By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir
Two weeks ago, I had written an article with the same heading as this(on daily trust of 23rd August, 2018); trying to highlight the fact that Dogara remains the last man remaining, from a host of APC stalwarts that were leaving the party and decamping to the PDP mostly, to pursue one ambition or the other. As an ardent supporter of the APC, I felt that these decampees ought to have been prevailed upon to remain in the party’s fold and that Baba Buhari himself needed to do that for the benefit of the party’s success in the coming polls,(see article ‘Baba, beg them for our sake’ on daily trust of 24th July, 2018). I believed that was politically expedient and that was expected of Mr. President in the least; whether or not they stayed. The party hierarchy didn’t help matters too and things would have been handled differently and with better caution. The bickerings should have been contained and did not have to end up in haphazard actions which have pitifully ended up in clear political miscalculations. The numbers don’t add up, the letters don’t form words. The APC has shrunk, and the PDP has gained mass but no such clear weight.
Expectedly, I was lynched on social media by people from Bauchi who definitely misunderstood the point I was driving home, regarding Dogara. They had a literal perception of the header (last man standing) and felt I was either glorifying Dogara or was being sycophantic; which I was free to do anyway, afterall its a ‘freedom of speech and right to associate world’, which perhaps makes them right in their own opinions too. They went ahead to call me shameless and that Dogara used to be my persona non grata before now and that suddenly he has become my hero. I challenged them to quote anywhere I had disparaged the Speaker or challenged him over his oversight function as speaker, or in any private or similar dealings of his.
Quite a number of the members of the national assembly from Bauchi that were part of the ‘feud’ between Governor M A Abubakar and Mr. Speaker seemed to pitch camps against the governor then but have now switched camps and changed tunes. They didn’t need tickets back then but do so now and will do anything to achieve this. The feud was terminal and was to last a convenient period for stoking disharmony and stimulating patronage for themselves only. This wasn’t a one sided affair, for in the governor’s stable too, were persons that adopted the same gain game. Sycophancy and political horse trading was at its finest peak. The gift of politicking that was to yield the highest dividends of democracy to Bauchi was misused and conered for selfishness. A governor and a speaker from the same party with a president that has the softest heart for bauchi as his stronghold, could have brought to bear on Bauchi, by maximising this opportunity to obtain a great degree of federal patronage for the development of our state. A few individuals stood in our way.
Several delegations and committees, comprising elders from bauchi, made efforts to reconcile the supposed feud which ofcourse couldn’t be traced to any particular deep gully that couldn’t be filled.
Nevertheless, projects worth over 50 billion naira were injected to the development of bauchi state. These include the Bauchi-Gombe federal highway, the highway from kano to Bauchi North, and from Bauchi Central to Maiduguri. Others include the networks of roads around the Dass-Tafawa balewa-Bogoro axis which is the speaker’s constituency; with no fewer than 15 bridges and special structures. So also the Bauchi to Plateau highway through Pankshin, cutting the Bauchi-Abuja road trip by 1 and a half hours. All this come courtesy of bauchi securing the house of representatives’ leadership position.
So dismissing a speaker, at the national level at that, let alone in bauchi state is clear idiocy and lack of a proper grasp of what political governance is all about. Dogara must have been of good stature for him to be elected as Speaker in a class of 360 members of both old and new members of the national assembly. I doubt if he has any seniors in the assembly from earlier assemblies. For Dogara to have survived as Speaker until such a time that defections are permeating different political platforms speaks volumes. Some have accused that the Speaker worked against the APC during the last bye elections, refusing to admit that not even Buhari could win from Bogoro, as he has traditionally lost that particular local area, and as such, nothing is new about that.
My article emphasised that Dogara is the last of the group that have all defected. My point is that the gentleman should not be allowed to go. My reasoning is from 2 main perspectives, one from the party man’s angle which is logical to not want to concede the no 4 man to another party, and 2, from a bauchian’s desire to maintain the speakership to Bauchi State even if atleast till the end of the 4 year term. Should Dogara leave and resign from the speakership, I doubt if bauchi has the presence of a capable and popular personality in the house to become speaker, even if Oshiobaba implores all members to vote in a bauchi member of the house as speaker.
The objective of my article is to suggest a ceasefire between Mr. Speaker and my Bauchi State Governor for the benefit of Bauchi as a whole. I doubt if that is a faulty suggestion. Don’t you agree with me?
Tahir Ibrahim Tahir is the Talba of Bauchi.