It is no longer news that Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed has joined the long and potentially unwieldy list of presidential aspirants, jostling to get the nod of their parties to contest the presidential election holding in early 2023.
Though it is within the right of any qualified Nigerian to throw in his or her hat for the contest, it is becoming rather chaotic, with new entrants announcing or declaring their ambitions, almost on daily basis.
While most of the aspirants have been busy articulating their plans and programmes for the country, if they are elected, the Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, have been busy seeking validation and throwing up vexatious arguments on why he should be the one to become President, including arguments are best described as provocative.
The former FCT Minister, who ironically still has allegations of fraud allegedly perpetrated during his tenure as minister, hanging stubbornly around his neck, and only saved temporarily because of his current immunity as governor, in a manner capable of provoking angry reactions from the South, arrogantly insisted that it is the turn of the North to produce President in 2023.
Mohammed, who stated this at the Government House, Bauchi while receiving the report of a contact committee he raised to interface with other Nigerians on his presidential ambition, said: “We are aware of the agitations of the southern part of the country because the leader of the country today, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is from the North, will finish his tenure in 2023, so power should rotate to the South.
“But I want to say that I am in PDP, I am not in APC. It is the APC that has this burden (of zoning the presidency to the South).
“In my party, the last President was from the South and he was my President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. During this period, my party was at the centre for 16 years, 14 of those years were led by the people from the South, so where is the justice and the justification? Therefore, it is the turn of the North (to produce the President).”
Though one may try to understand the mind set of a politician like Bala Mohammed, who is seeking for everything to justify his swimming against a popular tide, the clamour for power shift to the South, it is however disingenuous for anyone, especially a supposedly educated, enlightened and experienced politician in the mould of Mohammed to rationalise the power shift clamour on the basis of political parties.
One question Governor Mohammed may want to provide an answer to is if the APC and the PDP are operating in different countries? And whether it makes any reasonable sense for APC to have the moral responsibility of ensuring power shift or rotation but PDP could, without repercussions and guilt, overlook same at the same time?
At the same event, Governor Mohammed engaged in another goof that potentially makes him a very wrong candidate for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said: “As the chairman of the committee said, they couldn’t go to all the states but they damned the consequences and went to Zamfara State. I don’t know how many people will agree to go to Zamfara at this time but they went and they went to Katsina State. There are very few states they did not go because I told them not to.
The Bauchi governor may not know the import of the above statement but for Nigerians who are sensitive enough to read between the lines, Mohammed has only succeeded in telling Nigerians that if I become President, I will not venture into troubled spots. I have no business going to see things for myself if they ever go wrong anywhere. It is also an indirect indictment of the government and people of Zamfara State, or what does ” I don’t know how many people will agree to go to Zamfara mean?
Speaking yet again, at the same event, Bala Mohammed hinted that the people of Bauchi are not in support of his venture into the presidential arena, adding that one of the elders in the state told him that bluntly.
He said: “I am aware that even in Bauchi, people are divided, my elder brother, Bala Hadith, had the courage to tell me that people of Bauchi don’t want me to go to the center and I appreciate him. This is because this is the opinion of Bauchi which is the appreciation of what we are doing together. Bauchi can be better if I’m at the center.
“But certainly, we have to manage the two together (Bauchi and the Presidential campaign).
Without taking words out of his mouth, Mohammed is of the opinion that he is doing a damn great job in Bauchi to the point that the people do not want him to leave to the centre. Though, self praise and appraisal by political office holders most times are blown out of proportion, it is however wise, if what Mohammed said is the truth, for him to wait, contest for a second term and see if the people of Bauchi truly appreciate what he has done so far.
On Mohammed’s assertion that Bauchi is better off with him at the centre, past experiences have shown it’s not always true. At least the people of Katsina can attest to this.
Speaking further, the governor, talking about his deputy, Baba Tela, said: I told my younger brother and my colleague (deputy governor) that he should not be happy to send me forth so that he will take over the governorship, I will do the two together.
“One of my brothers, a formidable and astute politician, Matawalle Sokoto (Aminu Tambuwal) did it before, so we are going to also test it. And I will not give him (the governorship seat) to hold forth, such a big man, he will not give me back when I come back, but if he will give me, I will give it to him.”
The above, again, portrays Governor Mohammed as insecure and not trusting his deputy, a major flaw for a presidential aspirant, as these personality traits may be a major dent on his presidency, if he ever gets it.
On former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Mohammed fell short of saying he begged him not to contest because of his age, so he, Mohammed, can have the opportunity to go into the contest.
“We invited our elder statesman, the one that we respect so much, the Waziri Adamawa (Atiku Abubakar), we named a road after him.
“We invited him to Bauchi and we interacted and I told him that in this game, I know he’s the most senior, he’s very qualified but because of his age and fatigue that he has suffered so much for Nigeria, he should allow his younger brother to be his spare tyre not to take over just like that. But if Nigerians prefer him, I will support him. I am not too desperate but he should know that Nigerians like me too. And whatever he wants, I will do it for him, so this is our agreement, he has the highest respect from me.”
Governor Bala Mohammed, from his statement on Atiku, again, got things wrong! What has Atiku’s ambition got to do with his? If he is convinced about running for the office of President, so be it. Begging Atiku to stand down for him presents Mohammed as not serious and not determined!