We’ve not heard much from you as chairman of finance committee unlike what obtained in the past; what’s happening?

I don’t believe in propaganda. Even at my constituency, I don’t do propaganda. I don’t make noise. What is important is to achieve results. Mine is to do my job. Even where there are observed lapses, our responsibility is to make correction and move forward, not to start coming out to indict people and make noise and confuse the system.

If you notice, during the last assembly, much of the noise was non-remittance of revenues. We now have the TSA, so the issue with remittance is not there.

This year, we’ve not heard of any controversy on the budget. How was that achieved?

The 2016 budget was the first budget of this administration. When you look at the circumstances, the timing of the budget and how it came in, there were many issues not sorted out. My personal observation was that in the past, in the crude benchmark, there must be adjustment from the National Assembly. But in the 2016 budget, there was no any additional benchmark.

Virtually all that the executive presented was what they expected to be returned, but the National Assembly has the constitutional powers to make amendments, and for that to be done, they adjusted what the executive presented. That was the major source of conflict.

There were reports that you’re not in a good relationship with your governor, what’s the issue?

To be very honest, I think the whole crisis started during the leadership election in the House. During that time, there were a lot of claims by some people that the party directed members to go on a particular direction. We tried as much as possible to have an interaction with the party, but there was no any resolution presented to us that it has resolved on where we should go.

What was obtainable was that a party would zone the positions. That’s the best to do. But the party cannot present somebody’s name and insisted on it. It wasn’t even the party that did that. For any decision to be taken, the National Working Committee of the party must pass a resolution.

We believed we owed a duty to our members to comply with the standing rules of the House in terms of election of the presiding officers. Along the line, the controversy continued and we had to hold series of meetings with the party leadership, and we told them the truth. Even if the party had a candidate, it could lobby for such person, but there was nothing like that. If you notice, we never had issues since the House took off.

How did that affected your relationship with the governor?

I was told my governor said we should go for another candidate, but nobody told me. I even told the governor this. It was only two of us from Katsina State that voted for Dogara out of 15.

Basically, my relationship with the governor has been very cordial. But the problem is the people around the governor. Their understanding was that if I come closer to the governor, they won’t get what they’re supposed to get. Most of them are people that we contested election together and later supported my opponent. They try as much as possible to say I said different things against the governor.

We learnt you were suspended?

What happened was that we had a zonal interactive session with the party leadership. We all agreed that we should tell ourselves the truth. Somebody raised an issue that the governor should try as much as possible to assist the party officials. A vice chairman from Funtua zone said the governor has done everything for them.

I drew the attention of the gathering to say that the governor assisted one out of 26 local government excos or ward chairmen and should pay attention to the remaining. That statement was what some people said I was challenging the governor. It was just two people. They then called the local government excos and the ward chairmen that they should suspend me.

Where does the APC constitution allow somebody to hold official party meeting at a private residence? As far as I’m concerned, the suspension was null and void. Nobody gave me any letter or contacted me. We gathered not less than 17 signatures in each out of the 26 wards in a protest letter. They then went down to the wards to suspend those that signed the protest letter. How can you build a party structure on the basis of discretion? It doesn’t work.

So, the major challenge is that the people around the governor are misinforming him. They are giving him wrong information; they’re mischievous. They want to make sure that the governor and I are not in good terms, because we’re from the same constituency. The governor should at any point in time investigate any information he receives from anybody.

Are there efforts for reconciliation?

We sat several times with about eight members on my issue. We resolved it, but any time we sat with the governor, some people would go behind and start bringing issues. They would make sure that whatever we resolved didn’t work. The governor is my elder brother, and based on my upbringing, I respect my elders. If I meet with the governor, I give him all the respect. If you ask him what the problem with me was, he’ll tell you he doesn’t have any. So, where is the problem coming from? We’re in the same party and we’re supposed to use our positions to bring development to our various constituencies.

What’s the way out between you and the governor?

Sincerely speaking, we’re making serious efforts. We had a session with some people that we would sit again between me and him along others. Let’s explain to him further that there’s no grudge.

Have you been recalled from suspension?

I learnt there was a reconciliation committee set up to reconcile us. But the questions is, reconcile on what? There was no issue in the first place.

We had pockets of attacks on some lawmakers recently; what’s responsible for that?

I’m of the opinion that we’re under a recessed economy. Our people are not finding it very easy to survive. The government has challenges of resources. Most of them have promised the constituents certain things, but lack of funds has made it almost impossible for those promises to be fulfilled.

This is coupled with the fact that some people thought they can only bring others down before they go up. If you noticed, wherever somebody is attending any gathering, you can organize a small group of people to embarrass him. When you go to your constituency and people try to stone you or protest, that’s not the reflection of the generality of the people of your constituency. It’s only the reflection of the few, possibly hired people engaged to embarrass you.

Anybody that goes to his constituency, they’ll shout and stone him. What is the proportion of his constituents doing that? That thing has to be discouraged, because as long as you allow anybody to come out and misbehave, that means there would be breakdown of law. It can happen to anybody. Nobody would claim that he’s more than that. You can be embarrassed by anybody. All that is required is to mobilize about 50 or 100 people or even less. When you come, they’ll protest which would be recorded and posted in the social media.

So, I think it has to do with our attitude. Respect for leaders has to be there. I’ll also want to encourage our leaders to try as much as possible to pay attention to their constituents. Even if you promise something that you can’t do, try and explain to them. You have to be on the same page.  Let them understand you. If you have challenges, let them know.

But in most cases, people hardly interact with their constituents. Again, this isn’t a politicking period, so the issue of unnecessary gatherings should be minimized. It’s uncalled for. This is a period for the execution of promises. Let’s wait until when it’s time for politics then we can do that.

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