Governance has become nonsense in Bauchi—Gadi
Alhaji Garba Gadi was deputy governor of Bauchi State between May 2007 and August 2010, when he was impeached by the state House of Assembly in controversial circumstances. He recently spoke with some journalists in Bauchi on some political issues. Assistant Editor, Saliu Gbadamosi, was there and brings excerpts:
WHAT have you been doing since you left office as Bauchi State deputy governor?
Actually, I have been part and parcel of the team that is working towards renewing the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). I’m particularly working with the national chairman of the party.
You refused to leave the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANNP) when you were the deputy governor, claiming that you didn’t want to betray your people, which led to your impeachment and now you are in the CPC. Why the sudden change?
Actually, you know that a lot us who were in the ANPP were faithful to the ANPP because of General Muhammadu Buhari. I was his coordinator from 2002 to 2007, until I became the deputy governor. But, unfortunately, I was impeached because I refused to defect to the PDP. I insisted that I would stay in the ANPP for some reasons: one, I had the mandate of the people as the deputy governor, so it would be uncharitable for anybody to abandon a mandate given to him by the people. The people observed that I stayed in the ANPP until after its gubernatorial candidate was selected, which suggested that was the end of our tenure. So then, I was free, since I had discharged my obligations to the electorate who voted us into the office. I was free to do that but naturally I belong to the Buhari school of thought; he is an elder statesman.
How has life been outside Government House?
Honestly, life has been good to me but, unfortunately, what is going on in the government is not encouraging; I mean the nonsense going on in Bauchi today. I am happy I am not part and parcel of the nonsense that is happening.
What is this nonsense? Let me give you a very simple answer which everybody knows: we are in a state where we cannot pay salaries as at when due. Only that one is enough.
There was a ruling by the court that the present administration should pay all your entitlements. What is the situation now?
We are still in court. The government is reluctant; you know the legal process in this country is very slow, so the important thing is not about the money, and that is what I have been telling people. I wouldn’t have been here doing all these things if is all about money. It is about my name; the money does not mean anything to me. Even though the governor has said it on one or two occasions that I should go and sit down and get the calculation of the entitlement but I said it is not a matter of money; it is my name. I have never been queried in my life, I have not stolen a kobo of government money. I am proud to tell you that, for the two years and two months that I stayed with the government, I never stole one naira from the government or have anyone taking it with my connivance. I never compromised His Excellency, the governor. I have not, in any way, contributed to the mismanagement of anything in the state.
Do you have any plan to contest for any election in 2015?
When I decided to contest for the Senate in 2007, in my zone, Bauchi North, it was not my intention, but my people called me to contest. That was how I picked my form to contest for the Senate but Isa (Governor Yuguda) later came to my house that I should contest for governorship. I said I would never be in such a position but I told Mallam Isa that if my joining him would help to dislodge the PDP in Bauchi State, I would make myself available, but if in any way he wanted somebody to take over from him, let him come. When I congratulated him, I told him ‘’don’t be surprised if tomorrow I told you that I am no more interested in being the deputy governor’’ and I repeated the same thing to him when I was the deputy governor.
What is your advice for Governor Isa Yuguda?
Yuguda should sit down, concentrate and, at least, leave a legacy in the state. Ahmadu Muazu did more than 100 times than Isa has done despite what Isa has received. In the last six years. Isa has got over 100 per cent of what Muazu received from the national coffers but Muazu had done 100 times more than what Isa has done. So, it’s unfortunate for him, I sympathise with him. At times, people come to me and say ‘’what kind of person are you?’’, I told them I sympathise with him because I can’t just be in a place without infrastructure.
You said you sympathise with your former boss, do you still have any relationship with him?
No, I don’t have any relationship with him.
What is your reaction to the crises rocking the CPC in the state, which has resulted in two factions?
It is unfortunate. We politicians, because of our personal interests, in most cases, have factions. But all we need to do is to learn how to live with those factions or crises and ensure that we make amends. A lot is being done at the national level to renew the CPC and the same thing is being done in Bauchi State.
CPC is in merger talks with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), what do you want to gain from this?
The belief of the people is that the PDP has ceased to be a political party; it is a club and the generality of the people believe that, to get the power back, political parties like CPC, ACN and ANPP should come together and dislodged the PDP so that we can have a good political system in the country.
People believe that the CPC had the opportunity of dislodging PDP during the last general election but wasted the chance. What is your take on this?
I don’t know whether we wasted it or not , but we have been suppressed. Imagine the money diverted to fuel subsidy when all of us here are suffering. Where is that money? It went for campaigns and a lot of people were involved. So, it is not a question of losing the election; it is a question of suppression and that suppression cannot survive if the political parties can come together, mobilise themselves like we did in 2007 in Bauchi or like they did in Zamfara State. I will assure you that there will be a change of government.
What is your saddest moment as a politician?
This is a very difficult question; it is personal. But I am sad that we are yet to get the right people. We were very lucky during our time; there were employment, progress in the public service and private sector. I sympathise with those of you are just growing because you are not getting all these. Whatever I own today, I own it legitimately, which, unfortunately, you cannot get now because you cannot go to the Federal Mortgage Bank and get a loan to build a house not to talk of government giving you a loan, or commercial bank giving you a loan to build a house and you cannot afford all these on your own.
What is your reaction to the recent corruption saga involving some politicians?
My first reaction was that I said I would not believe the stories, because of the way we were brought up in the public services. But later, it dawned on everybody that it was true. It is corruption, which is more than armed robbery. In this case, nobody will come back to Bauchi after stealing billions of naira and say I should support him. I assure you that if there will be anything tomorrow, people will react based on whom you are and not for your religious or tribal association; it will happen sooner than later.
What is your reaction to the calls in some quarters that President Goodluck Jonathan should resign following insecurity challenges in the country, particularly in the northern region?
Honestly, everybody has a way of thinking. All the same, there is a process and if he fails to resign, there is a procedure to follow by the National Assembly. So, the lawmakers can do their job.
With the security situation in the country, are you optimistic that, by 2015, Nigeria would still be in existence?
I believe that, in spite of all these insecurity challenges, Nigeria will survive. To me, Nigeria will come out stronger.