

The government that I propose will provide leadership that will help us discover true unity in our diversity, and ensure equitable distribution of our common wealth. It is so that together, we may contain the growing pockets of ignorance and prejudice, and the unanswered questions of poverty. A government that will ensure that our ethnicity will have no more significance than the content of our character and our individual commitment to the cause of building a strong Takum.?

What is your relationship with your political party?
As earlier stated, I am a card-carrying member of the PDP, a party I have joined since 1998. As you already know, PDP is the biggest political party in Africa. I am a disciplined and loyal party man.

How will you deal with the issue of staff redundancy?
Our government will have zero tolerance for non-productivity. We will re-evaluate the workforce available in the local government. We will make the necessary adjustments; we will thrive in having square pegs in square holes. The wellbeing of the people of Takum shall remain the centre of our policy.

Most people venture into politics because of one godfather or the other. Do you have a godfather?
God the Father, is the only Godfather I know. I am a Christian, and my strength comes from God Almighty. I have enjoyed tremendous support from the every-day people in Takum, they have continuously given me their shoulder to stand on.

What are your political antecedents?
Well, I have always been in politics since the return of democracy and politics in Nigeria. I have always worked to ensure the success of my party (PDP) in the state. I was a board member of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) – 2003 to 2006. I had been the Chief Protocol Detail to the Hon Speaker of the House of Representatives. I served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of Northern Political Summit Group. I had also served as Special Assistant to a former Minister. I had served in the office of the First Lady of Nigeria. I am currently the Political Adviser of All Nigeria Youth Alliance.

What do you have to say about Taraba at 20?
Let me congratulate the government led by His Excellency, Capt. Danbaba Suntai, and the good people of Taraba for this historic moment in the life of the state. Taraba has really come a long way, 20 years as a people is worth celebration.

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