COMRADE SABO MUHAMMAD is the Bauchi State Media Committee Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and spokesman of former governor of the state, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar. In this interview with IDRIS KHALID, Sabo bares his mind on Bauchi State under the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Governor Bala Mohammed which, the APC chieftain noted, is fading away. He also enumerated various factors culminating to the fall of PDP in 2013 general elections, saying the decamping of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the former speaker of the House of Representatives is a fatal blow to the fall of the governor, Excepts:
Sir, can you give briefs about yourself?
My name is Comrade Sabo Muhammad, I’m the chairman of the Bauchi State APC Media Committee vested with the responsibility of publicizing the party and enlightening the general public about its activities in the state.
Recently, Governor Bala Mohammed criticized you party, the APC on its poor performance, how could you react to the criticisms?
Well, in the first instance, we see and consider Governor Bala Mohammed as a wounded lion, who was an amateur in the politics of the state, and who is expected to give his little best to the people of Bauchi before the terminal date or time of his so-called blinkered governance, which is 2023 when he would be booted out of office by our party, the APC to which Bauchi is its home. That’s why I always keep saying that Governor Bala’s tenure is numbered, as it has been adjudged by political pundits and the electorates generally to end by the election year, 2023. That will be the time when himself will honorably and politically through the ballot box bid farewell to the good people of Bauchi state. This is because he was lame duck opportune by political maneuvers, machinations, electoral swindle and god-fatherism to have assumed the mantle of leadership of the state, because as I told you earlier, Bauchi is the home of APC, see everywhere you go, in the nooks and crannies of the state, it is the APC all over.
The party has three serving Senators from the three senatorial district of the state, and 21 out of the 31-member House of Assembly, as well as APC having the majority in the House of Representatives, despite the condemnations, attacks, character assassination meted out to the our APC governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar who steered the state in high essence, but for the machinations and reactionary tendencies of the retrogressive in the canals of Bauchi politics, who are hell-bend in seeing that progressives did not rear their beautiful heads in the political psyche of Bauchi, widely believed as the cradle of Nigerian politics.
So, with the seemingly poor performance of the incumbent governor, coupled with his negative tendencies of barracking and or hissing the political fathers, the elites, religious and traditional leaders, the civil servants, jettisoning the Achaba riders who earns for their livelihood by the day, and making the poor poorer on one hand, and the defection of notable politicians from the ruling PDP into the APC on the other hand, the stage is clear set for the ouster of Governor Bala Mohammed through the popular votes of the majority electorates come 2023 general elections.
Worthy of consideration again, was the difference of only asphyxiated or manipulated 14, 000 votes which made the difference in Bauchi in the elections between the two rival parties, and which votes were wrought in one polling unit of one Local Government Area of the state. All the other local government areas of the state are APC self-confident in the 2019 general elections.
These referral points are clear for Governor Bala to vividly see Bauchi as the home of APC to adjudge his avowals as mere building the castle in the air that could be easily off-loaded at appropriate time and space.
Kauran Bauchi should also take into cognizance the unprecedented APC supporters and loyalists across the length and breadth of Bauchi state, to which he himself acknowledged and even admitted that had it been not for the anti-party perpetuated by a substantial number of APC electorates, he would not have withstood the storm of winning the election, talk less of PDP today ruling the state. Additionally, too, APC had far massively out weight PDP in 14 of the twenty Local Government Areas of the state.
Are you now saying that the 14 APC controlled LG in Bauchi state will repeat same voting in 2023 elections?
Yes, true to type, what I’m telling is, APC still is the only political party bobbing the minds of majority electorates in Bauchi state. For instance, in the six Local Government Areas where PDP fared in the 2019 gubernatorial, Bogoro local government area, domicile of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara was where APC had a setback, and where the then gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, Bala Mohammed got a upper hand in the 2019 elections, courtesy of Yakubu Dogara who was then in the PDP.
As I’m talking to you now, electorates in the Tafawa Balewa, Dass, Bogoro federal constituency where Dogara was representing the constituents are regretting of the votes cast in favour of the PDP, and have already retraced their steps back into the APC fold, majority of whom we were together dates back to 2014, and in this preference, can any electorate henceforth talk of any political other than the APC in Bauchi state.
It was in times like these that I can vividly recollect, the efforts Minister of education, Adamu Adamu was doing to put the APC house in Bauchi in proper outlook, and similar efforts being made by the state APC chairman Uba Ahmed Nana in reconcile the feuding or warring members of the party in the state, the instances of which one cannot even admit the presence of PDP in the state.
Are you also saying that the current waves of defection from PDP to APC are clear evidence for the APC winning the elections in 2023?
Yes, this was the symbolic attestation of the generality of people or electorates in the state. I have given you an example with Hon. Yakubu Dogara whom Governor Bala himself admitted about the vital role Dogara played in netting virtually all the votes in Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro in favour of PDP whereas we netted the majority votes in Dass in the 2019 general elections. Now that Dogara has retraced his steps back home into the fold of APC, with everyone pitching tent into the APC, see how people or supporters from the PDP are en-masse decamping to the APC in the three local government areas of Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Bogoro and in even other local government areas of the state where the PDP equitably performed in the 2019 general elections.
May be you have the belief that Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro LGAs votes decide or uniting points or determiner for whoever will win state election?
No, this was not what I meant, for the APC had hitherto won elections in those local government areas you are talking about, so I’m just talking to you about where the PDP won elections in those areas you are referring to that today those that facilitated its victory in the places you mentioned have defected to the APC, so the party is becoming weaker and weaker by the day, an indication that PDP is gradually fading away in the minds of electorates in Bauchi state. Take for instance, APC swept the entire Bauchi North senatorial district, and in the central district with the exception of Misau and Dambam LGA, the other four LGA that constitute the district voted APC in the last elections, in addition to all the legislative seats in the two districts were captured by the APC in the 2019 elections, so it was the gubernatorial seat that the PDP surreptitiously maneuvered to grasp, and I have earlier told you that the person who spearheaded the grasp has already bounced back to his original fold, the APC.
Based on the defection of Dogara from PDP to APC, some political pundits are agitating for the declaration of his seat vacant by the national assembly, what is your take here?
The stage is now set for anybody who feels that seat should be declared vacant to ride on, don’t forget Dogara is a lawyer of national refute and was quite aware of the trials leading to his defection, so he is equal to the task, and the law will clearly liberate him. But what we are saying in a nutshell was that the defection of Yakubu Dogara was a big catch to the APC and the politics of 2023 elections. And APC in Bauchi state under the tutelage of Uba Ahmed Nana and supervision of the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu is an unprecedented feat to be gratified with, with the party disciples in Bauchi coming under a unified umbrella.
But Dogara was said to have being booed by even his kinsmen for being a political prostitute jumping from one party to another without the consent of his constituents, don’t you see that Dogara is going off track?
Well, one thing you could take into cognizance is the fact that Dogara’s popularity or acceptability in his Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Bogoro federal constituency is beyond imagination to any politician of his/her ilk or in the political history of the state, judging from his political handiness of 13 years representing the federal constituency, and the democracy dividends he has been showering on his people.
But you criticized Dogara when in 2019 he defected from APC to PDP, are you now eating your words?
No, that’s the beauty of politics, for now I’m contented of having an opportunity to strategized in a political arithmetic that defies time and or solution, all in the efforts to ensure you attract majority of votes in any election, talk-less of a person in the likes of Dogara who can net you hundreds of thousands or millions votes, mind you that Dogara is now on the saddle of political recognition all over the place.
Some people see Dogara’s defection to APC as revenge mission, having been denied ticket by the party henchmen to contest election under it, would you comment?
No, we have passed that stage, the 2019 general elections came with its idiosyncrasies, pros and cons, so now we are in a stage of reconciling aggrieved party members as a result of that elections which denials of party tickets to some members, some of whom are yet to take heart, with solutions being offered by the likes of Adamu Adamu and other bigwigs in the party, and quite recently a reconciliatory meeting was held with assembly members in the bid of paving successful 2023 elections.
How could APC face the forthcoming October 17 local government elections in Bauchi state?
Well, we are ready by any standard to face the local government elections come 17th October, 2020, let the ballot boxes be staged in the polling units and see wonders by the APC as a participating party. We will start defeating the PDP right from the polling units in Warji Local Government Area of the state from the commissioner for Local Government Affairs admitted the elections will be free and fair as conducted in some local governments across the Nigerian federating states. Now we have persuaded Achaba riders to take heart for banning them from operations and fetching their livelihood, the same applied to pensioners for denying them their legitimate rights of pensions and gratuities, and even the salary earners for strangulating their incomes, and certain categories of people, and so forth and so forth for jeopardizing them into abject poverty triggered by bad governance, the day of reckoning is surely coming.
Does the APC have any gut of winning LG election in Bauchi PDP-controlled state?
Well, you live to see wonders that could be made by the APC in the forthcoming local government elections in the state, time will tell. But mind you, up this August ending I’m talking to you, the state government has not release a single kobo to the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) for the conduct of the LG polls, so one can even imagine as to whether or not the elections will hold. But be as it may, APC in Bauchi state is fully determine with its colossal broom sweep all the votes in the elections.
Thank you sir, for the opportunity.
You are welcome.