‘N’East Should Clamour For Reps’ Speaker, Not Senate President’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
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‘N’East Should Clamour For Reps’ Speaker, Not Senate President’

Posted: May 22, 2015 at 2:48 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Mallam Samaila Idris is a Bauchi State based lawyer. In this interview with newsmen, including Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu, he speaks on Yakubu Dogara’s bid to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, constitution amendment and other issues.  Excerpts:

Are you supporting the speakership ambition of Hon. Dogara because he is a lawyer?

I go with him as a person, as someone I know from the grassroots, the experience he has acquired over time as a legislator, and who he is in general. When you talk about Dogara, first of all you look at him as a person, as far as I am concerned, Dogara is a good man. Secondly, he is a lawyer par excellence. Dogara is a dedicated person in terms of faith and his job. Then if you want to look at him as a legislator, as a politician, in my view, in terms of benefits, his constituency has benefited from him. He is a digital politician, he has touched all aspects of life of his constituency.

He is someone who doesn’t discriminate in terms of religion; the good part of it is that as a Christian, about 75 per cent of his beneficiaries are Muslims. This defines him as a non-fanatic politician. He is a very straight forward person.

Defining him based on his political ambition goes with his personality and his characteristics.

Dogara is God fearing and he has respect for elders within his constituency and outside. Even outside his constituency he is a man of his words and a democrat. If you look at his decamping from PDP to APC it goes a long way to define how democratic he is because he acts based on policies of party and how it affects the lives of Nigerians as well as his constituency.

At a point he felt something was wrong in the other party and the policy of this party is worth dumping and he did that without hesitation. Even when he decamped to APC, he has never thought of going back because he has chosen a path which he felt the policies are going to go a long way in delivering Nigerians from the scourge of insecurity and other social vices.

Some people are agitating for Senate President to be zoned to North East while others want the speakership; which one do you think should come to North East?

Yes, talking about his aspiration let me be very very specific. First of all we have to look the possibility of zoning of the Senate and House of Representatives leadership. The Northeast although informally, has been given the opportunity of making a choice out of this two of which there are a lot of forces behind it. Some prefer the Senate leadership while others prefer the speakership.

One way or the other, what we the North Easterners should look at is to analyse and see what will be the possible outcome of either of these leaderships if it should come to the North East. You see, if you should talk about the senatorial leadership, when you place all the aspirants there, and bring Dogara and put him on the other side, you now assess them based on their performances; at the end of the day you discover that you can’t help it but support the zoning of the speakership than the Senate leadership. You look at what is going to be derived out of the leadership to be precise. If it is speakership, we hope certainly it will be Dogara, because he has gained the support of almost 60 per cent of the lawmakers at the level of the House of Representatives. If people from the North Central will endorse Dogara, then why not the North Easterners?

How do you think people will benefit if Dogara emerges Speaker?

Well, the benefits is enormous. First we said Dogara is tested and trusted because you start rating him from his constituency; facts speak for themselves. First, you have to go to his constituency and see. He is a human resource capacity builder and at the level of his office, he has been able to derive a lot of benefits to his people infrastructure wise.  If he is able to emerge as the Speaker, we will derive much more than this at the larger constituency, not only in the Northeast but Nigeria at large; so, supporting Dgara in his aspiration is a clarion call to all Nigerians.

You said Dogara’s speakership is a clarion call; do you think the South South and South East will support him seeing those are PDP zones?

Of course yes, you see I’m even surprised that where we are having one or two  problems is coming from the North East which basically some people tend to act towards religion.

Down in the South East and South South, they are all in support of Dogara; this I can assure you, go out and find out. We are not looking at the level of the House of Representatives or which party should be but who is competent to man the affairs of the House in terms of credibility, experience, honesty.

The central idea of the incoming government is to fight corruption, coming in with anti-corruption crusade and to achieve that we know how a government works under a democratic dispensation, even for the President to succeed, he will need credible people to man certain strategic and important authorities, like the legislature is an arm which is an integral structure of democratic dispensation. For you to achieve, you have to put in place people of unquestionable character which Dogara happens to be one. He is very honest, let me categorically state that if the President really wants to achieve his fight against corruption then all he needs in places like the leadership of the House of Representatives is people like Dogara. Let’s put sentiments aside,  I am a Muslim to the core, but if I am faced with a situation to choose between Dogara and any other person even if he happens to be a Muslim I will choose Dogara because of his credibility.

What do you think about the emergence of Buhari, people think he has a lot of work to do to be able to fix Nigeria’s problem?

Certainly, he will have work to do; as you know Rome was not built in a day. The damage that has been done is so much that if you want to rebuild it, it will take time. He is not a magician, the change we are talking about has to take a gradual process, it cannot happen overnight. He has a lot of task to do and he cannot do it alone. He needs a lot of credible people to achieve that; so we call on Nigerians to cultivate a high level of patience and watch the processes he is going to employ  in achieving the change he has been preaching.

We know Nigeria has many areas to start from; where do you think the President should start from in fixing these problems?

Security! Security is the most vital point, any other thing will follow. you can’t come here without security, you can’t go to the market, office, church without security; so assuming all these things are put in place and there’s no security, how do you benefit from it even if you are given a million naira; how will you spend it if there’s no security? I think the most vital area that priority must be given to is security.

We are going into the 8th Assembly and most lawyers have condemned the 1999 Constitution because of loopholes. Should we adopt the amendment?

You see, there are a lot of issues regarding this constitutional review amendment; to start with the problem has not always been the Constitution, we should have that at the back of our minds, the problem has always been implementation.