From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Gambo Sallau is a former Speaker of Kano state House of Assembly. He resigned his exalted position in the run up to the 2015 polls, after a majority of the state legislators accompanied the erstwhile Governor of the state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, to the All Progressives Congress (APC). He recalls that episode, just as he also spoke on political developments in the state and at the federal level, insisting that PresidentMuhammaduBuhari-led administration has failed to deliver on its promises.
How is life treating you after your exit as the Speaker of the Kano state House of Assembly?
Well, life has been going on fairly well. As long as you prepare yourself in advance that the position, any position, is not forever; that a lot of things would change after you leave the position; then you will certainly have no problem adjusting to it when you eventually leave. As I said earlier, this change did not come as a surprise to me. I have held several political positions before that one (Speaker) and had exited them at different times. And life went on thereafter. So I had expected what I am seeing now. Therefore, it is not something that would trouble my mind.
How is your party, the PDP, doing in Kano state since after your defeat ? There is this argument that the PDP is too silent for comfort?
Well, let me say that I do not agree with you or with any of these people who are saying that we are silent in the politics of the state or on issues. PDP is still moving on fine. What many people are expecting us to do is to go ahead and receive decamped politicians, which as you know, the time is not ripe or right for us to do now . Let us push ahead, let the days go by and in some few months to come in the state, you will see wonders! PDP is strong and getting stronger in Kano while the ruling party is getting weaker everyday due to so many factors. The expected members, the politicians (decampees) are coming from various political parties and from across the 44 local governments. Wait for the right time!
How would you assess the governorship of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in the state?
Well, as a governor, he is a father to all, he is a leader to all, and he deserves the respect of all. However, the task before him is enormous and challenging. I say this in good faith because I know that his leadership is coming at a time when the economy of the country is dwindling. And I know that the opposition against him is very intense. Don’t forget that he is surrounded by opposition elements both from within and outside his own party. All these means that he has to double his efforts in managing his party and in the management of the state in general. But having said that, I still strongly believe that by 2019, his tenure would come to an end. He has to leave because we are set to take over the leadership of the state and we would certainly do that.
The governor is being accused, rightly or wrongly, of poaching on a number of leading members of PDP in the state? To what extent is this true?
Who are those that he had poached Mention five of them?
But can you deny that a number of you people in PDP are not sympathetic to the government of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje ?
In fact, in life generally, there is a line between political relation and personal human relation. When it comes to personal relationship, it means that he can interact with anybody. I mean anybody from whatever party the person comes from. Therefore, interacting with Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as the governor of the entire state, regardless of your political platform, is not something that should attract an unusual attention in a civilized society . We pray for him and I tell you, that is what quality opposition entails. It is our duty to tell him that he is wrong in so , so and so and he would amend and make it right. When he amends and makes it right, it is for the benefit of the state as an entity and not for his own benefit as an individual. This is not a matter of political sympathy as you call it, it is a matter of respect for leadership.
How would you react to the fact that in the 2015 general elections, the PDP could not produce even a Councilor in the state? They lost everything from the Councilor to the governor?
To start with, let us put aside the Local Government elections. We all know that, not only in Kano but across Nigeria, there is no election at that level. Governors just do whatever they like. Whatever party that forms the government at the state level, delivers the leadership of the local government to its self. But talking of the 2015 General Elections in Kano state, it was just like a Tsunami. As you know, it was not just here in Kano alone, the political Tsunami affected a number of states in Northern Nigeria. If you go to Zamfara state, the PDP did not have a single councilor there. We do not have a member of the House of Assembly and we do not have a member of the House of Reps. We also do not have a senator from the PDP there. The same applies to the governor of the state and his deputy. If you go to Katsina state, the same scenario was replicated. If you go to Sokoto, the same thing applies. So, it was a change that one could safely say, came from above and nobody could have stopped what had happened. Two things are clear here: It will be wrong to adduce any weakness on the part of the PDP members in the state or to say that it happened because we were incapable of winning elections. It was something that came abruptly and took many people by surprise.
Did you people in the PDP ever imagined that kind of sweeping defeat and if you had, what did you do to forestall it?
(cuts in ) Ah, you could not have imagined what will come in future It was something that looked like Allah’s wish at the time it happened.
Kano people today say that they are not feeling the change. What is your take on this?
Absolutely yes! Absolutely yes because our people had confidence and hope in the APC during the 2015 General Elections and what the party sold to the people to defeat the government of the PDP then was the promise to end insecurity in the land. It was purely an insecurity affair. But today, are we secured by any measure than we were in the past? Is Nigeria nearer to peace and stability than it was in 2015? Are we? Look at the bombing in Borno state. Every now and then, the bombs are going off in Borno state. What about the problems of the herdsmen across many states in the country? The Zamfara armed bandits that are on killing spree, the inter -religious and inter -ethnic crisis across the country , the Niger Delta issue, the IPOB, the MASSOB in the South East. Are we secured in Nigeria? Any reasonable person, any reasonable Nigerian, would definitely tell you that the APC government at both the state and federal level has failed the people woefully in terms of security, because we are actually not secured. When you come to Kano state, the trend changed entirely. Initially, we were troubled by robbery- they rob you on the road, they rob you in your house! But the change we have found in Kano state is that they have moved a step further. They no longer rob you; they simply kidnap you and demand ransom, which as you know is technically a more advanced level of robbery. Advanced robbery!
What is your assessment of the Buhari administration?
He failed. He has failed.
In what way sir?
In all ways ! He failed in providing security to Nigerians, he failed in the economy and he failed in everything! When he talks in the morning, what he would say in the afternoon is different from what he had said in the morning. And when he talks in the night, you will find out that that too is parallel to what he had said in the morning and in the afternoon. He has no economic team and you know he has no clear policy vision. Nothing! And look at Kano; he received almost two million votes from here. You should ask any APC members in the state to tell you what Kano people has gotten from his government.
Going back to history, many people would like to hear from you, why you lost your position as the Speaker of the House of Assembly?
Well , I am a man of principle. I was elected on the platform of the PDP. On this platform, I became an ordinary member of the House, I was later elected as a minority leader and eventually, I was elected as the Speaker under the same umbrella. I have no reason whatsoever, to betray the party that gave me such a unique privilege and opportunity for the sake of my personal interest. Secondly, there were so much political rancor between me and the chief executive of Kano state, Kwankwaso, at the time . And I tried as much as I could to ensure there was an executive- legislative harmony and understanding. We gave him all the necessary cooperation in terms whatever cooperation that was needed from us, for him to move the state forward. Yet, he did not appreciate this. As the number three citizen of the state, if he wanted to dump his party, I needed to be consulted. But nobody consulted me. Based on this, I resolved in myself that I will not dump my party, the PDP, and the events that followed meant the PDP was no longer controlling the majority in the House. We were 30 members of the PDP, out of which 26 left the party to the APC. This means we were left with only four members and from the APC which had 10 members before this period, only three of them joined us in the PDP and all together, we were just seven members. So in order to avoid any political problem – because the members of the House did not say that they did not like my leadership- I simply decided to step down. I thought that it was dishonourable to be a leader of the House from the ranks of the opposition party. I did that which was predicated by common sense. That was what happened.
How do you see the problems of Kwankwassiyya and Gandujiyya and their disagreement in Kano politics?
First and foremost, let me use your medium to congratulate them for having parallel structures within their party. This is because they are all PDP products who betrayed the party. Both of them betrayed the PDP and they are suffering from the consequences of their act of betrayal. Simple!
Is this quarrel not likely to reduce the pace of development in the state?
But we are not quarreling with both of them. They are all our friends. We interact with the Kwankwassiyya people so also we interact with the people from the Gandujiyya .Their quarrel is a welcome idea because we are going to benefit from it. We must benefit from that quarrel. This is politics!
What is your view on the new mega party in Nigeria?
But look at it well enough, do you think that in two years time, you will have a party on ground, which you will be able to sell to Nigerians and the party would be taken seriously and be voted for, in the next elections? No! These people are political jokers
But APC did something like that in the last elections?
(Cuts in ) APC was not exactly a new party at that time. It was a combination of various political parties which were already rooted in different parts of Nigeria. For example, the CPC was strongly rooted in Northern Nigeria while ACN had roots in the South-west and some elements from the PDP- the five governors- so you see the difference. This new mega party, is now at the level of the process of registration. Can’t you see that it cannot fly?