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Peoples Democratic Party, Opposition And 2019 Bauchi Polls, By Sanusi Muhammad

THE 2023 Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Bauchi State surely showed a tectonic shift in Nigerian politics, as implied by the Presidential and National Assembly elections. But whether that shift is capable of reinforcing democracy to grow is another topic entirely.

As widely predicted, the re-election of Governor Bala Muhammed and defeat of APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed in favor of Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, and the majority victory of the PDP in the national and state assembly elections were expected to create a bandwagon effect on credible leadership anchored on transparency and probity.

Bauchi State voting pattern, like many other states was influenced by the outcome of the February 23 elections, regardless of the fact that all politics, as pundits surmise, is essentially the trend.


A state that in 2015 and 2019 gave the APC majority of its presidential votes, and made a clean sweep of the National Assembly seats on offer, had, deployed the same voting pattern to give the House of Assembly to same party but avoided capping it up in 2019 by putting the party’s standard-bearer, M.A Abubakar back to the Government House exposed a clear case of pure political awareness needing improvement and sustenance.

Bauchi State, arguably as one of the most progressing states in Nigeria, is benefiting from the outcome of March gubernatorial election that brought back Bala Muhammed of the PDP to power accompanied with majority of state and national assembly legislators.

Hard as APC tried, and regardless of how ingeniously or bitterly they framed their campaign, Bauchi State voters chose to stay static, declined the hand of fellowship from the fractured APC, and voted massively, for the Peoples Democratic Party ideology based on its first tenure performance.

The huge developmental efforts in Bauchi State began with Abubakar Tatari Ali’s tenure (1979 – 1983), rolled through the Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu governorship tenure, and further accentuated during the tenure of Malam Isa Yuguda, strengthened and improved upon by M A Abubakar before the awaited messiah, Sen. Bala Muhammed arrived the scene in 2019 to move the state onto the fast lane for greatness.
Despite some modifications and adjustments, those developmental efforts are sustained.

Therefore, the state was expected to be reluctant to allowing those efforts hamstrung by needless experimentations or contemplate a sudden and traumatizing turn towards retaining APC in power and conservatism. Bauchi State therefore, made a wise choice between Sen. Bala Muhammed and others despite the muddying of the waters by a coterie of campaigners bent on to mid-wife crafted change for the heck of it.

Bauchi State has since become a vast workshop of projects that began at the onset of the Bala Muhammed administration, projects designed and owned by the PDP and its progenitors in trust for the state. If PDP had campaigned on the platform of the dividends of the stewardship of the Jonathan administration alone that are scattered all over the state, many of which are world-class, the electorates could have wondered on why there was even a need in 2015 to fix what was not broken by the APC? But PDP as a determined and focused institution voided committing itself on what to offer during 2019 campaign as a start to its own new projects.

If that was done, voters could have asked whether the opposition parties planned to abandon the state’s APC blue-print, including the time it would take to conceive a new blue-print and the attendant cost of delay and transition.
Bauchi State, given its ballooning population, could claim not to afford the fresh costs or the time wastage. Recall, for instance, how Sen. Bala Muhammed became snarled in a thicket when he attempted to re-conceptualize ghost workers bedeviling the civil service and those itchy-fingered rogues who stole systematically from government.

The deck was stacked on many fronts and at many levels against the opposition candidates. PDP had to overcome many obstacles, including the catalyzing effect of Buhari factor, the electorate’s reluctance to move Bauchi State into opposition at the centre at a time the state was claimed to had began to benefit from being a part of the national ruling party, and the complaints about cost and time wastage involved in re-conceptualizing a new blue-print for the state and reconfiguring it into unaccustomed conservatism.

Apart from these, most of the opposition candidates apart from those in the PDP were unable to dispel suspicion of inexperience in public administration, most especially in a democracy which the state now experiences.
Despite its quality and acceptability, PDP was not pretending or ignorant of the campaign inspired by opposition parties especially on the heels of the 2019 victories recorded by APC at the national and state assembly elections. APC erroneously believed the victory recorded was to be replicated in the gubernatorial election with little modification.

However, the APC victory contained no substance because it never produced prospective sterling achievers but mere paperweights lacking the basic ingredients of sound representation and that couldn’t threaten chances of PDP in the 2019 elections.
PDP had successfully and consistently produced men and women who made tremendous positive impact at both state and national levels of governance that deserve special mention and commendation.

Bauchi State, perhaps more than any other state, has in fact produced countless public and private sector achievers now showcasing value of tutelage and mentoring in the PDP.
Opposition candidates had framed some uneasy relationships between contending personalities in the PDP as one of master and servant. That was a misreading of the process that adroitly produced the present leaders.
The leaders are not robots.

They were mentored in part because they demonstrated brilliance, confidence and judgment. Clashes, crisis, friction and misunderstanding within were, therefore inevitable in a democracy. But the process of producing leaders and achievers by the PDP in Bauchi State has continued apace, and the leadership mill is consistently replenished, and more bright minds are churned from the party’s hatchery. The failure of some PDP aspirants at the party’s primary election capitalized upon by opposition candidates as an example to illustrate their arguments, had nothing to do with the party’s leadership, but was a consequence of the aspirants’ difficult interaction with the party apparatchik and members.

Regardless of the implausibility of opposition arguments, they will continue to overheat the polity with baseless accusations and allegations in an attempt to confuse the people for acceptability while the opposite remains the truth. Opposition candidates may be good public speakers as they repeatedly demonstrated during campaign, but they had not proved by way of ideas and personal example that they possess the qualities of leaders and bureaucrats for trust of public offices.

For instance, Hon. Farouk Mustapha, a gifted politician is good at rating the intelligence of his listeners once opportune but was miraculously dribbled and cajoled by his fellow gubernatorial contestants in the APC fold so were Capt. Bala Jibrin, Barr Ibrahim Zailani, Sen. Lawal Yahaya Gumau, Dr Musa Babayo, Sen. Halliru Jika and few others.

Combined with their co-travelers, their strongest and determined opponent, Sen. Bala Muhammed demonstrated by experience, courage and training, not to say only by personal qualities, that he was the safer bet to remain faithful to Bauchi State’s developmental blue-print, to improve on it, and continue to expand and modernize infrastructure, and to nurture the state mystique of producing local and national leaders for our today and tomorrow so why not stand by him, respect him and support his laudable achievements for the collective benefit?

The writing was clear and the pendulum swung to his side as the most desirable with the Midas touch. The people ignored the antics of failed politicians whose stock in trade is to use others to project their battered images to occupy key government positions for selfish interest that have expired without garbage value. The people’s support to Sen. Bala for safe navigation was therefore timely, vital and crucial for a better and safer Bauchi State. As for the 2027 political battle, toddlers, juveniles and merchants are said to be nursing gubernatorial ambition to replace Bala Muhammed after his successful two-term tenure.

But of the lot rumored, only two within the PDP fold qualify and none of the rest in opposing parties qualifies by any rating for even the position of a ward councilor not to talk of a governor for a progressing state like Bauchi.
We are not talking of opportunists, political errand boys or rabble rousers now masquerading as politicians of substance by sheer divine intervention but, true and genuine democrats with functional brains that think fast ahead of others not regular visitors to the living rooms of godfathers and sponsors or those enmeshed in credibility crisis.

Bauchi deserves to have the best out of the best. The state cannot afford to have comedians and jesters in any elective or appointive position beyond 2023. Bauchi State set the pace in modern democracy in 1960 through parliamentary system of governance. It gave Nigeria its first prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

In 1979, it had its first elected governor, Abubakar Tatari, a retired accomplished federal permanent secretary. In 1993, it had Dahiru Deba, an accomplished technocrat. In 1999, it was governed by a determined leader that governed with passion, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu. In 2007, it had a boardroom manager and focused politician, Isa Yuguda.

In 2015, a legal luminary with courage and determination, M A. Abubakar governed the state to his best despite stiff opposition within his party for failing to succumb to evil advances against public interest. In 2019, a man blessed with a first class brain, courage and zeal of performance, arrived the scene, Bala Muhammed who made it a duty to transform the state to an enviable position in the reality of life.

With this list of eminent personalities that governed with dexterity and excellence, how can the people allow the state to slip to the dark days of underdevelopment? How can opportunists without requirements other than noisemaking and pretence of care be allowed to replace a great performer, Sen. Bala Muhammed in 2027 to destroy bequeathed legacies? Let’s shudder to think!

The state is eagerly waiting for any casualty deceived by marabouts, prophets of doom, Babalawos and fortune tellers to try luck for a wrong investment before shamed. The state has outgrown political deceit with few incentives attached with iron strings or mere candidature endorsement from any ethno-religious jingoist of any clime.

But whosoever may be publicly endorsed by Bala Muhammed as his replacement in 2027 would be the very best to be trusted to carry the mantle. Let’s not succumb to political rascality and ibeberism at best with wishy-washy mudslinging and bogus claims of imaginary care where there are none!

Muhammad is a commentator on national issues.

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