By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Given the amount of goodwill that attended Governor Isa Yuguda’s triumph in the 2007 gubernatorial election, it was the expectation that he would forever align and protect the masses who championed his cause.
However, the sack on Wednesday of a civil servant who dared to criticize him raises issues of the governor’s touch and temperament.
The allegations allegedly raised by a now sacked civil servant inBauchiState, Abbas Faggo against Governor Isa Yuguda on his Facebook page may not be true. But the governor’s response has been vicious.
Faggo who until recently was a staff of the Bauchi State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development had alleged in the posting that the governor could not pay salaries but had the money to sponsor the lavish wedding of one of his 21 children, relocated one of his three wives to America to give birth and squandered the state’s resources on frivolities.
Following the post on September 4, 2012, Faggo was arrested and charged to court allegedly for defamation. That was after he was held for some weeks allegedly for acts that compromised state security through a cyber attack on the governor.
However, the state was unable to sustain the charge as the case was struck out by the court.
Following the acquittal, the Bauchi State Head of Service in a letter dated 13th November, 2012 relieved Faggo of his employment in the state civil service.
Governor Yuguda was quick to dissociate himself from the brewing controversy yesterday. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Ishola Michael, he told Vanguard that Faggo’s dismissal emanated from the Head of the Civil Service and was as such not something directly related to the governor.
Remarkably, no excuse was given for the sack of the civil servant whose facebook posting immediately catapulted him to fame.
The sack letter with reference number GO/CSM/S/DIS/I/T.2 which was signed by Ibrahim Shehu for head of service titled ,” Termination of Appointment” read: “I am directed to refer to the Civil Service Commission’s letter No CSC/PRO/s/001/T.V dated 1st November 2012, and to convey the commission’s approval for your suspension and termination of appointment from Bauchi State Service with effect from 10th October 2012 as your service is no longer required please.”
Before the termination of Abbas appointment, the state Anthony General and Commissioner of Justice Barrister Almustapha Suleiman had asked the Police to investigate and prosecute Faggo for the posting he says caused injurious false hood and defamation to the governor.
The Faggo saga is the latest in what some consider as the controversies that have dogged Governor Yuguda since his remarkable electoral landslide in 2007.
It would be recalled that Yuguda overcame what many alleged to have been the persecution meted out to him by his one time friend and immediate former governor of the state, Alhaji Adamu Muazu. When he faced obstacles in his bid to secure the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP ticket, he crossed over to the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and used that platform to win the governorship.
Yuguda’s victory in the 2007 election was pushed through by a coalation of several political groups who sympathized with him in the face of what they perceived as the hard efforts by Muazu to stop him. That was despite what many of them regarded as the infrastructural successes and other development initiatives of the Muazu administration.
However, not long after that, the coherence in the opposition that dislodged the PDP began to crack. Yuguda’s return to the PDP and the refusal of many of his associates, including his one time aide, Bala Mohammed who was then a senator, to go back to what they said was their vomit in the PDP led to political battles. Bala, however, returned to the PDP after he was made a minister.
Before then, he had married one of the daughters of the then president, Alhaji Umaru Yar‘adua, Nafisat in a flamboyant ceremony that raised eyebrows among the rainbow coalition that brought him to power.
Irrespective of the seemingly libelous assertions of the sacked civil servant, the hard reaction of the administration is now winning him respect among many in the civil rights community and the political opposition.
The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC gubernatorial candidate in the last general election Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar has taken up the issue as another case of misrule by the administration.
In a statement made available to the media in Bauchi, he said: “It is truly shocking that even after Mr. Faggo had been cleared by a court of competent jurisdiction of these allegations against him, the State Government went ahead with this action of firing him.
Considering the inalienable right of freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed and enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is one of the fundamental human rights of Nigerian citizens, it is imperative for the Bauchi State Government reinstate Abbas Faggo.”