Ex-Chief of Air Staff and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (rtd.) has denied recruiting 1,000 militants and political thugs ahead of the Bauchi State governorship election in 2023.
The denial was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar Media and Publicity Committee, Salisu Ahmed Barau, made available to journalists in Bauchi on Tuesday.
Reacting to an online story (not Daily Sun), the Ex- Chief of Air Staff said the story was fabricated to mislead the average Bauchi voters who he posited were increasingly showing interests in ensuring the success of his candidature in the forthcoming general election.
Abubakar said the electorate was finding him and the APC more appealing “owing to the colossal failure of the ruling party to provide the State with purposeful leadership and dividends of democracy in the past three years”
He described the story as a political mischief, wrapped in a news garment.
“It’s apparently a dirty political hatchet job that calls for immediate clarification from the Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar Media Office,” the statement read.
“To put the records straight, the publication in question, which publishers credited their sources to an unnamed Colonel of the Nigerian Army, said it is in possession of a ‘security signal’ on the said recruitment exercise, without further presenting facts, but only quoted some anonymous ‘politicians’ who obviously funded the publication.
“Honourable Shehu Aliyu Musa (Barden Gabas of Bauchi), who is member of the association attended the meeting that was organised to congratulate him on his emergence as the running mate to Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar with the leadership of the Bauchi State Amalgamated Associations of Butchers, Hunters, Cobblers, Blacksmiths, and Berbers after opening the Associations’ State Secretariat in Bauchi.
“Surprisingly, the newspaper in question only chose to replace the names of Butchers, Hunters, Cobblers, Blacksmiths, and Berbers with ‘Militants and Political Thugs’, mainly to give dog a bad name in order to justify its hanging.
“As law-abiding citizens, we did not hold the meeting in question until we officially sought for and obtained the approval of the Bauchi State Police Commissioner who was represented at the meeting by an Assistant Superintendent of Police.
“The mere mention of ‘Militants and Political Thugs’ in the publication gives away those behind the write up as some Bauchi politicians are already scared that since he secured the gubernatorial ticket of the APC, people from all parts of the State are shifting their support from various camps to the aspiration of Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, the new entrants being members of Butchers, Hunters, Cobblers, Blacksmiths, and Berbers associations”
It said further that it was a fact that Saddique Abubakar was honoured in recognition of the outstanding military career by President Muhammadu Buhari who immediately appointed Sadique as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Chad to check some of the most notorious sources of criminal insurgency that had ravaged the north east region in the past 10 years.
“It therefore baffles the reader that someone who spent the past forty years of his life defending his country, will now be accused of turning against it,” the statement added.
“Is it not surprising that of all the retinue of media houses and state correspondents that are in Bauchi State, only one online newspaper will report on matter with this magnified caption as the proceeding of a well-publicised meeting held on such a sensitive matter?
“While we encourage investigative reporting as an important ingredient of democracy, we urge all journalists to ensure that they discharge their obligations by feeding their audiences with facts and not to allow their platforms to be used for the advancement of someone’s political ambition.
“The people of Bauchi State are some of the most politically sophisticated people that cannot be fooled by this kind of dirty political undertaking in the name of journalism; they know the crooks who sleep in the same bed with ‘militants and political thugs’ in their political sojourns. It is their decimal performance in office that prompted the entry of the retired Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar into the gubernatorial race, and the voters are eager to give them their score carads on the election day. We remain steadfast and committed to our mission on winning the coming election and enthroning good governance.
“Therefore, no amount of cheap blackmail will distract us”