By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Hon. Yusuf Bubu Yakub is a ranking member of the House of Representatives representing Hong/Gombi federal constituency of Adamawa State. He told Vanguard that he is in the race to reunite Nigerians.
It is becoming interesting. You now have more members joining the race for speakership. Is that a welcome development to you?
Of course, the more, the merrier. If you have goods for sale and many people are not coming to buy it that means it is not a good thing. So, it is a good thing for everybody to come out and participate because in this country, we have 360 members in the House of Reps and every member is representing constituents from different background; so everybody is welcomed, even if 300 people will come out to contest, it is a welcome development.
At least at the end of the day, the most important thing is for the contest to be free and fair, well balanced and a winner will emerge and everybody should be magnanimous enough to accept defeat and the person who emerges winner should also be magnanimous enough to carry everybody along.
Is it all about people just coming out or it is about people who have capacity?
Everybody has capacity. The qualification for you to vie for speaker is for you to win an election to the House and before you win election to the House, you must have fulfilled some constitutional requirements before you can even vie for that position. So, anybody who wins election and is a member of the House is qualified to contest.
I understand your party has zoned the senate presidency to North-East where you come from. Do you still stand a chance with that arrangement because it appears Nigerians and even the party will not support a particular zone producing two presiding officers?
The party has not officially zoned any position to any area and even if it has, when you have people from the North-West that produced the president contesting, you have people from the South-West, which produced the vice president contesting, so that does not make any difference because it is all about the members to vote for a popular candidate they want. So it doesn’t make any much difference.
The current leader of the 8th House from the South West has declared for Speakership. Already the zone has the vice president of the country as well. What is your view on that?
That is what I am saying that everybody has the right to contest. As loyal party people, if the party comes out to say, if you are from the north east, you should not contest for speaker, we will be loyal to the party. But if the party just zones positions, I don’t think it will stop anybody from exercising his right.
What informed your decision to actually throw your hat in the ring?
So many things. One, as a Nigerian who has sSo many things. One, as a Nigerian who has served in the National Assembly for almost four years, I have seen so many things and I think I can also contribute my quota in bringing some innovations to improve the country. One key thing I observed is the good working relationship between the legislature and the executive, it has not been really smooth.
The person that suffers this lack of harmonious working relationship is the common man because when you take about four, five, six months to disagree on just appropriation of budget that would be used for the development of the country then you know it is not a good omen for the country.
As an ambassador of peace and as somebody who has gone through all the hierarchy of party leadership from the local government to becoming a national chairman for about six years, I think I have a lot of experience to see that we lead a House that has a smooth working relationship with the executive so that we will utilize the little time we have at our disposal to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Secondly, for the legislature, one of our major functions is to make laws for Nigerians. I would want to open up lawmaking where the common man on the street can be part of the process because if you don’t do that, you would come out with laws that are more favourable to the rich. So I will want to involve the common man on the street to be fully part of law making so that we will come up with laws that will be favourable to the common man.
Also this artificial divisive tendencies among us in Nigeria in terms of region, state, religion, tribe, etc, I will also want to clean it up in the legislature so that all of us will be in the House as one family whose major goal is the development of Nigeria.
Are you saying there is division among members in the House?
I am just talking generally about Nigeria. Today in Nigeria you talk of state, you talk of region, you talk of ethnicity and so on, I don’t want that to be promoted where you will say I am of this tribe or that tribe. It is a general thing about Nigeria, not just about the House and the House is a little Nigeria because in that House, you have 360 people representing 360 constituencies. So, whenever you get things right from the House, on that floor, it will reflect the whole country because everybody is representing a part of Nigeria. So that is one thing we need to promote in Nigeria so that you will not be seen as a Yoruba man, Igbo man or Fulani man but rather we will see ourselves as Nigerians and that will help us in our development.
If you are eventually asked to step down for somebody for another position outside the Speaker, as compensation, would you accept that?
When we get to the bridge, we will think about how to cross it but for now I am contesting for the position of speaker, so we have not got there yet.
Political analysts fear that a repeat of what happened in 2015 in the Senate might feature again; that PDP could produce somebody within the leadership arrangement. Do you see that happening?
Well, I am not a member of PDP, so I don’t really know what they are planning in their own party. But as a party man when you are planning you should take everything into consideration so that you won’t be taken by surprise.
Most of the APC members who are in the race are actually saying that they should given free hands to produce their leaders from different zones otherwise they may out of anger leave. Is that true?
Nobody is tying anybody’s hands because when legislators will pick their colleagues to serve as their leader, nobody will be there except the legislators that would be in that chamber and so I don’t think anybody is tying anybody’s hand. If you are contesting, you should just go out with free mind putting God first and you go ahead and contest.
When you are into a contest like that, when the race is heating up in politics, there are lots of alignments and realignments and so on that will be taking place, so I don’t believe in destructions. Once I have set my mind on a goal, all I am looking at is that goal, until I get there nothing distracts me.
Do you support the idea that South East and South South should be factored into the House leadership arrangement?
Every Nigerian, every part of Nigeria must be factored in the governance of Nigeria. Even the president has said he would run an inclusive government so you cannot run Nigeria by abandoning any part of the country. Every hand must be on deck in the building of Nigeria. And so everybody should think in that regard because even in the executive arm of government, you will find out that every state has a minister.
That is constitutional because even the makers and framers of constitution have seen that we cannot do without one another and that is why I said one of the major reasons I am contesting is to see how we will see ourselves as Nigerians and if we are all Nigerians and we have 36 things to share, every state must have one. One state cannot have ten while some states don’t have one. So we should be our brother’s keepers and work together as one for the good of Nigeria.