Honourable Nehemiah Tsense Dandaura emergence as the Deputy Speaker of the Nasarawa State Assembly as a first timer was hinged on his humane character, where he makes human relationship assets. In this interview with Francis Nansak, he asserted that development of rural communities and empowerment of youths are his cardinal objectives for being in politics – excerpts.
Honourable! Let me asked what could have interest you in politics and how you want to make a difference from the old practice?
Thank you sir! And let me also thank God for the opportunity for the support and the trust from our people to represent them. I got into politics years back at participatory level and gradually developed the interest for active participation, leading to vying for elective position which has been for Three consecutive times without success until now being the Fourth time.
I know in the other previous times I contested and won but was denied to an extend that people had to protest, but because of the interventions of our paramount ruler and of course that of the then deputy governor, Honourable Silas Agara, I had to withdrew my case at the tribunal ,knowing how difficult it was to pulled out after filing a case at the tribunal, but I did it voluntarily, in 2015.
Then the arrangement was that I would be compensated either as a commissioner or special adviser, with the assurance that the first of such appointment to be given to Mada land will be offered to me, but these never was the case, yet I was steadfast and had to calm my supporters.
Interestingly, today, God has changed the narratives by making me what I had been aspiring for and made me the number two man in the state assembly, even as a first timer .It would also interest you that even in the 2015 contest I won the election on the platform of a party (ADC) I brought into my constituency two months into the election.
We fought other existing political parties to a standstill, that was how and when I knew my strength and became aware that the people are in support of my ambition. That contest kept the then incumbent at a fixed to a point he had to retired home to his family, telling them he lost the election and that they have to accept it in good faith, until he was dragged out by one of the former deputy governor, who went and changed the result for what gave him the purported victory.
Just as in your first explanation, sir ! What do you think was the reason for the massive support you got this time around and the repeat of same in the assembly as the deputy speaker as a first timer?
I’m sure you are referring to the people who had been standing with me Right? I want to tell you sincerely that I didn’t start politics and contested for the position I held today, I hold strong the future of becoming somebody tomorrow, so I built that into my relationship with the people and when I meet them, I talk to them in the way they can see me as an assets. Much more over the times I had relationship with my people, built bridges which they make as reference point whenever I threw myself for contest with the view that I was really good to go. Also
Tsense isn’t just only household name from my local government, Akwanga, my parents lived a life that was a legendary, which I think God felt they should be rewarded, because my late father was a missionary as he spent all his life sacrificing for the land.
Despite the fact that people are very difficult, they easily forgets whatever good done to them in the past but there are those who still remembered. I remembered during campaigns in the places I visited, you will see people crying in memories of my late father, that also gave me a lot of hope, yet there are children who are the super children of the land elsewhere who could tell them “ Who is Tsense? Go this way, go that way” These I had suffered in the Three different contest, but for this very one, I honestly won the election in Five wards out of the Six wards.
The ward I lost is the ward that belongs to the PDP candidate, he wanted to change the result in his ward to beat me with just that single ward.” He wanted all the other results to be overturned in his favour so that he can be declared winner and what was the reason?
Which according to him, even his predecessor had used same style in winning “even if you win in other places, but unfortunately for him, he lost the election in his own unit in the sense that he did over voting and we all knew that his electoral ward is the area that has the least votes in the land but went and changed the result over night.It will also interest you to know that there were units there that I was leading in the morning, so when they got to know they went and twisted the result, meanwhile we have three units Buhar, Ngancia and Tahbu.
All being his clannish units so to say. Today if you go through the ballot papers and checked you will discovered that there are over voting in those units , but my agent only wrote petition against just one unit and it was cancelled. So these is how it all played out I want to state here that I didn’t gave the people money, but my struggles got somewhere that the people no longer fold their hands but said “look” this boy should be tried.
I knew there are places with genuine love for my ambition and there are those who because of my parents as well as there are those who felt I had worked hard all these added, brought to my victory. So these are the components and I enjoyed 100% the support of my people. I can’t forget the role the former deputy governor Silas Agara, played which is why I am the deputy speaker today. I remained thankful to colleagues in the assembly especially the newly elected, who were convinced that I can make a great impact as deputy.
What will be your contribution to the development of the state just like you will want to impact in your constituents?
Thank you again. I intend to embark in some very important projects with my personal earnings which is about connecting my rural community to the national grid and step-down electricity in the area, these I will do at most between now and November.
I will ensure that community is connected, because of my felling about the people. Actually the ordinary people in that community died for me but the stakeholders who belong to the PDP never wanted me and regardless of their position, the young men among them stood for me, on that day of election, it was that village that gave me the courage, because on living my polling unit, the first unit I went to I discovered I lost , so I placed a call to Ningo and I was told I am leading with a wide margin, I then called Andaha and called another unit still I was told I am leading but with a small margin, then I moved toward Anchor, which is where my mother voted ,the difference was not much because the person that contested along with me, went home and fought me by voting the PDP even as a member of the APC.I got a little disorganised .
This village I want to step down light in massively voted me but when I got there I saw women in jubilation and crying which prompted me to asked why, they said I won but that the PDP had taken some of their votes. So I concluded that with what I had seen means I was leading and I proceeded to Angwan Zaria, where I got overwhelming 2000 votes. The community in question had not been electrified for Six years and I felt how can a community be contributing to our electoral value yet they don’t feel the impact of democracy, so if these would be the only thing I can do in my period of stay in the assembly and as a deputy speaker I will be happy.
I have also started arrangement for transformers and will be meeting with the AEDC at Abuja for the connection just as engineers had been engaged for the evaluation of the area.I will also be starting a robust scholarship program by next year, hopefully from our constituency development funds if given though it is not constitutional. Roads grading is still part of what I will want to achieve.
As deputy speaker how will you want to be seen?
Without mincing words and to be brief to you, is to ensure that I give my principal, the speaker of the house all the necessary support and subordination that would translate into a visionary legislature as well as help in ensuring our synergy with the executive for the progress of the state ,which already had demonstrated in the request for bond by the governor, to enable him forge on with development.