Regard constituents; ignore god-fathers—BAHA Deputy Speaker tells politicians

In this interview, Hon. Danlami Kawule, member representing Zugur Galambi at the Bauchi State House of Assembly who doubles as the Deputy Speaker highlights on why politicians should regard the electorates more than god fathers. He also talked about the difficulties been a lawmaker at a time of coronavirus.

Our correspondent started by asking him what it means to lead at a time of an impending economic down turn?


Kawule: Well, I can say Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah! The issue of recession now we can say is a global phenomena and that issue of pandemic is what worries most. When I think of Coronavirus what comes to my mind is always the issue of financial crisis because I realised many countries cannot be able to produce as they normally do, they cannot import and cannot export. There are so many issues that are dwindling the economy of the country and it comes down to my state, I feel like crying because I know we don’t have much sources or income apart from the one we get from the federation account and I know that the internally generated revenue in Bauchi state is very meagre. I am worried about what is going to happen in few weeks time, but I pray that God will bring solution to it and I have a believe that whatever goes around comes around. I equally have the belief that this thing will not continue unabated, but we are facing a lot of challenges, we are facing a lot of issues, we see it as one of the biggest crisis in recent memories. We don’t know what to do at the moment but I know financial professionals, analysts and people that have professional knowledge about economics and how to manage the economy are working tirelessly in order to see how things are going to look like in the next two months, so I have a believe that insha Allah, things will work out well.

WikkiTimes: The first person to test positive was His Excellency, the Governor of Bauchi state; anybody who knows you know how close you are to him; how did you feel when you first heard the news?

Kawule: You know, first of all, the Governor of Bauchi is my political mentor, my father, and my in-law; I cannot hide it anymore, and at the same time I see him as a role model. So, I am very close to him like you said; so when the news broke that he tested positive for Coronavirus, I felt very. I started thinking about many issues and how things will unfold in the coming days, but as a person who knows senator Bala Mohammed, Kauran Bauchi very well, I have worked with him as his aide and I know how strong he is, I know that when things happen to him like this what he does is to take it to Allah, he feels like it is just a trial from Allah. So, I had the belief that he will overcome what happened to him. I did not felt discouraged, what I felt was why did the Governor agreed that his test result should be made public after been tested positive for the virus, because my thoughts are different from his own but when I calmed myself down and thought very well I realised that was the best way to go about it. If he had concealed his status what would have been the fate of those he had contact with, so, what he did was the best way of doing things, by allowing everybody to know that he has tested positive for the virus.

WikkiTimes: When he decided to come out publicly to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19; do you think that is a lesson for others to emulate?

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Kawule: Yes. It is a lesson to every one of us; a lesson to every citizen of Bauchi, I even wrote something like this on my facebook page telling my followers that I have learned a lot from senator Bala Mohammed, Kauran Bauchi. What I meant is just what he did then, and I believe that if one can copy from what he did, the person will be a role model just like our Governor is to many of us. So, I am very happy that he came out and made his status public and I wish people will emulate his transparent attitude.

WikkiTimes: When he tested positive, were you jittery because as your mentor you must have mingled with him?

Kawule: Yes and no. I was afraid because people may feel they need to stay away from me because of my closeness to His Excellency. But I was not afraid because the Governor, as the number one citizen in the state came publicly to announce that he is positive. So, I felt like even if I am positive I will just go the same lane with him and be in isolation until I recover.

WikkiTimes : Have been tested of the virus?

Kawule: Yes. I got tested immediately. But the first three days I couldn’t get my sample collected because I couldn’t get the team. Whenever I go to their place, I will discover that they have left. So, before my sample was taken, I was worried, because it takes me two to three days. So, after taking my sample and my result showed negative, I felt very happy and I prayed for those who were tested positive for God to heal them.

WikkiTimes: The federal government is rolling out palliative measures to assist Nigerians, particularly the less privileged and the vulnerable, but in Bauchi, it seems nothing have been given from the federal government, what is your take?

Kawule: Well, I don’t actually know why. But everybody will see it as injustice. When we allow people at the grassroots to know what is happening, definitely it will be something else but I know that the federal government must work on it and think on how to bring something to Bauchi in order to alleviate the suffering of the masses especially at a time of the pandemic. It’s not good for a state like Bauchi to reach this level without receiving any penny regarding this pandemic, I hope that federal government will look back and see how it can help Bauchi state with reasonable amount for it to fight the pandemic.

WikkiTimes: One will argue that your constituency is one of the biggest in Bauchi state, how is it like to manage such constituency and support them at times like this?

Kawule: You know, I normally say that my constituency is bigger than any constituency according to my research. I have never seen any state constituency that is bigger than my own. No constituency is closer to mine in terms of size and population. It’s a very disjointed constituency with all accompanying complexities. When you are coming from Gombe, Zungur/Galambi started from there, when you are coming from Plateau, Zungur/Galambi started from there; when you are coming from Maiduguri, you pass through Zungur/Galambi; and when you are coming from Kano you also pass through it. So, we have the biggest and the largest constituency and our people are diverse. We have different tribes, different religions but we try as much as we can to mingle with them, foster understanding and really try to help them. Despite this diversity and the size of the constituency, if 100 people can assemble at the same time in a particular ward, I can call 80 people by their names. So, I know how to mingle with them, I have a very good relationship with them, we understand one another very well. I try as much as could to support them especially during times like this and when I tell them I don’t have, they definitely understand that I don’t have.

WikkiTimes: How are you meeting their demands with this diversity?

Kawule: Meeting their demands is very difficult. But I understand that they are happy with my representation and they are contented more than ever when other people were representing them. I am telling you this because I started this job in 2011, I was a member from 2011-2015 and I realised that they are happier with me better than my predecessor who represented them from 2007-2011.My party lost election in 2015 general election, someone from a different party won. So, I staged a comeback and emerged a winner in 2019-to date. People tell me that the person who took ever from me in 2015 did not perform, that has embolden me to do more; to mingle with them, to work with them, meet them at any given time and give them all the needed support. But to tell you that I have been doing what is exactly their need is not possible.

WikkiTimes: In the build-up to the 2019 elections, most of the elites in your constituency didn’t endorse you, how did you manage to outsmart them?

Kawule: Yes, you can win election without godfathers. Let me tell you, my nickname is ‘Barade Maitalakawa’, that is how they address me and I enjoy that name. It goes to show that people are aware that I work with the masses; I work with the grassroots because they are the people that have voted for me. So, when you go to them and requested them to help you with their votes they will definitely listen to you. Maybe they enter into a kind of agreement with you and when you agree, they will vote for you. But when you rely god-father; before election day; somebody will come and feed him with lies and he will listen to him and disappoint you. He will just change his mind and dump you and pick another person. So, it is very risky to depend on godfathers but there is no any risk when you depend on the people at the grassroots.

WikkiTimes: If you are ask to trade between godfathers and the grassroots, which one would you, go for?

Kawule: I prefer trading with the local people; that is the grassroots, the talakawas than trading with godfathers.

WikkiTimes: But sometimes their votes don’t count?

Kawule:  Well, there are places were votes don’t count, but believe me, I came from Bauchi local government, one of the centre of politics in Nigeria and I know even if I came from outside the metropolitan city, I know my people, they know how to defend their votes, I know if they cast their votes they stay there until their votes are counted. I have belief that my constituency will never allow their votes go uncounted, so I don’t see the reason why I should depend on somebody who has the same mandate.

WikkiTimes: Many are saying that state assemblies are more of rubber stamp in the hands of their executives; are you guys rubber stamp in the hands of Bala Mohammed?

Kawule: No; it’s not true. We are not rubber stamp because this opinion is largely held by people who have little knowledge about legislative activities. I did a research to find out why people say that, I realised that most of the bills and the resolutions are coming from the executive arms of government to legislators, and sometimes they come with urgency. So when we debate and approve them, people say we are rubber stamp. What is really happening is that when government request we do something urgent you realize that that is what the people wants, but unfortunately, the more the legislators agreed on it people will say that they are rubber stamps, they will not look at it from the benefits derivable from it.

WikkiTimes: But do you have instances where you oppose the executives?

Kawule: We do so many times, I can remember during our 7th assembly and even this one, we normally go to the executive governor and tell him that this is not the right time to do this or that. Remember we are 31 in number, so, we members of the Bauchi state Assembly are representing various constituencies that made up the entire state, the 31 of us are the replica of Bauchi state, because each and every local government has a representative. So, as far as we are concerned we are representing the whole Bauchi state with diverse interest.

WikkiTimes: Alhaji Danlami you have worked with many governors since you started the work of legislation in the state assembly, who do you think is the best in all honesty?

Kawule: The present governor is the best governor that we ever had in Bauchi. I can tell you why. You know, Senator Bala Mohammed was an administrator, Technocrat, a journalist, Senator and now the Governor of Bauchi state, so he has a lot of experience and what he is doing actualizes what he was before. And know that he is one of the best governors that we ever had in Bauchi state and he is very good and is doing well and I have a belief that Bauchi people will benefit a lot from him.

WikkiTimes: What is your message to the people of Bauchi state?

Kawule: My message to my constituents is that they should continue to pray for the state; we need to pray for ourselves, we need to pray for the Governor of Bauchi state, for him to move on with the good works he has started. We should pray for God to give him sound health, we need prayers for Nigeria. So, prayer is my request to the my constituents and the people of Bauchi State.


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