Comrade Sabo Muhammad is a former Senior Special Assistant on Media to ex-Governor Abubakar of Bauchi State. He contested the House of Representatives position to represent Bauchi Local Government on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but lost to PRP. In this interview with SAMUEL LUKA in Bauchi, he speaks on his party’s outing in the last general election; he attributed its failure in the state to internal crisis in the party among many other things.
As a critical stakeholder in the previous administration, what would you say were the reasons that led to your defeat at the 2019 general polls?
Governor Abubakar performed wonderfully well. The reason is in two issues that contributed even to the failure of the party. Mind you, the governor is representing a party, so it is the party that lost not Mohammed Abubakar. The entire APC family lost the election, we lost the election not M.A as an individual, he is only the flag bearer of the party as well as leader of the party. So, to my mind and to my thinking as a critical stakeholder in the game, I lost the election too to PRP which is very amazing and the governor also lost to the party that has lost all integrity in Bauchi State, the PDP, because we were having two major problems which contributed to our defeat. Our in-fighting, this internal wrangling destroyed APC with the then Speaker, Yakubu Dogara along with the other people in Abuja we were fighting ourselves. That contributed tremendously to the failure of the party in Bauchi State.
But looking at the statistics of the election, if you have the overview of the election generally, APC performed wonderfully well, the governor won virtually 15 out of 20 LGAs of the state which is very tremendous, and we have all the three senators from APC, we have about 22 members of the state House of Assembly and 9 out of 12 members of the House of Representatives. So, if not because of this internal feud, the APC would have won the governorship election.
There is misconception, there is disconnect, because the government and elites in the state especially, in Bauchi Local Government alone constitute almost one quarter of the total votes of Bauchi State, because there were four hundred and seventeen thousand, four hundred and four voters. So once you have problem with Bauchi Local Government certainly you have to lose elections, because you can agree with the argument the governor won 15 LGAs out of 20, but because of our massive failure in Bauchi LGA you know the governor or rather, the party only lost because it has not performed well in Bauchi LGA, that is what even contributed to my failure as a candidate of the APC to represent the people of Bauchi Local Government. By and large M.A performed wonderfully well and that is why some of us are supporting him to pursue his legitimate case in court, because there were a lot of issues in Bauchi LGA as well as Tafawa Balewa LGA as well as in Bogoro LGA and I believe the court will dispense justice to APC, and if that is done, for sure M.A is coming back for his second term as governor.
Has the internal conflict within your party, the APC been resolved?
That is what we are doing now, that is why we have resolved not to join issues with anybody in APC. Naturally it has resolved itself, one, you look how the Speaker Yakubu Dogara who was heading another group in Abuja, also lost his bid to return as the speaker and our governor and our leader who is heading our group in Bauchi, we lost the election.
We are battling to reclaim our mandate in court, nobody benefited from the internal wrangling, that is why some of us are bold enough to say there is no alternative to unity, that is why we are saying all of us in APC we should shelve our swords in tandem with principles of democracy and forget and forgive and unite ourselves. Bauchi State is APC state and going by the status, the governor is just pretending because he has lost the majority in the state Assembly, we have the overwhelming majority at the National Assembly level, the governor is just working round the clock to find a way to run a government. So, Bauchi State is APC state, no doubt about that.
Is there any plan or move by your party, the APC to unseat the sitting governor?
No. No, No. We are in court, you see, we are saying now that we are pursuing our legitimate case in court and we are hopeful, I said it and let me re-echo it again, by the grace of Almighty, APC is going to be victorious in court and when this happens, it means that the flag bearer of the party who is our leader, Mohammed Abdullahi would come back as a governor, for two major reasons one, as an individual he must have made some mistakes, but his return would allow him to correct some of his mistakes which I have highlighted that there is misconnection, there is disconnection between the people of Bauchi State, especially on some issues then. Secondly, that would even give the opportunity to APC to further consolidate on the good things that the government has started; the state belongs to all of us. While we are in court we will ensure that our people work in unity with the government, I call him a traditional governor because it is subject to verdict of the court, so is in transition and by the time we are done then we will now look at the way forward for the state.
What are your expectations from the government since you are from the other side of the divide?
I think I am not in a position to answer this your question, for one, their victory is being challenged in court, you should wait until when it is over, but now we will pray let there be peace, let there be peaceful co-existence, let there be separation of power, let us work in unity because that is our concern. The key area of our former governor becoming outstanding is the issue of security of lives and properties of the good people of Bauchi. Let this government emulate same work in unity with diverse interest groups for the unity and progress of Bauchi State.
What is your take on the recent appointment of ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari?
Very commendable. We the people of Bauchi State in particular and the North East in general have to appreciate the President, because he has been so magnanimous to us, taking into cognisance the key appointments he has given to the North East and Bauchi State as well.
Let me take that of the North East first, look at the two Service Chiefs from the North East, Chairman INEC from the North East, TetFund Secretary from North East, Chairman, Niger-Delta Holding Company, Bapiyo Misau from North East, quite a number of them. So, we are very happy and appreciative of him. In Bauchi State, we have to thank God for this consideration the President has given to us, for taking two illustrious sons and daughters who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers. Take for instance Malam Adamu Adamu, he is a chartered accountants, a practicing journalists and above all, he is somebody who is very simple in his way of life.
Also, taking into cognisance, Hajiya Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, she is a seasoned administrator who has distinguish herself in her national and international career, that is why we have so much expectations from them, one, to unite the state as a whole and to uphold the good virtue of the press by working assiduously in taking the country to the next level. For that, we are very grateful to Mr. President.
Some people in Bauchi are complaining that the two ministers came from same zone, same LGA. What is your take on this?
That is to tell you that the country is growing, we are moving democratically forward, we are heading towards development, because the fact of the matter is that they are two sons and daughters of Bauchi, nobody will dispute that, two, both of the nominees merited their nomination and three, Bauchi State belong to all of us, and people like me that comes from Bauchi South if we are to take the statistics of appointments given to Bauchi South and Bauchi Emirate then the other two Senatorial districts would have protested.
Take into consideration, Yakubu, the INEC Chairman is from Bauchi South, from Bauchi Emirate, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, TetFund Secretary is from Bauchi South, Bogoro Local Government. Take for example, Custom boss, Hamid Ali is from Dass from Bauchi South, take Manir, Chairman Social Investment is from Bauchi Local Government, Bauchi South, even the Chairman, National Commission for Colleges of Education, Professor Ali is from Alkaleri Local Government, Bauchi Emirate. So, for long, it has been like that. If you take also our political history, we have produced five governors from 1999 to date. Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu, Bauchi South, Bauchi Emirate Isa Yuguda from Bauchi South, Bauchi Emirate, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar from Bauchi LGA, Bauchi South and so also Senator Bala Abdulakadir from Alkaleri LGA Bauchi Emirate Bauchi South.
This people have been very magnanimous and very humble, they did not complain. And more importantly, you should know our people also look for the appointments, but God in his own way gave appointment to this people, that is why we have to rally round to support them to ensure that one, they support the President to take the country to the next level, two, they should use their office to further unite us as one people, one state and working in the best interest of our state, so there is nothing wrong in that. We have applauded the President, we should go beyond looking at people from their own LGA, region or senatorial district, but we should look at the people based on their merit and what they can offer for the best of our people and the best of the nation.
Looking at the statistics of the election, if you have the overview of the election generally, APC performed wonderfully well, the governor won virtually 15 out of 20 LGAs of the state which is very tremendous, and we have all the three senators from APC, we have about 22 members of the state House of Assembly and 9 out of 12 members of the House of Representatives. So, if not because of this internal feud, the APC would have won the governorship election.