He is considered as a very private person, a technocrat, difficult to access, but a brilliant lawyer who engineered the victory for Nigeria in the $9.6 billion claim by a foreign company.
A restless personality as he describes himself, his campaign website reveals that a personality audit on him by Phillips Consulting describes him as “Mr. Sanga is a strategic planner by nature, always looking to the future, questioning the status quo and welcoming change. Mr. Sanga is a demanding manager with the ability to impel others to meet his requirements.”
From the same audit of his personality by Phillips Consulting, descriptive words for Mr. Sanga are “Driving, Independent, Individualistic, Direct, Critical, Logical, Energetic, Self-Starter, Authoritative, Restless, Eager, Alert, Strong-Willed and Self Assured”.
In this no holds barred interview with TG NEWS CORRESPONDENT, we obtained an exclusive with Bala Sanga, who opened up on his life and career, as well as his plans for the Southern Adamawa Senatorial Zone, should he be elected to the Senate.
His dexterity,sound mind while he was Adamawa state immediate past Attorney General and commissioner of Justice has no doubt shown that Sanga is a genius so ingenious to the work of law profession
The interview gives up the personality of Bala Sanga’, his position on crucial legislative practices and lots more.
We have titled the first part of this interview as “Destiny’s Child”, a tag that the man uses for himself in relation to how God has progressed him in life. The second part is titled “I will be the best Senator in Nigeria”, once gain his words.
Question:May we know you, sir?
(A very smile on his face) How much of me do you want to know? We may be here all day if I have to tell you the story of my life.
There’s too much of my life to talk about. Too many incidents and events.
Question:We would ordinarily want to know everything but can we have one hour of your time? Then whatever we cover should be okay. Youi are assumed to be a private person and this could be a factor.
While I am press shy, I am not too sure if I am a private person. I may not be loud and let’s just say that I mind my business a lot. If that however means I am a private person, then I guess I have to live with that. I am just not inclined to blowing my trumpet at every turn. It can be very boring
Question:Ok sir, let’s start with your life.
If you don’t mind, please call me Bala, the prefix is a bit stuffy. I am a child of destiny. I see the grace of God in my life at times. I was born in Ganye and the early years of my existence was spent in an idealistic environment. As kids, we went swimming, farming, hunting birds, playing games, just anything that caught our fancy. We sold kunu, water, bean cakes, bread, sugar cane, rice, etc. in the local market. Everybody watched out for the next person.
There was nothing like Nursery Schools so at age five I started Primary at the Ganye II primary school. I rounded up my Primary School education at Luggere Primary School in Jimeta.
I attended two Secondary Schools, General Murtala Muhammed’s College and Government Secondary School Toungo. Subsequently I did “A” levels / IJMB at the College for Preliminary Studies Yola (Now Adamawa State Polytechnic) and read law at the University of Jos, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School.
You can say I am a troubadour where work is concerned. My working experience covers National Youth Service with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Research Assistant with the Centre for Law and Development Studies (where I co-authored two books on Law even, before I was 23 years), Savannah Bank of Nigeria PLC, FSB International Bank PLC (I interned with Audit Control and Expertise in Geneva in the course of working), Lexfield Chambers, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Special Control Unit against Money laundering, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Adamawa State Government as the Attorney-General. Currently, I manage Danufi-Lex, a cutting edge law firm involved in defending a claim of $9.6 billion against Nigeria by Process and Industrial Developments Limited
Question:To use your words, you have been a troubadour. What has stood out for you in the course of your career?
Several things stand out. I guess in every organization I have worked; I have striven to leave a mark. I try to be the best at all times. I am not too sure we have the time to start recounting each and every detail of each one of such.
Let me put it this way. When I left office as the Attorney-General of Adamawa State, the serving Chief Judge told the world that from the days of Gongola State, remember that Adamawa and Taraba States constituted Gongola State, there has never been a more effective Attorney-General than me. That is a testament I am proud of and is borne, I believe out of the multiple Justice Sector Intervention I engineered in the State. Now to list them out would be time consuming. You may wish to check up on my campaign website, balasanga.org, for details.
Question:But what stands out for you in your career?
It’s difficult to say. It’s a matter of context and that’s what I am trying to explain to you. At the moment, successfully engineering the defence of a $9.6 billion claim in an international matter would seem to have been it, given the panic button that had been pressed in Nigeria. However, let’s not forget that it’s a long drawn out case and we have won only round one.
Within my context, it could have been the West African Cybercrime Conference that I pioneered while in the EFCC, or the MoU with Microsoft or that with the United States Consumer Protection Agency, or co-authoring two text books on law, while barely 22 or 23 years. The highlights are in multiples and I keep saying I am a child of destiny. God has been kind to me.
Again, it may well be the paradigm from which one looks at issues. Someone told me recently that the IDP Houses I attracted to Adamawa State would rank high in his estimation of me. I pointed out that lawyers would point to the courts in Ganye, Numan and Gombi as well as the law reform work I pioneered in the State.
So I am sorry, I am unable to point to a single thing as the best of me. God has been kind to me.
Question:You have indicated your desire to contest for the senatorial elections. Why?
Don’t forget that I have to get past the primaries of the All Progressives Congress first.
Now as to why I am contesting, the answer is simple. In blunt terms, this country is sitting on a time bomb. Either we defuse it now or we will all suffer the consequences.
It’s easy to point to insecurity now but let’s not forget that the current economic crisis is what is fueling the insecurity. Joblessness, high inflation, collapse of the schooling system, corruption and several other factors put together are responsible for the insecurity. I know the problems. I know the solutions. I will sort them out.
Question:But you are not contesting for the Presidency and as we understand the Senate is a legislative body and not responsible for executive functions. So……
(Cuts in) Yes of course I am not contesting for the presidency and I am fully aware of the limitations of the Senate to largely, and I use the word largely deliberately, to legislative functions.
If you don’t mind, let me give you some background information. Like most commentators, who are in the minority, I truly believed that the role of the legislation was limited to law making, oversighting and lobbying. This was until I listened to an interview with Senator Sarki Tafida, I think. His explanations bought me over. As he said, that kind of thinking may well be true of developed democracies of the world but in a developing democracy such as ours, it is not exactly the same. As he explained, the electorates in developing democracies cannot tell the difference between executive and legislative functions and they expect executive type intervention from every elected official, even if in the legislature. This gave birth to Constituency Allowance and Projects to cushion the impact of the expectations from the electorate.
So Nigerian democratic practice does leave room for executive intervention by legislators and I intend to do that. I would be holding a dual mandate as a senator and I will deliver on both.
PART 2: I WILL BE THE BEST SENATOR IN NIGERIA
Question:Thank you sir. So what exactly are the details of what you will be doing?
I really will appreciate your calling me Bala.
My focal point will be Youth and Women’s empowerment. This has to be done in diverse ways of making these groups productive and income generators. One parameter is availing capital and vocational skills training to them. A second one is opening up requisite markets for agricultural products given the fact that the Southern Zone is primarily an agricultural zone. The last parameter is in terms of upscaling the nature of the agricultural intervention and providing for value addition to agricultural products before it is sold. These are areas I intend to deliver on.
The lobbying function will focus on provision of Tertiary Educational Institutions in the Zone as well as requisite health Institutions and other necessary interventions.
Let us be clear about this. The interventions will be difficult. However, they are not impossible. They must be done otherwise we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder that can explode in our faces.
Question:That’s a rather interesting perspective. So what are the structures for the interventions you mentioned?
The traditional strictures, the party structures. These are good starting points for reaching the wards.
I am determined that each ward will have youths and women that will be empowered. It should also be possible to have children on scholarship schemes in all the wards using the Constituency Allowances.
Again, I can only invite you to check out balasanga.org
Question:Why should the people of the Southern Senatorial Zone trust you. Every politician comes with promises but delivery is always the challenge
I have shown that I can be trusted. From the sale of forms and indication of interest, let me be immodest and say that I am the most qualified to be the Senator of the Southern Senatorial Zone. I am yet to hear anyone talk of a Manifesto, as all other candidates want to be Senator without an idea of the work to be done. I have a manifesto and I have gone around telling people what exactly to expect of me.
None of the contenders have my depth and scope of experience. Not a single one of them. I can be trusted in that I am not one that will get glued to Abuja and not return to his constituency. If I can leave the United Nations and take a pay cut of almost 500% to come back home, then people should know I won’t abandon home because of the Senate.
I am restless. I seek improvement at all times. In a work environment, I strive to be the best. I can be trusted I assure you. I want to remembered as the best Senator ever, just as I am remembered as the best Attorney-General of Adamawa State. That’s all I want.
Question:What are the impediments to your mounting a successful campaign for office?
Obviously, the primaries will be challenging. Very challenging. I am however confident that the delegates know better than is assumed. One thing the Primaries must address is who of the candidates holds the best potentials for winning the senatorial elections. Of all the candidates, I am the most electable for the Senate. I am the most competent. I am the most acceptable candidate across the Southern Senatorial Zone. This is what should guide delegates and nothing else, in choosing a candidate to contest under the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
Question:You speak as if you have won already. What is you secret and if you loose the primaries, will you remain in your party.?
I have not won. I can only plan to win. I have told you that I am the candidate to beat both at the primaries and during the general elections. I daresay the primaries will be more difficult for me and if that hurdle is crossed, even opposition parties will vote for me. I guarantee you that. I tick all the boxes to win the general elections for my party and that should be the focus of the delegates when making a decision at the primaries.
If votes and acceptability counts, I should win the primaries, by the grace of God. So why should I leave the party. Leave it for who. If extraneous considerations come in and I loose fairly, why should I leave the party?
Question:Any regrets in your life?
Obviously, there are things I wish I could have changed or done better. Only a fool has no regrets. I have made several mistakes in life that I wish I can rectify with the benefit of hindsight.
However, I also have lots of positives to be grateful to God for. I was Director of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, Deputy Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, held the highest rank in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and so many other accolades. For a restless fellow like me, God has been kind
Question:What are your hobbies and extra-curricular activities, if you don’t mind our asking?
I am an eclectic reader. I tend to read anything in print, particularly fiction. I watch historical and war films. I have tried writing poetry but failed. I however have a collection of short stories that I hope to publish someday.
I played hockey, football, handball and basketball in my youth.
In areas of responsibility, I was the Social Prefect in Secondary School, President of the University of Jos Chapter of my alma mata, President of the Staff Club of FSB International B,ank and one-time Chairman of FC Abuja, where I handpicked players who went on to play for the Super Eagles.
Question:Any last words sir?
First, it would be nice if you on calling me “sir”.
Second, is that If I become Senator, I will be the best. Take that to the bank.