SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, and his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Monday over the scheduled supplementary election taking place this Saturday in some six states.
The two governors, in separate audience with the President expressed concern over some developments that could lead to a possible breach of the peace during Saturday’s exercise in their respective states.
Specifically, Abubakar said he was at the State House to brief the President on the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding the rerun election in the state which according to him was unknown to law.
He was emphatic that the action of the electoral body if not reversed would have grave security implications.
He said: “I came to brief Mr. President about the situation in my state. I briefed him on the issues surrounding the inconclusive elections, the Returning Officer for Bauchi State at the end of collation, rejected the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government and then 36 other units spread around 15 local governments of Bauchi State and ordered a rerun.
“Surprisingly, we woke up one morning and the Independent National Electoral Commission came up with a procedure that is not known to law. Because, where a Returning Officer has declared the result, only an election petition tribunal can reverse the result. But INEC is attempting to reverse itself in the case of Bauchi. And when one juxtaposes that of Bauchi and other states with inconclusive elections, one wonders why that is happening only in Bauchi State.
“So, for that reason there is a need for me to come and brief Mr. President because that has the potential of touching on the security of the state and it is paramount.”
The governor was also at Presidential Villa last Thursday where he had a closed -door meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a move that was interpreted as seeking the intervention of the Presidency to aid his victory on the rerun.
Asked whether he came to see the president because he was dissatisfied with the attention given to him by Osinbajo, he replied: “No, no, no. There are procedures in this matters and levels of authority. I am a stickler for procedure, I started at the right place and I have also ended up at the right place.”
Governor Abubakar further explained the he only came to brief Bihari on the happenings in the state and his course of action, adding that he was contemplating legal option on the matter.
“I said I came to brief Mr. President, I am not seeking any action of Mr. President. We all know Mr. President; he is a stickler for procedure. What I pointedly told him was that I am not here to seek for you to interfere on our behalf sir but to brief you on what is happening and what actions I have taken.
“i am a lawyer and I am pursuing the legal angle. I briefed him and he emphasized on that legal angle that it is the best way to go,* he said.
On his part, Lalong told State House correspondents that he had come to seek help from President Buhari with respect to deployment of more security personnel to the state in order to forestall any crisis on Saturday when the state would participate in the rerun election.
He described the killings in the state soon after the February 23 presidential election as the handiwork of political foes who were bitter for losing in the exercise and consequently resorted to the killing under the guise of farmer-herder clashes.
“My meeting with the president is the usual briefing. I call it usual because of my passion for peace in the state. It is not about the election, it is about the peace, to ensure we have a very peaceful elections. So far so good, we have had very good peaceful elections.
“We are coming back for a supplementary election, I will like INEC to conduct a peaceful election and so we will like the security apparatus to be on ground in the state. That was my briefing to Mr. President,” Lalong said.
On the attack, he said: “That was why I said I am concerned about security. Usually it starts like that, they start rustling and killing cattle and the next thing you will hear is that, it is farmers herders crisis. I know that I have addressed that issue for a very long time and the police is handling the security. So I informed Mr. President that we are on top of the situation because we wouldn’t want that to escalate into farmers-herdsmen crisis. It is not farmers,-herdsmen crisis, it is criminals trying to forment trouble after losing elections.
“Very well. I always say it has political undertone, why is it happening immediately after elections. It usually happens immediately before or after elections, why is it like that? It has some political connotation.”
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