Rep Usman Adamu (ANPP)representing Ajingi-Gaya-Albasu Federal Constituency of Kano State talks about the alternatives the emerging party will offer Nigerians and what the members are doing to ensure unity all levels.
Your party, ANPP, is one of the parties merging to form APC, how do you see the journey so far?
In 1999 when the transition came on board, the time period was so short to enable Nigerians to be able to set up and evolve a party that will have the nature and character as well as the texture required to drive a modern state like Nigeria.
The concern then was about succession, now the issue is how do we do politics correctly? Correct politics is where issues are in the forefront. The PDP since 1999 has developed into a humongous body that is about who gets what and who takes what.
I’ll want to assume that this coming together of other parties to challenge the status quo, with the PDP system as it is today will enable Nigerians to now discuss politics based on these realities that are critical to the development and growth of our nation. To me as a member of the opposition and certainly an emerging member of the APC and God willing the next government in 2015 through a democratic process, I will want the merger to be issue-based.
By that, we will challenge the PDP to come up with its own; of course, I don’t expect them to come up with something that will satisfy Nigerians, because for 16 years, they have had the opportunity to do it. If we’re able to offer Nigerians the option for development, the option for re-inventing Nigeria and making that Nigeria that every African wants it, PDP will definitely lose the election and will probably try to re-invent itself over period of eight years or so. To me, this should be the defining moment of our politics.
People are envisaging there might be problem when it is time to decide a flag bearer for the APC, what is your opinion?
I am on the side that believes in issues related political development that is, offering Nigerians a practice that holds sway in developed jurisdictions where issues are the driving force.
For the last 16 years, PDP has been so insensitive and irresponsive to the feelings and dynamics of Nigerians. People are suffering; there are cries all over the country, nothing works, everything is drifting, yet PDP is just a clique doing its business, the business of sharing. We’re offering what is different and distinct from that. Our difference is clean and clear. We’re offering Nigerians a departure from that practice to the practice we used to know in the 1st Republic which can be put to test on the international scale.
So, believe me, the issue of a candidate should not matter to us. I believe the leaders as at today are not anxious about this. We’re coming together not to loot Nigeria like they have done. We’re not here to offer Nigerians regression but a progression.
As an opposition member of the House, what is your assessment of Tambuwal as Speaker?
I got to know Aminu since 2003 as we came to the House together. Aminu is a great team player. He has been an all engaging activist. As an ordinary floor member, he has always been active in all his committees. So, it was not surprising that in less than two years, then as a member of the opposition, he emerged as the minority leader. He led from the perspective of integrity and singular determination to offer selfless service and being exemplary. That’s the Aminu I know.
So it was not surprising that the same person in the 6th Assembly emerged as one of the most important principal officers of that tenure as deputy chief whip of the House.
I can tell you the summary of that 6th Assembly: any issue that was worthy to work on, it’s him that would work on it. He splendidly delivered the House in all its crisis moments. To be honest, my summary of Speaker Tambuwal is he represents the all round legislator, about the best presiding officer the House ever had since 1999, active, reliable, intelligent.
His becoming the Speaker was something waiting to happen and the 7th Assembly is simply the result. It was not surprising to most of us that he emerged our leader.
The intra party crises within the opposition parties were said to have made the PDP win in Kano in 2011, what steps are you taking to ensure this does not repeat itself in 2015 as you from the APC?
Mind you, we’re politicians. All these jostlings are legitimate. But the truth is the crisis the CPC had in 2011 can be reduced to the time constraint they had. Today we have time in abundance. Mark you, the forces at play, were sharing the same bed many years ago. Remember, CPC was a component of the ANPP; most of CPC members were part and parcel of the ANPP.
We know ourselves. If you add it to the fact that we had seen the sufferings Nigerians have had under this PDP mismanagement and misrule, we’re duty-bound to take off most of our personal drive to offer Nigerians service. If you want service, you got to be selfless. So, the virtue of selflessness is taking its toll on the rank and file of the emerging APC. I expect it to flourish and dictate the tune of things. We don’t expect people to be so reckless, self-desired; we know what is right; we know what is wrong.
This time, we expect to have a firm leadership that will demand that all and sundry subscribe to the rules as provided. We’ll always be mindful of the fact that we’re out to serve; we’re out to offer things different from what the PDP has been doing to Nigeria and Nigerians. If we’re doing that, this rancour thing should not in any way be a hindrance to the success of the bigger goal, the macro-level kind of window or opportunity we are throwing up for Nigerians.
I will want to assure you that given what I’ve heard and seen around the young turks running around the APC conglomeration, all these things wouldn’t take place in our politics. We’ll handle it with some level of decency, because the motive that we’re selling around is that we’re offering something different to save Nigeria.
The issue of housing is a big problem in Nigeria, as chairman of the House committee on housing, are you doing anything to address this problem especially in Kano where the deficit is said to be huge?
Well, Kano is my state and I’m chairing the committee on housing. You know housing is not an exclusive list issue; it’s concurrent issue by the constitution, so states, the federal government, and even the private sector, have a role to play. Truth is there is a 17 million deficit of number of houses across the nation by the statistics today, but there are windows that are out there for any state government or any federal agency or private entrepreneur to lock in to help in having houses in place for Nigerians to decently live. The windows are there.
The argument is every one unit of house requires 70 people to work on it. So for 100 units you’re talking about 7,000 people. So you’re offering so many people direct jobs and indirect jobs. In every housing project you see, there are associated activities going on there. It is a multifaceted activity that has the capacity to generate wealth and infuse prosperity in so short a while. In fact it represents the second best option to create prosperity for Nigerians in any economic jurisdiction.
Being a legislator at the federal level, what I will advocate is that government at all levels should try to work out a sound housing policy and come up with a housing plan that will on annual basis be making thousands of houses available to its citizens.
In doing housing, the three major factors are simply land; land is a very useful resource but difficult in its administration, management and processing, because it involves a lot of things.
The most difficult circumstance we’re find ourselves in today is the placement of the Land Use Act within the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Happily enough, we’re reviewing the constitution, and it’s one of the issues that are being worked on to extract it out of the constitution, because land issue is very dynamic to the extent that there is need to fine-tune it from time-to-time.
If you have it resident in the constitution, any time you need to fine-tune it, it means that you must revisit the constitution. The current National Assembly is working hard during this constitution review to extract it out of the constitution and leave it out as a law in itself so that any time there is a need to fine-tune it to suit and exigency or emerging circumstance, it will be much easier for such an amendment to come through.
The next issue is the funding. Because our leaders have been lazy at all levels, both the financial sector and political leadership level, probably at the legislative level, we’re being lazy about working out the framework to create wealth; that’s why we have so much funds idling in various accounts, various forms and sales are not being put to use. Nations that have developed were able to tap from these resources.
The housing sector represents one of the finest ways by which our economy can be kick-started. It’s left for the lazy leadership that we’ve been having, and I think the new emerging APC leadership will certainly look at all these and come up with solutions to them and make Nigeria a better place.