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Bauchi: PDP’s Guber Victory

| June 26, 2012 More

TUGGER

Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) governorship candidate in Bauchi State Yusuf Maitama Tuggar believes strongly that the security agencies aided the victory of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state. In this interview with Ag. Editor, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, SUHAIB SHUAIB, he opens up on several topical issues.

You were the CPC governorship candidate in Bauchi State during the last elections. You alleged that the police aided the PDP candidate during the poll. How come your own agents could not keep tabs on what was happening and yet you blamed the other party for all that went wrong?
Our agents were completely restricted because the elections were conducted under a curfew. You can find out from people in Bauchi State that long before the elections, a curfew was imposed. Our agents were arrested and harassed.

Many of them were beaten up before the elections. The day before the election, an additional curfew was put in place to take effect over the period of 24hours of which meant that there was no movement throughout the day and night.

We complained about this, we wrote letters, we visited the commissioner of police, and those in charge of enforcing the curfew.

Our polling agents were deprived of the right to actually witness the distribution of election materials or follow election materials to the respective polling units. As a result of that there were many places that our agents were not allowed access to witness what was going on.

Even with that, we were still able to prevail because where votes were allowed to be cast; they were cast for the candidates of the CPC overwhelmingly.

If I may add, one of the INEC officials who went to Bauchi State to observe elections, after he visited two local governments and saw what was going on, he decided to have the elections in those two local government areas cancelled on the spot. That was why the results turned out to be from 18 local governments instead of 20.

It appears the CPC is not much of an opposition and the only real opposition for the governor from his own party is the current minister for FCT. Why is that so?
On what you said about the CPC not being effective as an opposition party, I feel you are just expressing your own opinion. I don’t think that is the opinion of those in Bauchi. I was in Bauchi last week, we held several meeting; we worked towards scuttling the governor’s attempt to sack people that were deemed to have supported the CPC but are working under the state local government councils. Their names were listed and their salaries were stopped but the feedback is now encouraging.

So the work of opposition is not like that of a perpetual campaign where you go around giving millions of naira, or motorcycles. I don’t think that is the raison d’etat of opposition party politics in a system such as ours.

The main edge of opposition in our politic is to serve as catalyst in certain situations. Not necessarily being the direct beneficiary to people but doing things that will pressure the incumbent that will alter decisions, which are inimical to the interest of the people, or to challenge him in such a way that he takes the right decisions.

This is what we have been doing in our own way but there are limits at which you can go in doing that when you have an individual who appears not to have any clue of what he wants to achieve in the first place.

You were a member of the House of Representatives. Right now there appears to be divisions between the executives and the National Assembly. The presidency appears to be getting uncomfortable with the leadership of Speaker Tambuwal. Now where do you think things could be heading to?
The beauty of the system we are trying to practice in Nigeria is that it is predicated on conflicts within the three arms of government as a way of checking each other to ensure that there is no conspiracy against the people.

This is the concept of separation of power. So you will always have these brushes, it is part of institution building. It is actually a healthy development, it is better than having a situation where they are all on the same side and they plot to betray the interest of the people.

Would you agree that the Farouk Lawan saga has completely discredited the subsidy probe report and the executive would be justified to throw it away?
I don’t see any reason to throw away the baby with the bathe water. The report has been concluded, there are some profound revelations in the report and if the executive arm means well then the report should be pursued to a logical conclusion.The House has done its part and I think it is mischievous to try and use the issue of Farouk Lawan saga to diminish the findings in the report.

A lot of people have expressed disappointment in Farouk’s involvement in this. Are you also disappointed in him?
I subscribe to the saying that you are innocent until proven guilty and I don’t know definitely that Farouk Lawan has been found guilty in any court of law. So I await the outcome.

He admitted to having collected the money?
It is one thing to admit, it is another thing to be found guilty. If he has admitted to accepting the money, I am not defending Farouk here but he could have admitted with a reason for doing it. I think the court is still on the case so let us await the outcome. Then we can take a position on that.

A lot of people are saying that National Assembly members do not seem to be getting the kind of money that they should and that is why they are pushing all these probes. They are sayings that this Farouk Lawan case is proof that the probes are just ways to extract money from the executive. Do you agree with this?
You will always have people who rather than appreciating their jobs in the legislature, which is making laws to oversee ministries and agencies to work for the people, will think that they are there simply to make money and it is unfortunate.

It happens even in other countries like the United State we are emulating. The thing is not to deviate from efforts to building the institutions which in turn translates to nation building.

We need to try to save these institutions, to strengthen them so they can actually curb these practices because if we have a strong National Assembly and a deviant number of persons who think they are there to shake down ministries and agencies.

If the institution is strong enough then the committee on ethics and privileges can sanction him and bring him to order or even throw him out of the House. So instead of rubbishing the entire House saying that we no longer believe in the institution, we need to try to strengthen the institution and that way things will get better.

Do you think the Ethics and Privileges Committee has the power to throw a person out of the National Assembly?
It’s not just up to the Ethics and Privileges Committee; in a very extreme case you could have a situation where a member has been prosecuted, found guilty of a crime and at the same time the Ethics Committee looks at it and then the House takes a decision.

The Ethics Committee is there to ensure that the House attains an ethical standard that is acceptable by the regulations of the House. The Ethics Committee is not just to determine who is to be thrown out; you have to bear in mind that the members of the House got there by election.

A lot of allegations have been made that the presidency has no interest in prosecuting those persons that have been found engaged in corrupt practices, mostly because a lot of them are engaged in it. As a former legislator what do you think could be done about this?
Perhaps the legislative arm needs to look at ways of ensuring that the law enforcement agencies are not selective in the cases that they decide to prosecute. The legislative arm is the law making body, since we have this peculiar problem going back to 1999 where the executive arm is often selective in the cases that should be prosecuted, then this issue should be examined.

They either amend the existing laws by way of putting pressure on the law enforcement agencies to come up with the right regulations that will stop the double standard of prosecuting cases.

Let me take you back to the CPC and the candidacy of General Buhari. He said that he most likely will not contest the 2015 elections, do you think that the party can survive without him?
That is why I think we have the renewal exercise and why he made that pronouncement in the first. A political party is meant to be driven by its ideology and not the personality of an individual. It is supposed to be an organ that outlives its members so that generations will come in the future and join that party, and use it as a platform for doing good.

Do you think that political parties in Nigeria operate with any kind of ideology?
I think this is where the CPC stands out. We are a new party, we have to do a lot of work but at least we are beginning from the premise of an articulation of ideas and ideals which some political parties do not have.

This I think is one of our strengths and the political party was formed by people who subscribe to the same sort of ideas that General Buhari personifies: good governance, openness, transparency, forthrightness and a strong stance against criminality and corruption. Definitively, you could say that this is the idealogy of the CPC. When we articulated our idealogy we also emphasised social and democratic values.

Are you likely to contest the governorship again in 2015?
To answer that I will have to take you back and explain about why I came out for governorship in 2011. I was a member of the House of Representatives at the time. I personally never had interest in holding any executive post because I think that if you are God fearing, it is best to stay away from an executive position particularly in our country where there is so much corruption.

But we found ourselves in a situation in Bauchi where we contested under the ANPP along with the incumbent. The incumbent decided to marry the then president’s daughter and absconded to the PDP.

Majority of the people in Bauchi were disgusted by this, there was a sense of hopelessness. We have a predominantly young population in Bauchi and there was a strong yearning and agitation for someone who will step forward and challenge the incumbent.

At the same time, going by the gentleman’s agreement in the political class in Bauchi, it was time to have a shift from the governorship being in the southern part of the state to the northern part, that is from Bauchi to Kataurgu.

This agitation was not restricted to those from Kataugu but the entire state. People were saying for the sake of harmony and peaceful existence, it’s time to have a candidate that comes from the northern part of the state. There seemed to be a reluctance to take on Isa Yuguda at the point in time.

A lot of people that were thought to be leaders seemed daunted by the prospect of taking him on. At the same time, I was in negotiations with people both within and outside the country on investing in agriculture.

We came to the conclusion that investing in agriculture in Nigeria will be at the state level where you have a governor who can work with the legislator. Majority of people who want to invest in Nigeria are always wary of how to protect their investment and how to take out their profit.

They are looking for comfort, policy predictability, effectiveness of contracts and their properties to be protected. It is easier for a governor to work with the state legislator, to pass the requisite laws that will provide that comfort to encourage investors to come and invest.
 

Category: Bauchi State News

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