– Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state has fired back at the presidency after a statement by a presidential aide, Garba Shehu – Shehu was responding to a statement by the PDP and mentioned the Bauchi governor as one of the party’s chiefs facing trial – Governor Mohammed queried if President Muhammadu Buhari is aware of the statement released by his media aide Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state has responded to a recent attack directed at him and his Adamawa state counterpart, Ahmadu Fintiri, by the presidency. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had sparked the verbal war when it called out the presidency over a recent action of President Muhammadu Buhari. The PDP had questioned the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration following the president’s endorsement of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu ahead of the Edo state governorship election.
Buhari had endorsed Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the governorship election in Edo state, who is undergoing trial for alleged fraud to the tune of N700 million.
The opposition party questioned the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration after images of the president handing an APC flag to Ize-Iyamu was released to the media. In response to the PDP, presidential media aide, Garba Shehu, said PDP should sack some governors on its platform – specifically mentioning Governors Mohammed and Fintiri who were facing trials before they were elected. In a statement sent to journalists by his media aide, Mukhtar Gidado, Governor Mohammed said he contested, denied and defended all the allegations against him in a court of competent jurisdiction before his election as governor. “It should be placed on record that prior to that, he had recorded some landmark victories over the EFCC in all the cases that had been decided,” the statement noted.
The statement went on to say: “Unlike Pastor Ize-Iyamu who is the candidate of the ruling APC, a party that professes the eradication of corruption as its mantra, as the unimpeachable cornerstone of its national revival programme; Bala Mohammed was the candidate of the opposition party. “A man who was ready to subject his integrity to electoral scrutiny without passing through the same moral crucible as the candidate of the ruling party. The electorate believed him; set his prosecution and persecution aside; and got him elected, defeating an incumbent governor.” The governor reminded the presidency that the two major anti-corruption outfits in the country were set up by a PDP government. Governor Mohammed, however, queried if President Buhari is aware of the statement released by Shehu, warning that “presidency officials desist from the unpatriotic practice of using Mr President’s name, as an arsenal, to hit perceived political adversaries.”
Rather than face the salacious allegations and counter-allegations of corruption, marked by fainting sprees, within the ranks of the APC, the troubled party is busy diverting the attention of the public by referring to governors whose trials are understandably on hold. “Because the prosecuting agencies shamelessly failed to provide any evidence to merit any prosecution up to the point they contested and won election which now conferred on them constitutional immunity,” he said. Recall that the Edo state PDP campaign council had also described Buhari’s meeting with Pastor Ize-Iyamu as ill-advised and a dent on the president’s image. The statement which was signed by the campaign council’s spokesman, Chris Osa Nehikhare, noted that the Buhari’s administration is known for its spirited fight against corruption, and should not be seen in public with someone standing trial for corrupt acts.