Why I refused to accept N100 million bribe to step down for Yobe Speaker – 33-year-old member-elect
33-year-old Lawan Musa Majakura who defeated the Speaker of the Yobe State House of Assembly, Ahmed Mirwa Lawan, in the just concluded governorship and state assembly elections has explained how his village people contributed money to buy his nomination form and why he rejected N100 million to step down for the Speaker.
Majakura who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated the Speaker with 182 votes to represent Nguru II constituency of Nguru Local Government Area.
The 33-year-old member-elect opened up on his political journey and aspirations in a telephone interview with Daily Trust on Sunday.
Speaking about his childhood and educational background, he said, “I was born in Majakura in January 1990. I also grew up there and started primary education at Majakura Primary School in Nguru Local Government Area of Yobe State.
“I proceeded to Government College, Nguru but was later transferred to Government Science and Technical School, where I finished in 2009.
“I bagged a diploma in Public Administration and Management from the Atiku Abubakar College of Legal and Islamic studies, Nguru in 2013. After that, I moved to the Federal Polytechnic, Damaturu for a National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business Administration and Management in 2020.
“But the age limit disqualified me from the National Youth Service scheme; that’s why I received an exemption certificate. I engaged in fish selling and other things that would give me something to sustain my demand. I have a wife and four children.
Majakura said after his studies, he pondered on the educational backwardness bedevilling his community and decided to establish straw-hut classrooms where he taught adult uneducated women and children for free.
“After my studies, I sat down to think about our society’s challenges and what I could do to help. That’s why I decided to establish straw-hut classrooms where I was teaching kids. It was meant to help women and build a better society.
“I was teaching English, Hausa, and Mathematics. Later on, I invited three volunteer teachers. I used to give them N500 or N1,000 monthly, depending on how I earned a profit in my fish-selling business. We are teaching the kids free of charge. They are very understanding people; that’s why they have never lamented.
“Since the state and the local government did not give us license to operate the school fully, we train them on some basic knowledge at the primary level and help them secure admission into junior and secondary schools. I can tell you that we have more than 45 pupils.
“I understand that one of the serious challenges we are facing in our rural communities is backwardness in education, social amenities, potable water, and effective health care facilities. That’s why I engage in many activities, including humanitarian and community services.
Asked about his political journey and victory at the just concluded polls where he was elected to represent your constituency in the state House of Assembly, the lawmaker said, “I contested for a councillorship seat in 2021 when I was in the All Progressives Congress (APC) before I joined the PDP, but I didn’t get the ticket. Our people, specifically the youth, asked me to run because they thought I could do better. But God didn’t give it to us. So we prayed for a better position.
Actually, I was arrested two times. One of them was from a politician in the APC before I left the party after I criticised him on Facebook. He told the police to arrest and detain me for five days.
“The second one was from the Speaker, who I defeated. I criticised him for poor representation and I was arrested and detained for 48 hours. It was last year during Ramadan. They arrested me for standing with my people.
“For example, whenever I heard that the state government approved a constituency project for state lawmakers, I used to verify where our own was executed and if it had any impact on our society. These were among the questions I used to ask myself.
“I even followed them to make sure the project was done. So I used to criticise him whenever I discovered that we had a problem he could solve but he failed to do so. And I would criticise with facts.
“Many issues influenced me to contest the seat. First, in the area of education, we are moving backwards at Majakura. We have seen how things are getting out of hand every day. Our classrooms are dilapidated. There is a lack of job opportunities for our teeming youths.
“In the health sector, we are doing badly as well. So I realised that we lacked good representation to address these challenges. That is why our people said I should contest the seat. Perhaps they think I will do things differently.
The young lawmaker said his people urged him to contest for the seat and contributed money to support his campaign.
“The people bought nomination forms for me. They also contributed funds for the campaigns. And they did not contact me to ask if I were interested or not. They just bought the nomination forms and said they wanted me to contest. And I didn’t ask them how much they bought the forms; I just filled and returned them for submission.
“You know that when you are contesting a seat in any political party there is a primary election, but I won unopposed. No one bought forms to engage me on this seat. In short, I obtained an automatic ticket from our party, the PDP.
“I stopped all my activities to focus on the campaign. When I kicked off my campaign from village to village on foot, I received a donation of a motorcycle from one person from Jigawa State. Someone later gave me a car to mobilise and reach out to our people, especially the youth. I have not seen any of these donors, and nor do I know them.
“My village people, who are mostly farmers and fish sellers, also raised funds to fuel the car for our campaign. There were people who would call me on phone and wish us success, while some would send N50,000 or N20,000 to my bank account, all because they thought I could do much.
“During our campaign, there were intimidation and harassment from some people out of political differences, but thank God that despite all the challenges, we were able to win the election.
Asked whether the Speaker of the state House of Assembly reached out to him to step down for him during the campaign, he said, the Speaker did not contact me to step down for him by himself, but a government official and some people I thought were his representatives came to me two times, telling me to step down.
“They promised to give me N18 million, but I refused. Later on, they came back and offered me N100 million, but still I refused. I told them that my village people bought the nomination forms for me because they believed I would do better, so I did not see any reason to step down for anybody.
“I told them to meet my people if they actually wanted me to step down for whoever sent them to me. I even told my people what we discussed but we all agreed that I would not step down, so we moved on with our campaign.
Speaking about his priority after being sworn in as a lawmaker, Majakura said he will focus on improving the standard of education, providing good health care, and better roads for his constituents.
“We have always done things differently. For example, as I am talking to you, I have more than 25 girls and 30 males who have acquired secondary education through my support and training.
“The Speaker cannot tell you how many people he has helped to achieve this. In terms of good representation, I will prioritise education by renovating our classrooms. I will make sure that we employ good teachers and provide learning materials.
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“Secondly, our healthcare facilities need serious attention by providing drugs and medical personnel. We have more than 40 communities. Also, providing water points and empowerment to our rural dwellers will be our priority. We will push and beg the government to do it for our people. Additionally, I will table a motion to ensure that our dilapidated roads are reconstructed.
“There are numerous people who have completed their studies but they have no work to do and our schools need them. So, I will ensure that these guys are employed by the government, be it casual or permanent jobs.
“I will make sure that I am with my people every weekend to hear their problems and what I can do to sort them out. If I cannot solve the problems I will take it to the appropriate channels.
Majakura said despite the influx of congratulatory messages from civil servants, journalists, and civil organisations, he has not received any from the Speaker or officials in the government house.
“None of them has called to congratulate me, but I have received felicitation messages from civil servants, politicians, journalists, and civil organisations. The messages of these people encourage me, so I don’t care about the Speaker’s message.
The Yobe State House of Assembly has 22 APC lawmakers while the PDP has 2, asked if the party differences will affect his performance and make him consider defecting to the ruling party.
He said, “Only God knows what will happen today or tomorrow. I know that Governor Buni is a very humble man with leadership skills; therefore, based on my understanding of him he will not allow party differences to affect the development of Nguru or Yobe State in general.
“All I can say is that I will do everything possible to make sure I deliver the message and problems of our people, who have been left behind, to the state government and appropriate channels, with the hope to address them. Insha Allah, I will never disappoint them,” Majakura stated.