How 2023 political ambitions, low budgeting fuel insecurity- Jaji

Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji is the immediate past Chairman, House Committee on Internal Security, House of Representatives. He is a governorship aspirant and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara state. In this interview with BODE OLAGOKE  he speaks on why his group embarked on distribution of palliative to Nigerians nationwide, the  worsening insecurity and what the National Assembly and the executive should do to end the menace

Tell us why your group embarked on palliative sharing nationwide?

At any given time you have to support some people. This is a platform for people who believe in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. There are some that agreed since 2013 that there was no any better person to govern the country apart from President Buhari. So what we are actually doing is to show appreciation to them for voting President Buhari unconditionally in 2015 and 2019. They believe in him, they trust him and they believe that he would govern the country to the promised land. So to show appreciation to what they did, we decided to embark on humanitarian services  which we are targeting to cover all the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, to share parliatives. That is why last two weeks we were in Zamfara, this week, we were in Borno, that is Maiduguri, where we shared palliatives to IDPs. We targeted 60 to 100 thousand people in Borno to benefit from the gesture. We did the same thing in Kebbi, as well as Kano. So we are trying to make sure that before the week rounds out, at least, we would have covered 20 states. The exercise is targeted at telling the people that President Muhammadu Buhari is a platform and people that are saying that after President Buhari, there will be no APC, I want to say President Muhammadu Buhari is a platform, if not because of our Constitution, he can even contest election without a political party. We have more than 510 trucks of food items that we are going to share across the country. So being made the national coordinator of the programme, we are going round with some of the national excos and we have coordinators in the 36 states including Abuja, and our target is to ensure that the less privileged, IDPs, orphans, at least benefitted from the gesture. We are in Ramadan and there is a lot of hardship, and more especially, because of insecurity some of the agrarian communities are not able to farm the way they used to. So people have come together to say let us bring one Kobo, two Kobo and put it in one basket so that we can make sure we take the gesture to all the 36 states of the federation.

Is this project funded by the federal government? 

No, it is individual contribution. There is no federal government involvement. 

What’s  your view on the worsening insecurity in Zamafara state?

The issue of insecurity is taking another dimension. If you are managing this, something will come up again. The incumbent governor’s effort is by way of dialogue. He is trying to talk to the bandits. I think for now, even the governor has realised that it is not the best approach because he has been talking to them and all the machineries of government that he has deployed to see that these bandits have surrendered their weapons and stop this heinous activities that they are doing, for almost two years, you can see that the result is not commensurate with what the government has invested in it. So I think the governor and security agencies need to think again. 

The national security is under threat, who is your fear?

It is time for all those agitating for 2023; all of us, we need to talk to ourselves. We have only one country, that is Nigeria. What is happening in the South East, South South, South West, North, there is no doubt, there may be people somewhere that just hide and they are orchestrating all these atrocities, because they are politically connected and if we don’t come together and forget our political differences and focus on Nigeria, that means the problem will continue to escalate and it will consume all of us. So whether you are APC or PDP, we need to look at this issue carefully. What is happening in Lagos, that there are issues coming up between Hausa and Yoruba, and if the government in Lagos does not manage it very well, then it will start happening in the North. We need to think hollistically because the way this insecurity is going on, it is not as if they are trying to sabotage President Muhammadu Buhari, it is not about President Buhari, it is about Nigeria. If you think that you are sabotaging the effort of President Buhari, then you are killing yourself because after Buhari, Nigeria will continue, unless if you want Nigeria to continue after President Buhari with another meaning.

Don’t you think this insecurity also has to do with injustice in President Buhari’s appointments? 

If you look at President Buhari’s appointments, it’s already balanced. This is just a campaign. They are just doing the campaign of lopsidedness in Buhari’s appointment just to smear his administration, not because there is actually lopsidedness in his appointments. Even the federal character they are hammering on, it is only reflected in some appointments, maybe the Ministers, the federal character commission and other commissions state that there must be a chairman from this or that, that is what the federal character and even the Constitution is talking about. But they also consider maybe the DG, some MDs chairmen, executive secretaries as part of the federal character of which it is not. But in any case, it is equally important for you, the journalists, to get the statistics of people appointed from 2015 to date and you will see that there is no lopsidedness in the appointments. So I think it is people who want to de-market this administration, it is not about injustice. Injustice comes when a leader decides to give out an appointment without considering the merit or demerit of the people. But look at the way they were given appointments. They considered merit, and there was no sentiments attached. 

Whats your advice on how to solve the problem of insecurity? 

The National Assembly has alot to do, in tackling this issue of insecurity. If you look at the budget of all the security agencies in Nigeria, it is too small to tackle the current security challenges. So the National Assembly has to do something. They don’t have to rely on the budget the executive submitted to them regarding the security agencies. They should think and listen to the security agencies and invite and ask them, what is your need? From there, if it is established that the security agencies were given enough funding, then the National Assembly will continue with their oversight function to know how the money was spent or utilised. When I was the chairman, I think there was a time money was budgeted to some of the security agencies but they were able to access only 60 percent of that money. 
Even if they get the 100 percent, it will not take them anywhere and then they were getting less than 100 percent or 60 percent.  So I think the National Assembly needs to look at this issue holistically. For me, I believe there are strategies which if the executive and the National Assembly put in place, the issue of insecurity will be resolved and Nigerians will start seen the result maybe, from three to six months, if they put it in place. Let the executive and the legislature come together and provide a special fund. Maybe the executive should set up a committee on procurement; the committee that will not compromise whatsoever, and provide whatever they are asked to provide. The National Assembly and the executive should work together to provide a special fund, get the equipment, I think in three or four months, some of the equipment will be ready and then they will see how they will fight this insecurity to finish. But for now, what we can do within our power is to pray.  

Will you say the security agencies are overwhelmed? 

Well, they are overwhelmed because they don’t have sophisticated equipment. If they have it, between three and six months, it would be resolved. People were talking about mercenaries because they have the equipment that we don’t have; they are too sophisticated. If we have it, that means our security agencies will finish them in no time.

Were you worried about recent reports about Matawalle’s planned defection to APC?

There are alot of insinuations that he is coming to the APC. If he is coming to APC, he is welcomed. Even some small groups or organisations if they want to join your party, you allow them and this one is an incumbent governor. We have no right whatsoever to deny him. If he says he wants to come to APC, he is welcomed. Anybody that says he wants to join your house, he knows that your house is better than his own. So if he wants to come, he is welcome. But that rumour has been debunked on social media. They said it is some peole that are trying to push him out of PDP. So for me, I have no objection, let him come. And APC is our party and we all have a collective duty to ensure that our party is growing. So if he agrees with the party’s policy and manifesto, then let him join the party. Our party cares for the masses, provide infrastructure for the masses. If he thinks he can do that, then he is most welcome. 

Is it that you people need Matawalle to win Zamfara for the APC in the next election? 

It is not about an incumbent governor joining the party and having an automatic ticket. It is not going to happen. We have a leader in the state, that is the former governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, he is the party leader. As I’m talking to you today, there are many people who are aspiring to be  governor of Zamfara state. I think they are more than five. And at the end of the day, only one of them will emerge victorious. So even if the governor comes he may be number six or seven. So it is not even an issue. For me, for the governor to come to the party is a welcome idea. It is not an issue. I’m also aspiring to be governor of Zamfara state. So does it mean that if the governor is coming to the party, I will stop my aspiration? No.

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