I’m not happy with what’s happening in NASS, Nigerian govt – Rep Chika
Abubakar Chika Adamu represents Shiroro/Rafi/Munya Federal Constituency of Niger State in the House of Representatives. He recently created a buzz when he wrote a letter to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State informing the
DT: What informed your decision to write the letter in which you told the leadership of your party that you will not re-contest in 2019? I have numerous reasons. However, there’s one that stands out, which is lack of public trust on members of the National Assembly.
DT: What do you mean by lack of public trust?
Every day members of the National Assembly are being bashed. I have respect before my children and my students. These are people that see me as a role model. However, I may not defend complete innocence of what’s happening in the National Assembly: that we’re all good to go. In a society where you have 360 or 469 people, including senators, you may have some characters that are not doing well, but the society has grouped us together and condemned us.
There are also things from the Executive that I’m not happy with. That’s why I have to quit. I don’t want to have heart attack.
DT: What are those things from the Executive?
This thing called corruption still exists. You hear in the House one investigative motion or the other every day. However, what baffles me and will worry Nigerians is the fact that when you put on an investigation, we truncate it along the way and the media never ask questions. Sometimes it’s from the Executive. You hardly see me as a member of those committees, but to anyone I belong, a report must be submitted: it’s not that I’m a clean person.
DT: You also said in your letter that there is a disconnect between the Niger State Government, members of the National Assembly from the state and the House of Assembly; have you made any attempt to correct that?
Let me be very frank. The Governor of Niger State is my friend and colleague. We were sworn in in 2019 as commissioners under Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu. We had lived in Kaduna as friends. When I went to Niger, I stayed in an apartment given to me by his father.
After the governor was sworn in, I took a telephone and gave him and said, “Your Excellency, please take this telephone so that when we have issues to tell you we’ll be able to get in touch with you,” and he said he would also give us a line that we could communicate. That has failed to work.
I can’t call my governor directly today if there’s an issue that has to do with my constituency: that’s a very big disconnect.
DT: Is the state not moving forward?
Niger State is not moving forward. If I don’t say it, Allah will ask me on the day of judgement.
DT: Some people say it’s because you have fear that the return ticket will not be given to you, that was why you quickly wrote a letter as a face-saving measure: how true is that?
I think you need to do a background check. I have not lost out in my constituency. Up to today, I’ve not heard anybody say the former member is better than me. I don’t go on social media with what I do. If I don’t have credibility, I wouldn’t have come here. I was picked and coerced by APC to be here.
I was in my local government area two weeks ago. An ordinary general hospital is not given attention by the state. I had to go and do the smallest thing you can think of: cover the mattresses.
The second issue is a very fraudulent one. We have this school feeding programme. Niger State Government deducted N69, 000 from the food vendors in the name of giving out contracts out of the N84, 000 given by the Federal Government. They took the money and indicated as if it was the customer who transferred the money to the pool. When they came to supply, a lady that was supposed to feed 100 children with N84, 000 in two weeks was given a crate of eggs, that’s 30 eggs, instead of 200.
DT: A lot of you, the first timers, came to the National Assembly with high financial expectations, but it seems you became disappointed because there is no largesse to share; is that the case with you?
In my letter, I wrote that the Prophet said anybody who is coming to seek for position should be rejected. I didn’t come with any expectation because I didn’t spend anything. It baffles me when I see people selling their houses and property to contest elections. I see them as crazy and not coming to serve. Some told me they spent up to N100m or N50m to be here.
If I’m coming back to public office, unless the people donate to me; I can’t. If you think I’ll take my money to contest, then it’s a lie because I’m not coming to recoup anything but to serve.
DT: What was the reaction from your family when they got to know about your decision?
I didn’t expect less than what I received from my wife. But what I received from my daughter also gave me encouragement. She’s just 17, and she just finished secondary school. When I forwarded the letter to her, she said, “May Allah make it the best decision you have taken.” That really encouraged me. I told a friend that this was what I got from my daughter and he said: “It’s because you’ve not put them in the position of a member of the National Assembly.” Up to today, I go to second hand market to buy things. I swear to God, even last week, my wife was in Kasuwan Barci second hand market to buy clothes for my children. That’s why this place doesn’t impress me even if they share billions.
DT: Would you want to go back to the classroom?
Certainly, I want to die a teacher. I have a provision shop that I manage. People who know me know that I go there. If you see me there, you won’t even know I’m a member. I also have a place where I do wheel-balancing and wash cars.
The next thing I want to do after leaving this place is that I want to build a nursery and a primary school on a small place that I have. In the morning if I wake up, I want to go there. I want to build children with character. I’m not opening that school for the purpose of making money: if it feeds me, Alhamdulillah.
DT: Are you saying that on your own, you won’t contest for any office again in your life?
I’m not saying that. I’m a Muslim. I know one condition may make me find myself in public office, but it has to prove itself. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said there’s no way that people should have trust in you to hold public office and you reject it. So, the only way I can come to public office is by the people doing it themselves, not me.
But beyond that, I’m not happy with what’s happening in the National Assembly or the Nigerian Government. As a member of the National Assembly at this age that Nigeria is, you surprise me by providing motorcycles, tricycles, sewing machines, building classrooms, sinking boreholes and the rest. You want me to remain like this, bringing palliative measures to the people? That’s not the work of the legislature.
DT: Does the corruption you talk about include the National Assembly?
Certainly: who do you think is clean? All the system, when the head is rotten, the body could be rotten too. There’s no system in Nigeria that you’ll say is perfect. If you talk about corruption, it’s everywhere; it’s a norm.
DT: What efforts have you made to curtail some of these things; especially in the National Assembly?
Sometimes the National Assembly holds public hearing where people come to make submissions. But that isn’t enough.
People are focusing on the National Assembly as the most corrupt, but I don’t see it like that.
Only recently, EFCC went to arrest a former DG SSS, but they were blocked. He doesn’t have immunity. EFCC can even arrest the serving DG SSS with a court order. But a shameful thing happened. Is that not corruption?
I don’t think any member of the National Assembly is above the law. Saraki was going to the Code of Conduct Tribunal. There’s no instance where a member of the National Assembly was invited by a court that he didn’t go. So, the focus on the National Assembly shouldn’t be.
What I see among civil servants I don’t see it in the National Assembly. Five boreholes were sunk in my constituency, but a week later, only one worked, and one among them never worked. They were sunk at N10m by the state Ministry of Housing. Each of the boreholes cost about N1.6m. In fact, the first bill they brought was about N2.4m for each, something that I do with my money at N450, 000. So, who’s the thief?
Who do you think is clean? All the system, when the head is rotten, the body could be rotten too. There’s no system in Nigeria that you’ll say is perfect. If you talk about corruption, it’s everywhere; it’s a norm
Rep Abubakar Chika Adamu