2023 Presidency: Bala Mohammed takes campaign to South-east

Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed has taken his presidential advocacy to the South-east, seeking support of party stakeholders delegates from the region.

In Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu, members of the party, mostly delegates who will cast their votes in the May 28 presidential primary election of the PDP converged to receive Senator Bala Mohammed, a PDP presidential candidate and the governor of Bauchi State in various locations in their respective state capitals.

In Anambra, Mohammed met with the delegates of the party at Hollywood events centre, along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Awka. Before what one can describe as his triumphant entry into the arena, delegates who converged to welcome him had mixed feelings about who they have converged to welcome. To the delegates, Mohammed was just one of those Northern politicians, and most importantly, one from the Muslim, who is not different from all the others.

A member of the party who was also on ground to welcome Senator Mohammed, Hon Afam Eze told this reporter before Mohammed’s arrival that: “I have never met him, I have never also watched him speak before. I only know him as the governor of Bauchi State. The most I know of him was when he was the Minister of Federal Capital Territory. Who knows, he may not even be different from all the other northern politicians who have been the bane of this country.”

Just before noon when Mohammed made his entry into the event centre, there were not so much enthusiasm yet about his personality, until he was ushered in to speak to the crowd. Only then did most of the delegates fall in love with him. There is also no doubt that the likes of Afam Eze changed their perception of him after listening to what many described as a dispassionate speech. The governor who mounted the stage first warmed his way into the heart of the Southeastern delegates when he started by saying that he would support whosoever emerged as the candidate from the PDP primary, to ensure the party wrestled power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The cheers among the delegates when he mentioned that the Southeast and Northeast had the most legitimate claim to the presidency was very visible. He said both zones having not tested power were the most eligible for the position, and went ahead to describe the Igbo nation as critical in the Nigerian project while recommending that their entrepreneurial ingenuity and apprenticeship should be emulated by other parts of the country as a model for addressing poverty and unemployment in the country.

He told PDP faithful, “I am presenting myself for election and I seek your support but if I don’t win, I will support the eventual candidate of PDP because we have to rescue Nigeria.” If delegates in the respective states visited by the governor had any more doubt in them previously, the above words cleared all of them, leaving the aspirant before them as a rare politician, a dispassionate one, whose style of politics is away from the usual win-by-all-cost politicians.

Long after the governor departed the arena in Awka, Anambra State to meet with delegates of other states, his message resonated among the delegates, as the master of ceremony took time to read to the delegates the many achievements of the governor in his home state, and the personal achievements of the governor in other positions he had held.

If everything the aspirant said was fascinating, perhaps the delegates were more fascinated when they learnt that under Senator Bala Mohammed as governor of Bauchi State, many Nigerians from all the geo political zones in the country, including Igbo indigenes were among his advisers and key government officials. His campaign organisation too has as Acting DG, Prof. Udenta O. Udenta from Enugu State and other Directors and members cutting across tribes and tongues of Nigeria. Many of the delegates confessed that 

Senator Mohammed’s campaign team is a microcosm of Nigeria. They described him as the unifier needed at this time for stabilization of the country.

The governor also thrilled delegates in Enugu and Ebonyi. He told them would run an inclusive government if given the party’s mandate and wins the 2023 presidential election. While addressing hundreds of party delegates from Ebonyi and Enugu called on the delegates to join him in retrieving, rescuing and renovating the country with knowledge-based solutions.

The governor after the tour was delighted with the result he achieved. He said: “We are delighted by the enthusiasm and cooperation expressed by the delegates of FCT, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi,” he said. It’s incredible how the delegates effortlessly connect with my powerful message of hope and national recovery with each region and group contributing their quota to that effort. My presidential campaign is an unstoppable movement with no doubt about it.”

If given the party’s mandate, Bala said he will help in tackling the myriads of problems facing the country. “I am a visionary leader who is fully prepared for national sacrifice, who is tried and trusted and whose compelling life journey and exposure as a journalist, civil servant, senator, minister and governor have equipped me with the skills set to tackle the myriad of frightening problems this clueless APC administration has bequeathed to the nation. Under my watch as the president, I will leverage the nationalistic instincts inherent in Nigerian citizens to drive national development both from the individual and from the community in a vertical and horizontal manner.”

In Anambra the delegates brainstormed about the personality of the aspirant long after he had left. Bala Mohammed, a Nigerian politician was born on October 5, 1958. He is currently the Governor of Bauchi State. Prior to becoming the Governor of Bauchi State, he was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from 2010 to 2015. He is a ranking member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mohammed began his work career as a journalist/news reporter in 1982. Between 1982 and 1984, he worked for the Kaduna State based Newspaper, The Democrat – and the Plateau State newspaper, The Mirage. In 1984, he joined the civil service. He began his civil service experience as an administrative officer at the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs where he served until 1994 when he moved over to the Presidency (Cabinet Secretariat) as the Principal Administration Officer. Bala Mohammed’s rise through the civil service ranks was rapid. Between 1995 and 2005, he rose being the Chief Supplies Officer at the federal Ministry of Solid Minerals – to Assistant Director at the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel – to Deputy Director/Special Adviser to Honorable Minister at the Federal Ministry of Transport – to Director of Administration at the Nigerian Railway Corporations – to Special Assistant to the Honorable Minister of Aviation – to Director of Administration and Supplies at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. He voluntarily retired from civil service at the level of a director and joined politics.

In 2007, Bala Mohammed contested and won the election to serve the people of Bauchi South Senatorial zone in Bauchi State as their Senator under the party platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He served as the Senator from 2007 to 2010. While at the Senate chamber, he became one of the foremost outspoken legislators in Nigeria. Bala Mohammed had membership of eight [8] Senate Committees including Communication, Finance, Public Account, Rules and Business, Environment, Labor and Productivity, – he was the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation and Secretary, Northern Senator’s Forum. 

As Governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed has provided sterling leadership, and has presented himself as a leader who has been tested, and ready for opportunities in higher level. His achievements are very glaring in infrastructure, agriculture, administration, healthcare, housing and many others.

In the South East where every politician from the zone feels marginalized in the Nigerian space, especially in the area of not being able to govern the country, the Bala Mohammed visit cleared doubt among them as he yoked the South east with the North east in terms of leading Nigeria, and left no one in doubt why the presidency should go to either the North east or the South east.

In summarizing this, Chief Okey Muo-Aroh, a chieftain of PDP in Anambra and an orator had earlier educated the delegates on the reason the party dropped zoning. He said the fact that the party was an opposition party, it would not want to go into the election with the luggage of excluding a section of the country.

Speaking with journalists after the event, a member of the party, Hon Gozie Mbamalu said: “I have not listened to all the presidential aspirants of the party, so, if you are asking me to rate Senator Bala Mohammed, I may not be able to do so accurately. But I want to tell you that I’m very happy with his speech today, You know, some of us from the south, there is a way we look at northern politicians, but I must tell you the truth, he cam off as a very dispassionate politician, and who has the genuine interest of this country at heart. He is a politician you cannot afford not to like, especially if you like this country to move forward. At least, he showed through his speeches and body language that he earnestly wants this country to grow.”