Umar Ghali Na’Abba is now bankrupt.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Umar Ghali Na’Abba.

Seven years after he lost out in the power game of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Umar Ghali Na’Abba, is now bankrupt.
According to him, he has been living on his personal resources since he left office as number four citizen of the country.

He declared, in an interview, that only those who have access to state resources could boast of stupendous wealth and they are flaunting it.
“You asked if I am broke? Yes, I am broke, but not the way you put it,” he said when asked to expatiate on his comment that some people have cornered the resources belonging to all.

“Talking of resources, I mean people who have cornered state resources for their personal use. This is against people like me, who have access to only personal resources,” he explained.

Na’Abba, who was at the National Assembly on a condolence visit to the leadership of the Senate, over the death of two senators from Gombe State in one week, was shoved aside by the PDP tsunamis, following his stand to defend the legislative arm against interference by the Olusegun Obasanjo-led executive.
He shot into limelight at the dawn of the fourth experience in democracy, when he engaged the Executive arm in a titanic fight to defend the Legislative arm. The plot he hatched to impeach Obasanjo, less than a year in office, caused a political tremor, which shook the nation to her foundation. Because he looked straight into the ‘lions’ eye, as it were, Na’Abba suffered persecution. He was accused of anti-party activities, got expelled from the PDP and exposed to humiliation at the polls.

His shifted political base to the Action Party (AC), but his romance with the opposition party did not last long before he retraced his steps to the PDP, apparently to pick the pieces of his political career.
Speaking on the state of democracy in the country, particularly the efforts of the National Assembly to review the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act, Na’Abba, said that he was not surprised about what is happening in the polity.

According to him, the nation finds itself in such a precarious situation because some people have been allowed to hijack the process of selecting people for elective positions into all layers of powers.
He said: “We now have an entrenched situation, whereby many people have got hold of how to manipulate and when you look at the various layers of powers, particularly within the political parties, you will agree with me that was are facing a very dangerous situation as far as this democracy is concerned.

“Because, you find out that majority of these people were not duly elected by anyone and they are entrenched and they are moving people from position to position, just manipulate the party constitution so that they can continue their hold on us all.” 

Sadly, the former Speaker said that he had warned against such developments, but regretted that he was ignored. 
“This has manifested itself in frustrations to a great multitude of Nigerians and that is because these people have become so powerful; they have become unchallenged because they have resources at their disposal; so we are facing a very critical time,” he stated.

Tracing the genesis of the rot in the nation’s polity, Na’Abba did not mince words in blaming it on former Obasanjo
He said: “You will agree with me that a lot of things have gone wrong with our democracy since 2003 when President Obasanjo and the party decided that they were going to determine who became what politically in this country.

“So, definitely, this attitude has affected all the institutions of governance in this country and not just the National Assembly and this informed what is going on in the country today which everybody can now see the consequences.” 
To stem the dangerous trend, Na’Abba suggested that there should be a dialogue between these ‘powerful’ people and other power centres within the nation’s political landscape. Such dialogue, he argued, would open up the space for those who are not aware that these situations exist and portend danger for our democracy.
Even though, he is back to the PDP fold, he still sees the party as problematic because of its size and strength, which he said were becoming too hot for other political parties to handle.

Like he returned to the PDP, Na’Abba spoke on the return of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the PDP, saying that the situations, which forced the former number two citizen out of the PDP, was no more existing.
Atiku, he noted, had a fundamental disagreement with Obasanjo and decided to call it quit. 
“I believe that those differences must have been buried and that informed his decision to come back to the PDP. As a member of the PDP, I welcome him back to the party and I hope that we all shall join forces to ensure that this democracy survives and I wish him best of luck,” he said.

Asked to assess the performances of the National Assembly so far, Na’Abba gave kudos to his colleagues in the parliament for keeping faith with the people to deepen democracy by rising up to challenges anytime the will of the people is being tested.

He reminded those holding positions of authority to watch their back because “it is when people are not allowed to benefit from the dividends of democracy that they ask questions. When people are facing poverty, they begin to ask questions; when people are enjoying prosperity, they don’t care who their leader is, because they are happy with themselves and with the leader.” 

Na’Abba declared that it is when people are facing monumental distress that they read ethnic bias into almost everything as a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation. On his next political move, the former Speaker said that what was paramount to him was for the votes of the people to count in the 2011 general elections.

“On whether I will contest or not in the next election, I can’t say for now and I don’t even know. What is important is for the votes of Nigerians to count and this is very critical area because there have been successful manipulations of elections of people going for various elective offices and unless people stand up in order to make their votes count, they will continue to have people representing them who have not been elected by them,” he advised.


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