There is no amount of electoral reform that could change things. We need an attitudinal change- DSK
Chief David Sabo Kente. Taraba Astute Politician, Business Mogul and Philantropist.
Taraba State was created on 27th August, 1991, along with eight other states by the Federal Military government of the Babangida administration. It consist of numerous ethnic groups, predominantly Jukun, Tiv and Kutem. Currently it has sixteen (16) local government areas.
A state known for electoral volatility and rifts within caused by Christian-Muslim religious differences, Inter-ethnic differences (Tiv -Jukun Crises) and Intra and inter-political party differences between PDP and APC.
PDP is predominantly, the party in power in the state but lack of internal democracy, propensity for autocracy and wilful imposition of candidates for long has been the hallmarks of the party, hence, its inability to deepen democracy within the party and our dear nation at large.
Chief David Sabo Kente, former Director of finance at National Assemby, came out in 2014 to contest for Governorship election under PDP in the state. Armed with genuine interest to serve the people and fix the wrongs the former administrations had inflicted on the state, endorsement by elders in the state particularly, southern senatorial zone, where Darius Ishiaku (former Minister of State for Niger Delta) an un-popular candidate also comes from.
The apparent blessings of elders in the state earned the youthful-looking former Director, high popularity amongst the four contestants in PDP but, the undemocratic practices and injustice forced him out of the platform (PDP) and made him a victim.
He was forced to join the SDP in order to realize his framing ambition of governing the State, yet the anti-democratic forces in Taraba State made sure those efforts were thwarted right from primary to the secondary election.
In a situation, against unconstitutional and electoral processes, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) moved the governorship primary for Taraba State to Abuja to actualised fraudulent installation of a candidate favoured by billionaire and former army general, Theophilus Danjuma.
Meanwhile, delegates and party supporters gathered at the Jolly Nyame Sports Complex in anticipation of the poll that never held. PDP members in Taraba State were clearly and brazenly denied their right to select candidates of their choice for the election.
However, later pressures are being mounted on the other aspirants to endorse the ‘primary’ that never exist.
The purported November 14th, 2014 primary election in Taraba state will ever remain a sham in the history of Nigeria electoral processes. Governor Ishaku emergence as its flag-bearer was just a thrown up product of the godfatherism orchaestra.
Even rumoured that Chief Kente was settled to cede for Gov. Ishaku which he proved to be bare-faced fibs by his distractors and electorate fraud perpetrators to prove that he went further to challenge the electoral processes and outcomes even to supreme court. National Enquirer put this out to him to respond during interactive questions.
The unwritten code of hand-picking the unpopular candidates against the vast party supporters choice; has earned it lots of condemnations and being described as many, as party of no saints, a potpourri or amalgam of strange political bedfellows whose common interest was and still is to capture power and share the spoils of electoral victories.
Operating on unwritten philosophy of Machiavellian principle ‘the end justifies the means’. Which had left many casualties linking their wounds and genuine political ambitions being sacrificed at the altar of impunity.
Chief David Sabo Kente apart from widely known as one of major casualty of state electoral manipulation, is widely acknowledged as not only a successful business tycoon but widely accepted across the country as a shining example of a modern day philanthropist. Chief David Sabo Kente can be described in various fora as philantropist without border who has been using his God given resources to improve the lives of the less privileged through his foundation, DSK derived from first abbreviation of his name. In one of his postulations, state, inter alia, “It is important that we give back to society and when I failed to do so where I supposed, I feel bad”.
Apart from his contributions to humanity as a philanthropist, David has been recognised as an astute, grassroots politician and an apostle of politics without bitterness. Since he bestrode the Taraba state political terrain in 2014, he has remained a leading light in Taraba politics.
David Soba Kente, former Governorship Candidate of Taraba State, in an interview with Pamela James, Editor of National Enquirer, spoke on the state of Taraba politics, the electoral frauds committed and other issues hindering electoral processes in Nigeria. Excerpts: National Enquirer: Can we meet you. Sir,
DSK: I am David Sabo Kente from Taraba State, where I ran for Governorship election under Social Democratic Party (SDP), where manipulations that took place denied me constitutional right to stand in a fair ground to contest for a seat, I was persuaded to take money and join other contestants. I refused gigantically, I stood my ground and lost gallantly. Here I am, watching events unfolding.
National Enquirer: You ran campaign which from, looking at it from outside it, It looked like the election was stolen from you, you pushed back afterwards, you carried on a good fight. I am just honoured to have you speak with us.
DSK: Yes, a couple of other interesting things happened, since you brought this up, because it just doesn’t make sense why someone who knows better, would violate the electoral laws with impunity.
National Enquirer: There are lots going on, prompting for dire need for Nigeria constitutional and electoral reforms. As one of the casualties of un-democratic electoral conduct, What do you think should be in top priority on these reforms?
DSK: Electoral reforms is a welcome idea. Imagine, a situation where election were not held. It is a slight on commonsense that you went and declared an election that never held. I never seen such a thing in my entire life. I don’t really know what our children are going to learn from us, if a Governor who stood for an election, use the name of church and God to ascends to a position, will turn around and declare people that were not voted for, as duly elected, and sworn in. I am crying for our politics because that is the end for us, if someone as status of Governor of a state can declare candidates that were never elected and declared them elected, then brought Chief Judge of the State to swear them in and today they are going about as elected Councillors, even pagans can’t do that.
I despises a situation, where you come and impose or try to change what people want. There is no amount of reforms that could change things. We need an attitudinal change because, we, as Nigerians decided to go against God. The way, we are behaving now, I always refers back to my state. I told our Governor, about 2 years ago. ” You have failed woefully”, and I am sure he will knows it, that he had failed woefully. Nothing to show, completely.
National Enquirer: There were so much controversies and counter-allegations of internal rigging happening within the PDP Party. Someone will just be hand-picked, and be imposed,some cases an unpopular candidate on party members and supporters. As one of the victims of such practices. How do you feel?
DSK: I feel I was being treated unfairly. You see by nature, no-one can be said to be perfect in life but, whatever one wants to do, do it in fairness. For example; You go and remove goal post and shift it because you want to score. To remove primary election from Taraba to Abuja is just electoral fraud because If anybody thinks that he has a chance, would have done it in Taraba and can easily use his influence to win the election. But, it was done in Abuja. Anyway, not only PDP but other political party are guilty of these.
National Enquirer: There are blockbuster allegations of electoral fraud. Does it mean that Nigeria will perpetually, be at teething stage forever in practice of Democracy?
DSK: I don’t know why people are supporting act of democracy, while this is where highest level of impunity is happening. Even military people have a decorum when they put a tide, they follow the procedures.
But we, Nigerians are yet not learn from the past. I am ashamed to even talk that with my last child. She is nine years old. I really don’t know what to answer her, when she asked me” Daddy, you went for an election in Kari, what happened, they said there was no election but somebody has been elected?”. With that, I did not know what to reply her. We are not really, teaching our children anything. I am 52years of age, I thought by now, I should be learning from people that are older than I. Honestly, imagine, all I have to learn from, is learning all these frauds going on.
National Enquirer: What can you say, about the issue of godfatherism menace in Nigeria politics? Do you think is the only way to break-even in cabalism sort of Nigeria politics?
DSK: For me, I don’t believe in godfatherism. Where I am now, is only by the Grace of God and I believe only by fear and trust in God that can take me anywhere.
National Enquirer: It was alleged that you were settled out to cede for the emergence of now, Governor of the state, Darius Ishaku?
DSK: Do I look like someone that will be settled? Do I look like somebody that can cede for anyone even under any amount? Yes, I was offered lots of money. I refused because money is not the issue. Even in some quarters, they alleged that I collected 2 to 3 billions. The question you have to ask yourself, If I have collected a dime from them, would I be suing them in the supreme court?. Even, though, I was highly persuaded by the elders from my area, just for the sake of peace and for the state to drop the case but Supreme court insists, it will go on with the proceedings and deliver judgement. So, to clear the air, I can assure you, that I am not the type of politician, you can offer money to cede, and I can assure you too, nobody can buy me out.
National Enquirer: You are among the major philantropic player and even in labour market today in Nigeria. Could you tell us how many Nigerians that are currently in your employment? As well can you throw more light on the concept behind establishment of your foundation called DSK foundation?
DSK: As your coming, you must have noticed inflow of people moving around, people troop-ing in and out, plus thousands of staff in my company. All I can say, I am trying my best contributing my own little quotas to the development of Nigeria.
What I do pray and, even told my accountant, I, be a Governor or not, I don’t want God to remove this my foundation from me. So in my own little ways, whatever, God gives me, I give back one third ( 1/3) to Him through people.
You must have overheard discussion with my accountant, to release sum of 50 thousand naira for eyes surgery of a woman from Plateau state, whom I don’t even know, to enable her undergoes either glaucoma or cataract the surgery.
When I don’t give out, I feel bad. It gives me pleasure to put smiles on the faces of the needies.
National Enquirer: If your called upon again by your people to come and take the helm of Taraba state administration due to massive popularity your still commanding that will make it likely, what will you do?
DSK: Some are still coming up to me, saying, ” David, If you were the one on that seat, Taraba could have been much better by now”.
We are here, watching events as they unfold. If they said, come out, I will come out and I don’t mind losing again.