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Why I regret leaving PDP for APC – Barka, ex-Adamawa acting governor

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images 2020 10 18T094728.445 Why I regret leaving PDP for APC – Barka, ex-Adamawa acting governor

Nigeria ’ s former Ambassador to Malaysia and former Acting Governor of Adamawa State, James Barka, shares with HINDI LIVINUS his experience in the All Progressives Congress and other political developments in the state
Could you tell us about your growing up ?
I was born on September 8 , 1961 in Kalaa village , Hong Local Government Area . My birth name is Shuaibu . I was born a Muslim but converted to Christianity while attending a missionary school run by catholic missionaries in Kalaa. This was because my father who was a Muslim had no qualms with our choice of faith . I later attended the Teachers College in Bazza and Numan . I was not born with a silver spoon ; my parents were peasant farmers and so they could not fund my education beyond Teachers College . I was very young when I enrolled into the Teachers College and after I completed the programme , I started teaching and from there went on to work with some private organisations where I raised the money to further my education. So, my struggle began at a very tender age .
What was your motivation for going into politics ?
I joined politics in 1998 , although I was very reluctant. Prior to my joining politics , if anybody had told me I would one day go into politics I wouldn’ t have believed the person. The love for my people pushed me into politics even though if I have to be honest, I was actually dragged into politics . It was the voice of the people that compelled me to go into politics . Due to my meteoric rise in politics , some people thought I had a godfather who brought me into politics and was supporting me , whereas I never knew any prominent politician at the time I joined politics . It was the people from my constituency who beckoned on me to come.
You became the lawmaker representing your constituency and later emerged as the Speaker, though that period was filled with intrigues. Tell us how you suddenly became acting governor of Adamawa ?
Well , I am an incurable optimist when it comes to fate . I believe in destiny , I wasn’ t on the ballot but I became the acting governor by some divine providence . Graciously , God decided to entrust me with the mantle of leadership of the state even though I had only gone to the House of Assembly to represent my people out of my humble submission to their call . My appointment as majority leader of the Assembly helped to prepare and exposed me to legislative business. I did well as majority leader of the House and it resonated with the people in the party. As a result of my performance as majority leader when the 4th Assembly was inaugurated my colleagues elected me as Speaker of the Assembly . So, going by our constitution that if the governor and his deputy are removed from office, the speaker should be sworn in, I emerged as the acting governor. That was when Admiral Murtala Nyako ( retd. ) was removed by the Appeal Court, based on the ruling of the Elections Petitions Tribunal .
When you were the Speaker, the Assembly had wanted to impeach Nyako , why did you drop the impeachment?
We served him an impeachment notice when I was Speaker because some allegations were raised against him by lawmakers who stumbled on some infractions by the governor while carrying out their oversight functions . The onus was on me as speaker to lead the impeachment process , but we dropped the impeachment because we are loyal party members , although the constitution was sacred . We also considered the reasons for the impeachment ; our legal team which at the time looked into the articles of impeachment advised us against going ahead with the process .
The impeachment attempt created upheavals within the polity, would you have seen it through ?
As speaker, I naturally would preside over the process . As you know, Admiral Murtala Nyako ( retd. ) was coming from a military background? He wasn’ t really a democrat ; he learnt democracy , I would say the hard way ( laughs ) . So you see when he came all he knew was to give orders . As someone coming from a military background he would expect that when he gives an order it should be obeyed before complaint . So he was treating lawmakers as if we were his junior brothers . When he issued an order , he expected us in the House to obey . One of those factors that necessitated the impeachment move against him was to make him come to the negotiating table . What further compounded the crack at that time was also the fact that I wasn’ t the governor ’ s anointed choice for speaker . But my colleagues voted me into that position . The impeachment move yielded some positive results as it forced the governor to come to the negotiating table . We were summoned to Abuja and it was there the governor got an understanding of how democracy operates ; that it wasn’ t about orders but about give and take . After that episode, he had a very smooth relationship with the legislature up until 2011 .
Did Nyako treat you fairly afterwards ?
It is not like Nyako didn’ t treat me fairly. In fact , I respect him . Our only difference is our background. He came to governance with a military mentality . Not that he did me bad . He was just not a democrat . I had no hate towards Nyako even at that time . Because most of the things he did that were wrong happened because of his military background .
Were you surprised about his impeachment eventually?
Actually , the impeachment saga played out when I was out of the country . I didn’ t know what transpired ; I only heard about it . I didn’ t know the intricacies and I never tried to find out . But we all know the political game that played out during former governor Nyako ’ s impeachment and the role of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, after Goodluck they fell apart. There were clearly underlying reasons for his impeachment .
Tell us about your relationship with Governor Ahmadu Fintiri ; some people even think you are his political godfather , how true is this ?
How can I be Governor Fintiri ’s political godfather ? First, he was elected into the House of Assembly the same way I was elected . I was just first among equals by virtue of my position as Speaker then. The only thing I can say is that as a speaker, you must have your pillars in the House . Fintiri was one of my pillars along with other members who stood as a pillar for me . I will not deny the fact that he was my main pillar . Among pillars, there is the main pillar . The insinuation is rife because Fintiri would always stick out his neck for me and give me his full support and so people came up with that narrative . My relationship with him has been very cordial and the only difference is that he came from a different political party while I was from Peoples Democratic Party . Those different political parties formed an alliance to move the House of Assembly forward and he was the pillar supporting me as the Speaker. He pushed for my cause but that doesn ’ t make me his godfather .
Looking at your defection from the APC to the PDP , was that a form of action to support him ?
Unequivocally , Fintiri and me have high regards for each other, be it personally or politically. He was very supportive of my own political cause and I have no reason not to support his political cause as well . But that was actually not my main reason for leaving the APC for the PDP . I left the PDP with nobody . I didn’ t carry my supporters to the APC because I was going on a sojourn. I have never been a member of any other political party apart from the PDP , which has always been my party, and my spirit has always been in the PDP , even when I moved to the APC . All I ’m saying is that to me , the APC is not really a political party to be cherished.
How do you mean?
It is a combination of strange bedfellows with different ideologies , forced into a marriage of convenience . It ’s a mixture of people with different directions and goals . That ’s why you see the party is not working well . PDP was already my party and so when I defected because of what happened to me in the PDP , I went alone to the APC . I didn’t tell any of my supporters I was moving , let ’s move ( laughs) . I did so, because I didn’t know where I was going , so I was very careful . I left the PDP out of annoyance because my ticket into the House of Representative seat for Hong – Gombi Federal Constituency was abruptly and unilaterally substituted by the powers that be within the party at that time . Moving to the APC was fraught with uncertainties , although I knew some of the characters in the party but I have never played politics with them . But you know sometimes you learn your lessons out of mistakes . The PDP then paid the price for what it did , primarily because of the impunity then, the party lost power in the state to the APC . There was serious impunity in the PDP towards the end of 2014 and before the general elections in 2015 .
Why do politicians change political parties at will ?
From 1999 up till now , our democracy is yet to take shape and we are still in the learning process. That may explain why politicians change political parties . As I told you , I left PDP for APC without asking any of my followers to come with me and I also returned to PDP . I didn’ t want my supporters to join me so as to save us all from regret . Thank God I was the only person who regretted after leaving PDP for APC at the end of the day . I am back to my party and to be frank , all my political mentors are in the PDP .
What was your regret in the APC ?
We are not birds of a feather. My going to the APC taught me some lessons . They were bitter lessons but they were still lessons . If we want democracy in Nigeria to move forward we have to be very transparent in whatever we do . There must be transparency in governance . Democracy has come to stay, there ’s no doubt about that.
How would you assess Fintiri’ s performance compared to the APC government he took over from in the state ?
Governance or democratic practice can be likened to a big tree with so many branches . As a leader you have to touch all the branches and all of them should bear fruits . When you tend to only one branch, the others will be badly affected . This present administration ’s focus on education is very wonderful . The last government focused on road infrastructure alone. While we have poor families that cannot afford to pay N 1 ,000 educational levy for their children , much less pay NECO or WAEC fees for their wards , if we have to build a generation that would take over from us, we have to invest in education. If you have an illiterate population , whatever you put on the ground would be vandalised because they don’ t have the education to know. The insecurity we are experiencing today is all due to lack of education, so education is key . I can see Governor Ahmadu Fintiri putting much focus in the area of education. They are rebuilding the educational infrastructure, teachers are happy they are paid their salaries promptly . The students are fed in schools through the free school feeding initiative of the state government and the free school programme ensures parents no longer pay examination or tuition fees anymore . Like I said , governance has many branches . Today also , the government is massively constructing rural and urban roads and has also begun the construction of three flyovers in the state capital, which is providing several informal jobs to a vast majority of its unemployed youths . A multifaceted development of the state is what is needed and that is what his predecessor failed to provide . In fact , it is on record that in the last four years education nosedived under the past leadership . There are more dividends of democracy to come under Fintiri because I know his passion to bring development to this state .

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Bye-election: Fresh crisis rocks Zamfara APC

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images 18 4 Bye-election: Fresh crisis rocks Zamfara APC

A fresh crisis has engulfed the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressive Congress barely two weeks to the bye -election into the vacant Bakura constituency seat in the state House of Assembly .
A faction of the APC loyal to the immediate past governor of the state , Abdulaziz Yari , named Bello Gamji as its candidate for the contest , a move which has since been opposed by party members loyal to Senator Kabiru Marafa .
Addressing journalists in Gusau on Sunday , the Publicity Secretary of the Marafa -led faction , Alhaji Bello Bakyasuwa , while faulting the decision by the Yari -led faction to field a candidate , said , “ Zamfara State APC is still in court; as such , it has no constitutional rights to present a candidate to contest the election .”
Bakyasuwa rejected claims by the Yari -led faction that the Court of Appeal in Sokoto had set aside an earlier judgment given by the Zamfara State High Court.
He said, “ The court has only set aside the Zamfara State High Court judgment ; but didn’ t give the mantle of leadership of the party to any faction . ”

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PDP sweeps all seats in Bauchi LG poll

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images 17 4 PDP sweeps all seats in Bauchi LG poll

The Peoples Democratic Party has won all 20 chairmanship and 20 deputy chairmanship positions as well as the 323 councillorship seats, in the Bauchi State local government election held on Saturday .
The LGA election was last held in Bauchi State 12 years ago .
The 20 elected chairmen and their deputies were issued their Certificates of Return by the Chairman of the Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission , Dahiru Tata , at the commission ’ s headquarters on Sunday .
The council leaders were later sworn in at the Banquet Hall of the Government House , Bauchi on Sunday .
The oath of office and oath of allegiance were administered to them by Justice Hamidu Kunaza , who represented the Bauchi State Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Umar .
Speaking at the ceremony, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed , warned the council leaders against indolence and corrupt practices in the discharge of their duties .
He said, “ What the people of Bauchi want is work , service , infrastructure . I assure you , we are going to give you autonomy to give you the little resources that you need .
“ You must work with us to free resources in your local councils . Ghost workers that are taking our money at the primary level , especially the primary health care, primary education and even local workers , must be freed .
“ Don ’t go and create your own ghost workers because that is the circle of corruption that we inherited . Everybody that becomes a chairman or councilor will have his own number of ghost workers that will bring money to him at home . I know by your pedigree , you will not do that .

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I Have Not Defected To APC – Governor Umahi

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images 16 4 I Have Not Defected To APC – Governor Umahi

Ebonyi Governor Dave Umahi has denied reports making the rounds he has left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A House of Representatives from Ebonyi, Chinedu Ogah had claimed on Saturday the Governor had defected to the APC.
Ogah, who is the only APC federal lawmaker from Ebonyi, also commended the Governor for defecting to APC.
According to Ogah, Umahi defected to the APC after meeting several leaders of the party, including President Muhammadu Buhari.
He described it as a bold step and move in the right direction and asked About, Enugu and Anambra Governors to join the APC for stability in the polity and South East.
“Yes, Governor Umahi’s defection to our great party, APC is a step in the right direction.
“We cannot afford to remain in opposition. We must join the ruling party to continue to reap the dividends of democracy.
“I am calling on other Governor in the southeast to toe the line of Governor Umahi and join APC. We have to be at the center, we have to join mainstream politics for the overall development of our zone and the country in general.
President Muhammadu Buhari has done well. Everybody should join the APC to encourage him”, Ogah said.
But when contacted, Governor Umahi, in a terse reply simply told The Nation “it is not true.”
The Governor’s Media Aide, Maze Francis, also debunked the report.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to the news making the round in some quarters of the media, alleging that the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi has defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC)”.
“The news is a product of a figment of imagination on the part of the carriers as Governor Umahi was, is, and is still flying the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)”.
“It is, however, difficult to observe how people are easily persuaded to believe in fake dummies in the name of rumours.
“If for any reason, Governor Umahi wishes to leave People Democratic Party (PDP), it will be officially communicated and can never be a product from rumour mongers”.
“The general public is advised to jettison such unfounded rumour”.

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