Sadique Abubakar, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bauchi State, has unveiled his plans to “radically transform” the state if elected governor in March.
The action plan, christened “Bauchi Economic Development for Social Transformation”, was unveiled on Friday night at a fundraising event held in Abuja and attended by friends, party members, professional colleagues and top politicians.
Mr Abubakar, a retired Air marshal and former Chief of Air staff, is running against the incumbent governor, Bala Mohammed, who is seeking a second term under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The election is scheduled for 11 March.
The APC candidate said he plans to re-engineer the political environment in the state by providing access to basic facilities.
He said the state must do everything to reverse some of the negative indexes in the state, particularly childbirth mortality rate, out- of-school children and unemployment among youth, women, and other vulnerable groups.
“We have 1,549 pregnant women that die in every 100,000 births. We have school attendance at only 29 per cent. These are terrible figures.
“What we want to do is to re-engineer the political landscape in Bauchi State, so that people will have a sense of ownership of the state. People must understand that the state belong to them. And the only way to do that is to reverse these figures,” Mr Abubakar said.
I can vouch for Abubakar — Amaechi
Speaking at event, the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, asked the people of Bauchi State to vote for the former chief of air staff because he could vouch for his character.
Mr Amaechi said when he was governor of Rivers State, Mr Abubakar served as air force commander in the state, during which he fought militancy.
He added that Mr Abubakar maintained high professionalism during the period he served as commandet and never at a point requested monetary favour.
“I was under no pressure to give you (Abubakar) money because the reason why Nigerians come to Rivers State is to collect money. They lobby to be posted there because they want money. If you remember, that was at the height of fighting criminals,” he said.
Mr Amaechi, who was governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015, said only good conscience and discipline can stop a governor in Nigeria from not stealing money. He said there is currently no check to stop a governor.
“I ask you, the people from Bauchi, to think twice about governance in Nigeria, it is very bad. The reason why it is bad is that we vote for people who don’t know what governorship is all about. We vote for people who see governorship as employment, who go there to make money—that is who we vote for.
“Unfortunately for all of you, people are not held accountable for all they do. And the worse is that Nigerians do not hold anyone accountable for anything.
“If you are voted as governor, it is your discipline that will determine how you behave not because anybody will check you, not because anybody will punish you or anything. If you like, go to Bauchi and take everything, nobody will check you. In fact, Nigerians will go to your house and dance for you for taking everything away,” he said.
Malami, Buratai, Olonisakin back Abubakar
The Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in his speech at the event, urged the people of Bauchi State to vote Mr Abubakar as the next governor of the state.
He said Mr Abubakar played a vital vote in decimating the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east by reviving the air force.
Also, Tukur Buratai, a former chief of army staff, said Bauchi State needs someone with a military background to protect the newly found oil in the Bauchi-Gombe border.
“The synergy that we brought to bear in Rivers State—Bauchi and Gombe have oil, he will not allow bandits to steal the oil. We fought the militants and oil thieves from stealing the oil in Rivers state. The right person is Sadique Abubakar to prevent oil theft. The future is oil,” he said.
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, also called for support for Mr Abubakar to win the election.
Messrs Olonisakin, Buratai and Abubakar served at the same time as military service chiefs from July 2015 tto January 2021.
Other dignitaries at the fundraising include the APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Suleiman Kyari, APC Deputy Chairman (North-east), Mustapha Salihu, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pallen Tallen, and the party’s National Women Leader, Betta Edu and National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel.
Mrs Edu, on behalf of women, donated $10,000 to Mr Abubakar’s campaign.
A group of 112 business leaders pledged N784 million, while Mr Buratai pledged N5 million on behalf of the former service chiefs. Several others also pledged various sums of money.
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