- Warns against rigging, Senate leader keeps mum
- Governors meet tomorrow
By Deji Elumoye and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Bukar Ibrahim, has warned that the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari in February, 2019, may suffer a setback in the North-east.
This, he said, was because the president had so far performed below expectations.
Ibrahim (APC Yobe East), who sounded this note of warning at the weekend in Abuja also tasked the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), not to toy with the idea of rigging the next general elections in the country.
The three-term senator declared that massive rigging may not save Buhari from the imminent defeat as realities on the ground show that Nigerians were worse off under him in the last three and half years if compared to the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rule from 1999 to 2015.
The former governor of Yobe State who spoke at the Internet Launch of his Book ‘Poorlitics’ to mark his 70th Birthday, said votes from the six North-east states of Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe should not be taken for granted since it’s not compulsory that the zone must vote for Buhari.
According to him, the political marriage between the North-east and North-west, where Buhari hails from dated back to the last general elections in 2015 since several decades of party formations and democratic governance in the country from the 1950s.
According to him.” In fact, the politics of the North-east has always been different from the politics of the North-west and it was under APC that we all united for the first time.
“I am going to give a dire warning. Let the North-east not be taken for granted that we must support APC.
“Our interest in the North-east has always been progressive and I will personally be watching for required improvements in the APC before the elections. Improvements that can guarantee victory such as respecting the rule of law and releasing political prisoners as well as unselective war against corruption as against one sided witchhunt.”
The senator expressed concern that things were getting worse by the day under the change mantra government of the APC since May 29, 2015.
He said, “As we move towards the elections, I have to give a serious warning to the APC that things are no longer the way they were in 2015 when we rode to power on a cloud of euphoria believing that things will change for better. Simply put, things have not changed and many things are getting worse and the people are bitter.
On rigging, the senator declared, “We should not assume that we can win even with massive rigging.”
Ibrahim also gave the ruling party thumps down for not finding a lasting solution to the nation’s ailing economy.
“The economy has gone down because of our action and inaction and we are blaming the past too much rather than solving the present problems,” he said.
According to him, if APC under Buhari did not get its bearings in terms of good governance before the 2019 general elections, the North-east will have no any other option than to vote for candidates of other political parties.
He, however, expressed his readiness to ensure that the party does what is right between now and the general elections saying, “I shall sit back and continue to encourage my party to do the right thing. But if we don’t, I still reserve the capacity to ask my people to go our separate ways and do what must be done for good governance to reign in Nigeria.”
The senator added for effect,” At my age, I have no reason to lie, being a socialist progressive over the years as against capitalist conservatives that dominate the other zones”.
According to him, the North-east was on the same page with the progressives politics played by the late Aminu Kano of the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU); Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the defunct Action Group (AG) and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of the defunct National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroun (NCNC) as against the capitalistic and conservative ideology of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) led by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello and seen as aggressive and ruthless to the North-eastern and Middle Belt people generally.
Ibrahim added that the sole purpose of authoring the book ‘Poorlitics’ was to discourage money politics in the polity and promote people centred politics he said he did in Yobe State where he claimed he contested for governorship position in 1991 with just N20,000.00 in his bank account and yet with massive support of the people, he defeated the money bags and their godfathers.
Meanwhile, the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, (APC Yobe North), who is also from the North-east zone as Ibrahim, declined to comment on the reservations of Ibrahim about the electoral chances of Buhari in the zone.
When he was contacted on phone yesterday, the Senate leader told THISDAY, “I choose not to comment.”
When prodded further Lawan declared, “It’s my choice not to comment on that issue and I think I’m entitled to that choice.”
APC Govs Meet Tomorrow
Meanwhile, the stage is set for a possible confrontation between some aggrieved governors of the APC and the ones loyal to the National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, at Tuesday’s reconciliatory meeting in Abuja.
Four of the governors, the Chief Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) and Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), who were not happy with the party’s decisions on the recent primary elections in their states are said to be mobilising support for a vote of no confidence against Oshiomhole at the meeting of APC governors scheduled for tomorrow.
The APC governors are expected to meet separately in Abuja under the auspices of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) to try and take a common position before the meeting being summoned by the president to resolve the crisis in the party.
Among the cases that the reconciliatory meeting will seek to resolve are the tussles over who are the rightful governorship candidates for APC in Ogun, Imo and Zamfara States.
While Amosun is complaining that his favoured candidate, Mr. Abiodun Akinlade, was dropped for Chief Dapo Abiodun, Okorocha is doing battle to ensure that his son-in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, gets the party’s ticket for the state, ahead of another claimant, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
THISDAY gathered at the weekend that both sides of the divide were mobilising and making frantic efforts to win support ahead of the meeting.
A reliable source told THISDAY yesterday that Oshiomhole would be coming back from his trip to the United States today to take charge of things.
The source also said that before his travel overseas the embattled APC chairman had commissioned some of his close allies to help reach out to leaders of the party in various zones in order to douse tension.
As a result of the move to shore up support, the source said that Oshiomhole was able to mobilise his immediate constituency, the state chairmen of APC in the South-south to pass a vote of confidence on him.