The Honorable Jakub Dogar is Speaker of the House of Representatives. Saturday sat with him for an interview, during which he talked about his family, business, life before politics and other aspects of his person, previously unknown. In this case excerpts:
"Why I Hated Politics"
: At what point in your life did you decide to become a politician and why?
Hon. Jakubu Dogara: It will surprise you, knowing that on my part is not quite a conscious choice in politics. It never interested me. In fact, I hated politics with passion because of betrayal and support. I already cut my teeth in the private sector, I was comfortable in the future, making some investments that started to bring a tangible return. With this in mind, I thought that I do not need any career in politics, because of my belief that those who had a chance to do it in other undertakings should not have any relation to politics. Therefore, I had zero interest in politics, as a rule, I worked much less in an elective office.
My journey into politics began when our then governor, Dr. Ahmadu Adam Muaz, decided that because of certain qualities that he saw in me, I should join politics and run for the House of Representatives in 2007. At first I had reservations, but on the line he won me, not only because of his own desire to improve the quality of those he recruited for managerial positions, but thanks to his impeccable work as governor. There is now consensus even among his bitter opponents that he remains the best ruler that the state of Bauchi has ever had.
In short, I owed my stay in politics to the God who organized it, and used Moise to make this possible.
DT: As a speaker of the House of Representatives, your schedule should be exhausting. How did this affect your family life?
Dogara: It's quite true that as a Speaker I have a very difficult schedule. You will agree with me that presiding over affairs of 359 people from different walks of life is not a walk on cakes. I do not see any other work in Nigeria, which is just as demanding as Speakership. Unfortunately, many do not understand this.
Hardly a day that I do not see up to 30 members. Assuming that each member takes an average of 30 minutes of your time on average, most will take more time, this is 10 pm. Most of the participants come with problems that are not just complex, but also unholy. Evil problems, because they are complex without immediate solutions. These problems are spiritually, physically, emotionally and psychologically complex. Thus, the fatigue that you experience intensely absorbs. Not many people have coped with how to deal with this type of fatigue. In fact, there are times when you feel that you will simply be left alone.
The difficulty is that, unlike an executive position, members are not your subordinates, they are your equal. It is necessary to exercise a greater degree of discretion in connection with them and to solve problems affecting them. So, as you can see, most of my time is spent on members. On average, I close at 3:00 every day. Except that I force it, it is almost impossible to spend time for family, friends and voters.
My luck is that my two children are already at university, and only during the holidays. As for my wife, I believe that these are the most lonely moments of her life. I do not know how she cope, but it looks like she's doing a good job. The time that I must invest in my family is an annual vacation, and I do it irrepressibly, I put off my Nigerian number and spend all my time with my family. This is very inadequate, but this is the best I can afford now.
D: Speaking of your wife, how did she support the profession you chose?
Dogara: She was very supportive. I am thankful to God for having her as a wife. It really was the backbone of support, in prayers and in helping our participants and beyond through its NGO, the Sun of Hope Foundation, which helped in the repair and re-equipment of the National Center of Obstetric Fistulas, Ningi, the State of Bauchi. Although the WWF is not a serious problem in our immediate environment, it saw hundreds of patients with WWF, repaired and restored to life of dignity and honor. Its foundation tested thousands of cases of hepatitis / HIV in Bauchi and beyond, conducted free medical and preventive measures and distributed hybrid rice and corn saplings with fertilizers and herbicides to thousands of women and youth. She, no doubt, has earned a page, if not a chapter, in any book that can be written in my policy.
DT: How did you first meet?
Dogara: We met for the first time at the event "Salvation of rescue missions". When I saw her and her commitment and passion for God's things, I had no doubt that if I ever wanted to raise a family, she should be the mother of my children. After that, we became friends, and then friends. Therefore, when I married her, I really married my friend. Fortunately, in November there will be a solid 22 years, about the marriage bliss, and I can say without any controversy that we have not yet witnessed a major quarrel.
DT: Among your many qualifications, the first is a teacher. After you graduated from the Bauchi School of Teaching in 1982, did you learn and for how long?
Dogara: I taught at the ATBU staff school from April 1988 to November of that year, when I resigned my appointment to continue my university education. It was a short time, but I must say that the memory is delayed. I like to pass on knowledge. Teachers are special people, and I made my hat for all those wonderful men and women who embraced the profession, with all the self-denial and inadequate reward system pursuing this sector.
DT: You served in 1993 in the state of Aqua Ibom for your NYSC. How would you describe the experience and what impact do you think would have on your thinking?
Dogara: It was a year like no other. For the first time in my life I lived on my own on the ground, where I could not understand the language. I was forced to study budgeting, knowing that I am far from home and must take care of myself in accessible resources. The basis of stability that I have today was laid for a year of service.
The year of service also brought home the reality that Nigeria is indeed a rich and diverse nation. My one year in Lagos during the law faculty invited me to look at the Yoruba culture, and there I was in the center of the South. I came across energetic young men and women who were highly devoted, as I had to work in a truly cohesive and prosperous Nigeria. It was such an incredibly transforming experience that helped change my worldview and strengthened my determination. Very pleasant memories are still delayed.
D: You studied the Fa. How long have you been practicing?
Dogar: In Nigeria, people always forget that the legal profession is merged in the sense that once you are called into the bar, unlike the UK, you can practice as a lawyer and lawyer or act as a lawyer or lawyer because you are qualified both . Therefore, when you talk about legal practice, there is always a tendency to start looking at those years when a lawyer goes to court as a lawyer or a lawyer. But the law can be defended both in courts and in classes. That's why legal lecturers with obvious knowledge of certain thresholds are also admitted to the inner bar. Thus, it turns out that in defending the law in classrooms, they are also engaged in active legal practice. Similarly, those who prefer to be solicitors and practice as such are also actively engaged in legal practice.
Having put this foundation, I can now tell you that I was in practice a lawyer-lawyer for 11 years from 1994 after my NYSC until 2005, when I was appointed special assistant to the minister.
DT: As a lawyer, can you remember your most unforgettable day at work?
Dogara: On the very first day when I had to file a petition with the court, I prepared it, read it to the end, but I still had butterflies in my stomach. I must admit, it was a disgusting experience for me, because I was introverted, and was afraid that if it does not go well, it can affect my future excursions in court. That day I got to the court, and when I was sitting, my mind broke, until the judge sent word that she would not sit that day, that the movements would be taken in her wards. So I moved the movement in the wards, and everything went so well that the judge openly thanked me. Little did she know that my work on this day was largely due to the fear of failure, rather than the desire to succeed. It was the baptism that I needed, and I received it early.
D: So, do you skip the courtrooms and the attendant drama?
Dogara: The courtroom is perhaps the best learning environment. In the university and law school you are taught the law, but you actually find the law in practice, especially in the courtroom. In legal practice, there is nothing like a manifestation before a judge who knows his bow. This is what speeds up the drama. Any courtroom in which there is no drama, indicates that the judge or lawyer is shallow or both. No doubt, I missed, and I will still miss it, a lot.
DT: Your biography says that you are 50 years old, but you look younger. Do you have a regular mode to maintain compliance?
Dogara: Unfortunately, no. It's hard to have a regular schedule to maintain fitness as soon as you have a schedule that I have. When I have time, I play my favorite game, which is basketball, but it's not regular. What I do regularly is that I control what I eat. I try to cut carbohydrates out of my diet as much as possible, and it was very useful. However, because of the work that I do, in combination with the fact that, as Africans, we are dependent on diets related to sugar, sometimes the body rebels, and you have to deal with the consequences.
D: You recently released your memoirs "A Reed Made Flint". What prompted you to move one, especially since you probably have more opportunities for your career?
Dogara: In life you never know, although we are always positive. I thought that 50 years is a very important landmark, in the life path. Moreover, I always missed my birthday, until I scored 50.
I thought that at this age it was necessary to tell your story so that it could inspire some. I'm glad that many people have told me that they are inspired and strengthened by the narratives in the book. One of my colleagues at the House told me that he read it three times.
I was also moved to raise money for charity on the day of my 50th birthday, and I also believed that the best way to do this is to present the book that day. I am pleased to inform you that to date we have collected more than N200 million from the commitments almost promised during this year in the amount of N400 million. All this money will be allocated for charitable purposes, especially for solving the problem of IDPs and gifted students in need in the northeast and in other areas. As we say, the procedure for payment of funds is being developed.
D: Does that mean there is one more book on the horizon?
Dogara: Now there is an autobiography, which, we hope, will capture some exciting details of my career that were not recorded in the first book. It will come in fullness of time, by the grace of God.
DT: When will you finish saying that you are planning to participate?
Dogara: I lost interest in planning the next phase of my life. Therefore, my answer to your question is very simple: my training brings me many opportunities for service. When I have finished with the speaker, I will weigh the opportunities available to me for service, and one that will lead to maximum impact on others is one that I will embrace without ambiguity. It's not about what I want to do, but about how I can deploy my talents and gifts so that they have the greatest impact on others. I have no other plan.
DT: You are also known for the enthusiast of agriculture. How do you in the depths guess?
Dogara: Like today, I do not go deep into agriculture, although I am a co-owner of the farm. I began my raid on farming in the late 90's when I first founded an orchard on the banks of the Tafawa Balev River, which is still thriving. Before I got into politics, I acquired real farmland in Hydan-Kure, Nasarawa, for the purpose of cultivating cassava on a commercial scale. Unfortunately, the policy on cassava agriculture, introduced by the government of the then Obasanjo, failed. We had so many cassava that we did not know what to do. Then we sold a full truck for N30,000, but the market was not enough to take it all.
When the cassava failed, we decided to turn the farm into a garden. In 2006, before I joined the policy, we planted 37,000 mango seedlings, consisting of 12 different foreign varieties and 17,000 giant guava seedlings on the farm. We lost a lot in the process of raising trees to maturity, but now this is an established garden. Over the years, we added banana trees, fish ponds, poultry and a small ranch. In cooperation with partners, we want to expand the poultry and start processing rice and corn. But this is a work in progress.
It is also true for Nigeria that, while we are not working on mechanized farms, any talk about progress in agriculture is a cheap conversation. When more than 99% of farmers still go to farms with hoes, we can not successfully feed our ever-growing population. Something must be done and very urgently, because we are not close to a breakthrough in agriculture, if we need to tell the truth. If we need to grow what we eat, and that is what we grow, then the government should ensure that our farmers stay on the farm regardless of cost and lay the foundation for mechanization of agriculture and smart farms.
My father told me that agriculture is a noble profession, because without farmers we will not have any food, and without food we will all be in trouble. Although he was a successful businessman in his day, he did not abandon agriculture. He raised me as a farmer, so it was in my DNA. Therefore, entering it was not a matter of interest, it was about deploying what was inside me.
As for my children, oh, how they hated going to the farm! I remember how they once told me that I embarrass them, insisting that they go to the farm with me, because none of the parents of their friends were in this archaic. I had to work hard to break down the walls of resistance they built on their own. Right now, at any time they are at home, they are eagerly waiting for them to go to the farm.
The task that we have as a nation is to engage farmers of the next generation. We must make agriculture attractive for millennia, otherwise we will face a very frightening and unsafe future. I do not know how we can achieve this, but this is a task that must be accomplished.
DT: When you do not work, how do you relax?
Dogara: I read a lot. Every time I retire during the day, I have to spend some time reading. I also love sports. I watch football, basketball and athletics at any time when I'm free.
DT: What's your favorite dish, and how often do you indulge yourself?
Dogara: As a young man, Aça was my main product. I love Tuwon Accha, with any painting soup or Miyar Taushe. You know that Accha does not have sugar. Besides the fact that I'm not at home, I eat a derivative of Accha at least once a day. My colleagues say that I am "local" in the choice of dishes, but I must tell you that Accha is one of, if not the healthiest, food in Nigeria.