Ahmed Wadada is a former member of the House of Representatives and All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship aspirant in Nasarawa State. In this interview AHMED TUKUR, the former lawmaker offers insight into the internal wrangling on who becomes the leader of the 9th National Assembly, warning the APC leadership not to cause confusion and rock the boat before take-off.
There are fears that the events leading to the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President is about to repeat itself during the ninth Senate. What is your take on this?
First and foremost, without fear of contradiction, the situations are not the same. In 2015, the party did not take any stand at all. Neither did President. If I could remember, all he said was that he wasn’t interested in whoever became the leader of the eight senate in particular. Whoever the senators chose he was ready to work with. The situation is different now. Now, the All Progressives Congress has taken a very decisive position, I don’t know what the position of the president is. This is supposed to be a truly and democratically, a party matter. If the party has taken a position, I will advise that senators of APC extraction should abide by the directive, advice or guidance of the party so that we don’t rock the boat at take-off again. We need a cooperative, understanding and collaborating national assembly for the president to be able to consolidate on the gains of his first four years and then be able to introduce more projects that will be of value addition to the country and citizens. In achieving that, the national assembly is key.
Recently, Senators-elect recently called on the APC to zone principal offices but not to individuals. The party has now anointed Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate President. Is this a recipe for another leadership crisis?
Well, it is a party affair. If the party decides to do that, then it should look for ways to appease members because that will be too direct, too hitting and controversial. The experiences we had from 2011, when Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal worked his way against the wish of the party to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, that move, marked the turning point of emergence of leadership at the National Assembly. I said so when it happened but people like me that saw it coming were not taken seriously. Up to 2015, Aminu’s move was the genesis that led to the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and now we don’t seem to have learned from our lessons. I will enjoin the leadership of the APC to exercise its supremacy. As a party man and a democrat, I subscribe to party supremacy. But within that, the party should also be strategic in its outing.
Do you subscribe to political parties zoning political offices?
Democratically, what the party is expected to do is to zone political offices everywhere, and zone the leadership to a particular zone. If it is zoned and then you have more than one person aspiring, if the party has interest in a particular aspirant, it is now left for the party to look for ways on how to appease members of that zone and to garner support for the anointed aspirant, from party members, not just at take-off. Though the party has the privilege to do that but at take-off, most times, such a move rocks the boat.
Do you see the President making headway where majority of the senators are newly elected?
Why not? I will expect that every person, before even been elected, the fact that the day you begin to nurse the ambition of going to the National Assembly, you should not be clueless as to what the National Assembly expects of you, and what you are also expected to do as a member. I made my mark, with due humility, as a first timer at the National Assembly. So, it does not really matter. Whoever limits or confines his ability or capacity to add value as a member of the national assembly to the fact that he is a new comer, I do not subscribe to that. Then that means the person is not fit to be there. And as far as the president is concerned, looking at the majority of the members of the national assembly being new members, it is for them to be well oriented. There should be orientation; there has always been orientation before the commencement of the business of legislation.
Talking about the Next Level, what priority areas do you think the lawmakers should look at?
Power, security. That’s all.
Only these two areas? What is it in power and security that you think they should make it top priority?
Security provides an atmosphere that will be relaxing enough, comforting enough, to and for the citizenry to be able to think right and act aright. And power is everything. Everything today revolves around power. If you talk about education being key, today, without power, what quality of education can you really give to the citizens? The classrooms you and I attended are no longer the type of classrooms in existence, with students now allowed to go into their examinations with laptops. Technology has virtually taken over and technology cannot be fully operational without power. Without power, the so-called small and medium enterprises that we have been talking about, sinking so much money, from 1999 to date, you cannot imagine the amount of money that has gone down the drain under the programme of small and medium enterprises but we still have achieved nothing. This is because there is no power. Money goes to the citizens and the citizens cannot effectively use the money because by the time they get it going into practical utilization, they realize that cost of capital is higher.