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(From Newswatch (Nigeria) - AAGM)
Muktar Shagari, minister of Water Resources spoke with Bala Dan Abu, editor, on the achievements of the ministry, Obasanjo's re-election bid and the politics of Sokoto, his home state among other issues. Excerpts
Newswatch: I like to start by asking you to tell us a little bit about your background, the circumstances under which you were born in Sokoto State ?
Shagari: I was born in Shagari in 1956 to the Shagari family. I initially had my Islamic education in Shagari and had my elementary education in Accra (Ghana) after which I was brought back to Nigeria, where I went to Kanta College, Argungu and left in 1974, went to the then College of Arts and Science (now University of Maidiguri). I left there in 1976, and proceded to Ahmadu Bello University , Zaria where I had my LLB degree. In 1979 I went to the Nigeria Law School and was called to the bar in 1980. After that I went for my national service in Port Harcourt , Rivers State . Along the line I was appointed an inspector of the area court. After my national service I was appointed to the magistrate court where I served briefly before going to the Ministry of Justice, Sokoto State where I served as state counsel before finally leaving and setting up a private legal practice which, of course, I have been doing until my appointment as commissioner for justice in Sokoto State . At various times I also served as commissioner for health and commissioner for commerce.
Along the line too I found myself also in politics which I started fully sometime 1980. But all along I had always been involved in student union politics. In the NPN, I was also legal adviser in the state. In the NRC and SDP days I was in the NRC where I was one of the most important members in the party in Sokoto State . But later, I found myself also in what is today known as People's Democratic Party and I served as legal adviser in Sokoto State .
Today I find myself as a minister. Of course, I have held other important appointments which I may need to list now.
Newswatch: What took you to Accra in those days.
Shagari: My own area of Sokoto State has some kind of relationship with Ghana . In fact, I understand that the vice-president of Ghana comes from Talata-Mafara. Many of our people are living in Ghana . A lot of them are living there. Ghana has become almost their permanent home. So, I was taken there on a visit. But there was somebody called Galadima, who actually happens to come from Sabon-Gari who had been in Ghana for more than 30 years before we went there on a visit and he happened to be a family friend. So when I got there, he encouraged me to stay back in Ghana and go to school because of the standard of education in Ghana . That was how I ended up being taken to one of the best schools there and I stayed there until, I think, 1969 when I actually had to come for secondary school here. So that was where I had a very good educational background.
Newswatch: But why didn't you continue.. what actually informed your coming back?