`How I Was Robbed In Adamawa` – Bapetel

No Comments » May 10th, 2007 posted by // Categories: General Articles



‘How I Was Robbed In Adamawa’ – Bapetel


He was one of the front runners for the governorship race in Adamawa State in the last general elections, until the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disqualified him at the last moment. Looking back at the circumstances surrounding his disqualification, Action Congress (AC) guber hopeful, Ibrahim Bapetel, laments the turn of events in the state which produced the presidential candidate of his party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He bares his mind to Moses John in this interview. Excerpts:

 Your aspiration to govern Adamawa State was cut short on the eve of April 14, 2007 guber election through the announcement by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner of your disqualification, how did you receive the news?

To say that I was not shocked, would be an understatement. It first started like a speculation.  The kind that would be regarded as one of those rumours or pranks politicians play some days to the election. When the announcement was eventually made, I could not believe it because nobody in his right senses in this country, would come out and say somebody should be disqualified on the eve of an election after successfully undergoing all processes from nomination to screening and campaigns. This is despite one’s names, photograph and party logo on the ballot papers, without any cogent reason(s) and courtesy of notification either in person or through the party.

The first thing I said was that it was a joke until when I saw a clip  on the television where the state INEC commissioner announced my disqualification. It was later followed by an announcement on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Kaduna. This not withstanding, we still went ahead to inform our people that it was one of those political gimmicks, because I know personally that I was not disqualified since there was no basis for that. Moreover, there is no notice of such from INEC to me as a person or my party. So, where was such disqualification coming from?

Most interestingly, my names, photograph and my party logo were on the ballot papers and with this, I voted and the people of Adamawa State overwhelmingly voted for me, ignoring the purported disqualification.

You mean INEC did not notify you or formally communicate your disqualification to you or your party?

Nobody, up till this present moment, has had the courtesy of notifying me either in my capacity as AC guber candidate or as Ibrahim Bapetel, except the purported announcement over the mass media less than 12 hours to the election.

What do you think could have led to your abrupt disqualification?

Desperation and nothing short of this. The musketeers behind my disqualification are so desperate to clinch power, no matter what it takes.  They had lost their sense of reasoning forgetting that power resides with the people.

Despite all the energy they dispensed on the rumours that trailed my disqualification and cancelation of my  name on the ballot papers, people still came out to vote massively for me and eventually, I won. I won because initially, they started counting my votes and when they noticed that I was coasting home to victory, with the result of four local governments already counted, they abruptly stopped counting my votes and suddenly realised that they have to chase away our party agents at the collation centres. But the results  made available to us from our party agents in all the polling units showed that I was destined to win the election.

How sure are you that you won the election?

The results are there. I told you earlier that, initially, they were counting my votes at the collation centres with our party agents in attendance. It was after they had collated results from 14 out of the 21 local governments in the  state and saw the margin with which I was leading that they suddenly stopped counting my votes and chased all our party agents out of the collation centres in order to perpetrate their rigging plans. And going by the results at our disposal, throughout the state, my victory was certain and it is just a matter of time before the truth will manifest. If you are in doubt, a little arithmetic will prove me right or wrong. What is the total number of registered voters in Adamawa State? What is the sum total of votes recorded by all the other candidates? How many votes were voided? Then tell me the total number of votes being withheld by INEC. What does this translate into?

You sound so confident that you won the election despite the desperation you alleged, but going by the results of the State House of Assembly election, where AC won 8 seats and PDP 17, how do you justify this?

Even the PDP that claimed it won the election cannot justify its victory because they cannot celebrate it since they knew that they did not won. The so called winners cannot go back to thank their people because they know that they did not win because the people did not vote for them.

They only emerged through INEC manipulation, backed by the law enforcement agencies, thinking that they can do and undo but forgetting that Nigeria has not degenerated into a Banana republic, their victory is temporary because very soon, the truth will start emerging and the people’s mandate will prevail.

The most embarrassing aspect is that when you find out those behind this shameful act, you will discover that they are elderly people in the society who ought to be the leading light to the younger generation. For God’s sake, what manner of leaders are these people?

But like I said, the truth will soon come out and they will be put to shame.

Election has come and gone, results had been declared and today, there is a governor-elect for Adamawa State. Any plan to seek redress concerning your disqualification at the tribunal?

We are law-abiding citizens of this country who believe in the rule of law. The first victory we secured was that we had not allowed their provocation to push us to the extreme of fomenting trouble because that is part of their agenda to probably cause chaos among our peace-loving people and secure a declaration of state of emergency.

It is true that one of our ways of reclaiming our mandate is through the tribunal and it is our right, it is open and there for us to explore. The beauty of democracy is the freedom to seek our right, and our happiness is that the judiciary in the country today has become a source of pride for us. We are proud of them and very sure that they will give us right judgment.

Will you be pray the tribunal to declare you the winner, going by the results in your possession or seek another election?

Well, this is left for my lawyers to decide, going by the information, facts and evidences at their disposal. But I know that the worst that can happen is to go for re-election, and with all sense of humility, if the gubernatorial election in Adamawa State is conducted ten times, I am sure that the good people of Adamawa State will give me their votes ten times. Or what do you think was the desperation in my disqualification at the eleventh hour by power seeking desperadoes. We have faith in the judiciary, we have faith in God and no matter how long, truth will always prevail.



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