I'M NOT IN A HURRY TO BE BAUCHI GOVERNOR
Alhaji Babayo Garba Gamawa is the Deputy Governor of Bauchi State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Bauchi North. In this interview with Daily Sun, Gamawa who was one-time Speaker of the House of Assembly, speaks on his political ambition, why his boss, Governor Isa Yuguda, deserves a second term, among other issues.
Why do you prefer to go to the Senate when you are a sitting deputy governor?
I want to go to the Senate because of the call by the good people of my district for me to vie for the position. Also, I realised that for the past 10 years, there hasn't been any meaningful Federal Government's presence. That is to say since the death of our senator, Alhaji Shettima Mustapha, the Shetima of Katagum, who brought high tension power source, there have not been any projects. So, I decided to answer the call so that I can go to the National Assembly and pursue developmental projects for my people.
One would think as deputy governor, you would be eyeing the seat of the governor after the expiration of his tenure, considering issues of power shift. Yuguda is from the South and you are from the North and would have been fit to succeed him after serving two terms as a deputy governor.
Serving two terms as deputy governor is not a licence for one to become a governor because people served in many states as deputy governors and unfortunately at the end of their tenure, they were not the ones selected even by the party. I am somebody who doesn't look at what is on the plate while I have something in my mouth. So I am not in a hurry to become the governor of Bauchi State. I believe that power belongs to God and He gives at the time He wishes. I am not in haste and I believe Insah Allah I am going to make a difference when I get to the Senate.
Are you going to the Senate because some people say it is more lucrative?
I don't even know that I started as a legislator, as a member representing only one constituency and God decided to elevate me when the members selected me to be their Speaker . I was again selected to become the deputy governor. The issue of occupying lucrative position, I am not going there to make money. To God who made me, I am going there to contribute my quota so that people can enjoy dividends of democracy from the Federal Government down to the people of the grassroots. The issue of lucrative, I don't know.
As a former Speaker, what is your advice on the leadership crisis rocking the state's Assembly where two lawmakers are laying claim to the Speakership?
People have to understand what the House is. It is a lawmaking body of the state and as a lawmaking body, it is expected to respect the constitution of the county and the constitution stipulates that before a Speaker can be impeached, there must be 2/3 majority of the members that endorsed the impeachment. I saw the list which they claimed supported the impeachment. Unfortunately on the list, I discovered so many irregularities because we have 31 members and before you impeach a Speaker you must have comfortable 21 members. Three people out of the list were with me on that day when it was carried out. I called one on the phone and he said he was between Darazo and Gabarei heading for condolence at home. Also the name of the lawmakers appeared twice. The person who presided over also has his name appeared on the list. The Constitution says the person who presides does not have a vote. Therefore, going by the list, you can say that the whole impeachment thing is null and void.
What is the way out of the current logjam at the House?
As one of the three arms of government, they have independence; nobody has the power to interfere in their activities. I became the Speaker as a result of impeachment and I thank God, I left there without being impeached. So we need not interfere because they have their officers, the legal department, the Chief Accounting officer, who is the Clerk, they have their secretariat and leadership.
If they are going to abide by the provision of the Constitution, it is not a serious case.
Your Excellency, there are two strong groups in the state, one fighting the Yuguda government to ensure that somebody from the Katagum area where you come from becomes a governor, are you a member of Jamka or Kamankanku?
I am not a member of any of the two groups you are talking about. I only consider Bauchi State as a whole as my home. It will not be good for us to be preaching sentiments. I am from Katagum zone and I will be very happy, and in fact, it is my agenda when elected that is the issue of the creation of Katagum State because I did a lot when I was Speaker. I made contacts at the Conference of Speakers and also during Speakers Forum.
I lobbied quite alright and I will continue to lobby because most of the Speakers, we are still in contact and the Constitution provides that before a state is created, it must be supported by 2/3 of the Houses of Assembly. To fulfil that Constitutional requirement, I would use my relationship with them as a former Speaker to lobby for the people of Katagum to get a state. And somebody from Katagum zone to be a governor of Bauchi State, I like it of course because I am from Katagum and I would like to have somebody from there rule the state. This is the third time somebody from Bauchi South will occupy the seat of the governor-Adamou Mu'azu from the South spent two years and Isa Yuguda has occupied it once and his tenure is about to expire and we believe Insah Allah he is going to get a second term . So we hope Bauchi State will have a governor from Bauchi North.
Do you have any regrets serving under Yuguda?
No, not at all.
Where do you think there is the need for improvement?
We discuss issues heart to heart and whatever I observe as his deputy, even if there are areas that must be improved, we discussed that.
What will be your priority in terms of projects for your constituency at the Senate?
Within the Bauchi North Senatorial district, we have abandoned projects since the Second Republic like roads. We have the Potiskum-Hadejia Road that was abandoned, and we need to have educational institutions and also the issue of securing appointments for the people of the district. There are so many things to be done. If you go to the district, you will realise that we have shortage of water which the Federal Ministry of Water Resources through the Hadejia-Jammare River Basin use to do a lot of water projects at various states. Unfortunately, within our senatorial district, we are far behind. So I want to go there and see what I will be able to do.