There is disquiet between some members of the National Assembly from Bauchi State and their governor, Mohammed Abubakar, even as all of them are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Specifically, the governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who are all from Bauchi South Senatorial District, have been at each other’s throat shortly after the 2015 general elections.
Also, it was gathered that among the 12 members of the House of Representatives from the state, four have pitched tent with Dogara while the three senators from the state – Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi North), Isa Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi Central) and Ali Wakil (APC, Bauchi South) – have by their actions and utterances, shown that they are not with the governor.
Ahmed Yarima, the lawmaker representing Misau/Dambam constituency in the House of Representatives, is the most vocal among the lawmakers. He has at various times accused Governor Abubakar of running a government of exclusion at the expense of people who worked for his victory.
Also, apparently doing the bidding of the governor, senators Ali Wakili and Isah Hamma Misau have been variously accused by some members and officials of the APC in the state of going against the wishes of President Muhammadu Buhari, by visibly supporting the embattled Senate president, Bukola Saraki.
But sources said while the governor might have his personal grudge against the legislators, he and Dogara have been engaged in a fight, albeit by proxy, even as stalwarts of the APC in the state who are supposed to intervene are said to have kept mute.
The trouble is compounded by the fact that notable politicians from the state, including former governors Isa Yuguda and Adamu Mu’azu, as well as a former secretary to the federal government, Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, though members of the opposition PDP, have all looked the other way while the electorate from across the divide are complaining that the fight has dragged Bauchi behind in terms of getting democracy dividends at all levels.
Also, chieftains of the ruling party in the state, such as a former minister of Police Affairs, Dr. Yakubu Lame and Yusuf Maitama Tugga, both of whom contested for the APC ticket with Governor Abubakar, are said not to be in talking terms, since losing in the primaries, making the political scene susceptible to internal wrangling and mutual suspicion.
While the governor has literally forced PDP politicians to keep quite with lamentations of profligacy in the media, some chieftains of his party, including the National Assembly members, allege that he has sidelined them, making the party’s affairs and governance in Bauchi an exclusive project of his family and acquaintances.
The various camps have been trading blame for over a year, and as the distrust assumed a disturbing dimension, Speaker Dogara, last week, led a delegation of APC stalwarts to the party’s headquarters in Abuja and thereafter to the Presidency.
Others in the delegation were the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Senators Nazif and Wakili.
It was reliably gathered that soon after his return from a foreign trip, the governor also sought for “an indirect audience” with both the Presidency and the APC leadership while a formal meeting with President Buhari would be held soon.
During their visits, the Dogara delegation had accused the governor of allegedly misusing the N8.6 billion bailout fund given to the state by the federal government.
The governor had at various instances maintained that the N8 billion bailout fund was judiciously used, saying only N88 million was used for other purposes.
He added that the ICPC had investigated how the funds were used and had confirmed that the state had utilised the funds for the purpose it was meant.
But while fielding questions from journalists on their mission to the headquarters after the closed door meeting with the leadership of the APC in Abuja, Senator Nazif said, “Everything is not okay with the APC in Bauchi State.
“Therefore, we need the attention of the APC at the national level to come to the rescue of the APC in Bauchi because there is fire on the mountain in the Bauchi APC.
“It is not about 2019, it is about solving the APC problem in Bauchi and ensuring that APC remains united,” Senator Nazif said.
On his part, Senator Wakili said, “We did not come to speak about the governor; we came to speak about Bauchi State. But we know that when Bauchi State is mentioned, the governor will be involved.
“You know that it is an agrarian and civil service state and we must do everything to see that workers are paid as at and when due.
“We are not comparing ourselves with Osun or Edo or other states that have backlogs of nine months, it is not our business. Our people must be paid as at and when due and the remaining balance of the stipend must be paid and all the unending verifications must end,” he said.
But speaking to our correspondent on phone yesterday, the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Abubakar on Media, Comrade Sabo Mohammed, alleged that the speaker and the Bauchi legislators were actually ganging up against the governor ahead of 2019.
“Everybody knows that the president is the leader of the APC at the national level and governors are the leaders in their states. The National Assembly members are just hiding under bailout funds to attract sympathy and usurp the powers of the governor. No civil servant in Bauchi is complaining that he was not paid.
“What do they really want from the governor? Remember that after the gubernatorial primaries, the governor picked Engineer Nuhu Gidado as his deputy. Gidado also contested for the governorship ticket.
“Again, the allegation that the governor has sidelined them is unfounded because five serving commissioners were close to those people that are now fighting the governor. Why are members of the state House of Assembly and the state chapter of the APC not complaining? It goes to show that the Abuja politicians are out for mischief.
“The problem started when they told the governor that President Buhari had blocked leakages in the National Assembly and they wanted the governor to connive with them and shortchange Bauchi people but he refused.
“This is why they are fighting him. The speaker is sponsoring the legislators and at the same time planning to railroad one of them to contest for the position of governor in 2019,” he alleged.
Dogara’s Special Adviser on Media, Turaki Hassan, could not be reached but another source close to the speaker said Governor Abubakar was only waging an unnecessary war.
“The truth of the matter is that the governor is betraying history and at the same time afraid of Dogara’s rising profile. Most importantly, the odds are against Dogara because by virtue of his religion, he would hardly aspire to be governor, his aspiration will keep revolving around the National Assembly.
“Go to Bauchi and ask the stalwarts on how Dogara assisted the governor to take the party’s ticket when there were powerful contenders. It was Dogara and few others that mobilized all the delegates from Bauchi South for the governor.
“Dogara also used his influence to convince politicians from other zones in favour of the governor; that was how the PDP, with all its powerful forces, including the then governor (Yuguda), were solidly defeated.
“But what happened after the swearing-in? The governor declared Dogara and most of the National Assembly members as his enemies and feels uncomfortable whenever they reach out to their constituents,” he said.
Although the state chapter of the APC had in the past tried to broker peace between its elected members on the one hand and the governor on the other, there seems to be no end to the lingering feud.
It’s not yet clear whether the national leadership of the party or President Buhari would resolve the logjam, considering the fact that the APC is confronted with challenges from many fronts and may not likely dissipate its energy on Bauchi State alone.
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/politics/bauchi-gov-national-assembly-members-in-war-of-supremacy/159918.html#bBjJv4DbEpvFrV0w.99