Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (APC, Kano), Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, came under media glare for showing off his four wives and 27 children on the floor of the Green Chamber on the day he was sworn in after winning a rerun. In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, Doguwa gave reason for his action and his anger over the reactions that ensued, among other issues.
2020 can be seen as a year of political turmoil in your political life. What do you have to say about the year so far?
Basically, if there is anything I can say about what I am going through in recent political history, it is more or less that, Allah, in His own way, wanted to test me and I have taken it as a test from Him and it has reinforced my faith. I don’t look at it as travail, but moments of reflection, alignment and realignment even among my other political allies.
I was sent back to face my electorate at a time when most of the people that were elected were facing governance in their respective offices. The Almighty God, in his own way of doing things, tried me, protected me and brought me back to what was unimaginably least expected or possible. God, in His powers, made it possible. I left the chamber. I was not there, my father was not there, my relatives were not there nor did I form any team of lobbyists to lobby members. But God stood by me, protected the office, used the members to take a decision not by way of personal opinion but an official resolution to shut up the office (of House Leader) and wait for the election to take place. When I came back to the house, they gave me back my office. So, many other members, who went for a rerun, were also beneficiaries of that institutional or parliamentary arrangement.
Secondly, when I went back for the election, I became like a newcomer in the field of politics. Stakeholders, voters, including farmers, ulamas, business communities who knew me for over 25 years took me as if I was a new candidate as if I have never contested for any election. So, I used the opportunity to reconcile with so many forces that I had offended which I never knew. I took advantage of the trial and made sure that I made peace with a lot of people.
Like in politics, would you say that your father also inspired you to have a large family?
I said my father is my role model because my successes came from the foundation he laid. But when I talked about the number of wives and kids I have, I didn’t make reference to my father. I only cited him as an example, as someone who also copied somebody else. I only said as a Muslim, a proud one, I must take the challenge of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He has challenged every able Muslim to marry, produce and re-produce because he said he will be proud of our number on the Day of Judgment.
My marriage and the number of kids I have and my pronouncement that I will continue to count is not that I copied my dad; I follow the tradition of Prophet Muhammad. It is a practice that is allowed by my religion and tradition.
Why were you angry with the reactions that trailed the introduction of your wives on the floor of the House?
Maybe you did not know why I was angry. I saw a lot of write-ups from both social and conventional media mainly by people from the south, who may not necessarily know the beliefs and the norms of my religion and tradition. I have overlooked those things. But when I came across a write-up in a paper (Daily Trust) that has some level of respect for my religion and tradition and even the writer, who shares the same background with me, creating issues with the number of wives and kids I have that baffled me because I don’t expect such analysis from them. In another paper, somebody addressed me as a baby-factory member. But since he’s not a Muslim, it does not baffle me.
Somebody also said that I produced more number of children than the number of bills on the floor of the House. That does not baffle me as well. I don’t have any regret with the way I reacted, even though I was emotional.
What people never knew was that I did not go to the House with my four wives to brag. I did not mention the number of my kids because I want to be over and above every member. I only felt that the House of Representatives, apart from doing what is parliamentarily right, has done something that is unprecedented. They have protected my name, projected the name of my family. I was over-excited. I only felt that the last point of respect I could give is to bring my mother, father, family members and major stakeholders in my constituents, including my district heads. I brought them. I only cited my wives as the first point of respect. Get up my wives, salute the House because they have done you honour. Thank them for me, because they don’t have the right to come and bow at the mace, but at least, I asked them to get up and they all got up.