In the wake of his victory as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State for the 2019 general election, the state governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, spoke to some of journalists.
The battle for the state APC governorship primaries has been won and lost. What steps are you taking to ensure victory for your party in 2019?
In 2015, as the political soothsayers said, I came from the blues. Nobody saw me coming but Allah gave me victory as the candidate of the party, and ultimately as governor of the state. People failed to realise the kind of fight I had to put up in 2015. I had the sitting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in power from Bauchi State. I had the minister of the Federal Capital Territory from Bauchi State and I had the sitting governor of the PDP in Bauchi, yet I got the victory.
I have striven to remain true to the oath I swore to work for the good people of Bauchi and to be fair to all manners of people in Bauchi State. Ours has been a very difficult task. People need to understand the basis upon which we are operating before they understand whether or not we are doing very well. Take for example our wage bill, which is a result of the bloated civil service that we inherited. We have a total of 105,000 people on the payroll. The payroll is N5.7 billion every month. For some months, we would go to Abuja and were unable to get the amount needed to pay salaries. Yet, for close to two years, non-payment of salaries has been a thing of the past in Bauchi State. You are witnesses to the fact that during festivities in the state, I pay salaries before the end of the month. What that means is that the end of the day, I have little or nothing to take care of other aspects of development for the people. Notwithstanding, we have striven to work for the good people of Bauchi. I say without any fear of contradiction that in the last three years of the APC government is better than the 16 years of the PDP. Anybody who has lived in this state will tell you that. I thank God that I am at peace with the good people of Bauchi. I am at peace with all the traditional institutions. The same people after the state executive committee of the APC in line with the resolution of the national executive committee of the APC, sat and decided that they wanted indirect primaries. Those people said that if you carry out indirect primaries, the governor that controls the delegates will be elected. But if you carry out indirect primaries, the governor will not be able to go to the polling station and vote. None of them was able to go to their polling stations, but I went to mine and look at the number of people that received me. You can go to Azare; they will tell you that I am working for them. I am building roads for them. Go to Jama’are, Itas-Gadau, Giade, Toro, Dass, Ganjuwa and Bauchi, they will all tell you the same thing.
In Bauchi, you will see the work I am doing. The reason some of the road constructions have slowed down is because of the rainy season. I can assure you and the people of Bauchi that we will continue to deliver dividends of democracy.