NASS Has Cut Down On Allowances In 2015 – Barde | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NASS Has Cut Down On Allowances In 2015 – Barde

Posted: May 13, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
• Barde

• Barde

Honourable Yakubu Umar Barde is member representing Chukun/Kajuru Federal Constituency, Kaduna State. In this interview with JULIET OYOYO, in Kaduna, he speaks on expectations from the incoming government and the new role of his party, the PDP, as opposition leader, among other issues. Excerpts…

You are a third-timer in the Lower Chamber (House of Representatives) in the National Assembly, and there is this general belief from your people in Kaduna that even if you decide to contest ten times, you will win the election. What is the magic?

Thank you but there is nothing like magic. It is the Glory of God. Yes! You will agree with me that it is God that gives and takes power. If you anchor your trust on God first and foremost, then any other thing will be added unto you. So, I think one has to give credit to God. Then, secondly, I think it is about humility. You really try to come down to the level of the electorates, listen to them, tell them the truth, what you can do and what you cannot do, Tell them it is not possible; people generally like honest people, so, if the leaders are honest, they will appreciate the fact that you are a human being and that you also have your shortcomings. Anybody who can really tell you that this is my shortcomings but here I can do it; what else do you want the person to do? I think generally, it is about being honest and humble and also, God fearing. I think these are the three cardinal things that any politician should imbibe because, if you do that, the people will appreciate who you are; they will be willing to follow you, though, there might be some distractions as people may say why should it always be you but again, they have to have a better alternative and you know the world we are living in today. People hardly want to keep their integrity. People will prefer to tell lies; people would prefer to do things that will normally, make people not have confidence in their ability again. Kaduna has always been governed the PDP which happens to be the dominant party.

Now that we have an APC governor, what should we expect?

Now that APC is in government, we are waiting to see what their programmes for the state will be and, also, as somebody who is in leadership position, though in the opposition, we have a duty also to put the government on its toes, to criticize constructively and advice where there is need. Democracy is about service to the people so, no matter who is there, no matter the party that is there. I think the watchword is service to the people, because people would really want to see changes that would affect their lives positively. That is why I also say, if people say “change”, change could be negative; change could be positive. So, what type of change are we talking about? If it is the change that would affect the people positively, why not? It is a welcome one. For me, the duty of every leader, as long as God has bestowed that leadership on you, you need to be fair and to work together with whoever is in position to make sure that the lives of the electorate are better. So, for me, in the person of the governor-elect, I know how diligent and competent he is and I expect him to put that into good service for the people because today, I will tell you that our governor-elect has tasted politics; he was a politician but he wasn’t an active politician. Active in the sense that he never contested but now, has contested. I think it is going to be a different ball game from what politics or democracy is all about. He was a Minister under the PDP and we were all aware of what he did in Abuja. At least, he tried to give Abuja a face-lift to make sure that things are organized accordingly to the Master-plan of the town. So, if he brings that to bear in Kaduna, I think we are going to see a lot of good things and I believe, personally, I will offer my helping hand even if I am not consulted, I will give my advice because leaders have to work together.

There is this fear in different quarters that Nigeria is heading towards a one-party system, considering what is happening in your party, the PDP. As a stakeholder, would you say that the Peoples Democratic Party is heading for extinction?

Anyway, let me speak for myself. I am not going to decamp to any party for now, because PDP as you know has ruled this country for long and we must appreciate the fact that, of course, there are positive achievements though Nigerians are not satisfied because Nigerians expected more because, for you to have held leadership position for 16yrs or 15yrs like PDP has done, I think much was expected of PDP but because PDP was not able to offer that much, as expected, that is why people clamoured for change. For me, credit should also be given to the PDP for the positive developments they brought about and these were because the opposition also contributed to that. You cannot remove the speck in your own eyes. If you are in leadership position, you need somebody to tell you. Look, you are going in the right way or, you are not going the right way. Of course, some you will know by yourself but some, you will need someone to point it out. And, we should give kudos to credible opposition which before now, a conglomerate PDP. I think APC should be wary of them.

The issue of the jumbo allowances being collected by lawmakers is on the burner now. Is there any plan by the Lawmakers to cut down on this as the president-elect has asked for your cooperation?

As I am talking to you now, being a member of the 7th Assembly and a third termer who is going for his fourth term now, I am aware that in the Budget of 2015, which we just recently passed, the                                                                                                        allowances, including entitlements of the National Assembly, has been cut down by 30%.

In the 2015 Budget?

To touch theirs also, they shouldn’t feel we are boxing them. I think it is due to realities of what is on the ground. I want to pray to them when the president-elect is sworn in, they should also look at the allowances of Ministers, Special Advisers and even try to cut down on the number of Ministers, because, you see, we have a system where the executive is so bogus; talking of a hundred Advisers. I think it is not good enough. I think it is something that if Mr. president-elect comes on board, should be looked into because, on our own part as legislators, we have already cut down on our own by 30%.