Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State yesterday denied that a meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) governors’ with President Muhammadu Buhari had to do with the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
He, however, said the governors raised a committee to look into the crisis and other problems confronting the governing party.
It would be recalled that APC governors under the aegis of Progressives Governors Forum, PGF, on Tuesday met behind closed-doors with President Buhari, where they reaffirmed their loyalty and support for the government’s anti-corruption war.
Abubakar said in as much as the APC governors would look into party issues in the National Assembly, they will not dabble in either any case in court or the crisis in the legislature.
Although he did not mention any names, the Bauchi governor was apparently referring to the trial of Saraki, and others for alleged forgery.
Abubakar, who expressed these views at an interactive session with reporters in Abuja Wednesday, said the APC governors would not intervene in any criminal matter.
He said: “The APC is a party that has come to power and it has come to power from an opposition political party, and I must confess that we are experiencing teething problems in the APC because being in government is a new phenomenon for us.
“I cannot say that things are going on smoothly and that is why yesterday we paid a visit to Mr. President and we expressed the need for governors to be called upon to delve into the problems of the party, with a view to reinvigorating the party so that it can continue performing the functions of a party in power, so we are trying to address this issue”.
In response to the question how far APC governors are willing to go to wade in the trial of some principal officers of the Senate, he said: “…I assure you we are not going to tamper with cases that are before courts or tribunals and we are not going to delve into the issue at the moment.
“We are only going to touch on the political issues pertaining to the National Assembly. As for what is before the court, those of us who are lawyers, we know that we cannot touch them and the issue is just coming up but it is not politics. As far as I am concerned, if any proof is found to the allegations, these are criminal offences so there is no way any committee of governors can delve into that, I can assure you”.
To address the problems in APC, Abubakar said the APC governors have raised a committee to look into it.
He added: “Mr. President has graciously allowed us yesterday and we have in fact formed a committee of the APC governors’ forum to address this and other issues bedeviling the ruling party.
“At the state level, there are problems, I must confess, particularly with our representatives at the centre. What I always say is the most beautiful form of government is constitutional democracy, especially where the constitution is written in Nigeria. Britain practices constitutional democracy but their own constitution is not written; in our case, our constitution is written and the beauty is that at every level of government, the functions and powers of every level of government have been stipulated in the constitution
“So, if we are going to abide by the functions and powers allocated to us in the constitution, there will not be any areas of friction. As I said, the APC is new to governance; it has come from many years in opposition. To attaining the position of the ruling party, we are having teething problems.
“I call all these teething problems, and I assure you that we are addressing these problems; even the Bauchi State problems that are seen today in the pages of the newspapers are not insurmountable and even as I speak, there are moves to address these problems in the APC in Bauchi State”.
On the recovery of looted funds by past government officials of the state, the governor said he would prefer to confirm the figures based on fact-sheet, which was not available.
He said: “The question on the recovery and how much, I always feel shy of sharing out figures that I am not certain of.
“All I can say is definitely that there will be revelations from the little I have seen. For example, I know of a situation of which in one day N1 billion was taken from one account of the government through several N10 million cheques, but I will not be able to put a figure on total recovery. As I said, the work of the committee is ongoing”.