I have no plan to defect to PDP —Suleiman
Abubakar Suleiman, Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, speaks with ISHOLA MICHAEL on the controversies surrounding his emergence, executive/legislative relationship and other issues.
The crisis that engulfed the House over the choice of speaker is said to be over but how will you describe the situation then?
Well, so far so good, and to the glory of the Almighty Allah, the misunderstanding that almost set us against each other at the inception of the ninth Assembly has now been thrown into the dustbin of history and it is a victory for Bauchi State. The members have eschewed all their differences and are committed to working for peace, order and good governance in Bauchi State.
What are you doing to ensure that you win the confidence of all the members for effective legislative business?
My personal philosophy and guiding principle, even before venturing into politics, is that everybody is important. Therefore, as the speaker, I accord each and every member of the House with the respect and attention he deserves. I also operate an open door policy, bearing in mind the oath I have taken to be just and fair to all.
How will you describe the relationship between the legislature and the executive, considering that the two arms belong to different political parties?
First of all, I personally don’t ascribe to the erroneous belief that if you are in a different political party with someone, you must be seen to draw daggers at each other. The cliché in governance now is that you should place the interest of your people over and above party or primordial sentiments. Therefore, the chemistry between the legislature and the executive in Bauchi State is cordial; we are working towards sustaining the tune and tempo in the interest of our people.
How will you describe the attitude of the governor in respect of the needs of the House?
I really don’t know what you mean by the need of the House because as far as the ninth Bauchi State House of Assembly is concerned, our need is not any different from the needs of the people; so to the extent that the governor is initiating new policies and programmes within the meagre resources of the state that affects our constituencies, he is sensitive to the need of the Bauchi State House of Assembly.
What is the legislature doing about the ongoing issur over the Bank Verification Number (BVN) crisis in the state?
As people-oriented legislators, we will be naturally concerned about anything that affects the citizenry. Therefore, the matter was deliberated on the floor of the Assembly and our resolution was that, since government has already set up a committee and the House is represented in the body, let us not preempt the committee’s report. The House has, however, admonished the executive that it should be done in a way that workers will not suffer as a result of the exercise.
There are insinuations that you and some of the members of the House are planning to defect to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, how true is that?
To the best of my knowledge, I am hearing this from you and for the very first time.
How will you rate the performance of the PDP-led administration in the state?
As the third citizen in the governmental hierarchy of the state, it will be morally wrong for me to assess a government I am part of and which is barely less than a year in office. So, I guess the question should rather be directed to the electorate who gave us their mandate.
The people of the state have high hopes and expectations for a better state. What do you have for them?
I want to assure them that the ninth Assembly, under my leadership, will be responsive to their yearnings and aspirations. We will also work in harmony with the other arms of government to ensure that the people get quality representation.
Alhough you are the leader of the legislature what should your constituents expect from you?
To my constituents, I will, by the grace of God, do all that I promised to do during my campaigns and will even go beyond my promises whenever I have the opportunity. My being the speaker of the House will not deter me from giving my constituency the needed representation. For instance, two weeks ago, I stepped down and, presented a motion on the construction of an important road (Nasaru – Gwaram – Balma – Arinja) in my constituency and my colleagues unanimously supported the motion. I will continue to do that.
What will you want to be remembered for at the end of your tenure?
Quite frankly, I will want to be remembered for many things but most importantly, I want to be remembered as the leader of the best House of Assembly in Bauchi State that have achieved so much for all the constituents, through dialogue and harmonious working relationship with the executive.