Member representing Kankiya/Kusada/Ingawa federal constituency of Katsina State, Rep. Ahmad Babba Kaita (CPC), in this interview said Governor Ibrahim Shema's priorities differ from that of the people of the state as is reflected in the inability to implement the state's budget. Excerpts:
There are reports that the 2011 budget for Katsina has not been fully implemented by the governor. As a law maker from that state what do you make of this?
I think the budget is self explanatory, it only confirms what we have been insinuating, that Katsina is bedeviled with the bad administration of the PDP. This is a proposal sent by his Excellency Governor Ibrahim Shema to the state house of assembly which they passed into law. It was a PDP budget. Yet the same governor was only able to implement 37 percent of the document he signed.
Take education for example, we have serious problems in the north and especially in Katsina State. And with the indices from concerned agencies, the sector is steadily going down further. The governor made a budget of N11.5 billion and he was only able to spend just about N2 billion, this shows how the government is responding to critical issues. Education is not an area to play politics with. In the same budget under miscellaneous, you will see that the N950 million was approved in the appropriation but N1.5 billion was spent. This is another indictment on the part of the state government; that they only spend money on things that do not matter to the common man. If at all they care for the common man, there is no reason they should spend below what was appropriated for the sector and spend above what was appropriated for miscellaneous. The same hopeless situation is applicable to agriculture.
What do you think wasn't done on the budget that ought to have been done?
Even at the federal level, this is what we face. The PDP sits down and appropriate but at the end of the day, everything results to failure. Our situation is worse in Katsina; hospitals are not working; the education and other sectors are not working. But in the first place how can it work when money meant for their development was not spent on them? I see this as lack of focus.
Budgets are meant to be implemented, if the PDP is not implementing budgets there would not be development, the House of Assembly should be alive to its responsibility. So we are calling on the House of assembly to be vibrant whether PDP or no PDP, those responsible for budget implementation should be made accountable.
Was that why you were recently invited by the police and SSS?
It is true I was invited by the Police Commissioner who was just nine days in the state at that time and also the state SSS director, but the discussions were based on our collective responsibility of ensuring security in the state. But I was not arrested, this is not true
In every situation where there are two opposing sides there may be bound to be friction, but basically, I am at the fore front of saying that the state government should conduct the local government elections because that is the right thing to do.
I recently took the governor to court on the matter because we believe the local government funds are not properly utilized and we believe there is a lot of poverty in the state. There were serious agitations on both sides; PDP, CPC and other political parties in the state are demanding for the local government elections. The state government was not comfortable with our demands and they were trying to intimidate us. But we are still on course and there is no problem, this is why I said my discussions with the security agencies are ways of ensuring continuous peace in the state. This does not stop our agitations on the local government elections.