The lawmaker representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Ali Wakil, on Wednesday accused the governor of the state, Mohammed Abubakar, of trying to embarrass him ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit there.
Both men are members of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The president is due in Bauchi State on Thursday for the commissioning of an Air Force base and a 60-bed Air Force medical facility in Bauchi, the state capital.
But in a statement Wednesday night, Mr. Wakil said Mr. Abubakar had flooded the state with campaign posters and paraphernalia bearing his face to ridicule him and cause disaffection ahead of the president’s arrival.
Mr. Wakil said the fictitious campaign posters depicted him and a former governor of the state, Isa Yuguda, as governorship and presidential election contenders in 2019. But the posters did not carry the logo of any political party.
The posters were said to have flooded several local governments across the state, including Tafawa Balewa, Dass and downtown Bauchi.
“Let me disassociate myself from the posters of me and Isa Yuguda making the rounds today (Wednesday).
“Isa Yuguda and I contested for the Bauchi South senatorial district seat. We have put aside our differences. He is like a brother to me and when I was sick recently he visited me in Abuja.
“He told the world that he will not run for office for now or the near future and I respect him as a man of his word. These posters are not only mischievous but a calculated attempt to cause disaffection and I can tell you the sponsors are wasting their time,” Mr. Wakil said.
Consequently, Mr. Wakil said he had alerted the law enforcement authorities and pointed at “Governor Mohammed Abubakar as the architect of this mischief.”
Political tensions have heightened in Bauchi State in recent months following disagreements between the governor and federal lawmakers from his state.
A group loyal to the governor and the one loyal to the federal lawmakers, which include Mr. Wakil and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, clashed at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja in August.
All efforts to settle the internal squabble have ended in stalemate.
Last weekend, a commissioner resigned from Mr. Abubakar’s cabinet.
Shehu Ningi, who was the Commissioner for Budget and Planning until his resignation, accused Mr. Abubakar of disregarding expert opinions that he offered. He also accused the governor of marginalising different groups in the state.
Mr. Wakil told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Wednesday night that the latest controversy over poster was part of the fallout.
“The governor is coming after me because he sees me as the leader of Bauchi National Assembly members that are opposed to him,” Mr. Wakil said. “But his efforts will fail because I remain very committed and loyal to the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
But Mr. Abubakar denied any involvement in the distribution of the posters.
His Chief Press Secretary, Abubakar Al-Sadique, told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Wakil and his group have been throwing frivolous allegations at his principal for several months.
“This is not the first time they will be accusing Governor Abubakar of being behind one thing or the other,” Mr. Al-Sadique said. “They accused him of sponsoring violence against them and being involved in anti-party activities, but the APC investigated the allegations and the governor was given a clean bill of health.”
Mr. Al-Sadique said no one in the governor’s cabinet had seen the campaign posters over which Mr. Wakil is raising alarm and added that the governor is not focusing on 2019 campaign at the moment.
“I can tell you categorically that those of us in government have not seen the campaign posters they’re accusing us of printing,” he said. “Well, they should go and mind their business because the governor is very busy attending to the numerous challenges of the state and not focusing on 2019 campaign for now.”
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