By Saadu Umar
Reading the above question, I hear the voice of Okino but see the hands of Qaura. However, to answer her question: Bauchi APC is not “Riding against the tide”.
Rather, the Bauchi APC is riding on the wave of its popularity and the integrity, character, credentials, competence and antecedence of His Excellency, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (CFR).
We are going to keep riding until we reach the Bauchi State Government House to rid it of Qaura and undo the bad things he did and the good things he forbids.
We will not be distracted or bothered by birthers bandying conspiracy theories about the birthplace or the certificates of His Excellency, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (CFR). We have very little time for this sort of stupidity.
And, for anyone who thinks that Air Marshal Sadique is not an indigene of Bauchi State or that he did not attend St Paul’s Primary School, Bauchi and GSS Bauchi – here is what I would tell you plain: you are insane!
Although it is tempting to join issues with this Ebira-born birther sweating blood, barrenly, in order to export trivialities, tribal politics and “politics of elimination” to Bauchi State; the APC will resist that and will implacably make the Bauchi 2023 gubernatorial election issue based. Because the people of Bauchi are less concerned with conspiracy theories and smears of puppets and cynics.
The APC and the good people of Bauchi are more concerned with the sorry state of education, especially the 1.2 million out-of-school children and how to take these children off the streets and put them back in the classes. Qaura is cutting funding for education and is only spending a miserable ₦3,383 per capita as per the latest BudgIT report. APC under Air Marshal Sadique will invest sufficiently in education to make our schools like they used to be when we were young and make public schools compete with the best private schools in Bauchi State.
The APC and the good people of Bauchi are more concerned with the terrible state of healthcare under Qaura. Pregnant women and infants are dying for a lack of adequate care. Over a hundred children suffering from acute malnutrition died because the state government cannot provide therapeutic food (RUTF) for them but can spend billions to buy cars and build mansions. Our hospitals and primary healthcare centres are in a state of disrepair. Qaura is only spending a meagre 1, 734 Naira per capita according to BudgIT 2022 report. Qaura doesn’t care.
The APC and people of Bauchi are worried about the debt hole Qaura is entrapping Bauchi in – he has turned Bauchi State into the most indebted state in the Northeast. (BudgIT 2022). Nobody knows how much Bauchi is owing. BudgIT’s recent report puts it at over 134 million Dollars in foreign and over 154 billion Naira in domestic debts. He is also planning to borrow more, so much more than we can repay in the next 100 years. As Qaura is mortgaging our future with historic debts, he is also selling Bauchi State assets to his friends and family.
The APC and the good people of Bauchi are worried about the monumental corruption going on in Qaura’s government like the: 1.2 billion Naira Qaura is taking monthly in the name of security votes only to exacerbate insecurity in the state; 3.6 billion Naira vehicle purchase contract Qaura awarded to himself through Adda Nigeria limited; ₦8 billion Federal Government refunded funds for road construction; the ₦11 billion Qaura inherited in FCMB account belonging to Bauchi State; ₦6.2 billion renovation of Government House.
The APC and people of Bauchi are worried that Bauchi is the 8th (or 3rd) poorest State in Nigeria according to Gov Bala as reported by the Guardian. 86.6% poverty rate (UN poverty index 2015). Unemployment and under-employment hover over 64% according to government sources, some accounts put it over 80%. The illiteracy rate is over 60%.
To sum it up, APC and the people of Bauchi are interested in change. Bauchi State needs change. A change to arrest the slide into poverty, inequality, unemployment, illiteracy, debt hole, hunger, malnutrition, insecurity, corruption and corrupt cornering of public assets by few private individuals connected to Qaura.
To be sure, the Bauchi State APC has no doubts about the constitutional qualifications of Air Marshal Sadique and the necessary and sufficient compliance with the laws concerning his nomination and the information he supplied to the Party. No single sane person in Bauchi doubts this. Only an ignorant fool will.
Now, without being too technical, all the law requires is for the political party sponsoring a candidate to submit his name to INEC accompanied by an affidavit deposed to by the said candidate, stating that he has met “all the constitutional requirements for election into that office.”
Air Marshal Sadique, having won his primary election in a valid primary, has duly filled out the nomination forms and sworn to an affidavit indicating that he has fulfilled all the constitutional requirements for the election into the office of the governor of Bauchi State as required by the Electoral Act 2022.
At the risk of belabouring this, Air Marshal Sadique is educated up to at least the secondary school level. Even Qaura knows this because they were in the same secondary school. Air Marshal Sadique is a Nigerian citizen by birth, born and bred in Azare, Bauchi State – that’s why he served in the Nigerian Air Force for four decades where he attained the rank of 3-star general and held the office of the Chief of Air Staff before retiring to serve as the Nigerian Ambassador to Chad Republic – do you really believe that an alien will hold these two offices?. Therefore, If you doubt that Air Marshal Sadique did not fulfil the constitutional educational and citizenship requirements – two issues raised by Okino and her company – you need some help.
Further, you would find nothing in the law, certainly not in section 29, or the like, of the Electoral Act requiring, expressly, the submission of copies of school or indigene certificates. By the way, certificate copies aren’t conclusive proof of anything.
Besides, assuming any information submitted by a candidate were to be false, insufficient or inadequate, neither Ms Okino nor the other kibitzers would have locus standing to challenge such submission. Hence, you wonder what is the motive behind Okino’s smears. Is she a paid puppet of Qaura? She appears so. Else she has no business meddling with local Bauchi politics. She should focus on Kogi politics of Ebira-Igala-Okun squabbles. We in Bauchi don’t do politics of tribalism even though Qaura is trying to introduce it to the State. They tried it in 2019 accusing his opponent of being an Ebira, like Okino, from Kogi State. This can’t work with Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar CFR. For obvious reasons.
Lastly, I will warn Ms Okino not only for feeding the smears and calumny against the APC and its candidate but also for trying to portray our judges and courts as complaisant and acquiescent. Ridiculous. Contemptuous. Outrageous.
Saadu, a lawyer, is Deputy Chairman of the APC Publicity Committee, Bauchi State and former Director-General of BASEPA.