Hon. Mohammed Aminu Tukur is the member representing Lere/Bula constituency in the Bauchi State House of Assembly and a senatorial aspirant for Bauchi South Senatorial District and a political ally of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara. He speaks in an interview with journalists in Bauchi on the resignation of the deputy governor of the state, Mr Nuhu Gidado, the issue of 500 tractors. Procurement and other issues. SAMUEL LUKA was there for The Daily Times.
What can you say about the resignation of the deputy governor of Bauchi State, Engineer Nuhu Gidado?
Well, let me say that I am not the deputy governor, but believing what he is and knowing who he is, I think he has done the right thing.
I may wish to recall that at the incepion of this administration we had cause to interact with him along with the governor with all members of the state House of Assembly, I made mention before the audience that if it is the Nuhu Gidado that I know as far back as 1969, I know the kind of personality that is in him and I know his capacity to handle certain issues specifically administrative issues.
I am speaking from experience or from the fact that I know him thoroughly and very well right from childhood, I should say, though he happens to be an elder to me, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t know each other for quite a long time, we have been together for quite a longtime and I know him by his antecedents.
Now knowing what the governor is and one can simply say that Nuhu Gidado doesn’t belong to the cycle where the governor comes from and I have that conviction that if Nuhu Gidado decided to run through the whole period of four years with the governor then it is a changed Nuhu that I know before.
So I am happy that he has seen reasons and has used the reason to justify what he is and what he is been known for by honourably resigning from the government that has all along been inept and unable to perform and unable to do anything that can justify the huge money that has all along been coming into the coffers of the Bauchi State government.
So, I congratulate him for taking a bold decision by resigning to make himself relevant in the scheme of things, because I am certainly sure if he had allowed himself to stay longer, believe me, he would not have the confidence of his people at the end.
Do you think this can affect the APC at the forthcoming 2019 general election in Bauchi?
Well, its known to all of us, APC has all along been the party to challenge in any given kind of circumstances and believing that the President is having the widest support and everybody is clamouring that the President should contest again, and believing that the President will definitely have the mandate of the people of Bauchi State.
I am talking of a specific kind of setting, I wouldn’t want to nationalise the issue, but obviously the President has all that it takes, you know, to get the entire votes of the citizens of Bauchi State but believe me, any imposition on the people of Bauchi State will definitely be challenged.
I stand to tell you that if APC is to fill in the present governor in the forthcoming 2019 general election then APC will be history in Bauchi State. I hold no reservation by saying this.
What is your comment on the ward and LG congresses of your party in the state?
It is known to me and everybody that the fundamental thing about Nigerians is that we believe in God, but we don’t believe in admonishment, and the presence of God only ends up on our lips, it doesn’t go down in our souls and bodies.
So, what I am trying to say here is this, I have had cause to make several pronouncements with regards to the party congresses that were conducted in the state right from the ward congresses to the local government congresses and even in the state congress.
It is known to all of us that the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a body that is provided or rather been sanctioned by the provision of the constitution to be a witness to the whole process has definitely written that there was no congress in Bauchi State.
This is for sure, INEC does not recognise any congress that was conducted in Bauchi State on the very day when the ward congress were held, there wasn’t any place, all of us are aware, you members of the press you are definitely aware that you cannot tell me a single point where you witnessed people gathered to conduct the party congresses.
Let me cite an example with the President, he went to his home town Daura, the congresses were held there in the presence of everybody, most of the governors if not all, the governors of the APC did the same thing, can you tell me where you saw Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar participating in Congress in his electoral ward?
Can you tell me if you have any clip that the governor have attended APC Congress of his ward just like Tanko Almakura, Ganduje in Kano, El-rufai and all others, we saw them actively participating in the congresses at their respective wards, where did Governor M.A Abubakar had his FroCongress? Let me get to know of it.
It goes to tell you that everything was written in the Government House and those that were supposed to be arbiters or umpires of the process who come from Abuja were paid off and they decided to do the bidding of the government, and nobody can dispute that.
What is your stand on the ward congresses and how do you feel?
We have written to the National Chairman telling him of all that has been done in Bauchi State and as I have rightly made mention we admonished and you now feel very much happy with the position of the INEC.
With regards to the congresses in Bauchi State, we feel very embarrassed by the activities of the security institutions in the state who danced to the tune of the governor and believe me, we have realised that what we want to be done.
I mean we just need a kind of free and fair playing ground such that everybody can be seen to be participating and you know the right to decide who to lead us should be given to us as bona-fide members of the party, that was not given to us.
So having realised that even the National leadership of the party is not all that serious to yield to our demand for fairness, for equity, for Justice we have decided to go to court, we are now before a competent court of law and we have the conviction that we will definitely get the best of judgement because we have our facts and figures handy.
We have given warning letters, we have given warning press briefings with regards to the process, we have given them all that it takes to tell them that we know our stand and we know what we are doing,
yet they decided not to attend to us and is known to all of you that the congress committee who conducted ward congresses when they came to Bauchi they could not even allow us to see them, our forms were given to us in bits,
the first consignment of about 60% of the forms were given to us by 2:07 am on Saturday, at night and the balance was given to us by11:am in the morning and by that time they have already written their delegates.
The leadership of the party had already been done or rather, clandestinely been done at the instance of the Government of Bauchi State, now and the provision of the congresses are crystal clear that the forms should be sold to eligible applicants and they should return the forms within 24 hours period between the return of the forms and the congress,
the National Chairman of the party is aware of the fact that we were given our forms on Saturday by 11 am and by the provision of the congress law, the congresses should, must be shifted to Monday, not by 11am on Saturday you still have at least 24 hours to go and distribute it to your respective wards across the state to fill the forms and bring them back.
Assuming we were able to bring the forms back on Sunday by 11 that is exactly 24hours, we still need 24hours by the provision of the congress laws, by law, the congresses should have been held on Monday and it was stipulated that the congress is not mandatory that it must be done on Saturday, but it must be conclusive by Monday,
that was the resolution of the National headquarters of the party, this was bastardised and thrown to the dustbin here in Bauchi. That is item number one, item number two says that the congress committee should not take their result to anybody other than the appeal committee.
The appeal committees are supposed to start the appeal process on Tuesday and they must wind up by Thursday in the morning.
When the appeal committee came to Bauchi, we could not even see them, we can’t even reach them even on telephone, all their telephone lines that were known to us were no longer going through, we had to go from one place to the other looking for them,
they were no where to be found, we notified the National Chairman of the APC about the entire things that have been done in Bauchi State and I need not to say that he refused to take action but definitely he was silent and you know, without necessary attention being given to our case.
It was along the line that we decided to lodge a case before a competent court of law that is the Federal High Court in Abuja as I rightly made mentioned, and we are optimistic that we will get the best of judgement.
But let me put it with emphasis, should the court fail to yield to our demands as bona-fide and genuine members of this party, believe me we can go to any length and make a decision to dump the party and move elsewhere, this is the obvious, nobody can trample on our right and we allow it, I mean to go free, we wouldn’t do that, we wouldn’t allow that, that is obvious.
Can you tell us about the change in APC government in Bauchi State?
Can you tell us anything that you noticed that is a change in the entire process in Bauchi State? Do you want to tell me that the previous government if they were known to be looting treasury, that the scenario doesn’t exist presently?
Let me make an example with my local government as a rallying point where I come from, if you go to the local government headquarters of my local government during the last four years of Isa Yuguda’s administration, government secondary school, Bununu was overhauled and completely renovated,
a brand new secretariat was built for the local government and maternity clinic and the primary health care Center were equally renovated and put to standard then, a new cottage hospital was equally built in Bununu during the last four years of Isa Yuguda’ administration.
I would want to know just a single block that is worth five million naira, just a little five hundred million naira that is being done by the present government in Bununu the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa LGA and I am challenging the governor to tell me anything that they have done in Alkaleri, Kirfi, it is zero all over.
Then what is the face of change? Everybody can attest to that, things are being done just like a kind of you know, free license to do whatever that you want with an inept House of Assembly that cannot even challenge anything.
Was there any provision by the State House of Assembly that the governor would procure five hundred tractors?
I am not running away from that fact, let me tell you, now if the governor can lie before the world and the President and say that he has procured five hundred tractors that has never been done by any governor, where did he get the mandate to purchase even five tractors?
It is not captured in the budget of 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Where did he get the mandate to make the procurement? So this is an impeachable offences, the governor should not purchase anything outside appropriation estimate, where did he get the mandate to make such a procurement?
Now, he told the world that he has procured 500 tractors, he has procured not that he is going to procure, he has procured already. Now, there after when we challenged him, his commissioners came up by saying that 40 are already on the ground, people should go and see.
Why would he tell the President that he has even procured 500 tractors as at that time? It was thereafter when 40 were brought in and I am still emphasising where did he get the mandate to make such a procurement?
Let me make and addition, in 2017 budget there was provision of 20 million naira for the procurement of mini tractors for youth empowerment scheme, only 20 million naira, and there was a provision of fifty six million naira to refurbish 28 tractors,
that is 2 million per tractor for refurbishment, that was just what was in the budget of 2017 and in 2018 there wasn’t any provision to procure even of a tyre, a brand new tyre to a tractor, where did he get the mandate to make such a procurement?
You are aspiring for the Bauchi South Senatorial position, do you think you would be given the chance?
I have said it rightly, we belong to APC where we have been short changed and where we are now in a competent court of Justice looking for redress, should the court,
I mean should we fail to get what we want I have rightly made mention that we will go to where we feel it is convenient for us to contest and win election. Believe me we can go to any length and anywhere and win our election, because we know our capacity and we know our relationship with the ordinary man on the street.
Obviously the President has all that it takes, you know, to get the entire votes of the citizens of Bauchi State but believe me, any imposition on the people of Bauchi State will definitely be challenged. I stand to tell you that if APC is to fill in the present governor in the forthcoming 2019 general election then APC will be history in Bauchi State. I hold no reservation by saying this.