In Bauchi state, the raging misunderstanding between the governor and members of the national assembly is taken its tolls on the rank and file of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as it has further polarized the party stakeholders causing turmoil, leaving visible cracks on the party. In this piece, BEATRICE GONDYI assesses the undercurrents of the scuffles.
After what passed for hide and seek game and ultimately, denial, it is no longer news that all is not well with the Bauchi chapter of the ruling APC as critical stakeholders of the party, comprising mainly the governor and members of the national assembly, appears to be on each other’s jugular.
On the eve of the nation’s 56th independence anniversary, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar burst out when he made public statement concerning the altercations.
Until that moment, Governor Mohammed Abubakar has kept a sealed lip perhaps to give an impression that all was well between him and members of the national assembly from the state. But it appears things have completely fallen apart and th centre could no longer hold hence the decision by the governor to come to the public with explanations for the scuffle.
It is an established fact that the governor and his loyalists constituted themselves as a faction of the party, and members of the National Assembly representing Bauchi state, all of whom are APC members and who first fired the barrage, also constitute another faction.
The two warring factions of have over a period of time, through their cronies, engaged in media war either about supremacy or winning the soul of the party in the state, or even on unidentified reasons which party supporters and electorates failed to comprehend.
Hostilities between members of the two warring party factions which rage on unabated for sometimes now, not only deprived electorates the much-needed democracy dividends but also put their supporters in disarray.
While the two Bauchi APC warring factions continue to hurl missiles against each other, the state continue to suffer because as it is often said, when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.
The altercations between the governor and members of the National Assembly can best be described as baseless since their separate functions have been adequately described by the constitution of Nigeria.
While the altercations continued, both sides kept sealed lip except the media war which is continually been fought by their allies.
But recently, Governor Mohammed Abubakar spoke out when he accused the national assembly members of being self-centered.
The Governor, who unfolded the circumstances that culminated to the rift between him and National Assembly members in the state, revealed that the rift between them came about as a result of the NASS members’ demand that the state government purchase for them houses in Abuja and luxary cars.
According to the governor, the altercations were ignited when he declined on the basis of lean resources at the disposal of the state government.
Abubakar, told journalists in Bauchi recently that “the Bauchi NASS members have at one time met me in a certain place where they requested for the purchase to them of houses in Abuja and Luxury Jeep cars, but I told them that even if I’m bathing in a pool of money, I cannot afford meeting their demands”.
According to the Governor, he told them vividly that as members of the National Assembly, their official demands should be directed to constituted federal authorities, but not the Government of Bauchi or himself as the Governor of the state.
“As members of the National Assembly, their demands be it for houses, cars or whatever should be sought at the federal level while at state level I’m ready to give them any assistance they may require, but not houses or cars especially with the present economic predicaments”
After all, the Governor said, Bauchi is one of the least in terms of statutory allocation to the states, and therefore described Bauchi NASS members’ demands as outrageous which cannot be footed by the state government.
Governor Abubakar recalled that he had at different times constituted three committees to meet with the warring members of National Assembly representing the state to iron out disagreements between them but without a truce.
Abubakar said as a last resort, he constituted a committee of State APC Working Committee members for amicable resolution of the disagreements raging between them which only five of the eighteen NASS members representing the state attended but the meeting ended fruitless.
The Governor, who also wondered why such fracas is only familiar to Bauchi among the states in the federation, further recalled that since their inception in May, 2016 to date, none of the NASS members representing the state ever bring home a single democracy dividend to electorates.
He expressed dismay that the Bauchi NASS members typically deceives electorates while on the other hand poses challenges to the state government on parochial issues that tends to divert people’s attention.
Although the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dogara Yakubu, who reportedly is the leader of the feuding Bauchi NASS members, could not be reached for comments, some of the national assembly members who spoke described the governor’s allegations that they demanded for houses and vehicles from him (the governor) as baseless.
Among those who spoke was the Senator representing Bauchi south Malam Ali Wakili. He denied the allegation by the state Governor Barrister Mohammed Abubakar that the current rift between him and members of the national assembly from the state was due to his [governor’s] refusal to purchase exotic cars and houses for them in Abuja.
Speaking at his residence in Bauchi when he distributed forms to cooperative societies drawn from the seven local governments of Bauchi, Alkaleri, Kirfi, Toro, Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro that made up of the constituency to access the federal government’s N500 billion loan for market men and women in the nation, Senator Wakili said the governor’s accusation “is a mere attempt to denigrate the law makers and to cheaply restore his lost popularity” from the people of the state over his alleged poor performance and non-payment of workers’ salaries as at when due for over one year of his assumption of office.
‘’When has it ever happened in the state where the governors purchased houses for legislators? That is his way of blackmailing us. It is very unfortunate. We have never demanded him to buy us houses or cars. Our quarrel with the governor hinges on our demand for good governance’’ he said.
But while the two Bauchi APC warring factions continue to hurl missiles against each other, sources said Governor Mohammed Abubakar in his quest to diffuse tensions and create atmosphere of understanding in which adversaries will fuse together under a unified umbrella to serve the electorate for whom the fighting elephants were mandated to represent, constituted mediatory bodies to end the feuds.
It was gathered that the firstly, the Governor constituted a committee of imminent personalities directing them to provide a suitable forum with state APC – NASS members in Abuja for amicable settlement of disputes, disagreements, or misunderstanding. Unfortunately the committee’s efforts proved fruitless as the Abuja faction of the party shunned the meeting.