Until May 29, 2019, Suleyman Malami was Bauchi State Chief of Protocol and a close associate of former Gov. Muhammed A. Abubakar. In this interview in Abuja, Malami speaks on recent developments in Bauchi amid the resolve of Gov. Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed to probe the previous government.
Some people are still wondering why M.A. Abubakar went to the tribunal after he had conceded defeat.
The former governor never accepted defeat as erroneously traded, but he had to abide by the provisions of the law. INEC had declared the PDP candidate as the winner of the gubernatorial election. APC had no option than to abide by the law to give peace a chance. But the former governor was not genuinely defeated. If you say he was rigged out, that I believe from the facts at our disposal and presented before the Bauchi State gubernatorial petitions tribunal for justice.
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Where and when was the election rigged as you claim?
It is not a matter of claim, but that of reality. We are not so desperate to return to power if we lack the facts to support our case. Even INEC as the umpire knows that in Bauchi and Tafawa Balewa local government areas, the total number of registered voters did not tally with the total number of votes cast at the election. In Bogoro Local Government, voting didn’t take place in most of the polling units, but votes were allocated to the contesting parties by the stationed riggers of PDP. Accredited election observers were denied entry into several areas of that local government to monitor the conduct of the election. We have so many facts at our disposal to expose the rigging mechanism perfected by the robbers of our victory.
Several allegations are flying against the former governor, including squandering billions to the extent that the new governor has set up a committee to probe him. What is your take?
That is the normal trend in our brand of politics. No matter how honest and sincere you serve, there are those characters that see nothing good in your stewardship laced with transparency and probity. We are not bothered with all those baseless allegations serially dished out because we know the aim and the target. We usually ignore them because they lack substance. The target of the spurious allegations is clear and intended to poison the mind of Mr. President against M.A. Abubakar and Bauchi State APC chapter. Why should we bother ourselves on baseless hallucinations and distractions?
Allegations of unauthorised loan of N4billion from UBA etc?
(Laughter) As I said, we always ignore those allegations because they emanate from ignorance and mischief. The issue of N4bn was explained severally by the former governor which can be verified from the former Bauchi State 7th House of Assembly Speaker, Yahaya Miya, who is a PDP chieftain in the state. Ignorance and laziness to investigate issues is the ailment threatening those self-styled anti-corruption crusaders. They always jump to conclusions without investigating the subject at stake.
What of that of over N2tn as alleged by the governor?
The new governor is for now at liberty to say what he wants to say. We are silent for now because we are pursuing a legitimate case before the gubernatorial election tribunal. We shall be in the best position to address those baseless allegations after the determination of our case. We shall ask several questions on how over N225m was squandered in few hours under the guise of environmental sanitation in Bauchi town alone. We shall question the yardstick used to appoint unqualified family members to political positions. A committee was appointed to retrieve carted government properties. That is a good development, but how credible are some of the members? We shall talk on that and shall demand commendation for settling the counter-part funding with UBEC that facilitated the release of N5bn to the state which was a subject of jubilation by the new administration. We shall release details of all approved payments from the N11.5bn that became a source of castigating our effort even by the EFCC. We have a lot to say, but we are waiting for the most ideal time to strike.
What is your rating of the new administration?
I cannot rate an illegal government that was imposed on the people. There is no basis for that. What I know is that M.A. Abubakar won the gubernatorial election but the results were rigged during collation and announcement. We are pursuing the matter with vigour until justice is done.
Do you have confidence in the election tribunal?
Whether we have confidence in the tribunal or not, we are before it and expecting justice not favour. We have a clear case that cannot be twisted against our victory.
Assuming the new government invites you to cross over, will you accept it?
I will be the last to associate myself with the present system because it is not genuine. How can I accept to serve in a fraudulent system?