The concluded Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Bauchi State surely showed a tectonic shift in Nigerian politics, as implied by the Presidential and National Assembly elections. But whether that shift is capable of reinforcing democracy to grow is another thing entirely. As widely predicted, the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and the substantial victory of the APC in the national assembly election are expected to create a bandwagon effect on credible leadership anchored on transparency and probity. Bauchi State voting pattern, like many other states was influenced by the outcome of the February 23 elections, regardless of the fact that all politics, as pundits surmise, was essentially the trend. A state that gave the president majority of its votes, and made a clean sweep of the National Assembly seats on offer, had, deployed the same voters to give the House of Assembly to same party but avoided capping it up by putting the party’s standard-bearer, M.A Abubakar back to the Government House.
Bauchi State, arguably one of the most progressing states in Nigeria, appears poised to benefit from the outcome of March 9th gubernatorial election. Hard as APC tried, and regardless of how ingeniously or bitterly they framed their campaign, Bauchi State voters chose to stay static, declined the hand of fellowship from the fractured APC, and voted massively for the New Level ideology. The huge developmental efforts in Bauchi State began with Abubakar Tatari Ali’s tenure (1979 – 1983), rolled through the Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu governorship tenure, and further accentuated during the first tenure of Malam Isa Yuguda, and the messiah may have now arrived the scene in 2019.
Despite some modifications and adjustments, those developmental efforts are sustained. Therefore, the state was expected to be reluctant to allowing those efforts hamstrung by needless experimentations or contemplate a sudden and traumatizing turn towards retaining APC in power and conservatism.
Bauchi state therefore, made a wise choice between Sen. Bala Muhammed and others despite the muddying of the waters by a coterie of campaigners bent on to mid-wife crafted change for the heck of it. Bauchi state is becoming a vast workshop of projects that began at the outset of the Bala Muhammed administration, projects designed and owned by the PDP and its progenitors in trust for the state. If PDP had campaigned on the platform of the dividends of the stewardship of the Jonathan administration alone a lone that are scattered all over the state, many of which are world-class, the electorates could have wondered on why there was even a need in 2015 to fix what was not broken by the APC? But PDP as a determined and focused institution voided committing itself on what to offer during 2019 campaign as a start to its own new projects. If that was done, voters could have asked whether the opposition parties planned to abandon the state’s APC blue-print, including the time it would take to conceive a new blue-print and the attendant cost of delay and transition. Bauchi state, given its ballooning population, can neither afford the fresh costs nor the time wastage. Recall, for instance, how Sen. Bala Muhammed became snarled in a thicket when he attempted to re-conceptualize ghost workers bedeviling the civil service.
The deck was stacked on many fronts and at many levels against the opposition candidates. They had to overcome many obstacles, including the catalyzing effect of Buhari factor, the electorate’s reluctance to move Bauchi state into opposition at the centre at a time the state had began to benefit from being a part of the national ruling party, and the complaints about cost and time wastage involved in re-conceptualizing a new blue-print for the state and reconfiguring Bauchi state into unaccustomed conservatism. Apart from these, most of the opposition candidates were unable to dispel suspicion of inexperience in public administration, most especially in a democracy which the state now experiences.
Despite its quality and acceptability, PDP was not pretending or ignorant of the campaign inspired by opposition parties especially on the heels of the victories recorded by APC at the national assembly election. APC believed that the victory recorded was to be replicated in the gubernatorial election with little modification. However, the APC victory contained no water because it never produced prospective sterling achievers but mere paperweights lacking the basic ingredients of sound representation and that couldn’t threaten the chances of PDP in the March 9 elections.
PDP had successfully and consistently produced men and women who made tremendous positive impact at both state and national levels of governance with the support of past governors that deserves special mention and commendation. Bauchi state, perhaps more than any other state, has in fact produced countless public sector achievers who are now showing value of tutelage and mentoring in the PDP.
Opposition candidates had framed the sometimes uneasy relationships between contending personalities in the PDP as one of master and servant. That was a misreading of the process that adroitly produced the present leaders.
The leaders are not robots. They were mentored in part because they demonstrated brilliance, confidence and judgment. Clashes, crisis, friction and misunderstanding within were, therefore inevitable in a democracy. But the process of producing leaders and achievers by the PDP in Bauchi state has continued apace, and the leadership mill is consistently replenished, and more bright minds are churned from the party’s hatchery. The failure of some PDP aspirants at the party’s primary election capitalized upon by opposition candidates as an example to illustrate their arguments, had nothing to do with the party’s leadership, but was a consequence of the aspirants’ difficult interaction with the party apparatchik and members.
Regardless of the implausibility of opposition arguments, they will continue to overheat the polity with baseless accusations and allegations in an attempt to confuse the people for acceptability while the opposite remains the truth.
Opposition candidates may be good public speakers as they repeatedly demonstrated during campaign, but they had not proved by way of ideas and personal example that they possessed the qualities of leaders and bureaucrats for trust of public offices. For instance, Dr. Musa Babayo, allegedly a ‘gifted’ failed politician of yester years, is good at under rating the intelligence of his listeners once opportune. Combined with his co-travelers, their opponent, Sen. Bala Muhammed has so far demonstrated by example and training, not to say only by personal qualities, that he is the safer bet to remain faithful to Bauchi state’s developmental blue-print, to improve on it, and continue to expand and modernize infrastructure, and to nurture the state mystique of producing local and national leaders for our today and tomorrow so why not we all should stand by him, respect him and support his laudable achievements for our collective benefit? The writing is clear and the pendulum still swings to his side. We should ignore the antics of failed politicians whose stock in trade is to use others to project their battered images to occupy key government positions for selfish interest the likes of Ahmadu Mu’azu, Isa Yuguda, Musa Babayo and a host of other daylight politicians that have expired without garbage value. Our support to Sen. Bala for safe navigation is therefore vital and crucial if we truly believe in the progress of Bauchi state.
Muhammad is the Publisher of Pointblank Investigative Newspaper