Hon. Yusuf Tuggar was a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Bauchi state, and a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. In this interview with MUYIWA OYINLOLA, he explains why APC stakeholders in the state are at loggerheads with Governor M.A. Abubakar.
You are one of the Bauchi APC leaders who recently levelled allegations of impropriety against the governor of Bauchi State, M.A Abubakar. Can you give us an insight into your case against him?
First of all, I will like to say it is really unfortunate, having all come from the same political party with Governor Abubakar. That is, I, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the 3 senators representing the state, the 12 members of the House of Representatives, the Minister for Education, all found ourselves in this situation. We had to speak up against the policies, or lack of it, by Governor Abubakar, the divisive politics that he has been practising and the threat posed by his style of governance to our home state of Bauchi. This is why we find that we cannot just look the other way. We can’t, as leaders and as stakeholders, as people and as indigenes, look the other way while our state is being destroyed by one individual and his praise singers.
Did you discuss these issues with the governor before going public?
That is why we decided to come together and take these steps. It is not personal, it is based on issues, it is based on several attempts that failed to make him see the light, to make him change his ways. If that fails, the next thing you need to do is take the necessary steps preclude further danger to the state, and this is what we are doing.
We all come from the APC. Some of us, like me, I have been in the ANPP, we
created the CPC together with President Muhammadu Buhari before we merged with the other parties to form the APC and M.A Abubakar joined us after the merger, after we had already created the APC. Prior to that, he was a member of the PDP and before that, he was an INEC resident commissioner in Rivers State; a state that had a laughable record during elections because the sort of results that were returned from successive elections during his tenure as INEC resident commissioner were the type you can only find in former communist states or may be Syria, during the regime of Hafiz Al-assad where they will come close to returning a hundred and ten percent for a particular party or a particular candidate. It is scandalous!
So, for somebody like that to come and take charge over state like Bauchi and for all of us to even accept the flawed result of the primaries at the time simply because we wanted to win, we felt that it was not in the best interest of the state for PDP to continue, that is why we all decided to come together.
Are you saying the primary that produced the governor as candidate
There was over-voting in the primaries, I could have easily petitioned, I chose not to at the time simply because I did not want to appear selfish. It wasn’t all about me, it wasn’t about my ambition or becoming governor, no, it was about bringing about constructive change in the state. And that is why I refused, in spite of all the pressures and overtures by supporters, by colleagues, by friends, to try and appeal and fight the results that declared him governorship candidate. I did not do that. We all rolled our sleeves up, we went and campaigned for him, down to the polling units, he won and the first thing he did was perceive us to be a threat, to fight and to begin to systematically alienate all sections of the society in the state. And that is why he has ended up, which governor have you seen today in Nigeria that does not get along with all his senators, all his members of the House of Representatives? Which governor and why? So, we have to look at the root cause of this.
The governor described your group as Abuja politicians who are not in touchwith the people at the grassroots. Are you an buja politician?
It is not enough to just try and label people Abuja politicians because that is the song that governor and his aides and praise singers have been singing. But what defines an Abuja politician? Because if you are elected as the speaker of the House of Representatives or as senator or member of the House of Representatives, where are you supposed to reside for most of the year? Are you not supposed to be serving in Abuja? So, is it not laughable for you to be labelled an Abuja politician? And if you take somebody like me, I am not holding any public office. Yes, I used to be a legislator, but at the moment I am not holding any public office. When Bauchi has been ruined, there are no opportunities, I am a businessman, do you expect me to go and just sit in Bauchi and just and simply watch the state unravel right before my eyes? So there are no opportunities that have been created. It they want us to become Bauchi based politicians, then the
governor should make sure he puts Bauchi in order. He creates opportunities because you can begin to say most educated people that are either in business or actually working in the federal civil service are not indigenes of the state. This is what they are working towards, when we know exactly who is not an indigene of the state.
In specific terms, what are the allegations against the governor?
Well, the allegations are simple and straightforward and there is a sayingin Hausa to the effect that you can tell a Friday that is going to be goodfrom Wednesday. Things started going wrong immediately, even during the campaigning, we could tell that there were issues but I am not going to go on to that for now. We will save that for another day.
Immediately after the elections, there was a transition committee thatwas constituted. That committee itself came up with its own issuesbecause then we started talking about how much exactly the transitioncommittee spent. The handling of the funds for the transitioncommittee itself was opaque, it was not transparent.
There wereallegations that the transition collected N565 million for instance,from the outgoing governor, Isa Yuguda, before swearing-in and thereis still no clarity as to what exactly was disbursed for what purposes.
Apart from that, you could see that there was a lot of uncertainty as to what the agenda for M.A Abubakar was going to be in Bauchi because there was none. None was specified. So he didn’t appear to have any blue print. It is difficult enough governing a state like Bauchi with an agenda, with a clear, succinct, policy programme, let alone coming in without a clue of what you want to do. And it is only after you assume the position that you start running around to find something to present as what you intend to achieve.
This is precisely what transpired. Now, shortly after he became governor, there were some contracts that were awarded for 4.5 kilometers of road from the CBN in Bauchi metropolis towards the railway. 4.5 kilometers but for N2.3 billion, if you do the arithmetic, that amounts to N517 million per kilometer, for crying out loud, how? Do you even construct road for N517 million per kilometer in Delta State where you have perpetual rainy season? You don’t! Not even in the Niger Delta. And this contract was awarded to a company called “Qumex”, with a Kaduna registered address. Okay, you have been awarded this huge contract, we would have expected that you are going to roll out new equipment to commence the work but no, they are using manual concrete mixers for all the people of Bauchi to see. This is not just us, it is the whole of the people of Bauchi that are seeing it and are putting pressure on us to do something about it because they consider us leaders, they consider that we should be able to do something about it because it is our party, because we are the ones that came and campaigned and sold the party to them and said vote for this man. And that is why it is important to us, that is why it is incumbent upon us to get up and do something and when you talk to someone privately and he does not listen, then you have no choice but to make it public so that the whole world knows what is going on.
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