Bauchi state governor, Mohammed Abubakar, on Tuesday dismissed fraud claims by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, describing the speaker as a sinking man desperate to hold on to any straw for survival.
There had been a running battle between the two comrades as Mr Dogara raised an alarm of alleged fraud and theft by Mr Abubakar, to the tune of N400 billion since he assumed office in May 2015.
Addressing a crowd of supporters on Friday at a campaign rally in Dass Local Government Area of the state, the lawmaker alleged that the money was diverted using ghost workers.
He had presented some documents which purportedly showed how thousands of non-existent people were said to have been employed in 2015 shortly after the governor came into office.
Mr Dogara also challenged the governor to take him to court and promised that he would prove the allegations.
But, Mr Abubakar, who spoke to newsmen at the APC National secretariat in Abuja, cautioned the speaker to be mindful of his utterances, especially as the Number Four man in the country.
He said: “Dogara is from a tiny community in Bauchi state and is contesting for one of the 12 House of Representatives seats in Bauchi state and I am contesting for Governor. Even if we will meet, we are going to meet in that tiny area.
“I understand where he is coming from. He is a sinking man and so, he is grabbing everything he can hold on to. I am not his opponent in the election.
“What people failed to understand is that in 2015, the President did not win election in Dogara’s local government and I did not win election in his local government.
“But today, Buhari is President of Nigeria and I am governor of Bauchi state. Secondly, people should understand that Dogara represents a total of 80,000 registered voters and I won elections in 2015 with over 300,000 differences. Please do your arithmetic and place it very well.”
He went on: “Go to the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance, download the total allocation to Bauchi state from June 2015 till date and do a calculation.
“You will have a total allocation for the entire Bauchi state. It is not up to N400 billion.
“So, Dogara, as the number four citizen of Nigeria should be careful with his utterances because there is no way the number four citizen can afford to be reckless in whatever he says.
“I have consulted with my lawyers and I intend to sue Dogara and so, I will not comment much on his claims.
“I have said that Dogara should be careful in his utterances because he speaks without considering what comes out of his mouth.”
On the marching order to security agencies to arrest electoral offenders, especially ballot box snatchers by President Muhammadu Buhari, Abubakar said: “Mr. President is the chief security officer of Nigeria. Anybody who snatches a ballot box is a common criminal under the law.
“Therefore, stopping a criminal is not an act that should be politicized because we keep complaining of lack of free, fair and transparent elections in Nigeria and Mr. President is bent on ensuring that the 2019 elections are free, fair and transparent.
“So, if it takes stopping criminals to ensure credible elections, so be it. There is nothing wrong about stopping criminal, even you as a citizen as the right under the constitution to stop criminals in the act of committing an offense.”