FORMER Speaker of the House of Representatives and new governor of Sokoto State, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, in this chat, speaks on his plan to give governance a human face, his blueprint, the House face-off with the executive arm and other national issues.
Let’s talk about your blueprint for the Caliphate.
What we have here in Sokoto is not a complete ‘change’ as we have at the centre and some other states. It is a continuity in ‘change’.
The administration here which just came to an end was headed by Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, who is a very strong member of the APC and, therefore, the APC is in government in Sokoto State and we intend to, first and foremost, continue with the projects of the administration and, of course, initiate new ones that will better the lives of the people.
Fundamentally, we are going to focus on education, agriculture, healthcare delivery services, empowerment of our youths and women, and also, we are going to pay special attention to the infrastructural development of the state.
This is not to say that we are not going to pay attention to mining because we all know what we are facing in this country and we need all hands on deck to ensure that we improve our revenue base and we have identified mining as one key sector that if we invest and harness properly, Sokoto State and indeed the nation will benefit from the enormous mineral deposits.
We are also going to introduce policies that cater for women. I have in mind the issue of a microfinance bank, which will be called ‘Bankin Mata’ (Women Bank), we intend to use it as a medium to empower our women to the generality of all our citizens.
What are the things that strained your relationship with the executive while you were heading the House of Represenatives in the last four years that you will like to arm improve upon in dealing with the state legislature in order to ensure a cordial relationship?
Well, I am starting my tenure as governor by extending olive branch, a hand of friendship and fellowship to the legislature in the state for us to work as a team. What matters is the trust and confidence-building between the two arms of government and respectability.
If they have that position and we have our position from the executive side, what we need is for us to sit down, agree and harmonise the positions and have synergy. I think that was what was lacking definitely when I was the Speaker of the House of Representatives between us and the executive arm of government led by former President Jonathan.
We shall engage ourselves, we must not allow friction between the legislature and executive arms of government here in Sokoto. I will ensure that every lawmaker in the state sees our government hand of fellowship.
You were in the House of Representatives for 12 years before becoming the governor of Sokoto State. If you look back, what would you say you will be missing in legislative business?
Definitely I will miss the chambers, I will miss my colleagues. What you have in the National Assembly and indeed the legislature is a relationship of equals where the expectation is different, the arrangement is different. The President, governor or chairman as it were, is the chief executive and you dish out instructions but, in the legislature, you must court friendship, you must carry along your colleagues in whatever you intend to achieve. You must also respect your colleagues, making them realise at all times that you are just the first among equals.
During your inauguration, we saw a mammoth gathering, which shows that you are accepted at home. How do you intend to maintain such good relationship with the people till the end of your tenure?
As a government, for us to sustain the goodwill of the people, we must engage them, we must interact with them we must carry them along and we must be open and transparent in conducting business of governance. What is required of us by the Constitution is to encourage participatory democracy and, once you are open and accessible as a leader, I believe the followers will always appreciate and understand your own position.
You were elected governor from a crowd of contestants. How do you intend to ensure a united Sokoto State irrespective of political cleavages?
In my inaugural speech, I appealed to those who ran for the office of governor at primary level or secondary election to join hands with us to continue building the state. It is not the estate of an individual, the state is for all of us and I believe that appeal to them will go a long way in ensuring that we win back their friendship and I intend to go the extra mile to engage them.
What is your message to those who voted you into power?
I can assure those who voted for me that I will give governance human face the way my predecessor did and ensure government is closer to the people.