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In politics, people hate you for no reason – Yuguda

I wanted to remain a professional banker that I was. But providence has it that I will have positions in the public service. When eventually…

I wanted to remain a professional banker that I was. But providence has it that I will have positions in the public service. When eventually I was appointed minister, I served the PDP government. I was part of the PDP family until 2007 when I left the PDP and joined the ANPP. It was circumstances that made me leave. I don’t think it is necessary for me now to recall the circumstances because I have spoken so much on the reason why I left the PDP. I joined the ANPP, campaigned for three months and won the election. I was the only elected governor that was not taken to court because of the transparency in the counting of my votes. The gap between me and the PDP candidate was wide. I can say it is not the ANPP that was the issue. It was me as Isa Yuguda who was the issue. I want to tell you I have to thank the Almighty God that I have a good rapport with my people. This can be appreciated from my relationship with all those whom I have worked with. If you want to prove it, you can go to First Inland bank and the Aviation Ministry and interview those who have worked with me. They are very close to me. In fact, almost all of them came for my swearing in ceremony. I’m still working very closely with them. I have to thank God that my career has been a very successful one. This is not because I am wiser or more intelligent than anybody, but by the Grace of the Almighty God. I don’t have any pot holes. I have a history of transparency, honesty and dedication. I’m a man of peace. I don’t like rancour and fighting. I’m at peace with everybody. Given the dismal performance of the past administration, you know power can corrupt very easily. There is nothing you can give to human beings other than respect because I cannot make you comfortable. It’s only God who can make you comfortable. Simply because I’m a governor does not mean that I’m going to wear the toga of arrogance. Only God has the exclusive right to be arrogant because he is the one who created you. As a leader, by the time you are voted into office, your popularity rate is normally about 98%. The day you are sworn-in, it drops to 50% and then you start struggling because somebody will just start hating you because you are in that office for no reasons whatsoever. It might even be those who have been your strongest supporters. Suddenly, they will just develop a hatred for you. When you start working, you either go down to 50% or you start climbing. And then, your rating also will improve.  If your performance is that bad and your relationship with people is that bad, then you go down and your popularity rate will go down until it gets to 20% or even 5%.

WT: One of your fellow governors has dissociated himself from an MoU signed with Harvard University. Are you part of the controversial MoU on capacity building programmes for governors?

Yuguda: My brother, there is a saying that if you think that education is expensive, try ignorance. We are living in a knowledge-based world and we are living in a jet age and management is dynamic. When you are elected as governor, you are supposed to govern a state and not all of us are prepared for the job and even those of us who are prepared for the job of governance, we need to add to our capacity. There is nothing like capacity building when it comes to management. So, training and retraining is the secret to success in any work environment.

So, the long and short of what I am saying is that, if somebody is a leader, it is God who decided that and it is the will of God.  Today, America is leading the world and it is important to note that every policy that is captured in America comes from Harvard and Nigeria is misrepresented and misreported in America and particularly in those institutions.

 Every person who goes into these institutions will bad mouth Nigeria. Let me give an example, Nuhu Ribadu was in the US at the time we went and they had a lobby group together with Nasiru el-Rufai and they paid them. You can only have access to the US Congress through a lobby group. This afforded Ribadu an opportunity to go an address them on corruption in Nigeria and this to me, is like piercing yourself with a knife and he was supposed to go to Harvard and give a lecture on what is happening in Nigeria and this is somebody who is saying that he is on exile. So, our mere presence in Harvard and before the Head of Political Science, made him to have a different version from elected Nigerians on what Nigeria is all about. An average person down there still imagines that we are still the crooks and the 419ners. If God has given America the leadership today, you have to give honour to whom it is due. Also of importance is that we visited an institution that has to do with leadership in Africa and we met an ex—president of an African country who was invited because the Institute was headed by an African-American who also is a retired ambassador. The invitation was to find out the problems that have been bedevilling the African continent and for them to proffer solutions. If these ex-presidents went for three or four months, why wouldn’t governors go? Knowledge is a sea and you continue learning until when you die. If you arrogate yourself the monopoly of knowledge and wisdom as we are trying to have the monopoly of knowledge and wisdom of leadership in Nigeria, then we are in trouble. So I strongly support that people should go and learn. We can have an arrangement where facilitators can be brought from different parts of the world not only from Harvard. Let them come and improve our capacities. So, Harvard training will add good image to our country. I believe in capacity building and I support my chairman for signing the MoU on behalf of the governors. For any reason, if I’m invited to attend, I will attend. We should not trivialise anything that has to do with capacity building, Governors are human beings.

WT: Why did you sack your 950 political aides?

Yuguda: On political appointees, you see, we are two years in office. We need to reappraise our performance. Everybody has his own scorecard that we are using the assess what he has done in terms of contributing to the development of the state and fulfilling the mandate that the people gave us. So, if it’s so open that your scorecard is below expectation, we may not have to re-engage you again and we look for better hands or somebody who can do the job better than you because it’s all about service to our people not about patronage. The fact that you are part of the political machinery that brought us into office does not mean that we are going to force you into an office you are not competent to occupy. It’s an effort to put square pegs in square holes that we ask them to be on suspension until we re-assess them. They have not been sacked. They are on suspension.

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