The change mantra is on the front burner of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
While some Nigerians are scoring him high, others have divergent views terming it as lopsided in nature.
In this exclusive interview, our correspondent speaks with a legislator from Taraba state, Honorable Danladi Baido Tijos, Member Representing Karim, Lau, and Ardo kola Federal constituency, who x-ray the anti-corruption war and other topical issues facing the country.
Taravoices: Honourable you are welcome to this exclusive interview.
Hon. Baido: Thank you.
Taravoices: What can you say about the present anti-corruption war of president Muhammadu Buhari?
Hon. Baido: Yes, since he came on board, he has been on the anti-corruption crusade tracking people that have carted away the fund of Nigeria, but his steps are questionable,
Taravoices: Do you think it’s the right step?
Hon. Baido: Firstly, I want to thank you for having me on this interview, though it is not the first time! Em, I am privileged to answer this disturbing question that is really affecting many homes in Nigeria and abroad. Fortunate enough, I am in the committee of anti-corruption which is EFCC and I want to boldly say without fear or favour, the anti-corruption war of Mr.President is lopsided in Nature, highly lopsided because if you are talking about corruption, there are people in the Buhari’s government that are more corrupt than the people in the past administration. But ah! We don’t see any person challenging them. After all, I don’t see the boast of the federal government on the anti-corruption fight.
I am against the phrase which says the president is fighting corruption, why not say, we want to curb corruption? Because corruption has been in Nigeria for over fifty-something years, so just look at yourself trying to fight somebody that is above fifty years, he is a grown up man, but when you curb corruption putting the right template, corruption will flee in this country. For example, OK! You have a car in the house, your wife has, you spend over one hundred thousand naira on fuelling, you fuel your generator? For God sake, how much is your salary? How much are you going to buy food stuff for your children? So, for me is not the right way, and if you say you are going to investigate the PDP government the way they spent money on campaign, we have all the claims that APC used some states money to fund their campaign, why not investigate them too? So, I am bothered. It is lopsided in nature.
Taravoices: What can you say about the Saraki saga?
Hon. Baido: Well, this is APC issue, I don’t want to dabble in it.
Taravoices: Don’t you think it will affect the development of this country?
Hon. Baido: Em, em it will, but definitely, if you are fighting somebody that you think is not strong if you keep fighting him God will give him the strength one day to fight back and at the end of the day, he will be victorious. But this is APC issue, and I don’t want to dabble in it.
Taravoices: Can you tell us bills that you people have passed to better the lots of Nigeria?
Hon. Baido: There are a lot of bills that we have passed, and there are a lot of developmental issues. Coupled with the maturity that the National Assembly have shown if not this country would have been something else, like the drama in the passage of the budget and if you look at appointment, you find out that people in the southern part picked their best, but at the end of the day when you come to the North most of the ministers were giving appointments based on relationship. But in the south again is based on capabilities; that is a problem.
Taravoices: What is your stand on grazing reserve for herdsmen?
Hon. Baido: Well you know what I understand about the National Assembly is that most of the time, there are some issues that you may disagree as a minority but when the majority are saying yes, they will have their way. But we have our say too as a minority to me, em, we have to look at the bill critically in the sense that if you go through last year or last two years, most of the killings in the neighbouring states like Benue, part of Nassarawa, Taraba, in the Bali area, you will find out that most of the killings were done by the so called Fulani herdsman and if you confined them in a place, get a grazing land for them, I think it will help them in a great way than to allow them to be roaming around where you find out that someone can just wear a Fulani regalia and commit atrocities and it will be traced to the herdsmen. Way back the Fulani and the Tiv people play a lot, and I wonder recent attack on them, and this has changed the game and is not good.
Taravoices: Recently we have heard of a crisis in the National Assembly as it bothers on remuneration, your take?
Hon. Baido: Well, as a first timer in the National Assembly, I just heard that from the sixth and recent Assembly that there are some allowances that we are not benefitting from the Federal government for now. Yes, it is a challenge which is all over with the financial crunch here and there but with patience and right government policies things will improve and change for the better.
Taravoices: People rate you as one of the best legislator in this part of the country, what do you think is behind that?
Hon. Baido: Well if you ask me I will be surprised because I have been friends with the press for over twenty years and this is my twenty-five years in politics and I have been a rigorous politician, contributing my quota and doing my best, I want to make it very, very clear that God has been very faithful and good eh! One thing I believe in politics is live and let live, which is a post in my Facebook. Remember, if you want to be rich, you cannot be a politician except businessmen but for a politician to be rich, except he is a thief.
If I could remember some people came thanking me for providing boreholes and other assistance to them, l told them point blank, “It is my responsibility to take care of people from my constituency” As a member, I see it as a privilege, so it is my responsibility.
Taravoices: But others don’t do it?
Hon. Baido: They would not do it because they don’t have conscience, I am telling you there is no way I will have opportunity that I cannot help my people. I will not be able to sleep. I want to be remembered and my name written in gold as a Federal legislator. In the state, I have my picture at Ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs, finance and other places but at the National Assembly, your picture will not be there but be remembered with good work you have done. Let me tell you again the thing that I always think of when I wake up is how I am going to help my people and if I do that; I always find joy.
Taravoices: PDP imbroglio, what can you say?
Hon. Baido: I am in a committee with Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku and other senators. PDP will sure bounce back though some of our colleagues have decamped to the APC but they would be taking to court.
Taravoices: Do you have any call to the people of Taraba state?
Hon. Baido: What I want to tell Tarabans is that they should be patient with my senior brother Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku who meant well for the state and I tell you he is even performing more than the so called APC states mostly with the payment of workers salaries. Go to other states. So, you see, what you have you don’t value it until you lose it. Am also calling on Tarabans to be patient with President Buhari change, No fertilizer for farmers, borders are closed, I don’t want to talk about this administration, it will take us seven hours.
Taravoices: Thank you, sir.
Hon. Baido: Thank you very much!