BY KABIR AKINTAYO
Alhaji Al-Amin Aliyu, accountant, entrepreneur and grassroots politician is the CEO of Rahama City Suite in Bauchi who actively worked for the election of Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State. In this interview argues that some political interests are fuelling a rift between the governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives,Yakubu Dogara, for selfish reasons.
Is it not becoming clear that the political rift between Governor Mohammed Abubakar and the Bauchi State caucus of the National Assembly led by Speaker Yakubu Dogara is getting to a crescendo?
… (cuts in) How do you mean? What are your parameters? Honestly, I can’t find any. We have maintained that there is no rift between the governor and Speaker Yakubu Dogara or anybody for that matter. There is none whatsoever. The wheel of governance in the state is running perfectly well.
Recently, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the immediate past Bauchi State Gov. Isa Yuguda and other members of the state’s caucus in the National Assembly were in Dass to flag off Federal roads projects worth N50 billion. Does this not further indicate that all may not be well in Bauchi State politically?
Honestly, I don’t see anything awkward about the event in Dass except that some interests sought to use it negatively. In any case, APCpromised the people democracy dividend. Onthe flip side, it is a measure of the gift of providence which translates to the governor’s political goodwill that the state is attracting such developmental projects. It is for the good of the people of the state. There is a local African proverb that says that where a man and a woman see a snake, if it is the woman who eventually kills it, it is still in order because the most important thing is that the snake did not escape. Do you get my point? Today, it is on record that in the current tenure of the governor, there are no fewer than eight bona fide indigenes of Bauchi State occupying very important, strategic and influential positions in Abuja. We have the Speaker, the Acting SGF Hajia Muda Lawal, the Minister of Education, Mal. Adamu Adamu, the Chief of the Air Staff, Vice Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Ahmeed Ali, the Group Managing Director, NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru, the INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmud Yakubu and Alh. Ya’u Darazo, an SSA to the President. We have never had it so good. We thank the Almighty Allah for these appointments. So what is the next thing to do? Bauchi State citizens should now come together as a family and maximise the gains of these appointments. It is in this context that we see the Dass event. The job of the governor is already cut out for him. It is his responsibility to ensure that unnecessary political rifts are minimised to harmonize these gains and translate them to reality for the benefit of the good people ofBauchi State. I believe that is what he is doing now. That is why his goodwill and mass support across the entire state keep rising. There is norift between our governor and anybody for that matter. The governor has said many times that he is in a covenant with the good people of Bauchi on one hand, and with the Almighty Allah on the other. The Bauchi State people are fully behind him. We believe that the Federal road projects that were flagged off in Das are, first and foremost, for the good of the people of this state within the context of the several roadconstruction and rehabilitation projects running into over 400 kilometres which are due forcommissioning soon by the state government. Mind you, the people are not interested in knowing who brought what, they are only interested in how such projects can transform their lives meaningfully. The availability of good roads is fundamental to the protection of lives and property which is the primary purpose of government. Under no circumstance should the peoples’ security and collective well being be politicised.
So you mean your governor does not see the Dass event as a political affront?
No, he does not see it as such. He is not a man of base instinct. He is a man of profound depth religiously and politically. God brought him to govern this state at such a critical time as this after the political buccaneers of the last dispensation rapaciously feasted on the resources of this state and left it bleeding with huge workers’ salaries, pensions and entitlements left unpaid. He saved our state from slipping into industrial crisis. We should support and encourage him to disallow such political buccaneers from coming back through the backdoor. This is what is at play. We are proud of the governor for standing his ground with Almighty God and the good people of Bauchi State on his side. I maintain that the governor has no rift with anybody. He is more concerned about improving the well being of the good people of the state.
But Speaker Dogara has said the governordoes not want to settle the rift, alleging that the governor is playing divide-and–rule by buying cars for some Reps. What is your take on this?
Let me first answer the question about an alleged purchase of cars to some Federal Reps. As far as I know, I do not think it is true. Now, let’s face it; how can the governor, who believes that the resources of the state should not be shared to people as political patronage, flout his own established rule and principle? It doesn’t add up. Again, the governor has worked very hard to maintain peace with stakeholders knowing full well that as the political leader of the state, he takes the credit or otherwise on what happens in Bauchi State now. On the issue of the Stakeholders’ Forum and the efforts of our amiable President Muhammadu Buhari (may God grant him speedy recovery in London to come back and continue with his excellent pro-people job), he (President) contacted the Honourable Minister of Education , AlhajiAdamu Adamu whom you know is also fromBauchi state to brief him about political happenings in the state. I do not think it is true that the President. The stakeholders’ forum was also chaired by Adamu Adamu contactedDogara. It is possible that the President broached the Speaker during one of their regular meetings as leaders of arms of government. It was from Adamu Adamu that such specific, in-depth and objective briefings were requested by the President based on their several years of deep relationship. This is the fact.
The forum conceded that the governor had virtually met all their concerns 80% (i.e. prompt payment of backlog of workers’ salaries and pensions, issues pertaining to the management of bailout funds, etc. The forum accepted that the only major outstanding issue was the appointment of Local Government caretaker committees where the National Assembly argued that every member shall nominate and appoint the Chairman and councillors in his constituency, an argument the Governor rejectedas an infringement on his constitutional privilege. The Governor requested that the parley with Mr. President be deferred by oneweek as he was already scheduled for a foreignvisit. The forum granted the request and extended its courtesies. Dogara and somemembers rushed to the Villa immediately after the governor travelled and told the President that the governor was not interested in any dispute settlement as he has left the countryahead of the scheduled presidential briefing. The governor got wind of it and immediately reached Mr. President from outside the country to deny it. Upon his return to the country, he personally briefed the president. This was what happened. I take opportunity of this interview to thank Mr. President for showing keen interest in the affairs of our state.
But Dogara keeps saying that his disagreementwith the governor stems from his push for good governance in Bauchi State. He has even dispelled rumours that he is running for governor in 2019. What do you think?
As a citizen of the state, Yakubu Dogara is welcome anyday to work for the progress of the state. We appeal to him not to succumb to attempts by some interests to use the platform of the National Assembly to undermine ourgovernor through orchestrated public hearings aimed at discrediting the APC government in the state in favour of the once-rejected opposition people such as ex-Gov. Isa Yuguda who has been seeking political relevance. He (Yuguda) is a paper weight politician desperate to come back through the back door. But let me assure you that the good people of Bauchi State are unanimous in their resolve to support and re-elect Governor M.A. Abubakar of the APC in the next elections Insha Allah in view of the several giant achievements and milestones of his administration. Though the governor does not like to talk about it especially now that he is fully engaged with delivering on all his campaign promises, we will not keep quietotherwise political interlopers will take the centre stage. We must ensure that this does not happen.
You are saying that the political rift is a ruse after all. How far has the APC-organized Chris Ngige-led reconciliation team gone?
We have always welcomed reconciliation whenever the peace and harmony in the state’s chapter of the party is threatened. But the fact isthat this reconciliation idea is the initiative of the governor because he is a man of peace who sent about 50 APC chieftains comprising 20 LGA party chairmen and 30 exco members to visit Speaker Dogara just as all the 6 Emirate councils under the leadership of the Emir of Bauchi, the Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly, the state’s APC chairman and the state’s Elders’ Committee did. Though there was no immediate positive result, we still believe in reconciliation as part of the governor’s open display of exemplary leadership. As we speak, development is taking place simultaneously across all the 20 LGAs of the state in the different facets of the lives of our people, i.e, education, water supply, rural electrification, health, agriculture, the civil service, security, youth engagement and women empowerment.
If the governor is still popular within the state, why the claims that he gets stoned wherever and whenever he goes for visits in the state?
This is a blatant lie. The Governor has been going round the state freely and frequently without any such report of stoning. It is part of the politics of division we are talking about. The governor has been undertaking many social,political, administrative and community development visits across the three senatorial districts of the state. Not even the so-called verification exercises which some armchair critics have described as unending have resorted to such. The fact remains that where a state with 44 LGSs in the north pays N6.2 billion to 92,000 workers monthly, Bauchi state which has20 LGAs now pays about N5 billion monthly to 10,000 workers as a result of the successful staff verification exercise. The government believes it can still reduce the wage bill. This is why the governor, his deputy and his cabinet members now get their entitlements through a process called table payment with more ghost workersbeing weeded out every month. Sure, our state is the better for it.