Rep. Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi (Kurmi/Sarduana/Gashaka Federal Constituency) Taraba State in the House of Representatives. In this interview he laments the woes of the nation after 51 years of independence and canvassed ways to check the scourge of corruption.
NIGERIA has just clocked 51. Some persons believe that the country is not moving forward. What is your view?
To some extent I agree with them especially if you compare Nigeria to other countries that got independence with or after Nigeria got her independence. We have made a lot of progress in so many ways like the practice of democracy and observance of human rights and the likes compared to the military era.
However, when we come to the issue of infrastructure and other segments of development like education, agriculture, health, commerce and other developmental areas, we have stagnated and even deteriorated. Our institutions are collapsing. Some have even collapsed.
It is disheartening that at this point we are yet to get out power sector, education, health, agriculture and other critical sectors to work efficiently. This is because of the utter neglect of our institutions. People are more concerned about how to amass wealth.
The society too has its own blame because people hail and eulogise those who loot the treasury only to come and give them peanuts. Those who loot are the ones that are respected by the society. Talents and patriots are not respected.
Honesty is not being respected. When your pocket is lined up, communities give you chieftaincy titles. This is a disaster. We ought not to be in the position we are.
There are some who argue for the division of Nigeria. Do you agree?
I do not support that this country should be balkanized. No. If you look at the entity called Nigeria, you will discover that even in those places where there are clamours for self determination, there are enclaves that are complaining of marginalisation by one group or the other. So if you divide Nigeria into three hundred states, there will still be agitations for self determination.
Other countries that had similar history like us like the United States of America passed through this type of situation. America is not a homogeneous society. It is heterogeneous. People come from varied backgrounds yet they are united and the system is functioning.
What do you think is the best way to check corruption in this country?
The best method to fight corruption is to vote the right persons into political offices and Nigerians must learn to exercise their powers of recall or impeachment on any erring legislative or executive officer. Once a political office holder shows a disposition towards corruption and it is glaring, he should be recalled.
If it has to do with impeachment, Nigerians should mount pressure on those that have the powers to impeach to remove such individuals. Nigerians should give support to such courses. We should learn to remove sectional and religious sentiments and this is where the problem lies. People blame the problem of corruption on the failure of the legislature to perform its oversight on the executive well.
I want to say that the National Assembly has been alive to its responsibility of oversight. We have witnessed probes which led to exposures of corrupt practices in the system. However, we are looking at a situation where we can crystallise these finding with action by ensuring that those found wanting were sanctioned. I believe the past assemblies did their best and I want to assure that this assembly has an agenda. One of our agenda is a fight against corruption and I can assure you that we are committed to this agenda.
What has been your role in the effort to develop your constituency?
I have been doing a lot to get the matter to the attention of the relevant agencies and authorities of the Federal Government. I have been reviewing the allocation for the projects in the 2011 budget, with a view to streamline them and to ensure that the projects are well captured in the 2012 budget.