Politics

Nigeria Decides 2023: I knew Tinubu’ll win presidential poll –Badaru, Jigawa gov

From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Presidential and National Assembly elections were conducted across Nigeria on 25th February, 2023 and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, was declared the winner of the poll.

However, there were mixed reactions regarding the elections. While some accepted the outcome, so many others including the opposition parties rejected the outcome of the election, and had headed to court to challenge it.

Jigawa State governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, in an interview with BBC Hausa, on Saturday, said he wasn’t surprised with the outcome of the election as members of his party, APC, knew they would win the election.

How do you feel about the victory recorded at the recent presidential election?

It was God Almighty that made it possible and we are grateful to Him for that. The victory is not for only us in APC. The victory is for all Nigerians. We particularly thank God for making it possible for the success of the elections. No violence was recorded before, during and after the election. It’s another history for us for a civilian administration to hand over power to another democratically elected civilian president. Also, it’s a thing of joy for us that a president from our party, APC, is handing over power to another APC government.

Did you expect the victory you recorded at the presidential election?

Yes, we were not in doubt about our victory at the presidential election right from the beginning of the process. This was because our presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is a great man who knows what to do in terms of governance and administration. He’s also a credible candidate. He has done a lot of things in the past as Lagos governor few years ago and the records are there for all to see. Besides, he has massive followers from across the country. We saw this victory coming even right from the beginning of the campaign and other things that surround the elections.

But at a point, your party lost hope in the system due to recent policies of government. There was nothing like that.. We were strong all the way.  And there was no pointer to the statement that we have lost confidence in the system midway.

Some APC governors accused President Buhari of trying to ruin your chances with Naira redesign policy, fuel scarcity and the rest

So many people might have said such things in the past but I told the world through the media that people should not worry. Yes, the policies were introduced but remember that it’s God that gives power to whoever he likes at what time. Naira redesign policy, fuel scarcity or whatever that was introduced then won’t stop whoever God want to win the election. I was never worried about the policies or steps taken by the federal government then. My concern then was the suffering that people, particularly rural communities, were passing through as a result of the cash crunch.

Were you scared when the election results starting and other political parties were catching up with your party?

When the election results started coming in, APC was leading. But other caught up with us along the way. But I was never bothered because I was in the situation room and knew what was happening across the country. I knew the efforts we made for a positive outcome. We achieved success in several states and even in the North, we failed to achieve the desired result. We were not bothered because we were following up what was happening across the states.

Like you know and have seen, the northern people also showed that the APC candidate is their person. We have known and worked with him for a long time. He has helped us greatly in different ways and has never shown any form of division or discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or political affiliation.

After the issuance of certificate of return, you went to meet with the President. What did you discuss with him?

We went to show the President the Certificate of Return, and also inform him that God has done it again for our party, and that Nigerians have given us their mandate again. We appreciated the support that came from him throughout the election period. Remember that the President followed us to several states on campaign. He raised the hand of Tinubu at different locations and asked Nigerians to vote for him. It’s not easy and we need to appreciate him for that.

At some point, some people including some governors accused President Buhari of not supporting Tinubu. Did you see surprises on his face regarding Tinubu’s victory?

No one from our party has ever said President Buhari is not supporting Tinubu. Rather, the claim was that some people around the President doesn’t support Tinubu’s candidacy. I can assure you that President Buhari is with Tinubu. If not, you won’t see me or some other governors around Tinubu.

But there were cases you challenged the decisions of the President particularly on Naira redesign policy

It’s possible that many people said a lot of things during that period. But my concern was my people in Jigawa state whose finances were trapped in the bank for whatever reason. The decision affected the economy of my state and the survival of small businesses that had to suffer greatly due to the Naira redesign policy. I tried as much as I could in the last seven years to build the economy of the state particularly the SMEs. Undoubtedly, the GDP of Jigawa State grew of the last years, and it will be unfair to destroy that effort through the policy. Don’t forget that Jigawa is one of the poorest states in Nigeria. These are my concerns during that period.

What Nigerians expect from Tinubu?

I have great trust in his capacity and competence. He’s ready for the job and he’s ready to give all to the service of Nigerian people. His records are there in Lagos where he was once a governor and other places he served. I know he will assemble great minds and professionals and fix them in the right places. I can assure you that our economy will pick up again. In addition to that, he has the capacity to unite the people and give everybody the sense of belonging.

Many people don’t believe in your party’s manifesto regarding this election. Will there be adjustments along the way?

The time available for this interview won’t allow us to discuss this matter exhaustively. But you can remember that President Buhari took over power in 2015 when a barrel of crude oil was above $100. At a point it dropped to $30 or less. The development affected us greatly. Our revenue dropped significantly. At a point we couldn’t afford to pay workers salaries. Previous administrations built the economy on oil revenue, hence there was not multiple windows of income. It was nobody’s fault. But despite that, the administration was able to achieve a lot with the limited resources. Second Niger bridge, railway projects, hundreds of road projects and several other achievements were recorded. The administration started so many projects and completed the ongoing ones.

There’s need for reconciliation. How will your party do that?

That is the next step. Politicking has ended with victory for APC. Whatever happened during that period was in the best interest of Nigeria, particularly the northern Nigeria. We did what we thought was the best for the country. We, northern governors, collectively agreed that a southerner should take over power after the end of Buhari’s tenure for the sake of peace, unity and justice. We supported that and achieved that.

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