“CONTESTING AGAINST FRIENDS, ELDERS,
A CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE”
Hon. Mark Useni is the winner of the keenly contested House of Representatives election in Takum, Donga, and Ussa Federal Constituency. In this interview, the present House of Assembly member, representing Takum 1 State Constituency, reveals his joy and the challenges ahead of his mandate. He spoke with Journalists in his country home, Takum, few minutes after his declaration. Williams Ayooso was there.
It is obvious that you are in a happy mood over your victory, can you share with our readers, the way you are feeling?
I want to first of all thank God for this opportunity and blessing He has given me to represent my people in this time. My feeling is of joy and I am conscious of the challenges that will accompany the new mandate by my people. As you can see here, we are a very cosmopolitan constituency, so it is an enormous responsibility to represent a people with diverse religion and socio-cultural background. But I am persuaded by the hope that the Almighty God that has entrusted this responsibility into my hands will help me not to disappoint my people.
You contested with friends and your elders, what is your advice to them?
Contesting against my friends and elder ones was a very challenging experience. Those that we contested together are indeed my friends and elder brothers. But I’m comforted by the fact that, at some point, God favoured me to work for them and I have supported them in their various political endevours at different times.
Therefore, my words to them is that, we must continue to work together for the interest of our people. If the people are our focus and the reason why we contest election, then once election is concluded, we must come together and see how we can best work for the people. I will also appreciate their support, now that God has called me to serve all of them. We are all politicians, no hard feelings about campaign or election. I urge my elders to come so we can work together irrespective of our political parties.
I want to say that political parties are only platforms and not religion. You will agree with me that the part of the state that we are from is the most ravaged with challenges of insecurity. If you move from here to Wukari, you would see that communities have been displaced and nobody cares. From Takum to Mararraba, people have been displaced, nobody cares. Takum to Katsina-ala, through Dogon-Gawa, people have been displaced. Takum to Ussa, Kashimbila to Takum to Rafin-kada all people have been displaced. These calls our attention to the fact that we must come together as a people and see how we can address our challenges.
Our people are very hard working. Although I am conversant with my local government, but the campaign trip took me on as refresher trip. We went into the interland and we could see that our people are hardworking and only needs us to support them and they can bring out there best to contribute to their welfare as well as national growth.
So, we have a lot to do for our people, we must throw away the energy of fighting and pulling down of one another, if we must grow.