By Abdullahi Mohammed Musa
To many who could not see the rationale behind the roller-coaster fight between Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State on one hand, and federal legislators from the state, led by no less a personality than House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, on the other hand, the appearance of the immediate past governor of the state, Isa Yuguda, at a political rally organised by Dogara penultimate week, goes a long way to resolve what was hitherto seen as a jigsaw puzzle of sort.
For months, people were wondering why, inspite of the olive branch extended on countless occasions to Dogara and his co-travellers by the Bauchi governor, the federal legislators have chosen not to hearken to wise counsel by slamming every door against peace. Many have been suspecting the existence of unseen forces instigating the legislators. There is also, on the other hand, the rumour that the legislators were fighting the governor owing to his refusal to purchase houses, cars and allocate special allowances on monthly basis for the legislators.
If a roll-call is taken of President Buhari’s arch political enemies, Isa Yuguda will surely feature prominently. Here is a man who was denied justice by his political party, the PDP. He decamped to Buhari’s political party of the time, the ANPP, and Buhari campaigned vigorously for Yuguda to win the 2007 gubernatorial election of Bauchi State. Not long after he won, however, as if to give vent to the adage that the leopard does not change its spots, Yuguda crossed back to his PDP and formed a strong opposition against Buhari, his erstwhile benefactor. Left for Isa Yuguda, Buhari will not have come near the presidency of the country.
Though it should surprise no one when birds of the same feather are seen flocking together, there still is something terribly fishy when Dogara, a man always making a show of being a Buhari apologist, organises a rally and makes Yuguda, whose disdain for Buhari is never hidden, the centrepiece of the event. For many, this is one pointer to the fact that the PDP could well have a hand in instigating the endless fight against the Bauchi governor, and the desperate efforts to deploy every fora to demonise him. Proponents of this theory believe the whole motive is to weaken President Buhari’s APC to prepare the grounds for Yuguda’s PDP to take over Bauchi in 2019.
And as if to give vent to this school of thought, Dogara and virtually all the other legislators fighting Governor Abubakar have been categorical that the APC will not win the Bauchi governorship in 2019, unless – according to some of their followers – one of them is fielded as candidate. But does it occur to them that by relentlessly sowing deep seeds of discord and trying to factionalise the APC in Bauchi, a major bastion of support for the party, they are also making it difficult, if not impossible, for the APC to hold-on to the presidency at the next general election? In the typical temporal victory of falsehood over the truth, what is hidden is now coming to light. And this is only a tip of the iceberg!
Dogara succeeded in making what his apologists described as a triumphant entry to Bauchi. He regaled the crowd that received him with stories of federal projects he has cornered, or wants to corner, to the state. Good enough. That, indeed, is what he has been voted by his constituents to do. But the one thing he deliberately missed out in his speech is the cost of the rally, said to run into hundreds of million of naira. That humongous amount is enough to transform the lives of Dogara’s hapless constituents, for good. And his name will have been written in gold. Why then did he waste so much money in a totally-needless ego-driven venture? Was the “contractor” Dogara referred to, in his speech, as being in their midst at the rally, the sponsor of the event? And who is this unnamed contractor? If the contractor was not the financier, who funded the jamboree, or they want us to assume the money was taken from the coffers of the House of Reps? Endless, unanswered questions.
In an article widely published in some newspapers, Dogara’s media aide, my good friend Turaki Hassan, claimed that the Speaker has been renamed “Mai Solar” by his hapless constituents because of solar-powered street lights he was said to have provided to some locality. But since resources are few, and there are competing demands, didn’t it occur to Speaker Dogara that a solar light is the least of the problems facing his constituents? Why can’t he follow in the footsteps of Governor Abubakar by illuminating their hearts with education, or making food available to them by boosting agriculture, even if he is yet to respond to allegations publicly made by another federal legislator that he diverted an important Federal Government’s water project to his own personal farm?
The whole drama, termed as Dogara’s triumphant entry to Bauchi, was a badly-scripted one any person with excess naira could stage. Even when the economy of the country was buoyant, unscrupulous politicians are known to hire crowds to make a political statement. Some even go to neighbouring states to rent crowds and make a fake show of strength.
But what Dogara and his co-travellers did not realise is that they ended up, in a strange way they never intended or imagined, casting Governor Abubakar in good light. The fact that they went to Bauchi and staged that rally without being molested points strongly to the fact that Governor Abubakar is an absolute man of peace who is socially re-orienting the Bauchi society. Many a governor will not have taken an inch of that affront. Stories abound of how some governors hire mercenaries to stop their opponents, by all means. Whether by coincidence or design, the Bauchi Governor left the state for Dogara and co, so that nobody could use his presence to perpetrate mischief.
One expects that rather than dissipating unnecessary energy and humongous resources in fighting the governor of Bauchi, Speaker Dogara should be more concerned with issues to do with accountability and transparency, by lifting the cloud of secrecy around the finances of the House of Reps that he leads. That, by far, is more important to Nigerians, not a needless display of wealth and over-bloated ego. Right now, only a few members have an idea of how things are being run in the House of Representatives. Many are just keeping quiet so as not to rock the boat. Nigerian are being kept in the dark, inspite of some cosmetic efforts to the contrary.
The Speaker also owes it to posterity the responsibility to respond in greater detail to serious allegations of malfeasance levelled against him by his erstwhile benefactor, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin. Distracting Governor Abubakar could never sweep these weighty allegations under the carpet, and however long it might take, it remains one issue that must be unearthed and addressed.
It is saddening that this unnecessary fight has denied Bauchi full benefit of its men in power at the federal level. The governor will definitely have achieved lots more, if he were not being severely distracted. Division is an ill wind that blows no one no good, and that explains why no religion has ever supported it. Dogara, said to be a pastor, ought to know this very well, and abide by it. In unity, you gain strength. One therefore hopes that sooner than later, the Speaker and his co-travellers in the National Assembly will accept the olive branch extended severally to them by Governor Abubakar, in the interest of Bauchi and the whole of Nigeria.
Musa, CEO of Ginet Media, wrote from Bauchi.