Right Hon. Yau Gwajo Gwajo – Speaker, Katsina State House of Assembly
Who is Ibrahim Shehu Shema to you?
Shema leads by example. Anybody that wants to succeed in life should partner with him. He is a leader who wants development for the state. Whatever he does is for the benefit of his people.
Having worked in close harmony with Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema, what is your assessment of his performance?
One interesting thing with our state governor is that the man is leading the state by example. He is a man who does whatever he wants to do in the interest of people. He does not do things as usual or ceremoniously to show off. Since he came on board, he has not done anything on his own alone. He formed a committee called Community Development Committee, CDC, which aggregates the interests of the people. In fact, if we have been using this method since the creation of the state or even Nigeria, things would have been much better or gone a long way than what we have now. That is because the main problem of most administration is that sometimes people sit in the comfort of their offices and make decisions that are at variance with what the people really need. If you do something that the people ask you to do, they will be happy and give the project protection. But if for example people need hospital and you give them a block of classroom, they won’t be happy; or people need drinking water, and you construct roads, they won’t be happy. So through the CDC, from the ward level to local government and state levels, a working document was initiated containing needs and aspirations of the people at all levels.
His Excellency formed another committee to separate the needs into three, in line with the three tiers of government – federal, state and local government, to know which would be done by any of the three tiers of government. Each local government has its own copy of the CDC report. This is how His Excellency started, and runs the state. I am sure that if you ask the ministry monitoring the CDC report or booklet, they will tell you, and I can say that over 99 per cent has been implemented. His Excellency does not do anything outside that booklet. That is why he is a great achiever.
Most administrations suffer the challenge of sustaining developmental projects after they leave office. How has the present regime being different in this regard?
When he assumed office in 2007, Governor Shema did not erect even a single block until he completed all the projects his predecessor started. Honestly, if other leaders do things like this, Nigerians would be much better than what we are today, because there is that problem of continuity. I am aware that efforts are being made by the legislature both the National Assembly and state assemblies to see if a law could be enacted for continuity in projects. And it is very important because once a new government comes into power, it just neglects and abandons old projects and starts new ones. In most developed countries, they don’t consider who left which projects. They start from where the last person on leader stops. If federal, states and LGAs adopt the system of His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Shehu Shema, you will not see any abandoned project in Nigeria.
From the day, His Excellency took over governance he started the completion of Umaru Musa International Airport, University and other projects started by his predecessors within and outside Katsina, the state capital. He finished all those projects within six months without borrowing a penny. And the same people that started the projects are still the contractors that handled and completed them. So after their completion, His Excellency started doing his own projects, through that CDC report.
How have all these been achieved without borrowing money?
In all of the large number of projects executed by His Excellency, no single kobo has been borrowed. Yes believe it because if there is any borrowing, I must know since, it must pass through the House of Assembly. But we have never had any request like that from His Excellency seeking to obtain any loan. He is managing within the resources from the internally generated revenue, IGR, and Federation Account. And if you look into the treasury of the LGAs, it is sound. Again, it is only in this state that, the governor is following the budget according to the law. Budget is only a guide. It does not mean that if N100 million is budgeted, you must finish it. You have to spend according to what you have generated or got. But some leaders today won’t even mind to borrow money to spend all. It is not like that. You see if you
What do you think is responsible for the peace experienced in the entire state and the cordiality that exist between the legislative and the executive arm of government?
All what you have seen is directed by God and we thank the Almighty Allah who gave us His Excellency as a leader in this state. Our state indeed is enjoying peace and that is why you have seen all these developments. What has brought peace here is how our leaders at different levels and categories lead the people. If you take from the traditional, religious, institutional and administratively, if there is justice, peace also stays there. In every sector this is something that is very important. So this administration treats people with justice that is why we are living peacefully. I mean that even though the state has over 90 per cent Muslims, there is no difference in treatment of Muslims and non-Muslim, or indigenes and non-indigenes. There is no indigineship in the state. As far as you live in Katsina State, you are treated as an indigene. People from other states also benefit from all the incentives or dividends of democracy in the state. Everybody enjoys the free education. WASC and NECO exam fees are paid for everybody once you reside in Katsina State. So justice together with prayers has brought peace in the state.
Coming to the way we manage the House of Assembly, it is God that has given us the wisdom to pilot the affairs of the Assembly because it is not easy to manage people of different backgrounds. For us, all of us are equal because any member can be a Speaker. And I thank all members of the House of Assembly for supporting me in the leadership of the House. We act as a family irrespective of party affiliation. This is one area that encourages us in the leadership of the Assembly.
Again, the state government has given us a lot of cooperation especially in carrying out our resolutions and support to deliver democracy dividends to our various constituencies. And you are happy being at the House of Assembly because the people of your constituency are happy and at peace with you. That is why most of us have the privilege of continuity.
How do you feel moving around the state?
I feel very proud. Even the opposition will be proud of this government. I am happy because I am the part and parcel of those who brought this development. Every politician has two duties. One is to deliver dividends of democracy to the people; two, as a leader you that when you do wrong Allah will ask you, so you must deliver services to the people.