Honourable Umar Imam represents Lokoja Constituency 1 in the Kogi State House of Assembly and baring in minds the existing of the Jimoh Lawal’s factional Assembly the business man turned politician told SECURITY MONITOR’s editor Wale Abideen and Photo editor Shola Akinyele in his private residence in Lokoja why crisis persist in the assembly.
WHY IS IT DIFFICULT FOR THE STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS TO RESOLVE THE LINGERING CRISIS AMICABLY?
Sincerely as far as we are concern I shouldn’t be leading a divided house. That is the truth. We had actually extended the fellowship of peace to them. But the truth of the matter is that they are being pushed by some elements outside our party and of course they maintain good loyalty to James Faleke. This is the true of the matter; they have been getting their funding encouragement through that. That is why they refused our various attempts to make them see reasons why we should come together for the interest of the state. If there is any reason to disagree in the House of Assembly in politics, you have to come to the floor to settle it. We don’t go outside the chamber. We expect that from them if they have any reason they should come to the House. Particularly when they have more numbers than us, but if they are not coming in that means something is fishing. Even if they say governor had hand in it, well we have not seen his hand and despite the governor needs the stability in the state. Moreover he came in to inherit the problem he didn’t create it.
WHAT IS THE GENESIS OF THE PROBLEM?
Since October if you followed the event, you should know that this same impeached speaker was just twice impeached. The first impeachment, I was the number 17 who denied to sign the impeachment notice. Truly I didn’t sign, it was by personal principle and not that I wanted to save his position. All these happened in October. Throughout Wada administration this House has not been together and it took serious deliberations and lobbying before Wada get one of them to join us to form corum so as to present the budget in December. After the presentation, the House never sat on till the new governor was inaugurated. How are they saying that the governor started it? He only inherited it and before he’s inauguration the same Muhammad Jimoh claimed that his impeachment was actually targeted by his brother. He was the one who told said that Faleke masterminded his impeachment. He told Governor Yahaya Bello before his swearing in that he was holding everything in order till his swearing in. He pleaded that the governor should assist him to retain his position.
YOU ARE THE SPEAKER SIR; IS IT YOUR WISH NOT TO PAY G15 SALARY OR WHO ACTUALLY STOPPED THEIR SALARY?
Well it will interest you that, we all drawn our salary from the same master. I don’t have any power to pay anybody’s salary. I have some document with me here which shown the Arrears of salary owe us by government from March, April and May. What power do I have to pay anybody salary. The director in charge just left here now, which we are hoping that the salary could be paid very soon. So they say things they don’t know and expect me to do something to it. The last time we met I told them that they were asking me the power I don’t have and I said that they cannot get anything outside the chamber. That we can only get what we need through unity and our division is not helping us.
We have called them, as indigenes of the state that let come together, even though governors want me to be speaker there is nothing wrong with it and he is not the first person that will do that. When we are coming to the six Assembly, those who are there told us Muhammad Jimoh’s capability and they insisted that he is not capable to lead the Assembly. They told us why we should support with them to ensure Muhammad Jimoh is not return as speaker. We Were eleven then, all we needed to get Muhammad Jimoh out was just 13 and APC had already came out with eleven votes, just needed two to make the speaker= two plus two was to make the speaker and one other that could come as Deputy speaker just to join us, we were already the speaker and Deputy speaker. So who betrayed who? They did and they went back to Wada got whatever they got and still returned Muhammad Jimoh as speaker. If you followed report very well, you will see that on inauguration day eleven of us fell out and left the assembly. Why? Because they were now looking at it that somebody is forcing speaker on them.
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP STYLE OF GOVERNOR YAHAYA?
I’m a staunch believer of Yahaya Bello as a governor. I have been in his project from the scratch and I see a young vibrant dynamic leader in him, who is far different to the normal usual politician we have. If you don’t know; this is the Yahaya Bello first time outing as a politician and myself too. As am speaking to you today,I have never been a politician, I detest it and have never be a card carrying member of any party, because most time I will sit-down here and see what politician were doing as unfair. We cannot continue to sit back and allow some few opportunists to continue to mess up the system. But we cannot change anything from outside. Until we get our way to be inside. As long we are complaining about politicians, from the series of Aristotle and even Socrates I want to quote it loosely that one of the punishment that we are going to face as good people, who doesn’t want to involve in dirty politics. He quoted that we will sit back as good people and bad people will be our leaders. So if we want to change that policy to good, we must be there. For instance, President Buhari has no business to be a politician if politics is a dirty game but he joins the badwagon of politics because he sees a wrong he must correct. That is the reason why he takes him four attempts before he got there. It was because he really wants to make change.
Yahaya Bello came to the scene as a business man; he came in also to make change and want his people to enjoy the dividends of democracy, I wish to work with him. By now I should be processing my Ph.D. thesis; I left it because when I saw Yahaya Bello coming on board and I saw his blue print, I quickly aligned with him. In our party we have 28 aspirants including the late Abubakar Audu our party leader. I align with Yahaya Bello from the onset. As I was speaking now I have never had any meeting whatsoever with any of the 28 aspirants and many of them didn’t even know me. Inclusion, its high time we should allowed those who have the ability, capacity and qualities to get in to the system, Yahaya Bello 100 days in office so far have brought so many achievements to Kogi state.