Honorable Emma Dakas is from Jipal District, he was a one time Councilor representing Jipal Ward, and curently the Member representing Mangu South Constituency in the State House of assembly. He shares his views on viewpointNigeria’s Straight Talk with Longgul Dakwom, about role of the state legislator, the challenges and his score card in office.
Details of the interview below:
Honorable sir kindly give us an overview of your activity as a legislator in the state house
As a legislators you discover that- the legislative business is one aspect different from what your constituents want because, as a legislator you have three key roles:
- Law making,
To the service of humanity and the glory of God, i have been carrying out the aforementioned diligently.The law making aspect which is supposed to be the cardinal function of a legislator in most cases is always silent because when you look at the house of assembly,you discover that most of the bills are executive bills and at times if you have a bill as a private member bill,if government is not ready for it,you wont be allowed to present it again, if the majority leader is not interested in it, you won’t be allowed to present it.
For instance, i was a co-sponsor of a bill since last year, we keep pushing but till date it has not seen the light of the day, we have not been given the opportunity to present it even at first reading.
On aspect of representation and over side,we are doing our best.For example,on the aspect of representation, the mangu road that is ongoing, abandoned because of money, recently,through my effort contractors are mobilized to site.
Presently, I am working on a motion for government to take action on the abandoned Mangu-Bokkos road project that the last administration started, I discovered that money was paid into the account of the contractors and until date they have not commenced work, from my investigation, about 200 million was paid into the account of the company,i learned that they have secured some loan from their own bankers and when that money was paid into their account,the bank withheld the money because of the contractors loan. The question begging for answer is where is the money and why use public money to settle private affair? it is not our business so we feel that they should explain to plateau people and mangu people why!!!
we are working on that motion despite the many challenges. In fact the bill, will be a joint motion including the sabon line road but because the sabon line road is currently ongoing. Another challenge encountered normally have to do with contractors,for instance a contractor will come to you and tell you that all he needs is the contract,he has the man power, he has the finance to do the work and he can finish the work before you pay him … you would be carried away and feel like you have someone who can do the work,why not give him.Once you award the contract for him then story begins to change.
Sir,this is your first time in the House,and you are getting to learn everyday.Now what is your greatest challenge as a new legislator in the legislative business.
Well, in the legislative business, i don’t want to say that the challenge is much because i have being a legislator at the lower level.i have represented my people in jipal ward at the local government level and you know the legislative business starts from there, its just that this one is a little bit more higher Initially when i told you the three functions of a legislator,i told you people are not bothered about that aspect of law making and over side, our people are not bothered about over side or the aspect of law making all they are after is representation that is why you discover instead of the law making business we want constituency projects to be cited in our areas,that is to take care of our aspect of representations because the executives are there, projects like the mangu bypass is not the work of the legislator but that of the executive but as a legislator you influence it,you lobby
Now do you people collect money?
No, we don’t collect money. These days as a representative, you identify the projects so many contractors will go in for bidding.So as a legislator,all you need to do is identify the project and that is all.
So whats the amount for legislators?Would you like to tell us how much legislators earned ?
As a legislator,my salary is approximately the range Four Hundred Thousand Naira (4000.00), we say party is supreme so, 15% of that money is for the upkeep of the party so if you are collecting the said amount and 15% is removed,how much is left? So for me i now that each time salaries are paid,i see an alert of 409,000
Any added allowance?
Yes,there are some added allowance like the overhead,the overhead is just like interest,you know what it is used for,i told that one of the basic function of a legislator is over side and when you are going for those over siding,there are over heads that are used for that over side.
Compare the notes,… if i am working for 409,000 or 444,000 and i said the day i see alert is the day that it will finish, what will i do from that time to the next month that the salary would be paid? this is the challenge.
what can you say in three years of legislating,with these challenges in view ,as your greatest achievement ?
Well if I leave my office as a legislator toady… there are other things that are personal that i would not like to mention. Let me give you one example so that you don’t think otherwise. For example as a legislator i have the opportunity to meet with people of hierarchy with distinguish Nigerians at home and abroad. Meeting this people is one thing i will cherish for as long as a live.
I am happy to be in the 8th assembly,i am happy to contribute my own quota to my constituency, my state and country… like i told you when i was talking about Mangu-Bwai road and the issue of motion i know there was this instance too that one of our kinsmen Ambasador Bagudu Hirse was kidnapped , during that time, i raised a motion on the floor of the house, and the house resolved and prayed that he should be released unconditional and i think after that motion, one or two days later we had that he was released.
So that means you played a key role
Yes,but i am not saying he was released because of that, apart from that, the issue of constituency projects that i enumerated earlier, i raised issues about finance, my prayer is that before i leave the office i should be able to achieve or complete those projects that are on ground and when i am able to complete then, i think i have achieved a lot
Currently in numbers,how many are they now?
Well in my constituency, there quite a number, notably, a two classroom blocks in a primary school which is located in Rampiya community in mangu but they call it L.E.A Jokas but the famous name is Rampiya then the issue of Transformer in Mangu were two but until now we have not been able to achieve the transformer project,the transformer is worth 6.4 or 6.5 million and when you are given 20% of the money,you would discover that you are not able to do the job but we made a mistake and we went and incur a transformer that is 25kva instead of 33kva that is on the bill of quantity and for me as a legislator, for me as Dakas my integrity is my currency, i can not go and put a transformer of 25kva on ground while on paper it is written 33kva.That thing affected us so we had to wait so that we would get a transformer that is equivalent to 33kva.
Probably, the 25kva will be be given to another community because it can not be a waste, we have a Borehole,that one is complete and they are using it now in Komgun in a village called mushit and a borehole in Ampang in a village called Chingdong,we have a Borehole in Bwonpe in a village called Amkwai,then in kerang in a village called Fwangkwak.Then we are supposed to have a Borehole in another village …but we have a little problem because of the road, the people gave us the location we are going to have difficulty in transporting the green brick to that place so that has also been a problem.
Then the other one is in mangun and uptil now the 20% has not been released. Jipal… i didn’t include Jipal constituency project because what i am doing in jipal is the process of renovating district office of Jipal. presently,the person handling the project has gone to site and has removed all the roof and discovered that it was in a very deteriorating condition. right now, blocks are molded and ready, one wall would be brought down completely before it is raised again and those areas that have cracks would be looked into before they go ahead and do the roofing.
OK Sir,So this projects are spread across the district and your constituency and your own district is the last
Yes,my district is the last and i have gone ahead to construct a borehole in my own immediate village of Tokbet-Jipal, but that is not part of the constituency project it is my own personal project.
Again, i have been engaging the people of my constituency in skills acquisition programs. At a point i partner with European Union Governmental program, they call it APURIMAC, an NGO based in Jos North,Riyom, Mikang, So for us to have it in Mangu,we are privilege an the District Head of Mangu has key into the APURIMAC programs,he takes it as his own personal project, the district head of mangu Da J.P Butmang is working tirelessly to see that the program doesn’t collapse. i have been engaging the people of my constituency in human capacity building.They do tailoring,Iron bending or Fabrication an then some other people train on catering Etc
This aspect of capacity building, like how many have you empowered? Do you have a number?
Well,i have trained about 45 people because initially when the program started,i trained 10 people that is 1 per ward then for the second batch i trained 20 people which is 2 per ward plus the initial 10 that is 30, then i now brought 15 on board but one challenge i have is that i don’t want to train them and let them go like that.So the first 10 people i trained in tailoring,computer,Iron Bending and others.I make sure that i provide them with those logistics and it is my desire that before the end of my administration,i would make sure that i provide the remaining 35 people with those logistics too.
OK, 2019 is fast approaching,there has been alignment an realignment and as politician i know you are thinking about the next election too.So are you contesting for 2019 election?
is our duty to respond to the call of our people,So 2019 is at the corner just like you said ,it is my desire to see that i come back in 2019 to continue with what i have been doing before because you know all this projects that i mentioned to you,we are only talking of 2016,we have not talk about 2017 & 2018. Presently 2017 & 2018 have been lumped together in one budget which is 2018 so it is my desire to finish what i started… you see people around my house? and maybe when i leave the office,i wont be seeing the people again and i will not be happy .
So you are happy seeing people around you
Yes,you know somebody once said that as a politician,the wealth is the people you see around,so i want to see people around.You know we eat together, gist together,we discuss matters of interest in the constituency,state and Nigeria together.So I categorically want to inform you that if God tarries,if we are among the living,i would want to come back and contest in 2019 as member representing Mangu south constituency at that time it would be at the 9th assembly
thank you sir,
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