National Assembly Crisis, A Distraction – Lame

Former Minister of Police Affairs and former Governorship aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State, Dr Yakubu Lame, in this interview withPatience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu, speaks on the alleged planned impeachment of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and kidnappings in the country among others.

There seem to be some challenges between the National Assembly, specifically the Senate, and the APC over the Senate leadership; don’t you think that the crisis could affect your party?

Dr Yakubu Lame

Dr Yakubu Lame

My position is that this is a very unfortunate development that we never expected. It is being resolved in the House of Representatives and I am sure that it is also being resolved in the Senate.

We came into government to provide leadership and good governance. We see what is happening in the National Assembly as a distraction and we must do all we can to remove the distraction so
that we can together, as a political family, provide leadership for Nigeria. We are working day and night to ensure that we achieve that.

Don’t forget that APC was formed with a lot of challenges and some of the challenges were anticipatory. So their solutions will have to be
critically examined.  I am telling you that this is a crisis that we understand and are capable of solving.

We won an election and we believe that the Nigerian people voted for us and so we should be able to pursue our programmes. We should be able to implement programmes that will salvage Nigeria from the decay that corruption and insensitivity have put this country. This is our agenda and this is what we are doing to ensure that we achieve our aims. Unfortunately, the crisis is clearly a distraction.

If given the opportunity to serve in the present administration, what will be your priority?

My priority is to pursue the goal of my party. My party has come in for a change and this change is a fundamental change; we believe that to change Nigeria, we must change the way governance has been conducted; that is, we must build the capacity of the Nigeria system, we must re-build institution based on the rule of law and that is the purpose of this administration. If you don’t do that you will never achieve the purpose of the democratic government. A democratic government requires visibility, accountability, transparency and integrity. Once you are able to do that and make Nigerian people understand that they require this kind of environment to really survive and survive well so that the resources that belong to Nigeria will be for their own use and their own benefit you will have achieved something. The APC administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is working towards liberating Nigeria and Nigerians. Nigerians must be liberated from abuse of power, and insecurity, and once you don’t have a society run on the rule of law, then you will have insecurity, abuse of process, arbitrariness and corruption. So whoever believes in this administration must contribute towards achieving these goals.

Kidnapping has assumed a frightening level in Nigeria. A former Presidential candidate, Chief Olu Falaye, was recently kidnapped but was later released, and there have been other cases of kidnapping in the country. What is your take on this?

I feel very bad that Nigerians no longer feel safe in their environments and I think the only way that that can change is to find a solution to it. And then you address the issue of the police. You must understand that security of lives and property is
in the hands of the government and it is principally the function of society. Society provides security for its own people. The police and other security agencies are only instruments. What I am essentially saying is that you must integrate; when you have a population of 180 million or there about and you have over 70 to 80 per cent poverty level which is created by bad governance, you must work hard to change it. As someone who has been involved, I think we need to restructure the security system. You need to come down to the basis. We must restructure the policeto reflect the need of those levels of society because the security challenges of, for example, Kafin Madaki in Bauchi and Ajegunle  in Lagos are different. And that is how it goes. So you must restructure the Nigeria police and that goes with other security agencies .You must give the communities an opportunity to be involved, and you must give the state prominence. You must also ensure that community policing succeeds. In the olden days when we had the vigilance system, when there is a theft in the night, in the morning they come to the house and examine the footprints of those that
entered the house; thereafter, they go about arresting the thieves.

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I am saying that there should be state police to organise their own
security. The primary function of government is
security. I am an advocate of state police.  If there are technicalities that will stop it, we should not wait until the constitution is amended before the governor of the state provides security. There must be an arrangement and therefore the ultimate thing is to provide security for the people. Community policing is about the interaction between me and you,  and effective community policing  covers all aspects of the society, how members interact with their neighbours, and how they do things. State police will reduce communal clash, religious crisis and even poverty. Community policing is a total way of reorganising society but most importantly, the aspects we must address is the introduction of
technology into security. We only have 330,000 regular policemen and this is too inadequate
to ensure security. The best way to it is to increase the strength of the force and introduce technology into security. Technology will handle over 80 per cent of security challenges facing us. We had a police reform. I believe that that police reform must be revisited. There are clear action plans. There are clearly implementable policies in that reform.

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What is your reaction to the alleged planned impeachment of the Senate President over his perceived alliance with PDP?

The impeachment is part of the problem that we must look at as a party and find solution. There are many ways to solve political problems. I believe that certain things have gone wrong in the crisis in the
National Assembly and I believe we should find a solution. If indeed Bukola Saraki went into alliance with the opposition to get the position of the Senate President, it is wrong. You cannot go into alliance with an opposition party to strangulate your party. It is becoming very clear that we need all that can make us work. W
e need to be united to pursue the mandate of the APC to salvage
Nigeria. We must not allow this distraction to dominate our conversation. I feel terribly bad. I am a party man. I am a foundation member of this government and I feel terribly disturbed that we have allowed the situation to reach the level it has reached. Whoever is involved must be made to understand that certain things have gone wrong and we are not going to tolerate it.

What is your advice to the coming ministers?

To pursue the goal of the party; our party has come in for change and this change is fundamental. We believe that to refocus Nigeria we must refocus governance. That is saying that we must attempt to build institutions; we must govern based on
the rule of law. If you don’t do that you will never achieved the purpose of a democratic government. A democratic government requires visibility, accountability, and transparency, and whosoever believes in these ideals has to contribute towards their attainment.

How can you describe the administration of Governor Abubakar so far?

We are just getting into a new administration. A new government has come into place and they are trying to settle down to see how they can approach the challenges in the state. These challenges are numerous and require very serious understanding and approach to show that government can achieve the purpose for which they were elected. I believe that is the most reasonable explanation that one can give.

It was alleged that some of your aggrieved supporters in APC are now with the new government, is this true?

I am just hearing this from you. I don’t know the loyalists that they have not brought that to my attention. Can you tell me who these loyalists are? To God who made me, I have not heard of that. As you can see I am meeting with my coordinators from all the local governments in the state as well as all the key directorates of my campaign Organisation; so I don’t know the loyalists you are talking about. When I know them I will find out what they are complaining about. Is it that I have not given them support or encouragement? All I can say is that nobody has brought that to my attention. You are the first person that I have heard it from.