If not for the country we found ourselves as Africans and Nigeria as a country, will people like Babachir Lawal, with no electoral value and someone that has been caught for corruption and abuse of office, be walking freely and canvassing on issues of burning national importance? Same applied to Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who has not in his entire life, empowered anyone, not even his family members.
These are men who all their lives have chosen to be greedy, selfish and self-centred, without any political loyalty to any party they belong to, but are only interested in mesh of porridge and the next elections.
The recent Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has brought another avenue for both Babachir and Dogara to fan their battered image to high heavens by betraying the party that kept and fed them all this while, including their paymaster that have kept them out of the gunlock.
During the recent clamour for the choice of vice presidential candidates by the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a committee was set up amongst them curiously was Babachir, also a member to look into the best choice of candidate taking into cognizance, their faith and belief, including capacity and competence, but after few months in search, the committee recommended former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, who is a minority Muslim from Kanuri, Borno State.
After the selection process and endorsement by the party as the vice presidential candidate to Asiwaju Tinubu, the duo of Babachir Lawal and Yakubu Dogara started a campaign of calumny against Asiwaju Tinubu and stoking the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket all in a bid to drag the party to the mud and cast aspersions on the APC flagbearer.
The recent press conference and visit to some television stations, as well as visits to Benue State, leaves much to be desired, and, as such, calls for concern for all APC stakeholders that, indeed there is much to it that meet the eyes.
Concerned APC members, in their astonishments, have heard and read that Babachir Lawal crossed paths with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu just in 2015 and, as soon as the APC took power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, because of his closeness and association with Asiwaju, he was rewarded with the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). And, before one could say Jack Robinson, he was enmeshed in abuse of office and corruption, running into several millions of Naira and today, he is in court for corruption charges.
History has it that, up till today, Babachir has not empowered anybody, not even his family members, but is full of pride, hypocrisy with a moral burden hanging on his neck.
Babachir Lawal, has restated his objection to the decision of the APC to run with a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the 2023 general election.
He said Christians, including members of the APC, will use their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) and prayers to resist the party’s plan ahead of the polls.
His stance was echoed by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The duo spoke at an “APC Northern Christian Leaders Summit” in Abuja on Friday.
Their reaction comes amid controversies that have trailed the announcement of a Borno State senator and former governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Many have condemned the outburst of Babachir as being insensitive to the need for the party to clinch the 2023 presidential general elections and calling his activities as anti-party activities perpetuated by Babchir while hiding under the inglorious canopy of religion.
Although Babachir had protested the announcement earlier, some APC chieftains like the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, rebuked him.
Babachir has no locus standi to speak on behalf of anybody, not to talk of any group or association, because he is yet to clear his name for corruption charges having abused his office. He has no moral standing to speak on behalf of Christians whose faith he maligned, disparaged and denigrated having occupied the exalted office as SGF.
We make bold to say that on no account was the Muslim-Muslim ticket meant to discriminate against the Christian religion as alleged by Babachir and co-travellers. The APC did not (and will not) carry any fight as alleged, and is not blaming Christians, neither is it abusing CAN or Christian leaders as alleged by Babachir. All these vituperations are the verbal diarrhea of Babachir and Dogara, fanning the embers of divisiveness in the APC and misinforming Nigerians, just because they lost out on the vice presidential slot and have axe to grind with the party, for not standing for Babachir’s corruption charges in court.
Asiwaju Tinubu’s wife of over 40 years, is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RGGC). The question now is: if Asiwaju Tinubu did not change the faith of his better half, and not even those of his children, how can he now convert Nigerians to Islam? So what is the veracity of Babachir and Dogara’s fuss about Muslim-Muslim ticket? Do they have anything to lose apart from their selfish ambitions? Christians should not be allowed to be deceived by these self-serving politicians, who now claim to be representatives of the Christendom, but are rather wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Indeed, no one should take him seriously, not even the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leadership or Christian leaders in the North, because he does not represent their interest, but is self-serving and self-centred for mesh of porridge.
The exaggerated, arrogant and hypocritical sense of moral integrity and self-righteousness exhibited by Babachir and Dogara is there for all to see. These are men that have hitherto been given bread and butter by Asiwaju Tinubu and were made what they have now become politically. They have now come behind to bite the finger that fed them. This is not only disdain, but shameful, and a let-down for their persons, calling themselves leaders when, indeed, they are nobodies, having no followership all these years.
When did Babachir Lawal and Yakubu Dogara start speaking for themselves? When did they start speaking for the North or Christians? Are they core Christians or they just want to grab the “opportunity” to make themselves popular in the political space? If they are Christians to the status they portray themselves to be, why did Babachir abuse his office against his so-called faith? And, why has he suddenly decided to go after his godfather and mentor, which is clearly a case of betrayal and backstabbing? This invariable means there is more to it, than meet the eyes; that he wanted to occupy the APC vice presidential slot, come rain, come sunshine.
However, both Babachir and Dogara cannot speak on behalf of the Northern Christians. They are acting on their own. Well-meaning Nigerians should not take them serious. They have no moral justification to speak on behalf of the Northern Christians.
Indeed, there is no agenda, whatsoever by APC to malign, suppress the Northern Christians economically, politically or religious, as is being shamelessly championed by Babachir and Dogara.
We have it on good authority that Babachir has gone to take loans and even given a lot of people his words that when he is made the Vice President, he will do this and that on false hope and fake assurances, just to assuage his pride and ego. However, today to his chagrin, he is licking his wound for not achieving that feat.
It is now on record, that Babachir and Dogara have gone to the market place to dance naked, misinforming gullible Nigerians and leaders of thought as if they are genuine Christians. The question is: Who are they speaking for, and on whose authority, because they are not recognized Christian leaders from the North, but fifth columnists being back-rolled by the opposition to malign the Muslim-Muslim ticket approved by the President and APC stakeholders.
Before year 2000, Babachir and Dogara were nobodies, in fact Asiwaju Bola Tinubu made them and brought them to the front burner of prominence. But today, their selfish agenda have overtaken all their sense of judgment, trying to pull the Asiwaju down by all means. Posterity will surely judge them.
Nigerians were awakened on December 14, 2016, when the Senate called for the removal and prosecution of SGF Babachir Lawal based on breach of Nigeria’s law in handling contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE). Mr Babachir’s company, Global Vision Limited, is one of the companies indicted by the Shehu Sani-led ad-hoc committee for benefitting from inflated and phantom contracts, not executed at all.
He was said to have awarded over N500 million in contract to clear “invasive plant specie in Yobe State. The committee found out that at the time the contract was awarded in March 2016, Babachir was still the director of Global Vision and that he just resigned in September 2016 and was still a signatory to the company’s account: Mr Babachir’s directorship of the Global Vision while being a public official – Secretary to the Government of the Federation – contravenes Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. To all intents and purposes, Global Vision was incorporated in 1990 to carry out ICT services, but it received contract to clear grass in 2016, even while the owner is a senior government official and was also arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 10-count charge bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of N500 million.”
Babachir, according to Nigerians, was then a disgrace to the APC and was also exhibiting anti-Buhari tendency and what the APC administration stood for and still continues to expend energy and ill-gotten resources to pull down APC at all cost .
Babachir Lawal and Yakubu Dogara are not recognized as Christian leaders of the North in any ramification. Their visit to the Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom should not be taken seriously, because they are not speaking on behalf of anyone but themselves, crying wolf where there is none.
Their presence at the Governor’s lodge does not have the backing and authority of the known Christians leaders like General Yakubu Gowon, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (Taraba), Dan Suleiman (Adamawa), Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue), Prof. Jerry Gana (Niger) and General Zamanai Lekwot (Kaduna).
These are the recognized Christian leaders of the North and any other persons posing as such, are fakes, fifth columnists and should not be taken seriously by well-meaning Nigerians.
The above purported Christian forum spearheaded by Babachir and Dogara is not known to the North and should be discountenanced and disregarded for their self-serving statements.
Asiwaju is a political phenomenon of our time, a detribalized Nigerian that has transversed the nation’s political landscape, taking battles that seemingly appeared insurmountable and coming out victorious. These shenanigans of Babachir and Dogara will come and go, but Asiwaju/Shettime will remain as an indelible mark on the sands of Nigeria’s democratic history.
The supposed group of both Babachir and Dogara is not recognized or given a backing by the recognized Christian leaders of the North, and, as such, they speak for and on behalf of themselves and their opinion does not count as they do not truly represent the generality or leaders of the Northern Christians.
The coming together of Asiwaju and Shettima ticket has thrown the Nigerian polity into frenzy and the announcement was a bang, because of what is portends for the country and the future of our youths.
The ticket will right the wrongs of the past and put the country right back on the comity of nations as a result of transformative and transparent governance, which has drawn wide applause and commendations from the international community, Nigerians, including torrents coming from the Diaspora.
• Danjuma Aziki is of Middle-Belt Renaissance Group (MRG), and wrote in from Abuja.