Despite winning the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial primaries in six of the seven local government areas of Bauchi North, the winner’s name was substituted without any reason, PREMIUM TIMES findings show.
Usman Tuggar was one of the five aspirants who sought to represent the ruling party in the Senate from Bauchi North.
Mr Tuggar won the primaries held on October 3 in six local government areas: Itas/Gadau, Zaki, Jama’are, Giade, Gamawa and Shira. His closest challenger, Mohammed Bulkachuwa, won narrowly in Katagum local government by 7,263 votes to 6,278.
In total, Mr Tuggar scored 71,508 votes while Mr Bulkachuwa scored 16680 votes. None of the other three aspirants scored up to 10,000 votes in total.
Mr Tuggar’s victory at the primaries was also ascertained by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), whose officials monitored the primaries.
In a document titled “Summary of Candidates Nominated At Political Party Primary Elections,” the INEC in Bauchi named Mr Tuggar the winner of the primary and the nominee of the APC fpr the senatorial seat.
The document was signed by Ahmed Waziri, the Ag. HOD EPM of INEC; Baba Usman, the Admin Secretary, and Ibrahim Abdullahi, the INEC Resident Electoral Commisioner in Bauchi.
Despite Mr Tuggar’s victory, the chairman of the primaries committee, Ahmed Mohammed, announced the runner up as the party’s candidate. By the time the APC headquarters, which has the final authority to send a final list to INEC, sent the list, it removed Mr Tuggar’s name and replaced it with Mr Bulkachuwa.
“The facts speak for themselves. Elections were held, after that, they announced somebody else on the radio by the chairman of the committee.
“After that, I came here and saw the party chairman the day the House of Reps elections were taking place and he said to me that that same day was the day they were holding the senatorial primaries which was obviously not right,” Mr Tuggar told PREMIUM TIMES.
Politicians in Bauchi told PREMIUM TIMES they believe the APC headquarters took the action in order to benefit from Mr Bulkachuwa’s relationship. Mr Bulkachuwa is the husband of the President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa. PREMIUM TIMES could not confirm if that was the reason the manipulation was done especially as similar scenarios occured in other parts of the country. The manipulations caused many Nigerians including the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, to castigate the APC national chairman for the poor handling of the primaries across the country.
Mr Tuggar on October 9 wrote a petition to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. In the petition, he expressed his dissatisfaction and asked that justice be done. Till date, he is yet to get a response from the leadership of the party.
“After that, I wrote a petition to the appeal committee, the appeal committee said it should be given back to me. But from all indications, they (the APC) ignored the order and went ahead and submitted the same person that didn’t win the election.
“The APC is just like a dictatorship. They are not even talking to anybody, they are not reaching out to anybody. You write them a letter, they don’t write you back. Nobody has reached out to me till now. Nobody has said anything. You can imagine what we are dealing with. It’s a shame,” he explained.
When contacted, the APC spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, simply said, “it is difficult to speak to specific cases like this, especially that the process is still ongoing. A comprehensive list of our candidates will be published at the end of the exercise. Please bear with me.”