Last week, I read a write up by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bauchi state, Bibi Dogo, where he made several unfounded, untrue, baseless and malicious allegations against the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq.
In the said write up which he shared on various social media platforms with the caption “How Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, embarks on gubernatorial campaign for her husband”, the old man who is supposed to be a gentleman at his old age however showcased his desperation once again for relevance and recognition from the PDP led Bauchi state government.
Ordinarily, I would not want to join issues with Dogo because I am not a politician and his recent piece was full of mendacious and misleading assertions which is not the kind of stuff I like commenting on. However, for two reasons, I deem it necessary to respond to him so that I will state the facts and save the ignorant ones from being misled by his malice and negative propaganda just to make himself relevant to government.
First, he mentioned my NGO, Mayaka Health and Education Mobilization Association (MAHEMA), in that piece, alleging that the minister pumps resources to us to campaign for a gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar (rtd), who is the husband of the minister. He also alleged that the minister gives us items which we distribute to only members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those in the camp of her husband. What a baseless assertion!
Second, I will respond in order to scuttle his negative plan to stop the interventions sent to the good people of Bauchi state, especially the downtrodden, from the ministry and the federal government. If such interventions stop coming, definitely Dogo as a political sychophant has nothing to lose because he can praise political leaders irrationally to get food while the stoppage of such interventions will be detrimental to the common man. Therefore, it is imperative to refute his allegations so that people will understand his selfish motives and continue to receive humanitarian assistance from the ministry.
Having summarised the content of his empty article, let me state the fact for everyone to know the kind of person Dogo is. It is pertinent to know that Hajiya Sadiya Faruq is the pioneer humanitarian affairs minister in the country since the creation of the ministry by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mandate of the ministry is to, among others, implement the administration’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) and other humanitarian policies of the government.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the minister is doing well to achieve the federal government’s set goals of mitigating poverty and providing social welfare services to the needy through the ministry. She is unbiased in discharging her duties as her services are extended to all states governed by either the PDP, APC or any political party which I will point out later.
Dogo insinuated that the minister sidelines Bauchi state government in her programmes in the state. This is also untrue as everything she does in Bauchi is with the cooperation of the Bauchi state government. For instance, during her last function in the state where she launched a scheme tagged ‘One off grant’, she supported 200 poor women in Bauchi state with N20, 000 each as part of federal government’s social investment programme. The launch of the programme took place at the government house Bauchi, to be precise, at the office of the governor’s wife Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed.
The minister, while presenting the money to the beneficiaries, explained that the scheme targets 150, 000 poor rural women across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. So you can see that Dogo’s assertion has no element of truth which is improper and ungentlemanly for an old man like him n his late 70s to resort to falsehood just to smear some individuals, organisations or to seek relevance. If the minister sidelines the state government or renders assistance to only APC stalwarts as alleged by him, why did she flag off the program at the PDP occupied government house?
In fact, the minister only made symbolic presentation to few beneficiaries of the scheme, leaving the state first lady, other NGOs and stakeholders to continue from there. So, how would he suspect that the minister favours only APC members and her husband’s supporters in her activities when she is saddled with the responsibility of selecting the beneficiaries and sharing the goodies to the governor’s wife, NGOs and community leaders? That is an indication that Hajiya Sadiya Farouq is only discharging her duties devoid of political sentiments.
The rapacious Dogo called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor the minister whom he falsely alleged is contravention of the electoral law on campaign. But we challenge him to provide any audio, video or link of any publication by newspapers to show anywhere the minister mentioned her husband or his party when distributing items or launching welfare programmes in Bauchi state. The fact is, she never talked about her husband anywhere. If he cannot provide evidence, then Dogo should retract his claims and apologise to the minister over his libellous post. This is the only thing he should do to rescue his dented image.
His allegation that the humanitarian ministry pumps money to MAHEMA and sends items which we allegedly shared to APC members only is outrightly false. MAHEMA is a non profit, non governmental, non religious and non political organisation with the objective of empowering women and youth, improving maternal and child health and improving the educational of vulnerable children in Bauchi state.
The NGO was established since 1999 and has been rendering charity services to all the needy, irrespective of their religious or political inclinations. We have been partnering with many organisations including UNICEF, CEDPA, World Bank and Turkish embassy, among others, to execute social welfare programs in communities within the state.
MAHEMA’s activities are purely humanitarian with focus on health, education, women/youth empowerment, environmental/climate change and peace and conflict resolution. It is in this regard and respect and considering the performance of MAHEMA and its track records, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development considers us as one of the credible NGOs to work with in Bauchi state in providing humanitarian services.
Thus, the partnership between the ministry and MAHEMA has been existing before the gubernatorial aspiration of the retired Air Marshall. The NGO engages community and religious leaders to identify deserving persons in their domains. Anybody insinuating that we are campaigning for a governorship aspirant, despite the fact that reputable international organisations also work with us, has ulterior motive.
Abubakar is the CEO of MAHEMA