A group of concerned members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reward hard work, sacrifice and years of loyalty in the party in the North East, especially Taraba State.
The call was contained in a statement issued Monday, August 21, 2023, nationwide and made available to BusinessDay in Port Harcourt by groups joining efforts for justice and equity in the ruling party.
The statement pointed to the plight of one Taraba State-based lawyer and activist, Mohammed Bello Mustapha, said to have worked hard for the APC in the state, in the North-East, and at the national level.
In an appeal sent to President, the petition signed by many around Nigeria but initiated by a caucus including Darlington Nwauju of the APC in Rivers State, talked about years of broken expectations in Taraba State and the North East.
The save-our-soul (SOS) was signed by Bashir Bakari, APC chairman in Jalingo who is also the chairman of the Forum of 16 LGA chairmen in Taraba State. Representatives of ward chairmen as well as groups that worked for Tinubu/Shettima campaign councils in the state also endorsed the appeal to Tinubu.
The APC caucus said they studied Tinubu right from his Lagos politics and have found that the leader has a knack in rewarding result, hard work, sacrifice and loyalty.
The SOS said: “It is in light of this rare quality of sacrificing for others, that we draw your attention to the remarkable trait of sacrificing for others in the larger interest of the party as exemplified by the contributions of our brother and compatriot who is a political activist like yourself, one-time president of the famous Ahmadu Bello University Students’ Union Government and national convention chairman of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Mohammed Bello Mustapha fondly known and called ‘Barrister MB Mustapha.”
The statement said Mustapha served as Secretary and Legal Adviser of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council in Taraba State during the last presidential election.
“And it is on record that for the first time in the history of presidential elections since 1999, a Situation Room was set-up (fully equipped with modern IT Gadgets) for the presidential election in Taraba State by the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, who doubled as the APC/PCC Coordinator. Sambo also funded the campaign from beginning to the end.
“The Situation Room was manned, handled and successfully coordinated by Mustapha, which was one of the reasons the APC in Taraba was able to surpass all expectations to score about 30 percent of the total votes cast in the Presidential poll.
“It may interest you to note that, this feat is no mean feat given the fact that pundits had already given up hope on the possible performance of the APC in the state; moreover, some of the principal actors in Taraba APC openly campaigned and voted against the APC.”
The group said it was therefore, safe to say that the engine room of the APC in Taraba during the presidential election was Mustapha.
“We are shocked that people who have longer legs have outrun him to Abuja to receive reward for what they actually did not work for. Rubbing this obvious shortchange of a young man on us collectively totally kills the morale of the younger elements in our political party to work assiduously for future successes,” the group said.
The open letter traced Mustapha’s tracks from his Ahmadu Bello University to the presidential election, and wondered why he was overlooked in picking the man from Taraba State.
The sympathisers also mentioned many moments in the past when Mustapha was asked to drop one ambition or the other for persons for the sake of harmony and he obliged peacefully. The campaigners now urge President Tinubu who they said once appealed to Mustapha to drop an ambition, to kindly look in the man’s side and appoint him.