Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim is representing Yobe East senatorial zone in the Senate and in this interview with RUTH CHOJI, the former governor and three-time Senator states that the APC would resolve its internal crises, among other issues.
Were you surprised when some Senators defected to the PDP from your party, APC?
I wasn’t surprised, though I wasn’t around when it happened. I came in for the second sitting of the day and heard about the defection of 15 senators. What happened was something that has been building up for some time. But be that as it may, the senate leadership has nip the situation in the bud by sending us on long vacation. We had to go on recess two days earlier in order to douse the tension. I believes when we come back on September 25, a lot of things would have been sorted out.
Some Nigerians believe that the gale of defections is a pointer that APC is going towards total extinction…
No, we are still the majority party in both Jouses and I believes a lot will be done to correct this situation.
Security agencies have are known for excesses and overzealousness especiall the recent siege on the homes of Saraki and Ekweremadu. Do you agree that the APC-led government is becoming dictatorial?
I won’t say that now, let’s study the situation for now and see what will happen. If the President and the Executive have a hand in what happened to the two presiding officers of the Senate, then we are in trouble. I just hope and pray that the President is not involved.
Let’s talk party politics. Some people are of the opinion that your new party chairman is compounding the problems in APC. What is your take?
The APC is a party of change and anything that has change will bring discomfort. So, you will meet all sorts of resistance. But eventually we will confront and overcome them.
Do you still have faith in the APC judging from these crises bedeviling the party?
APC is the ruling party and I believes Buhari will rule for eight years. Nigeria is a complex country and it need somebody like Buhari to keep it together. Our problems in Nigeria is not something that can be solved in three to four years. The destruction took years and so, fixing the problems will naturally take time. We need to give the president a chance and time to fix Nigeria.
Recently, the President while signing the 2018 budget accused the National Assembly of tampering with the budget. What actually happened?
The President raised some concerns but he should know that the National Assembly has the constitutional right to make those adjustments. He doesn’t need to implement the budget 100%. No government has ever done that. If we make some adjustments, it is because we know what Nigerians want and expect of us.
This government has never had a cordial relationship with the National Assembly since inception. What are the real issues?
Well, it’s democracy and such things are bound to happen even in advanced democracies. But we are working on it. All we need is to tolerate each other and put the country first.
The country is still battling internal insecurity challenges…
If you are talking about the boko haram, then we need to find out what they really want. We need to look at the cause before we can find a solution. The government has tried to contain them but it will not go away in one day. Until and unless we know what they really want, it may not stop now. I keep wondering what the boko haram really want. For the herdsmen, we also need to know that it is not only Fulani that have cattle. There are others who have herds too. The government must do something to solve the problem because even though some people are suggesting ranching to be assisted by the Federal Government and state governments for the herdsmen to settle in a place of their choice. They can grow their own grass and also stop open grazing, Nigerians must also accept that the Fulani are part of this nation. I heard that some parts of the South have refused the idea of ranching or creation of colonies, but I believe the North alone can provide the land the people will need to create these ranches. If the state governments will join hands with the Federal Government to provide the land and funds, I think we can stop the issue of open grazing.
Coming back to you, there were reports that you said you plan to be a Senator for life…
No, I didn’t say that but I said I will want to be a Senator again for another 4 years and then I will step down. So, I didn’t say I was going to be a Senator for life but I appealed to the people to give me another 4 years after which I will leave the stage for them.
What is happening to the North-East Development Commission?
The President has assented to the Bill for the establishment of the commission, but I don’t know what is delaying its take-off. It’s possible they are still doing underground work, but I+nsha Allah, it will take off soon.
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