Senator Nazif Gamawa is Senator representing Bauchi North at the National Assembly under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). He was first elected as a member, House of Representatives in 1999 and served two terms before moving to the red chamber in 2007 till 2011. In this interview with Journalists in Bauchi, including PATIENCE OGBODO-IWUAGWU, he speaks on the Seventh Senate and other issues. Excerpts…
How do you view the members of the 8th Assembly?
This assembly, like you know, is an assembly of experienced Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of life. These are Nigerians who have achieved in so many areas of endeavour and have come together with the clear vision of ensuring that they build this assembly and provide good laws that will stand the test of time. We are Nigerians who felt aggrieved by what the PDP has done and you are aware that we constitute the majority vote in the National Assembly and we will continue to do what is in the best interest of Nigerians, we would continue to represent our people, continue to be part of those who will ensure the distribution of resources to Nigerians so that it will go round all the various constituencies and there will be equity and balances in those resources. We would ensure and continue to ensure the amendment of this constitution in the areas in which we can make amendment, we would ensure those amendment are being done and we are here as members of 8th assembly who have seen the last and believe there is a need to make the future better for those coming behind us, and we would do all our best with the experience we have; we will work together as a family to ensure that we make the lives of Nigerians easier and make Nigerians proud.
What do you think members of State Houses of Assembly should do in order to save the state from total collapse as some believe they are being directed by the Executive?
In the past, governors used to pocket the members of the State Assembly, why was that so? You need to understand the history and how leaders are made and how to come about good leaders. Nigerians want a free corrupt society, Nigerians want a House of Assembly that would checkmate the executive, Nigerians want a National Assembly that would stand and ensure that they not only checkmate the excesses of the Executive but also make good laws. Whether you want to fight corruption, checkmate governors, you want to do what is right. The bottom line is to elect leaders that have the interest of the people at heart; once there is free and fair election that produces a leader that is voted by majority of the people, so he would not want to do contrary to what brought him. But in the past, the majority of the people you see in these elective offices, some of them got there through one means or the other, so they did not really represent the interest of those people they are representing. And for the House of Assembly, let me simplify it for you: a governor will come and before election he will impose who he wants as house of assembly member. In fact, he already knows who the Speaker is, who the Deputy Speaker is, majority leader and once they come there, they become rubber stamp, and any bill he brings they just pass it.
The Bauchi State Governor has lamented that he met an empty treasury, what is your take on this?
In a state like Bauchi it’s unfortunate and I’m sad and that is what brought about this total change. The governor said he met an empty treasury and that is why from the day he was elected, that is Barrister Mohammed Abubakar, he started to think of how he will generate revenue for the state, how he will look for resources so that he can build the collapsed infrastructure in the state, how he can pay salaries of the civil servants, how he can turn around things, this Government of Bauchi State is going to be a corrective government, he is going to be a governor that will correct the wrongs of the previous administration so therefore we are working day and night trying to see how this resources will be gotten so that he can improve the lives of the people of Bauchi and how will can bring hope to the people of Bauchi, I can assure you that the total collapse that the PDP administration in Bauchi brought on the people will be corrected by this Government, what we want is for the people to give Bauchi state Government time because this correction cannot be done over night, this corrections are things that will come gradually, we need prayers, we need time. We need good people that will complement the effort of governor of Bauchi State so that M. A. Abubakar will do everything possible to ensure he corrects all the wrongs done to the people of Bauchi by the previous administration. So government is in a process whereby we would have to look for those resources by improving our Internally Generated Revenue, he will do everything possible by putting structures in place to see how he can improve IGR of the state. So we are calling on the good people of Bauchi State to also pay their taxes as at when due so that the state will have enough resources to be able to bring quality life to the people of Bauchi state.
Many Nigerians have called for Local Government autonomy, what is your view on this?
Yes, it is true. I believe that every right thinking Nigeria would want local government to have their autonomy so that we can have progress within the locality , we remember in the past, very rarely do you see people from local government come to state not to talk about going to Federal Government or to Abuja, people of locality does not have business with Abuja or the state but unfortunately in the recent past you find local government officials coming to the state, they are coming to the state because the whole system within the local government has collapsed, local government hasn’t gotten any autonomy, monies have been diverted, squanderd and at the end of the day elections are not held within the local government, caretakers are being set up for years and I can assure you this APC will not tolerate this kind of impunity. APC is a party that will live by example and autonomy of local government is what Nigerians are desirous of and that is what they will get.