By Sanusi Muhammad
Those with retentive memory will recollect the beginning of the Mohammed Abubakar administration in Bauchi state how he battled Tanko Abdullahi Orlando who challenged his victory at the ‘rigged’ APC gubernatorial primary election up to the Supreme Court and how he attempted to ridicule the administration of his predecessor for stability. From history, Abubakar remains the loneliest governor that ever occupied the governor’s official residence in Bauchi state. No responsible person wanted to associate with his administration. No one of any political weight in the state, that sincerely congratulated or visited him other than the usual riff-raffs, sycophants and jobbers. He remains the first governor of Bauchi state to be treated by the majority of the political elite as a leper despite his ascendancy.
> He is a typical definition of an abandoned politician who accessed power by accident as destined: he was seen as a begotten governor, given the reprobate manner of his emergence and subsequent unguided statements of pomposity and crudity.
He so left the emptiness of his scorned elevation and the near zero solidarity of the people with his governorship that he began to throw around false claims of solidarity and congratulatory messages, which were routinely repudiated by those alleged to have sent them the likes of fellow contestant, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tugga. In fact, the blasphemous coinage ‘divine mandate’ with which Abubakar characterizes his ascension to power, according to those in the inner circle of administration, was a pugnacious riposte to the near total rejection of the improbable governor.
Till this moment, the elite and most men of conscience in the state have stayed away to watch how the state is governed. Abubakar is still thrashing around for support from those that matter and is not forthcoming.
Overtime, however, he used the instrumentality of artificial poverty and hunger – that are well known weapons of coercion – to attract support. For a state where government is everything, the governor was in a pole position to command political behavior through patronage. An urbane aeuroneutical engineer and reserved politician, Capt. Bala Jibrin, gave life to this public view of the governor in a tribute to the late Senator Ali Wakili, a founding member of the ruling party APC, where he testified to the development strides and political support the people received, contrasting same with his opinion on the M.A Abubakar three-year stewardship in the following words,
For a Senator to put the ultimate good of his people far above his personal comfort is something that must be commended. It definitely speaks volumes of his person and character that our state has missed.
“What makes this more ‘touching’ to me is the ongoing underdevelopment of our dear state. We have a governor whose main objective is to under rate our collective intelligence, exposure and under develop our state with the worst ignominy and still expect us to praise him and support his drowning administration.
“I was one of the greatest advocates of the change mantra and we collectively supported the aspiration of Muhammed Abdullahi Abubakar to access power in 2015 but we are disappointed with his performance and human relation that are at variance with our expectation”.
Governor Abubakar used patronage – the reverse of which is artificial poverty and hunger combined- to extract involuntary support from poverty stricken and idle politicians lacking moral grounds and other reasons to be disdainful of his administration.
The strong arm tactics worked to a point. That is the nature of coercion. It can be effective only up to a certain point. Once that threshold is reached, resistance sets in and then the inevitable bailing out begins. Abubakar is facing the bailing out phase now. Since the beginning of his administration in 2015, his supporters and aides have departed in droves including the deputy governor. In the last two years, no fewer than seven of his senior aides have left in a huff, tossing in the governor’s face complaints of deprivation, denial, dictatorship and discrimination. Those who voted with their feet are Engr. Nuhu Gidado, Shehu Barau Ningi, Tahir Ibrahim Tahir, Sani Malam Shehu etc. The first to fire the salvo was Ningi who also warned of an impending exodus before the elections. Senior stakeholders and House of Assembly members who earlier expected sincerity of purpose from the administration have since retrieved their support for the disappointment they received from the party’s primary election. They are now virtually irrelevant in the polity with the House of Assembly under heavy security watch for fear of the obvious by the executive.
The most tectonic departure to hit the Abubakar administration convulsed the political landscape when the deputy governor, a stabilizing force walked out and remained silent. The silence of Gidado from public opinion is a declaration of silent war in 2019.
Those political giants in their own class hitherto traveling in the same boat (APC) with M.A Abubakar, realized their mistake after several trials and swiftly changed direction for safety the likes of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Isa Hamma Misau, Ahmed Yerima, Salisu Zakari etc. Since then, APC in Bauchi state started nose diving into uncertainty until the conduct of its primary elections that brought along with it the final coffin 2019. Many had earlier planned to abandon the ship midstream but exercised patience until the worst happened. The primary election was a farce. It made a caricature of the democracy and insulted the anti-corruption stance of the Buhari administration. It was a bizarre of corruption and display of crude imposition and hooliganism.
Governor Abubakar is today, a deserted politician. Affliction has arisen a second time for the barrister. The blizzard of political abandonment has come full circle for the governor whose shenanigans have worn out, and who no longer enjoys the shelter of credible politicians, community and religious leaders and not because of his suspected meanness or claimed probity but for poor service delivery that is glaring.
The political talking points and teachable moment from fate that has befallen M.A Abubakar hold a deep message for politicians and leaders of all hues: Performance is the only enduring rampant that guarantees survival, even when credible politicians depart.
Abubakar has not performed and the people know he has not because they have said it severally despite threats of arrest, detention and prosecution, which is a tribute to the limit of propaganda, sadly missed by the coterie of his courtiers on social media that post unbelievable garbage based on inexperience and sycophancy. The governor’s lacklustre run had been subject of the whisper network in the ruling party in the state and the focal point of the opposition’s criticism of the governor until when it became a state-wide chant following Dogara’s still reverberating “Bauchi State is under developed” statement.
To be fair, Abubakar is not the first politician with a dumb record at election time. I remember former governor Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu admitting before some political giants that he had ignored their suggestions all along while in power and asked for a fresh start with his anointed gubernatorial candidate in 2007 as the pilot of the restart. The point, however, is that M.A Abubakar is different in critical respect. The child-like sincerity of the Mu’azu accounting is absent in what Abubakar usually tells the state. He is not accepting his failure but making up achievements that cannot be collaborated by any objective evaluation. This is part of what has set up the centrifugal field around the governor, repelling supporters and aides alike. This in part is why the Abubakar administration is being shunned across the state, thereby leaving the governor as politically abandoned at the time of need in his four-year stint in power and probably his last.