The list released recently by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, of past political officeholders who are currently facing corruption charges didn’t come as a surprise to many. That the names of former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Bala Mohammed and his son, appeared on the list for allegedly corruptly enriching themselves and other crimes bordering on money laundering and fake assets declaration was no surprise either.
A faceless group, Coalition of Bauchi Political Stakeholders, claimed the inclusion of Senator Bala Mohammed’s name in the list was blackmail but the group and its principal could not challenge the information minister or the federal government he works for in the court.
It will be a disservice to the people of Bauchi state that a man with questions to answer on corruption charges will be voted as governor at the expense of a man of integrity. How can the home of the altruistic Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first prime minister, brazenly sacrifice truth for falsehood? It is not possible. Some Bala Mohammed’s foot soldiers who are hungry to return to the days of state treasury looting and impunity are behind the campaign of calumny against Governor Mohammed Abubakar, a man of integrity.
This is why instead of banking on faceless political coalitions whose political clouts do not extend beyond their camp, Bala Mohammed should first approach the courts to clear his name before thinking of jeopardising Bauchi future which is already on the path of greatness. The masses in Bauchi have seen real dividends of democracy. Therefore, it will be unfair for few political rogues to cajole the enlightened Bauchi people back to the lamentable days of PDP misrule where state resources were shared among officeholders, families and friends while the people were left to languish in poverty.
I urge all well-meaning citizens of Bauchi state to button up for the battle ahead, to resist and refuse to mortgage their future and stand resolutely by their conscience. Also angered by his detractors, Gov Abubakar had warned that his political fate did not lie with them but electorates in the state.
When all other blackmails failed the opposition candidates now turn to the question of indigeneship of Governor Abubakar. It is laughable for the governor’s traducers to speculate that he is not an indigene. Governor Abubakar has worked for the state all his life in both civilian and military administrations, and nobody grumbled that he was not indigene, why now? Isn’t this instructive?
To straighten the records, Governor Abubakar is qualified to contest the stool of the Galadima of Bauchi in the event that the stool is vacant, because he is from lineage of personalities that had held the stool. He is an heir to Galadima stool and you cannot be an heir to anything unless you are a paternal child to the owner of that property. Gov Abubakar is a paternal child to those that became the Galadima from the day the Bauchi Emirate Council was created.
On prompt salary payment, Alhaji Danladi Kwano, the governor’s media aide, told Bauchi people not to forget that Gov Abubakar is one of the first two governors in Nigeria that agreed without persuasion to pay the new minimum wage that some governors are still grumbling about. In Bauchi, accountability matters because the state has a lot of work force and public salary earners constitute almost half of the state’s population, despite that he pays salary every month without delay.
Bauchi had salary issues some two years back when PDP inspired an industrial court dispute between past councillors and the state, which mandated the payments of some arrears of councillors owed by the state from 2005 to 2009, by a law court.
Why hadn’t they gone to court until the coming of Gov Abubakar? This is instructive of the gang-up against the people’s governor. Abubakar’s ability to pay state workers despite all odds angered the enemies of his administration who instigated the councillors to go to court.
On primary elections, the PDP, which had a relatively peaceful governorship primary that produced Senator Bala Mohammed as candidate, also has its own challenges; the bitterness Nigerians associate with 16 years of PDP’s misrule at the federal level and the image of the PDP flagbearer which had been marred by corruption charges while holding sway as the minister of FCT are pointers.
The PDP candidate, Bala Mohammed, has a hard nut to crack considering the past perceptions about the PDP and the Buhari factor in Bauchi and other northern states. Even though the aggrieved APC members in the primaries have been reconciled, Bala Mohammed is cashing upon that to deceive Bauchi electorate by inaugurating a committee to win over APC members to his camp.
But how the former minister will achieve his goal will depend on the capacity of the committee to deliver and the willingness of the well informed members of APC in Bauchi to leave their progressive party, APC.
Most Bauchi citizens with remarkable political clouts like associates of Bauchi state deputy governor, Arch. Audu Sule Katagum, said that Gov Abubakar would win the 2019 governorship election with a resounding victory and this is not far from the facts on ground.
Katagum Youths for Change (KYC) said recently that the interests of the people of Bauchi state were better served under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and not PDP, PRP or any opposition party. Chairman of the group, Alhaji Mustapha Aleh, said in an interview that the state had witnessed groundbreaking achievements under the Abubakar administration in the state. Therefore the people would not vote for any other political party as doing so would mean turning back the hands of clock to the era of PDP misrule and impunity.
“In the last three and a half years, the APC administration in Bauchi state under the leadership of Governor Abubakar has left development imprints in the governor’s chosen areas of education, health, agriculture and infrastructural development,” he said.
As a concerned indigene of Bauchi state, therefore, I urge my compatriots to vote wisely and re-elect Gov Abubakar in the forthcoming governorship election so as to take the state to higher heights. For Abubakar, God willing, victory is beckoning; a greater landslide than 2015 is around the corner.
Shuaibu, a good governance advocate, writes from Bauchi