PAUL OMOKUVIE BAUCHI
Following the U-turn made by the outgoing Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar to challenge the victory of the governor-elect, Sen. Bala Mohammed, 50 lawyers have accepted to offer free legal services to defend the latter’s victory at the election petition tribunal.
The lawyers under the aegis of Body of Bauchi Lawyers of Conscience (BOBOLAC), disclosed this in a media statement jointly signed by the Chief Convener and Secretary, Barristers Shipi Rabo and Musa Abdullahi respectively.
BOBOLAC said its offer of free legal services was necessitated by the decision of the outgoing governor of Bauchi state, Muhammad Abubakar and the All Progressives Congress (APC), to challenge the victory of the governor-elect after he had earlier conceded defeat.
The group in the statement wondered why Governor Abubakar would pretend as if it was the APC that planned to challenge the outcome of the election at the tribunal when indeed, he was the one behind the move.
It said: “We wish to observe that Governor Abubakar’s latest move to go to the tribunal in respect of the election smacks of double speak (and with due respect to him and the APC), insincerity. This is because as we have had occasions to observe, Governor M.A. was among the first people to call on Wazirin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to concede defeat in the presidential election and take the result in good faith.
“The issue here is that our own Makama Babba (Gov. Mohammed) in Bauchi is for all intent and purposes not walking the talk. Having initially conceded defeat and congratulated Kauran Bauchi (Bala Mohammed) knowing full well that it is the wish of the people, Mr. Abubakar should have stuck to his words. That is how statesmen behave.
“What we consider wrong is the governor portraying the whole matter of going to the tribunal as being the decision of so, so-and-so person while in reality it is not.”
The group said that it had no problem with the governor going to the tribunal saying it was a welcome development which would afford it to use its God-given skills to defend the people’s mandate given to the governor-elect.
“We convey our assurances to his Excellency the governor-elect and indeed the people of Bauchi State that we are deploying the services of not less than 50 counsels which include some very senior colleagues and successfully-tested hands to compliment the efforts of the legal team to defend the people’s mandate in terms of the impending election petition to be filed by Governor Abubakar,” it said.
It was learnt that Governor Abubakar, following the declaration of Bala Mohammed as the governor-elect, conceded defeat and congratulated him.
But after spending over one week in Abuja lobbying and making consultations in the Presidency and the national leadership of the APC, Governor Abubakar made a U-turn and said that his party had agreed to go to court to reclaim his mandate from the PDP.
The governor who addressed his supporters in his campaign office, said he had earlier accepted his defeat as his “destiny” but disclosed that he met with President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the party which informed him that they would file a suit soon to challenge the election.
He said: “The reason for my going to Abuja, in my capacity as a loyal and obedient party member…, I went and met with the National Chairman of the APC, I met with the Vice President of Nigeria, I also met with the President of Nigeria.
“Just like I have said, I am an obedient member of the national body of the party; it was because of this, that all these three places that I went to, each one of them said that the APC will file a suit in court to challenge the election results of Bauchi.
“As an obedient member, I accepted to go with that decision. Everyone knows when the results of the election were announced, I conceded defeat but I contested on the ticket of the party and the party has refused to accept the outcome.”
Abubakar added that it was because of that development that he was addressing his supporters to inform them that “the party has concluded its plans and has hired four Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to file this suit in court in a short while from now.”