By Suleiman Musa Bauchi
The 2019 general elections are already here and there appears to be no letting up of the political brickbats, tantrums, blackmail, and most times sheer hypocrisy and barefaced lies couched in tendentious wickedness by some politicians who see defeat staring them in the face. This analogy, without a doubt, succinctly depicts the scenario playing out in Bauchi state politics by the opposition elements.
Having woefully failed in their antics, theatrics, mischief and unholy conspiracy against the Bauchi state Governor, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, some disgruntled opposition elements led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, resorted to the condescension from the mundane to the sublime and the ridiculous.
Yukubu Dogara had recently raised an alarm of alleged fraud and theft by Governor Abubakar to the tune of N400 billion since he assumed office in May 2015. He made the allegation on Friday, February 8, 2019 during his visit to his federal constituency of Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro in Bauchi state. How bizarre, malicious and wicked could anyone be, unleashing such a pathological lie and unfounded falsehood? Coming from a personality such as the speaker of the House of Representatives and supposedly right honourable and the fourth citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the wild and unsubstantiated allegation is not only a national embarrassment but it is also reprehensible and condemnable as it portrays our nation in bad light; it sends the ominous signal to the comity of nations that Nigerian leaders are indecorous, lacking in integrity and intelligence.
However, in a reaction, the Bauchi state Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, lambasted Yukubu Dogara, for allegedly misinforming Nigerians that the state government stole public funds to the tune of N400 billion by engaging ghost workers in the payroll of workers in civil service.
In a statement by his Campaign Director-General, Hon Aminu Mohammed Dan Malikin, in Bauchi on Monday, the governor said that the state government had placed an embargo since 2013 on staff employment by the former Governor Isa Yuguda, which is still in force, adding that no fresh appointment has been made by the current administration till date.
“The question of employment of 1,200 staff is false and malicious, however, there are over 1,000 teachers employed by the former administration and were not in place on the pay role until the present administration came into place.
“Governor Abubakar inherited a workforce of 105,000 for both state and local governments as well as pensioners whose total monthly salaries had been within the range of 5.1 to 5.2 billion naira except of recent where students of medical and health were enrolled into the payroll,” the statement said.
The governor said that by simple arithmetic in the years of the current administration, the entire salaries stood at N5.2 billion monthly for 42 months, making a total of N218.4 billion and wondered where the speaker sourced the sum of N400 billion alleged to have been paid to workers within the same period.
According to the statement, as far as genuine records are concerned, Bauchi state monthly salary wage bill has never reached N7 billion as alleged by Dogara. The statement further said that a total of N5.1 to N5.7 billion is a summation of state, local government and local education authority salaries which also include pensioners and political appointees.
It said that Governor Abubakar runs a transparent government devoid of any misgivings, adding that Dogara is only deceiving himself and his blackmail has failed woefully.
Abubakar had on clinching the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest the 2019 governorship elections observed, “In 2015, as the political soothsayers said, I came from the blues. Nobody saw me coming but Allah gave me victory as the candidate of the party, and ultimately as governor of the state. People failed to realise the kind of fight I had to put up in 2015. I had the sitting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in power from Bauchi state. I had the minister of the Federal Capital Territory from Bauchi state and I had the sitting governor of the PDP in Bauchi, yet I got the victory”.
Citing his developmental feats, the governor pointedly said, “You can go to Azare; they will tell you that I am working for them. I am building roads for them. Go to Jama’are, Itas-Gadau, Giade, Toro, Dass, Ganjuwa and Bauchi, they will all tell you the same thing. In Bauchi, you will see the work I am doing. I can assure you and the people of Bauchi that we will continue to deliver dividends of democracy”.
At this juncture it is pertinent to ask, where did Dogara get his facts and figures from? Or is it possible that having come to the full realisation that his evil machination to malign the Abubakar administration and bring it to disrepute has failed woefully like a pack cards, Dogara hired some fifth columnists and hatchet men who ended up duping him and thereby availing him of false and misleading documents with which he is accusing the governor?
Whatever the case, it is evident that Governor Abubakar is well ahead of his traducers in the art of governance and politicking. The governor’s achievements in the massive infrastructural and human capital development as well as social investment programmes in the just over three years of his governance of Bauchi state stand him out like a colossus. This is amply exemplified by the many awards and laurels he has won in Nigeria and across the world. Abubakar’s developmental strides and democratic credentials are his sure testimonial that will cruise him to victory at the governorship polls on March 9, 2019, in sha Allah.
Bauchi writes from Bauchi.