…lawmaker acquired houses illegally — Governor
…Gov hounding me because of refusal to join him in PDP —lawmaker
By Charly Agwam
The lingering feud between the Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Mohammed and the lawmaker representing Bauchi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, has deteriorated as the countdown to the next election in the state draws nearer.
The governor is interested in seeking a second term while the lawmaker, whose political clout appears to be growing in the state, is believed to be having a gubernatorial ambition, which may pose a challenge to the governor should he seek a second term.
But this potential clash of political interest has led to serious faceoff between the two political gladiators though the next general election is about two years away. The fireball was set rolling when the lawmaker was surreptitiously barred from entering the governor’s office in Bauchi during this year’s Durbar celebration, while the Emir of Bauchi, Dr. Rilwan Adamu, revoked his title of Wakilin Birnin Bauchi over claims that he ‘disrespected’ the governor in the Emir’s presence.
Although the emirate later clarified that the ‘mode of dressing’ and ‘unbecoming behaviour’ of the lawmaker caused the suspension of his traditional title, Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi insisted that he was suspended as a result of his refusal to join Governor Bala Mohammed’s Peoples Democratic Party to boost his political base but rather settle for the APC after leaving Peoples Redemption Party, PRP .
Abdullahi said: “When I dumped PRP, the governor asked me to join him in PDP but I told him that I will return to APC because that was my party and that the people that meted injustice on us are no longer there.
“On the day of Dubar, as I was about entering the venue, we were denied access into the Government House during the Sallah homage to the governor. Despite interventions by some officials, security agents (were) insisting that there was an order from above not to allow me and my entourage into Government House but (they) allowed all the district heads (and other) traditional title holders in the Emir’s entourage to enter.
“I am not surprised at their actions at the Government House because I remember vividly well when Governor Bala Mohammed told me that he would personally protest my traditional title of Wakilin Birni before the Emir of Bauchi, which is similar to his elder brother’s title of Wakilin Bauchi ‘Alhaji Adamu Muhammad.”
But while the altercation over the suspension of his traditional title appeared to have died down, the recent demolition of his property situated along the Government Reservation Area, where all the powerful and influential people own homes, and the revocation of his rice mill title by the state government have convinced him that the governor was executing a political vendetta against him.
He said: “The governor went and demolished my house. We have been dragging (the issue) for about two weeks. Finally, the day before yesterday, he sent them in the night and they came with guns and they shot four of my security men there.
“We reported the matter to the police and they were taken to the hospital where the bullets were removed. A day after that, the same group went to the house around 6.00pm. They came with a bulldozer from BASEPA. The governor went there himself and ordered them to demolish the house. There is a process for demolition. If government wants to revoke your title; they have to issue revocation notice to you and when it expires, then it can be revoked.
Section 29 of the Land Use Act gives the governor the power to revoke a title but if that must be done, they have to compensate the person based on the value his property and economic trees.
“It is pure politics because my piece of land attached to my factory, a rice mill, was also revoked about one month ago. He revoked it for the same purpose of ‘overriding public interest’. I know he will go ahead and revoke my other property and land titles because I have many of them. I didn’t acquire the plot of land through government allocations but purchased it from the owner who was legally allocated on owner-occupier-basis about five years ago.”
But the state governor has denied any wrongdoing in demolishing the property of the lawmaker. The governor, who responded to the allegations of political vendetta by his Special Adviser on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, insisted that the property of the lawmaker was demolished based on a subsisting policy that allows the governor to do so in respect of the sale of residential houses on owner-occupier-basis.
Gidado claimed that a former Commissioner for Works and Housing, under the immediate past administration of Mohammed Abubakar had dubiously used a fictitious name of Mohammed Kabir of Danjuma Goje Street, Bauchi, to allocate the house to himself and that it was subsequently sold to the lawmaker at the cost of N9 million in breach of the government policy on owner-occupier.
“There is no record either in the treasury or Ministry of Housing to show that the amount was paid into government coffers. Not only that, the whole process of the purported sale of the house did not follow due process because the value of the house was not assessed by relevant government agencies and approval of the state’s chief executive was not obtained.”
Following the purported sale of the house to Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, the state House of Assembly wrote to inform the government on October 28, 2019 about the development since the house had earlier been allocated to them to serve as guest house.
“Consequently, the government formally requested Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi to provide documentary evidence of the sale of the house to him which up to this moment, he has not obliged the state government with the documents. Furthermore, a revocation letter and stop-work-order were issued to the lawmaker but he refused to honour them and went ahead to construct new structures therein,” the governor’s spokesman said.
There’s no doubt that Governor Mohammed has endeared himself to the electorate through some infrastructural projects and programmes that have transformed the state and raised his political profile but it is also clear that the popularity of Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, who won a landslide victory on the platform of an obscure and unpopular party in the last election, is likely to pose a serious challenge to the governor’s second term bid in 2023.
Newspot News Nigeria