Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed Lamba is a former Permanent Commissioner at the Civil Service Commission and was at different times, Commissioner for Information, Education, Budget and Agriculture, during Senator Adamu Aliero’s tenure in Kebbi State. In this interview with AHMADU BABA IDRIS, he speaks on why he resigned his appointment from Governor Atiku Bagudu Abubakar’s government and how the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has failed
Direct Primaries for all political parties in the recent bill passed. How do you see this development? I must confess that Nigeria’s political journey has never been in the right direction other than this direct primary. Personally, I am a direct beneficiary. I was in active civil service up to 27th of September 1990. I was voluntarily invited by the good people of Yauri when Shanga, Yauri, and Ngaski were one local government. They took me to a high table and invited me to a contest. I told them I didn’t have capacity because firstly, I have already spent my September salary and I have no means of refunding that money in lieu of notice. One of them stood up and said he will refund my salary. I said secondly, I don’t have the apparatus and capacity to conduct an election, but they said they will take care of that. They did that and that was how I became executive chairman of a local government. I did not spend any kobo to deceive anybody. The little money given to us then was direct allocation from the federation account and I utilized the money for the benefit of the people I served. If today same procedure is coming back to me it’s a welcome idea because this is the only way we can do away with humiliation, intimidation, embarrassment, and disgrace because we are no longer looking for moneybags, people either from Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna or anywhere in the world to go and make their money only to come and buy people and later steal all our resources. How will you describe the level of development in Kebbi State? Look at Kebbi State today. Since the creation of the state till date compare with other states that were created at the same time? We have states like Jigawa, Kogi, Taraba and Yobe states alongside. I expected Nigerian journalists to be fair enough to take an independent, thorough investigation for comparative purposes to see the development in the above mentioned states. Are they better than that of Kebbi State or is Kebbi State is better? Today, anybody who can be sincere would agree that the Kebbi State capital is not better than ordinary local government headquarters. It has not got the status of state capital because during the past six years under this administration we have nothing on the ground which we can say that is aiming at developing Kebbi State. Look at even the process of picking local government chairmen here. They will go and pick a secondary school drop-out because he paid money or somebody will come as governor not because of his excellent academic performance but because of his intensive lobbying. Time has come for Kebbi State to be a state in the real sense. We should allow the people whom we are certain should be given the power and chance to choose the best candidate whom we can challenge anytime we find him wanting for the betterment of Nigeria. Today the governors we picked might have paid a vanguard group to come and teriorise and embarrass you and you have to allow him to go free. So anybody that has made any contribution towards direct primaries I believe he has Nigeria at heart. The way I knew Mr President over time, this man has proven to be a sincere and honest person. So if he is going to be just to the good people of Nigeria he should assent to the direct primaries and if he fails to do so then he would have failed the nation and we will never forgive him because Nigeria needs sanity. Nigeria needs a very honest and transparent journey not for people to become governor simply because they want to turn themselves into billionaires and turn their friends and associates to multimillionaires that is not polite. Go to the United States, Britain, Russian, and anywhere even here in the Niger Republic they have neater and more transparent polities than what is played here in Nigeria. So I strongly accept and endorse this idea direct primaries because it’s the only thing that can save Nigeria from the predicament we found ourselves in. You are among the stakeholder in the state and there are some governor most especially APC Governors that kicked against Direct Primary. How do you see these governors’ response? Any governor who is against Direct Primary is not sincere and he doesn’t like or have his people in mind and he is not serving his people. Rather he brought his own boys and girlfriends to make money out of the resources meant for the good people of Kebbi State. So any governor out of 19 northern states who kick against direct primary doesn’t want Nigeria and he is not truly sincere and he is only transparently corrupt and we shall never allow them. We are making an appeal to ICPC, EFCC, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria State Security Service, Road Safety and any other agencies, even the Civil Defence to put their heads together and start to checkmate their activities. Here, you will find somebody who is an ordinary secondary school dropout and they ‘manufacture’ him to become a finance clerk, within a short time you will see him riding a car worth millions of naira. How much is his salary? Where did he get that money? So when there is no check and balances then the law enforcers are not sincere to Nigeria. Time has come for us to be honest and sincere. Last time you talked about the zoning system in Kebbi State. Why are you placing emphasis on the zoning system? The journey of policy is the journey of you and me, it’s a journey of friendship, a journey of collective affairs. In principle, we have to share opinions; we have to compare so we can’t say the best candidates are only confined in one particular area. We have seen a role model which is worth emulation. Let’s take Sokoto State for example. I have said it several times in the media. In 1999, Attaihiru Bafarawa, Garkuwa Sokoto was the first executive governor from Sokoto North. He ruled Sokoto for eight years and neatly handed over to Aliyu Magatada Wamako from Sokoto Central for another good eight years and today Aminu Tambuwal is from Sokoto South. This is a very clean and fair journey for all. So it’s left for the people of Sokoto State to compare and contrast among the three candidates who among them is the best who is good material and create competition between them. Let’s go to the other side of our good people of Niger State, their first executive governor in 1999 was Late Eng. Abdulkadir Kure, may Allah SWT forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljanah Firdausi. He ruled for eight years. He didn’t manipulate that my Zone A has the most qualified candidates; he didn’t say we are Nupe people but he voluntarily handed over to Gwari people which they decided and picked Talba Babagida Aliyu. He also ruled for eight years that’s Zone B. Zone C is now occupying there, and there was a competition between cabinet governor Abubakar Sani Lolo and Nasko, but it’s still within Zone C. He is rounding up his eight years journey. Automatically, when he finishes Zone A will pick again so what is bad about that? Our intention is that politics is meant for all; it’s meant for good harmony and tranquillity, honesty, sincerity and you should be able to access which area you are expected to have a better candidate you will be able to compare and contrast. So I am a front runner and one of the champions with regard to call for the movement or rotation of gubernatorial seat in Kebbi State between the senatorial districts. Kebbi Central has for long been governor again and again Kebbi North and Kebbi South are now due for it. Whenever Allah in His infinite mercy gives us the governor we are ready to vote for him but we cannot allow pinning the position of governor in one particular place that is not fair. You are a stakeholder in the party that’s the ruling party. Are you satisfied with the administration of this present government? Satisfaction or not is a different thing, because all we are after is the dividend democracy. What actually transpired it that clearly people have been subjected to hug poverty; people have been harassed, nagged and humiliated even the state tenders’ board have been closed because of his personal reason and how many times have you ever seen contractors in Kebbi State coming to enjoy this kind of dividend of democracy? How many people have you seen that have even been able to return the loan they took from the bank? Some have liabilities lying down over six to seven years; people refuse to pay them. Federal government has given money for the payment of pension and gratuity, how many have benefited in the state? I am supposed to be a beneficiary of furniture allowance, sub-grant, gratuity and all other entitlements, but this government deliberately refused to pay me and other colleagues. What offense have we committed? Being given an appointment is a privilege but payment of entitlement is compulsory. So whether the state government likes it or not we are going to pursue it even through legal and the media to see if we recover what we are entitled to. Recently, this government appointed you as a Commissioner at the Civil Service Commission but you resigned. Can you briefly tell us about it? As a policy, I am here to serve the good people in Kebbi State not an individual. I was a Chief of Staff. I served for two years and when I found out that things were not going well, I decided to go away. Lucky enough this time I have been patient enough and I served for complete five years up to the date when we supposed to and none of us was given the entitlement. Recently, President Buhari also approved a bailout for the governors, does Kebbi State need any bailout for now? To be honest with you, all that we know is that whether you are President, minister, Ambassador, governor, commissioner or whatever position, death is inevitable. You must reach your grave. So we should always recall that Allah in His own infinite mercy will question you over what you have done during your period for the people under your care. If you fail to do so you will face the panel of God. If somebody can foolishly go and request for entitlement where his people are not due or his state is not entitled to and siphon it somewhere, God will not spare him. Such money must be brought and the only people who can help the good people of Kebbi State and Nigeria at large are EFCC, ICPC, Police, the DSS and others. They know everything. They have security apparatus; they are monitoring what is happening. Here you will find somebody who is not in position to earn N50,000.00, but within six years in government he will start dashing out millions. What project has he done? What did he do to make this millions? So we are inviting the security agencies the EFCC, ICPC, Police, SSS, DSS to come and do their job because they swore before Allah that they are going to do justice to all manner of people without fear or favour? Some people are vandalizing, bastardizing, manipulating and carrying money away. We can’t leave them to go away and if they don’t do that they are not being fair and Nigeria will not spare them.