Ismaila Ahmed Gadaka Represents Fika/Fune Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. In this interview with CHIBUZO UKAIBE, he says the visit by President Goodluck Jonathan to Borno and Yobe states was a reaction to the visit of the 10 opposition governors, arguing that his visit did not address their expectations.
President Goodluck Jonathan visited Yobe State contrary to views that he was not disposed to visit crisis-prone states. What is your reaction?
I just saw that visit made by Mr. President to Borno and Yobe states as a reaction to the visit made by the 10 opposition governors to Borno and Yobe states because earlier than now, the people of Yobe State had wanted Mr. President to come and commiserate with them over the crisis rocking the state for over two years. But contrary to that, Mr. President did not see it necessary or to even make any categorical sympathy statement in respect of that, not until the 10 opposition governors went to commiserate with the people of Borno and Yobe states. Mr. President saw it as a blow on him being the chief security officer of the country.
He saw that visit as a blow which made him to initiate that prompt visit to come and commiserate with the people of Yobe and Borno states. Even at that, the people of these two states are expecting much from his visit. In an ideal situation, when the president visits certain places particularly where lives and properties were seriously destroyed, he was with his ministers who are to carry out repairs on all those sectors that were destroyed by the crisis. But he could not make any statement whether if he is going to assist the state government to address all these problems.
There was a call by the people of Yobe State on Mr. President over the abandoned water project in the state but Mr. President did not say anything even when the minister for water resources was there with him. So, I don’t see his visit as a welcome development to my state but as a reaction to the opposition governors visit. ?
How will you describe the feeling of the people of Yobe State after the President’s visit??????? ?
Well, our feelings were so bad. Initially, we expected him to be in Yobe one or two years ago because Mr. President visited other places like Madalla church at Suleja, Niger State police headquarters, United Nations House immediately these places were bombed and even that of Kano. He did not waste any time. He quickly visited Kano State. It kept us wondering what the people of Borno and Yobe states did to him since 2009? He was there in Abuja hearing the serious attacks on these two states. There was a time when Damaturu was almost closed down because of these attacks. He did not look at it. If you compare the number of lives that were lost in Madalla, United Nations House, Police Headquarters and Kano, you cannot compare them to the lives that were lost in Maduguri. There was a statement by the president that the reason he visited Madalla, police headquarters and others, was as a result of calls he received in respect of those attacks. So, that of Borno and Yobe states were not important. These are questions we are supposed to ask ourselves.
What are the expectations of the people from Mr. President?
Our expectations from President Goodluck Jonathan is high. The people felt that now that he is here and seeing things for himself, we expect a lot from him. Any time a president or a governor visits a state or at least a local government, people expect good things. Just like you entered my office to see me for your problem to be solved but at the end you left angry. That doesn’t show good governance.
What are the impressions of your people after the visit?
Naturally, the impression of my people was that he did not want to know about them and they have taken that into their minds.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is the ruling party has scoffed at the opposition merger saying it is a waste of time. What is your view?
The PDP are just mocking themselves. They are not serious at all. They are seeing fire burning their party and they are saying it is not fire, it is water. I am telling you, they are afraid of this merger because they have started their usual propaganda looking for a way to destroy this merger process. Unfortunately, the merger has come to stay and everybody knows now that the PDP is jittery. Just look at what happened to Borno State when the 10 opposition governors visited the state. All of them walked from a far distance of about ten kilometers from the Government House to Monday Market on foot. So when the PDP saw this, they knew that there is trouble and this is a visit that has never been done by anybody in Nigeria to commiserate with them over what is happening in that part of the country.
If the PDP are not disturbed, why do they send Goodluck to go and react to the visit of the opposition governors to Yobe State? This is an indication that the PDP is about to leave office come 2015 and the APC will take over the mantle of leadership of this country.
Rumours have it that General Muhammed Buhari (rtd) has been endorsed by the new party (APC) come 2015.
No, anybody who tells you that the APC has endorsed a presidential candidate is a liar. These are the types of people who are being used to dismantle the merger process, but they will not succeed. APC is a union of political parties that have come out to form a mega party that will take over government from the PDP. I am assuring you, as soon as the party is registered as a political party, the party will come to a round table discussion and elect their flagbearer for 2015. It may be Buhari or anybody.
What happens if INEC refuses to register your new party (APC)?
No, INEC will not refuse to register the All Progressives Congress (APC). The issue there is that, there are laid down rules of registering a political party. As soon as we meet up with the rules, APC will be registered as a party. We are law abiding citizen of this country. It is not a one day thing. There are rules and we are following the rules of INEC. I am assuring you we will soon get there.