By Idris Khalid
Joint All Progressives Congress (APC) Forum in Bauchi state has refuted an online media report accusing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq of using public funds to sponsor the campaign of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (rtd) ahead of APC gubernatorial primaries in Bauchi.
The accusation went further to insinuate that the minister enlisted wealthy and high ranking delegates as beneficiaries of stipends for the poor and vulnerable under the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) of the Federal Government.
The chairman of the APC joint forum, Inuwa Saleh has while reacting to the media report said that after due investigation and considering the weight and sensitivity of the allegation, they have found the allegation to be completely false, hence it should be disregarded.
“Despite the oddity of the accusations, in which accomplished delegates of our great party will be accused of receiving stipends that range from five thousand naira (N5,000) and a little more, in exchange for votes, it was essential to give fair hearing and follow due process in ascertaining the validity of the claim”.
Saleh explained however that not taking side with any candidate for the sake of clarity on financial issues, one may be tempted to add that Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (rtd) is a seasoned and accomplished retired public servant and decorated military officer who is very capable of catering for his bills.
According to him, Marshal Sadique Abubakar is also surrounded with a vast network of amiable and deeply-rooted friends and associates that are working round the clock in response to his political aspirations, just like other aspirants are doing.He noted with concern that this was not the first time accusations are being traded by various aspirants directly or through media houses online and offline or through support groups and other channels, in addition to the news, media and rumour-mill scenarios that often accompany electioneering.
Alhaji Inuwa Saleh then urged all candidates irrespective of party affiliation not to see one another as threats or rivals but as people from one family, the Bauchi state family that forms part of the larger Nigerian family.
Saleh said, “We are focused on preserving and promoting peace, unity and progress while encouraging same in our country. The chords of love and togetherness that bind us together in Bauchi State is much stronger than the figments of attempted division”.
“We therefore, seize this opportunity to urge all contestants in Bauchi state, their media team, their media partners, supporters, various support groups and the general public to maintain decorum in the way and manner of electioneering, considering that there is life after politics and this is not a do or die matter”, he concluded.