The lawmaker representing Yobe East Senatorial District, Senator Bukkar Abba Ibrahim, has warned the ruling All Progressives Congress not to assume that the North-East geopolitical zone will vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 like it did in 2015.
The states in the North-East are Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba.
The senator said the issues for which people of the North-East voted for Buhari and APC had not been addressed. According to him, they are getting worse.
Ibrahim, who was governor of Yobe State for three terms within two dispensations and now serving his third term at the Senate, stated that rigging would not save the President and the party from the imminent defeat.
The senator issued the warning at the Internet launch of his book, ‘Poorlitics,’ and 70th birthday celebration held in Abuja on Saturday night.
Ibrahim, whose wife, Khadijat, is currently the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said the North-East should not be taken for granted “since it is not a must for the zone to support Buhari.”
He said, “As we move towards the elections, I have to give a dire warning to the APC that things are no longer the way they were in 2015 when we rode to power on a cloud of euphoria, believing that things will change for better.
“Simply put, things have not changed and many things are getting worse and the people are bitter.
“We should not assume that we can win, even with massive rigging. The economy has gone down because of our action and inaction, and we are blaming the past too much rather than solving the present problems.
I am going to give a dire warning. Let the North-East not be taken for granted that we must support APC.
“Our interest in the North-East has always been progressive and I will personally be watching for required improvement in the APC before the elections.
“Improvement that can guarantee victory such as respecting the rule of law and releasing political prisoners as well as non-selective war against corruption, as against one sided witch-hunt.”
His concession came out of the blue. We were all surprised when we heard the breaking news that GEJ had conceded defeat,” George said.
Asked what the PDP apologised for at the peak of its desperation that it lost the 2015 elections after 16 years as the ruling party, George said the party’s national apology came after the PDP had realised its “mistakes.”
He said that the outcome of the PDP national convention was an attestation of its change of character and its readiness to correct the wrongs of the past and rule well.
On the Moshood Salvadore decamping from the PDP to APC in Lagos State, with Salvadore accusing George of being responsible for his eventual joining the opposition in the state, George said that Salvadore was forced to leave the PDP after he “veered off the rules of the party.”
He, however, refused to elaborate, saying that the case is still in court.
He disclosed that he was Salvadore’s mentor when the latter joined the PDP, and that he also advised him to contest the state PDP chairmanship when Salvadore showed interest.
He accused Salvadore of installing party leaders in certain areas in the state, a situation that George said led to fracas in which someone died.
George also denied any insinuation that he wanted to help Salvadore acquire some federal property, the failure of which, some people alleged, led to grudges between them.
George, who said that he would soon retire from active politics, said (the incumbent Lagos PDP chairman, Dr. Adebola Dominic, would work to capture Lagos for the party in the 2019 governorship election.
He also disclosed how Femi Otedola met him and said that he wanted to contest the Lagos governorship election on the PDP platform; and how it was Deji Doherty and Jimi Agbaje that eventually applied for party ticket, with Agbaje becoming the party’s candidate ultimately.
He expressed confidence in the Jimi Agbaje candidacy, saying that the PDP candidate’s silence since he won the primaries wasn’t unusual, and that he was only following the INEC rules that campaign can’t commence until the time scheduled.
The party leader said that Mr. Agbaje’s refusal to speak up against vexing issues of public interest in Lagos is no insinuation that he won’t be an effective governor if elected.
On his opinion about restructuring, George said that PDP has agreed that Nigeria must be restructured, and that it is a policy of the party for each region to have control over certain percentage of whatever it produces.
“Abuja would still be there, but it won’t be the all in all as we have now, and each state will be compelled to live on the resources it generates, instead of waiting hand and foot on Abuja,” George says.
Bode George did not respond when a listener tweeted to remind him that despite his reservations about Buhari, he should realise the President’s “magnanimity” in retaining Mr. George’s wife, Roli, as the Director General/Secretary to the Board of the NDLEA, even when both of them are in the opposition.
He, however, said it was mundane for anyone to ask Buhari to produce his WASSCE certificate, insisting that Buhari should rather be judged on the basis of his performance as President.
“As a retired General, Buhari attended many institutions, some of which are equivalent to postgraduate studies.
“Nigerians should therefore judge him on the basis of his performance and not on the veracity or otherwise of any certificate,” George said.
He would, however, not respond to his host’s question as to who to blame for Nigeria’s woes between the present and past administrations.