By Ali M Ali
– All politics is local-Tip O’Neil
The resounding victory of the APC in the recent senatorial bye-election in Bauchi South district demystified and sealed the political fate of several elements. Chief among are self appointed “political landlords” resident in Abuja and elsewhere who thought they owned the “houses” and therefore, can only rent them to their ‘anointed’. They thought wrongly. Beaten black and blue, tails between their legs and licking their self-inflicted wounds, whining is their lot now. This may sound hyperbolic. Tarry a while.
Before the election was conducted on August 11, the “landlords” ran from pillar to post, full throttle, plotting, framing, fabricating and spreading falsehood, undermining the authority of the leader of the party in the state, Governor MA Abubakar, all in the bid to “mortify” and project him as “unfit” and “unworthy” of leading the party to victory. Exhale!
These are not the only tags hung on the neck of governor Abubakar. There are others, equally uncomplimentary. Some of these sobriquets were very derisive and taunting. They were designed to make him alter his course and cause of his far-reaching reforms. This label “Mai wallet” however, takes the cake. His prudent management of very thin resources apparently inspired it. They said the governor was “stingy”. He used to dash money counted from his wallet. The idea of such branding was to trick him into throwing wide open the vault of the state for the “locusts” to feast on, as they were wont to. He said nay. From that moment, the politics became very local.
In quarters where such name-calling didn’t impress, “Mai wallet” was celebrated and hailed as the younger version of “Mai Gaskiya”. The originators of that alias were astounded by the unexpected sequence of events. Instead of public odium, it was public accolades for this reformer deliberately misrepresented by a coterie of sore losers masquerading as “patriots”.
Abubakar was still the “whipping” boy of these landlords. Every chance they got, they “whip” him. They are quick to go abroad with a smear campaign with the newer tag “arrogant” presaging every slur. The recent senatorial bye-election was a litmus test to “show” Abubakar that the “landlords” own the “houses”. The media especially the social kind, where fiction is garbed in borrowed robes, as real, was awash with all kinds of scenarios, most of them “dissing” the governor as a political upstart. The first pointer to electoral defeat, according to their “boys” in cyber world, was that the governor’s candidate in the primaries ‘lost’ to the candidate of the “opposition” in the same party! Perfectly laughable, you might say. How could he have lost when all the aspirants were members of his party? When he actually played statesman. When he actually was neutral. When he actually told all the aspirants before hand that their fate was in the hands of delegates?
While they were busy with the campaign of calumny against the man and the party, he was busy leading the campaign to electoral glory in all the nooks and crannies of the senatorial district.
The president, Muhammadu Buhari, personally flagged off the senatorial bye-election campaign. He implored the voters of Bauchi South to vote for the APC candidate. On Election Day, the voters didn’t disappoint. The APC candidate polled twice the votes of his closest contender who flew the flag of the PDP. With a total of 119,780 votes in APC’s kitty against PDP’s 49,487 votes, it was really a “no contest’.
Expectedly nay Sayers, now sore losers, are abroad spreading the gospel of falsehood, denying credit to the combined hard work of governor MA Abubakar and the entire APC family.
And what is this “hard work?” Service delivery. Today in Bauchi, everywhere you look at, you see some of the reforms of governor Abubakar. Some enduring legacy beckons. A reconstructed road, a rehabilitated school, or a freshly constructed healthcare facility. With a combined road network of 400 kilometers spread across the state, his urban renewal drive manifested. A drive through the three urban centres of Bauchi, Misau and Azare will reveal the amazing transformation in urban renewal. All the major roads leading to Bauchi city have been expanded, dualised and adorned with streetlights. This is a record first. Approaching the town in the night is pleasing to the eyes. Everywhere is lit powered by generating plants. This particular reform has earned him recognition. Last year the Abuja Housing show decorated him for outstanding performance.
Under Abubakar’s watch, agriculture, the main occupation of the people of the state has been boosted. Major farming inputs like fertilizer and improved seedlings were made available. The comatose state fertilizer blending plant was resuscitated to meet the ferliser needs of farmers beyond the state. This year the government purchased a staggering 500 tractors in one fell swoop to fast track its dream of mechanized farming.
In fiscal discipline, Governor Abubakar is second to none in the state since the dawn of this Republic in 1999.His financial management skills have seen him achieve so much with so little. His style of running an all-inclusive government has seen former foes becoming allies. On top of all these, is an unusual ability to connect with ordinary folks who see in him a performer and a reformer?
The outcome of the election has put to rest as to who really owns the “houses” between self appointed “landlords” and the voters, the masses who are direct beneficiaries of the reformist government of MA Abubakar faithfully implementing the APC manifesto. This has earned him brownie points and elevated him a shoulder above others.
-Ali M Ali is an aide to MA Abubakar