Katsina longest serving federal law maker representing Katsina south at the National Assembly, Senator Abu Ibrahim has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will defeat former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in 2019 election and will retire him as a politician.
In this explosive interview with Sundiata Post’s Assistant News Editor, Chibuike Nwabuko, the All Progressives Congress senator who until recently was the Chairman senate committee on Police gives insight into how his committee plans to improve the funding and operations of the under-funded police and the cause of the crises in the ruling party and the efforts being made to resolve them.
Qtn: You’re the chairman of senate committee on police affairs, what can you say are some of your achievements, even though we know the relationship between senate and police is far from cordial.
Obviously when I took over from this committee, people didn’t know about it at all. When I took over I studied the police very well and realized that police is seriously underfunded and that all over the world the police is not funded by government budget alone, they have directing revenues coming to them in terms of direct funding. An area of the budget determines which goes to police and others through other innovations. We looked into this and we came out with a system of funding of the police apart from the budget.
There are certain national revenues that should go to police and we have drafted law that we took to the senate and we have approved it. We have held public hearing and we have perfected the law the senate said send to the senate committee on Judiciary, which we have done and I think I will submit next week to the national assembly for the police to be independently funded.
You know other presidents tried it but it was done at adhoc bases. Obasanjo did what he called Police equipment fund where he got a lot of vehicles for the police, it was just that it was not permanent and it died down after a while. When Yar’ardua came, he did his own and that was also adhoc but now we are looking for a permanent solution which is law, that certain revenues should go to police directly and there should be establishment of a committee which the Vice president should chair. That money should be between N200billion to N300billion a year additionally from the budget. This will go a long way to help us constitute our own works properly.
Qtn: Distinguished, you have been around for some time now in politics, what willyou say has keep you going given that most of your contemporaries have retired from politics?
Actually I have been very much in touch with my constituency, we can communicate very well, we respect each other and I think I cherish their confidence for such a long time.
Qstn: You’re from the same state with Mr. President and this is a political era, how would you access the terrain vis-a vis your political party in the backdrop that many defections witness in the party; the crisis between the national chairman and governors calling for his head and this is a party pushing to win election.
Let me start from the easiest one about the national Chairman. I have high respect for Comrade Adam Oshiomhole- he was a governor for 8 years, he was chairman of NLC and he understands Nigeria very well. He knows the intrigues of leadership and therefore he came with a mission. His mission is to change the stausquo. That is why he was having issues with some governors who will like to sit in their house and appoint everybody- appoint commissioners and appoints local government chairman, House of Representatives and who will be in the senate; minister everything. So Oshiomhole wanted to bring acceptable method and providing level playing field for every member to aspire and contest for any position you want. Oshiomhole want to bring a change into the system and that is why he will find it difficult with some of the governors who think that Nigeria is not changing and continue with what have been going on for a long time. I think we have past that stage.
We should allow democracy to take root and even the parties themselves so that is what Oshiomhole is doing and you can see that the majority of those who are fighting in the party are not many. Therefore what Oshiomhole is doing now is for the future and good of APC because every member will feel at home with the party, feel happy with the party, he will feel that his rights are not trampled upon. Therefore what is happening is good for the party. Now because we are government party, every person wants to be a candidate of the party. I remember when I contested as the candidate of the party in 2015 when APC was an opposition party, we were only three that contested but this time around we were nine that contested. So everybody was struggling to be a candidate of the party, so as the numbers are many and the crises we are having is as a result of that. So I see this thing as positive for the party, everybody is aspiring to represent the party so what is necessary now is how to manage the seemingly imploding situation and I believe we are trying behind the scene to get things sorted out. We certainly will not come out to say today we are going to meet group A, B or C in kogi state, quietly these things are being sorted out behind the scene.
Qstn: Distinguished do you see the emergence of Atiku as a challenge to the president?
I don’t. Atiku is not an unknown person and Atiku has been a member of every known political party in Nigeria. People don’t take him as a serious person, he can’t keep leadership and he cannot fight the course of the common man. He only fights for himself. He is identical to my boss, senate President -they are the same kind of people. So that is why they say that birds of the same feather flock together. I am not afraid of Atiku’s candidature. I think Buhari will defeat him thoroughly and he will get his retirement as a politician.
Qstn: Before now, Nigeria’s campaigns have been based on personalities, use of vulgar language and other sundry matters. We have less than one week to presidential campaign now, as an elderly statesman, what is your advice to political parties as they go to the field.
My advice is more to the voters and on the issues of development. We had PDP administration for 16 years. We know them; can we trust them to go there again and continue to mess up things again? Because they will never accept the wrongs they have made before, therefore they cannot go and correct things. We are new party therefore we can see the problems PDP government created and we are one by one correcting and changing them. We are fighting corruption very hard but you know you cannot stop corruption at once, it takes time. Actually there are loopholes we can see, but definitely the work has started, the economy has improved reasonably well, we were in recession we are out of it, we are doing things that are in the interest of common man, the m-power programme, that has never been done before; school feeding, Money market- all these things are done to carter for the middle level person, market women and everybody. I think this is a government that is focusing on the interest of the whole nation- high-level income class, business community, and at the lower level where we are creating N-power. I think we are doing fine.