The 2019 general elections in Nigeria have come and gone, though with some inconclusive ones still outstanding. However, memories of different things thrown up are still fresh in our minds and even the world over.
Those who won are celebrating and those who lost some have taken it in their strides, while others have headed to the tribunals to challenge the electoral results. But it is not over for the crooks among politicians who think they could rig election, rule the people and get away with it.
An Hausa adage says ‘Yaro bar murna, karenka ya kama zaki’ (a hunter should not jubilate when his dog catches a lion). That tells the hunter that when he sees his dog with a lion, he should not be happy as he is going to lose it. I think this adage is apt to members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bauchi state who are at present jubilating, jeering and mocking Governor Mohammed Abubakar and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) over their purported victory at the recent governorship election in the state.
Governor Abubakar has, of course, proven himself as a statesman, a man of integrity and peace who despite having incumbency power and influence on security agencies as the chief executive and chief security officer of the state never exerted power to opress members of the opposition vying for his seat. Instead, he had allowed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to discharge their duties throughout the election period diligently without interference.
However, the opposition party and their allies failed to exhibit sportsmanship by peacefully participating in the election but indulged in hate speeches, campaign of calumny and inciting their supporters during electioneering without being mindful of state security.
Despite that, government did not order their arrest nor did it ask the APC supporters to confront them. The opposition rather than appreciating the gesture and uncommon tolerance by the governor further resorted to name calling and character assassination against the governor throughout the electioneering campaigns.
They went further to organise a formidable gang that include members of the National Assembly and aggrieved APC chieftains who lost primary elections to not only fight the governor but to rig the governorship election in favour of the PDP candidate Bala Mohammed in their local government areas of origin and their other strongholds. It is noteworthy that Abubakar won the election in 15 out of the 20 local government areas of the state but was rigged out in Bauchi local government area which has the highest voters and Tafawa Balewa local government area where the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is a known political foe to Abubakar hails from.
The election in the two areas were marred by thuggery, over voting and intimidation of APC supporters who were disfranchised by hired thugs. According to the results declared by INEC, PDP scored 102, 000 votes and 39, 000 votes in Bauchi and Tafawa Balewa local governments, respectively, against APC’s 56, 000 and 30, 000 votes.
Another point substantiating the claim that if not for rigging, Abubakar would have retained his seat was the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections held earlier where APC candidates won 90 per cent of the seats. In Bauchi South, for example, APC won the senatorial seat even though INEC claimed that the party has no specific candidate due to legal tussle between two aspirants in the person of Yahaya Gumau and Ibrahim Zailani. It was after those elections that the PDP plotted rigging to oust the governor. It would be recalled that the animosity between the governor and some National Assembly members including Dogara, Senators Isa Hamma Misau, Nazif Gamawa and other House of Representatives members was triggered by his refusal to buy them exotic cars and houses in Abuja as was the tradition in the past.
He turned down that selfish request of the law makers because he swore with the Holy Quran during his inauguration that as the chief executive of the state, he would not mismanage the state resources. Since then, they turned to be his political foes. Secondly, religious leaders like the renowned Sheik Dahiru Usman Bauchi and the popular salafi preacher Ustaz Idris Abdulaziz also decampaigned the governor in their Jummaat sermons in their mosques without any cogent reasons.
Sheik Bauchi said he supported PDP’s Bala Mohammed because he has been kind to him. So you can see that none of them accused the governor of mismanagement of resources as reason for rejecting his reelection bid. And their remarks might have encouraged thugs to intimidate APC supporters and encouraged the opposition to rig the election in their favour.
Remember the two preachers hail from Bauchi local government area which is one of the areas where there was massive over voting and thumb printing of ballot papers at the residence of some influential politicians.
It was observed that most of the governor’s critics and detractors often complain that ‘he is stingy and does not dole out money like his predecessors’. But they tend to forget that the era when public funds are shared to the elite is over. Recall that the governor had after taking over in 2015 slashed his salary by 50 per cent, that of his deputy by 50 per cent and decreased those of political appointees by 30 per cent.
The step was aimed at coping with economic recession and reducing wastage in governance, bearing in mind that leadership is not about personal gain but public service. Since then, the conspirators remained determined to fight the governor.
We give glory to God that the governor’s economic policy yielded positive result as several projects were executed by utilising the minimum resources including construction of new roads, renovation of old ones and dualising of the busy roads within the last four years.
Over 19 new primary health centres were built in parts of the state, schools, revival of moribund state companies like fertiliser company, even as he maintains regular payment of salaries when many states could not pay.
As the governor filed petition challenging the victory of the PDP in the state, all the good people of Bauchi state who are interested in development projects rather than theft, extravagance and misplacement of priorities that the incoming administration intends to bring in the state, should pray fervently that Abubakar will claim his stolen mandate in the court.
Kafur writes from Bauchi.