Paul Omokuvie Bauchi
Mohammed Burra is the special adviser to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State on State and National Assembly Matters. He speaks on the leadership crisis in the State Assembly, telling the Daily Sun that it will be in the best interest of the State for the House of Representatives not to interfere in the current leadership in the Assembly.
Governor Bala Mohammed appointed you special adviser on State and National Assembly matters. What does your job entail seeing that the crisis in the State Assembly is unresolved?
Part of the reason why I was appointed is because the immediate past governor, Mohammed Abubakar was not in good terms with the Eight National Assembly and members of the State House of Assembly. Although Bauchi State had the highest number of appointees in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, the governor failed to use that to the benefit of the state.
Bauchi produced the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Chief of Air Staff, the Head of Customs, Minister of Education and many others. The state also produced the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but unfortunately, Abubakar failed to work with these people for the benefit of Bauchi State. If the former governor had cooperated with these people, meaningful development would have come to Bauchi State. Governor Bala Mohammed decided to bring me and the other advisers on board to help create a cordial relationship between his administration and the State and National Assembly. This is because the state is presently facing serious challenges as in the last four years the state did not witness any meaningful development. But the governor has the zeal and really wants to work for the state. He is here to give his best.
I was a member of the State House of Assembly from 2003 to 2007 and I contested for Senate. If I had won, I would have been in the National Assembly. Some of the lawmakers from the Bauchi State were my colleagues in the State Assembly. We would put heads together to help the governor build a cordial relationship with the State and National Assembly.
How have you been able to foster peace between opposition members in the Assembly and the governor because the Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila recently sent a committee to Bauchi State over the crisis. Does it mean you haven’t been able to do much?
Having divisions in the legislature is normal. Recall that the Eight National Assembly was divided when Bukola Saraki was elected Senate president. Several Senators had gone to the International Conference Centre when the Senate was inaugurated, but that division did not stop Saraki from completing his tenure.
In the case of Bauchi, the Clerk of the State Assembly issued a notice to all the members that the Assembly would be inaugurated by 10 am on June 20, 2019. However, 18 legislators decided not to attend, while the other 13 came for the inauguration where the principal officers were elected. Based on the Standing Order of the House, there is nothing wrong in the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House. The election was conducted within the chamber in accordance with the Standing Rules and the 1999 Constitution. The 18 legislators are just trying to create unnecessary crisis in the State.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has majority in both chambers of the National Assembly. How do you intend to create a cordial relationship with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state?
Elections are over; our focus is development of the state. Bauchi has not witnessed any meaningful development because the immediate past governor was fighting everyone; the result is that a younger state like Gombe has gone ahead of Bauchi.
How best do you think the leadership crisis in the Assembly will be resolved?
The best recommendation in my opinion is to leave the current leadership of the assembly to do their job. If the lawmakers identify weaknesses in the leadership, they are free to make changes. I don’t know why people are over flogging the issue. When I was in the State House of Assembly, we impeached the first speaker because we were not comfortable with his leadership style.
My advice to the National Assembly is to be fair to the people of the state and allow the current leadership of the House to stay so that Bauchi can witness some development within the first 100 days . The governor has several projects lined up for his first 100 days in office; we have already exhausted over 45 days.
If not because of this crisis, I’m sure the state would have started witnessing some tangible projects. I will urge the House of Representatives Committee to be sincere and fair to the people of Bauchi and allow the current leadership of the State Assembly to continue. I am equally calling on the people of the state to cooperate with the governor because he has come with the zeal to work so that at least we can develop our state.