Bauchi People Will Vote Massively For PMB – Katagum

Bauchi People Will Vote Massively For PMB – Katagum

Architect Audu Sule Katagum is the Deputy Governor of Bauchi state. In
this interview with BODE GBADEBO, he bares his mind on the controversies
surrounding the last governorship primaries in the state and the
chances of the APC at the 2019 elections.

Recently,
There has been a reconciliatory move by the national headquarters of the
APC on the contentious primaries that took place in Bauchi. We want to
know whether these issues have been resolved and if not, what is the
government doing to stop possible implosion in the party?

First
and foremost, I don’t really think there was any contention to the
primaries as far as Bauchi state is concerned. Of course, for any
election that you need, one person will only be the winner and on such
cases, the loser will not agree because everybody wants to be a winner.
Now, with regards to Bauchi primary election of the APC elective seats,
we all know initially that, what the stakeholders of APC here in Bauchi
wanted, was indirect primaries but at the end of the day, we had to talk
to the leadership of the party at the national level and we conducted
election as they directed us to do. In most cases all over the state we
had to conduct election very late, in the evening and night in some
cases and at the end of it, as far as the government is concerned, the
rightful people won the tickets. For example, there were three other
contestants for the governorship ticket and at the end of the day, there
was no doubt His Excellency won. After the election, of course, there
were a lot of issues including decamping. Some people decided to go to
court but the government immediately set up a reconciliatory committee
that sat down some of these people who lost out in the election and I
believe we were able to convince more than half of them to understand
the situation that only God gives whom he pleases. Some agreed to that,
some wanted refund of their money while some wanted some other
incentives from the government and I am happy to let you know that a lot
of issues have been resolved. Some came back and agree to

assist the party while some decided to leave the party. We wish them well and we will face them in the general elections.

There
are three prominent members of the party who are contesting the outcome
of the party’s governorship primaries. Don’t you think that not
reconciling with them mayt affect APC’s chances at the polls?

No.
If you look at the primaries, the votes that were garnered by his
excellency, the governor of Bauchi, was the highest. The three aspirants
did not get more than one per cent of what the governor got. So, with
regards to them becoming some sort of stumbling blocks to the governor’s
chances, I don’t think so. In the first place, they failed to realise
that the people of Bauchi state themselves are happy with their current
governor and this issue of the primaries were conducted everywhere in
Bauchi state fair and free. Like I told you earlier, the stakeholders of
APC in Bauchi have chosen to do it by indirect mode as recommended by
constitution of the party but a day before the exercise, we got a
directive from the party headquarters in Abuja that we should do it
using ballot boxes and the instruction given by the headquarters was
that, if the committee that was to conduct the election comes, they
should not even see the governor, because they don’t want any situation
whereby the committee might be compromised by the state government and
this was accepted by the governor. In fact, when the committee came and
wanted to see him, he said ‘don’t see me, call all the other contenders
let us sit down four of us’. And this was what happened. The people who
were contesting the governorship also insisted that a certain group of
people should conduct the election, that is the National Union of
Teachers, which the governor conceded. The election materials were
brought to Bauchi. All the contenders had their agents at the election
office in Bauchi, they all verified that the election materials were not
tampered with and each local government had agents of each aspirants,
who escorted the same materials to each local government. So at the
local governments, again they had their representatives, everybody saw
what was brought in and at the end of the counting, nobody said
anything. The governor garnered 75,000 votes while the highest among the
rest was about 7,000 or 6,000. So if you look at the figures, I don’t
think they will say they can constitute any hurdle to our re-election.
We are just praying that they will come back and see reasons. People
elected this governor in 2015 because they know what he was going to do
and he has delivered on the promises he made to the electorate.

One
of the states that Apc is banking on to win the presidential election
is Bauchi State. do you think the APC and President Buhari still have
that kind of support they onced enjoyed?

Look! Mr President is
probably one individual that nobody can say something bad about him. As
far as the general populace is concerned, especially in the North,
nobody is blaming Buhari on what has happened. If you look at what has
been happening all over Nigeria, nobody is saying it is the president
who has done this. Honestly, all elections in Bauchi since 1999 have
always been since he started

contesting election in 2003, Bauchi
state is probably the state after Kano state that gives Buhari the
highest votes and nothing has changed. I will show you, go into the
towns, villages and talk of Buhari, he is the same, he is in the hearts
of the people, nobody can change that, nobody can change that perception
people have about him, especially in the North. This is a man of
integrity, this is the man that we need to continue our leadership. So
we clearly understand that what has happened in the primaries will not
affect election of Mr President or thinking pattern or love the people
of Bauchi have for him.

There is plan by the governor to
give interest-free loans to small-scale business owners but some people
believe it is a votes-buying plot. What is your take?

My take
is that I don’t think the government want to use this as a political
leverage and I don’t think His Excellency the governor of Bauchi state
needs to do that. Like I said earlier, even from the primary election,
we are going to be honest with ourselves, the governor has already made
his mark in Bauchi, he has already proved that he is governor of the
masses. Now on this issue of loan, this did not start with this
administration, because the last government also gave such loans to
business men and small market people in Bauchi and this offer actually
came in as early as two years ago. The market people asked the governor
for this kind of loan because Bauchi as you know we call it a civil
service state and how do you improve economic activities or industry?
They were able to present

their case to the governor as far back
as two years ago but that time the governor told them ‘look, I don’t
have the resources but I assure you we will look at it carefully and
then by the time we are sure that it is going to be of economic
interest, of course, we want to help all the marketers’. Now, every
business man in Bauchi is benefiting from this loan. So, it is something
that has been ongoing and this is the time that the government realise
we can afford to do this right now and this is why it is coming right
now. If you say it is a political move, I think whatever one does now
till election will be considered a political move and I think it’s not
really a bad idea to support the government to be re-elected to continue
doing what we are doing now.

Bauchi state has been relatively peaceful under this administration. What is your magic wand regarding security?

Governor
Mohammed Abubakar has a good relationship with the service chiefs in
the state. Security is a major priority to this administration, he is
always on top of things and there is a beautiful synergy between this
government and the Police, Army and the Civil Defence Corps. So this
good relationship has translated into a working cooperation. The
governor is accessible to the service chiefs in the state to come to him
any time there is any issue that requires attention. That is just the
template and of course, he has been taking care of them.