Lawmaker tasks youths on replacing political
He spoke at a reception organised by the Solitaire (Economics Class of 2005), Department of Economics Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Abuja. The lawmaker who is the deputy chairman, House Committee on Finance, said the few months he has spent in government has opened his eyes and mind to the challenges facing the country.
“If we don’t get our best, if we don’t get people with integrity in government, we may wake up someday and there may be no country,” he warned. “Everything I have seen so far shows that the majority of the people that you see in government are not there to serve the interest of the people. So, people with a conscience must rise up to the challenge and get involved.”
He challenged his course mates not to just sit and condemn the system, but that they all have a role to play as far as the development drive of the country is concerned.
“The old schools, the octogenarians will never give way,” he further warned. “We must rise up; we must stand up; we must fight for it before we can get it.
“So in 2023, I want to see more of us get involved in this political arena. It is not easy, but we must have an open mind and it will never be easy because you are never on the same page with the people you want to represent. What they want is far different from what you think they deserve; that is where the challenges lie. Prepare your mind. I think that in itself is service to humanity.”
He said he ventured into politics because of the challenge of the almajiri system where children, especially of Nupe extraction, were seen roaming the streets of Kano in rags. He said it was not part of the culture of the Nupe, hence he swung into action to see how the situation could be ameliorated. However, he said all his efforts through letters to the emirs and on social media could not achieve much.
“We decided to support with ideas on how to help move the state forward,” he said. “Unfortunately as it is with people in government, if you are an outsider and you want to offer advice you are seen as a threat to those at the corridors of power.
“Some of those ideas we felt would change the fortunes of the state, but they were not accepted. So, a friend said we have done our best; the next thing we have to do is to get involved, so we have the opportunity to be able to tackle this problem. That was how I got involved.”
He said he soon realised that one could speak, make noise, write on social media platforms, but “you lose the moral ground to condemn the system if you don’t get involved. It is one of the reasons I decided to venture into partisan politics.”
He said the second reason was the fact that in his state they have not had good, as far as democracy is concerned since 1999.
“We have inherited a lot of challenges in Niger State, a state that is strategically positioned to be a leading power in this nation. Unfortunately because of years of challenges, even the little effort of this present government is not being recognised because the challenges are enormous.”
He said he adopted the philosophy of the late Ado Bayero on what he said when he celebrated his 50 years on the throne.
“He was asked what he would want Kano people to remember him for and he said nothing. So, they asked, ‘why nothing?’ He said his motivation for doing anything he was doing in this life is such that by the time he goes to rest he would be able to rest in peace.
‘With the little things I have been able to do, the good lord would open the doors of mercy for me when I go to rest.’”
The lawmaker said that should be enough motivation for all, adding, “Let us have it at the back of our minds that we are not going to be here forever. Somehow someday we would be no more; we would become history, but what kind of history do we want to leave behind when we are gone? It is food for thought. It should put us on our feet in order to get things done properly in this country.”
He said ABU is the only university you attend in this country where you have the highest number of Yoruba, Igbo and other ethnic groups outside a university based in their locality.
“What does that mean?” he asked. “It prepares us for challenges like this. You will appreciate Nigeria as a country. You will appreciate and tolerate people for who they are.
“Part of the challenges that we suffer and face in this country that have hindered our progress has to do with tolerating ourselves as one. Those are the things we learned in Zaria and that makes us special and ahead of all.”
Convener, Muhamad Naseer Ibraheem, said they were gathered not just to celebrate, but to remind the lawmaker of the enormous responsibility ahead of him.
“As a member, he is in a position to speak, not only for his immediate constituency but for Ifeanyi from Enugu, Edimeh from Kogi, people from Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Edo and so on. That is the privilege God has placed on you. We are here to remind you of the promises you made while you were seeking their votes.
“That time every call that comes you don’t block because that is a potential voter. We hope you will sustain that. Because there would pressure from everywhere.”
He reminded him of the 9th National Assembly to do something about the outcry over the exorbitant salaries and allowances Nigerian legislators are earning, which is higher than anywhere in the world.
“Secondly, what laws can you make to ensure the states are viable to stand on their own? Kebbi, Oyo, and Kaduna paid the N30,000 minimum wage and Nigerians are celebrating those governors. We challenge the oil-rich states and the others on their reluctance.
If all the states are viable it is for the good of the country.
“There is also the issue of constitution amendment that if it is not done we would be unable to do certain things. That should be of concern. How do we reduce the cost of governance so that the government can do more? There is the issue of poverty with over 110 million Nigerians living with extreme poverty. How can we reduce this, as an economist? Rising unemployment. How can the enabling environment be created for people to do their businesses?
“The issue of insecurity, Buhari said we should go to the farm and the CBN is ready to give out loans, but the farms are not safe. The state governments are saying they are ready to do more for security, but the law does not allow state police. The roads are bad. There is the issue of over 11 million children out of school in the north which is a time bomb.
“Value reorientation to change our mindset as Nigerians. How can we begin to tell truth to power not because we want to criticise but to bring about changes? How can we get leaders that will listen to the people?”