Hon. Isah Muhammad Ashiru represented Makarfi/Kudan federal constituency of Kaduna State in the 6th and 7th sessions of the House of Representatives. In this interview with RUTH CHOJI, he says no gang- up will remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. He spoke on other issues.
Why did you leave APC?
Well, why I left APC was the same thing that made me leave PDP in the past. There was serious impunity in the APC. In fact it is worse in APC than when I was in PDP. So, I had to go back to where I came from and I was welcomed. The stakeholders asked me to come back and see how I can salvage the state by taking the mantle of leadership from the APC. Now I am at home because I can feel that the PDP is the right place to be.
Where did the APC go astray?
The impunity we accused PDP of happened to be more prevalent in APC. People feel they are demi-god and can do it alone. They felt they will only move with those they feel are their business associates or friends to run the government. Those of us from the n-PDP were the worst hit. You saw what happened to Saraki, Ortom, Tambuwal and many others. The few PDP persons still remaining in the APC are just waiting for time. They will do the needful.
PDP in Kaduna state has been out of power for over 3 years now. What are the chances of the party in the upcoming elections?
Very bright because what we thought APC will be is not what is on ground. The essence of governance in any country is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. When you don’t get that, what is the essence of the government? APC have failed woefully. I feel we should not give APC another chance. We cannot force our people to vote for APC. It’s worst in Kaduna because things have nosedived. If care is not taken, we will crash-land. Despite the fact that he has retrenched over a 100 civil servants, he still finds it difficult to pay salaries and then he cannot show any savings he has made from the mass retrenchment. Meanwhile, El-Rufa’i keep telling people that nobody is owing him. You don’t run government from i-Pad. Kaduna has been the headquarters of northern Nigeria. That is where people used to go for reference in terms of civil service rules and how to run a government in any society. When I was in the civil service, we had people from the South-West, Benue coming in to serve in Kaduna state. Unfortunately when you go there now, you won’t pray to go back. I have been round the nook and cranny of Kaduna state for my campaign, the road network are in a sorry state. I don’t think El-Rufa’i has time and resources to fix them. He has earmarked some roads for construction but I don’t think he has done up to 60km. Go to Rigasa, you will see how he has demolished houses, graded the road yet rains have made the roads unpassable. From the State House to Kawo, you will be shocked with what you will see.
Talking about the National Assembly, the APC is insisting that the Senate President must step down. What is your take on this?
The issue of cross-carpeting in Nigerian politics is not new. It has happened before and it will continue to happen. We were foolish enough not to have sat down with these people that came from ANPP, CPC and the rest to demand for our own share before the agreement was entered into. We felt we were dealing with men of integrity. Unfortunately what we saw was the opposite. They just made promises that they couldn’t fulfill and time is running out. The APC still see us and treat us as part of the PDP who misgoverned the country, but the legislature is a body that is on its own. We have separation of powers. Everybody runs his affairs as it is done in a federal government. The interference from the executive arm shows clearly that they don’t understand the principles of the separation of powers. But what is happening is good for the system, it shows we are growing. For the fact that Saraki defected to the PDP does not mean some people can go against the constitution just to remove him. The team led by my senior brother, Abdullahi Adamu have been meeting, but they cannot go outside the constitution to remove Saraki. If they want to do the right thing, they know the procedure. He is very much aware of the laid down procedure because he has been in the Senate for some time now. No gang up will remove Saraki. I am sure the House of Reps will not allow anyone truncate our democracy or the Senate be in disarray. Besides, there is no reason to think of removing the senate president seeing that they have less than six months to go. There are ways and manners we can remove a presiding officer, but simple majority will not work. The provisions say two-third majority and with Saraki having over 40 Senators to his side, I don’t see how that will work.
On the economy, Nigerians are worried over our rising debt profile. Does this bother you too?
That tells you the type of people we have in government. Because the level of our indebtedness is worrisome. If not that the benchmark of oil has increased a little, we would have been in trouble. The billions they are collecting in dollars in the name of loans without recourse to the inflow will lead us into trouble in the future. The situation is alarming. I want to beg the president to be extra careful. He should consult widely and not limit himself to the bankers that advise him. He may be president today but he doesn’t know what will happen tomorrow.
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