In this interview, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, who is the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Bauchi State, speaks about his structured plan to dislodge the incumbent governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections.
The task ahead of you is to dislodge the incumbent governor. It is quite a herculean task. How do you intend to achieve this?
You can see the army of supporters before us. The array of interested supporters. Not only within the PDP but by partisan initiatives we are trying to come out with. You have seen how people of timber and caliber have come here from APC. You have seen that the APC is a house in disarray. They have rancor, they have mistrust, all the people who worked hard to bring APC into government have been sidelined and they are all disgruntled, they are disillusioned and they are our secret arms. Even the APC is working against APC because there is no justice, there is no equity and of course, with this ,we are just counting the days. With our position that we have provided a level playing field, a platform that is free of rancor, no conflict and of course with our intellect, our leadership capabilities, that we have been tested and trusted somewhere, I and my running mate, there is no where that you have two distinguished senators in the governorship race. We have about 30 of our traditional institutions, the Ulamas, the youths, we don’t have any problem with anybody. You can see the mammoth crowd always following us. We don’t give any money to anybody but they usually come. We have gone above money politics, we have gone above deception and delusion and certainly PDP is where to be and the people of Bauchi State have made up their minds.
You are contesting against an incumbent, and we know that in Nigeria, incumbency is a factor in politics. What are your chances?
My chances? I have already said them. Because APC is a house against itself, the incumbency factor is no longer working. All the members of the State House of Assembly are no longer there. This is the only state where the State House of Assembly is no longer functioning. This is the only state governor that is not working with his National Assembly members. This is the only state governor that is not working with the elite. This is the only state governor that is not working with the supporters who brought him to power. So he has already incapacitated himself and so we are going to work on this weakness and provide a level playing field, a salutary effect that will give Bauchi State people hope.
What is your campaign team doing to ensure that every vote counts?
Yes, of course I know the threats. We have done a SWOT analysis on ourselves. We know our strength, we know our weaknesses and we know our threat. Our threat is the government that says they will use INEC.
Our threat is the governor who thinks he can be going and cancelling elections in polling units. Our threat is the governor who thinks he can delude and deceive the presiding officers. Our threat is the governor who thinks he can use the security officers on the day of the election. Our threat is the governor who thinks that he can cancel election and stagger it in another way so that he can have an array of army or soldiers or the police to work for him. We are working against that and by the time we are finished, he will discover that all those expectations were mere dreams.
You picked your running mate from the Katagum axis as did your main opponent, the incumbent governor. Tell us the complementary role that your deputy will play in tackling your opponent?
My running mate, Senator Baba Tella is a tested politician. He is a tested person. The deputy governorship candidate of the APC has not even won a councillorship election. My deputy was the chairman of NIMASA, he was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications that brought GSM to Nigeria. So we are a team of innovators, initiators, people who know what to do. We have already come out with a template, using experts, professors in the university. We are not going to say this, because they are always copying us, but by the time we come into government, from day one ,we have the hanging proofs that we want to achieve in 100 days. We will unveil our blueprint very soon to the media, so that you can see that we are a serious team. When you look back from where we are coming, PDP had stigma, but today ,PDP has come alive and our leaders, our youths and leaders made it possible. Bauchi youths have been deluded by the current administration. We do not have anything to show for democratic dividends over the period the APC ruled. All the bailout releases from the federal government have not been put to use. From N2 billion in 2015, what the administration gets rose to N5 billion, but this has gone without any employment. No single person has been employed since the inception of this administration.
Nobody has been promoted. Nobody has been paid gratuity. We know what they are doing. They have brought ghost workers and we have information from some of the people that were forced to do it. We are
assuring the people of Bauchi State that we are going to recover these loots. They are the looters; we are not the looters. We know that all our roads have deteriorated. Since the inception of this administration, only one road has been executed, but we have some small roads that we can do to link them to big towns. I give examples of Warji and Gwaram, that will give people outreach, you don’t have to come to Ningi. I have given examples of Itas Gadau, they don’t have to come toAzare or Jammare before they go to Itas, and so on and so forth.
We have done it in Abuja. We have seen the infrastructure and services we provided in FCT. But our schools in Bauchi have dilapidated and our hospitals are death traps. They are just doing operations with torchlight. No drug revolvement. So we are going to bring governance.
As at now, there is no government in Bauchi. No amount of deception will fool the people of Bauchi. We are going to abide by law and order, but we will not allow any institution to shortchange us. We will not allow anybody to shortchange us. That should be known clearly that whosoever is coming out to use the constituted authorities, we are going to resist it. We will cast our votes, protect it, escort it and ensure that it counts.