Senator Bukkar Abba Ibrahim (APC Yobe Central) had declared that North-eastern states may vote against President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2019 election. Patrick Andrew looks at issues he raised in this regard.
It was a bombshell least expected from a stun loyalist who is regarded as one of the major driving forces for President Muhammadu Buhari and indeed the All Progressives Congress in the North East region. It seems the three-term serving senator and two-term former governor of Yobe State has found a new romance or better still is suddenly rejuvenated and ready to connect with the yearnings of the ‘downtrodden’.
In no-holds bare revelation, the frontline politicians and chieftain of the APC from the zone, railed at his party in uncommon blaring fashion lamenting that the initial picture painted about the party has turned a mirage. In particular, he doubted the possibility of the APC winning the region in landslide in 2019 as was the case in the 2015 general elections when electorate from the North east ensured total thrashing of the ruling party and the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Sticking out his neck on the possibly outcome of the exercise were things to remain the way they are at the moment and considering the prevailing despondence in the region over the alleged failed expectation from the APC federal and state governments, Senator Bukkar Ibrahim in a rather uncharacteristic political comment allegedly declared that even with massive rigging, the APC and its presidential candidate, President Buhari may not win the general elections.
The senator insisted that what is staring the APC in its face seems to be imminent defeat for Buhari and indeed all that draw reasonable dependence on the populist tendency of the President to garner electoral capital.
Why change of stance
The senator, whose wife Khadijat Ibrahim, currently serves as Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, in the administration of President Buhari, in a 17-paragraph written speech delivered during a book presentation to mark his 70th birthday in Abuja at the weekend, said the North East should not be taken for granted since it’s not a must for it to support Buhari from the North West, as both zones only came together for the first time under one political umbrella in 2015, after several decades of party formations and democratic governance in the country, from 1950s till date.
The Senator, who spoke during a book presentation with an intriguing title ‘Poorlitics’, warned of dire consequences for the APC in 2019 should continue to operate in disdain of the realities on ground.
Specifically, Senator Bukkar observed that the North East zone has been taken for granted for too long by its neighbours in the North West, in particular he asserted that the region’s whole soul support for the APC which ensured victory for the party against a hitherto invincible force in the shape of the PDP has not been appreciated.
But, he said that ought not be, that the North East should not be taken for granted that it must support the APC, saying the people of the region are always independent-minded and could decide what is good for them politically.
“Simply put, things have not changed, and many things are worse and the people are bitter. We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.
“There are just certain things that progressive parties do and must be seen to do. We must be seen to obey the rule of law. If the courts rule, we must obey. We must respect the separation of powers and let the legislature make its independent decisions,” he said.
He said Nigeria’s economy has gone down under the APC and that the government must face the task of solving problems rather than blaming past governments “too much.”
Pursuing his line of reasoning further, he said: “As we move towards the elections, I have to give a dire warning to the APC that things are no longer the way they were in 2015 when we rode to power on a cloud of euphoria believing that things will change for better.
“Simply put, things have not changed and many things are getting worse and the people are bitter. We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.
“The economy has gone down because of our action and inaction and we are blaming the past too much rather than solving the present problems. I am going to give a dire warning.
“Let the North East not be taken for granted that we must support APC. Our interest in the North East has always been progressive and I will personally be watching for required improvements in the APC before the elections.
North West capitalist conservative
He had earlier in the speech in setting the grounds for the direction the North Eastern part of the country may take in the coming 2019 general elections by opening the old wounds between the zone and the North West saying ” at my age, I have no reason to lie being a socialist progressive over the years as against capitalist conservatives that dominate the other zone.
According to him, the geographical zone called North East today was on the same page with the progressives politics played by the late Aminu Kano of NEPU, Obafemi Awolowo of the defunct Action Group (AG) and Nnamdi Azikwe of the defunct NCNC as against capitalistic and conservative ideology of the Northern Peoples Congress ( NPC) led by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello and seen as aggressive and ruthless to North Eastern and middle belt people generally.
He added that his book ‘ Poorlitics’ co authored by Mr Sam Agha Egwu
aims towards discouraging money politics in the polity and promoting people centred politics as he did in Yobe State where he contested for governorship position in 1991 with just N20,000.00 in Bank account and yet with massive support of the people, defeated the money bags and their godfathers.
Elaborating on the differences between both regions, the Senator stated: :“In fact, the politics of the North East has always been different from the politics of the North West and it was under APC that we all united for the first time.
He did not leave the party without leeway as he urged the ruling party to recover its bearings and rise to the yearnings and expectation of the common people of the region.
“Improvements that can guarantee victory, such as respecting the rule of law and releasing political prisoners as well as unselective war against corruption as against one-sided witch hunt.”
He warned that if APC, under Buhari, fails to get its bearings in terms of good governance before the 2019 general elections, the North East will have no other option than to vote for candidates of other political parties, one of whom is Mr. Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.
“I shall sit back and continue encouraging my party do the right thing. But, if we don’t, I still reserve the capacity to ask my people to go our separate ways and do what must be done for good governance to reign in Nigeria,” he warned .
The APC government, he added, must also stop selective fight against corruption and ensure that it releases the political prisoners it has been holding.
He said if nothing is done by the APC government, he would not hesitate to ask his people to go their separate ways and do the right thing for good governance in the country.