Ex-gov Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State, has said he manipulated the presidential primary of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) against Rochas Okorocha to favour Muhammadu Buhari in 2003.
He confessed Okorocha actually won 27 of the 36 states and the FCT, while Buhari won only five.
These revelations are contained in a new book which will be launched on Thursday in Abuja, ‘Politics as Dashed Hopes in Nigeria’, written by Auwala Anwar, PhD, former Special Assistant to the president on FCTA between 2004 and 2007.
Anwar said “Buhari was not even able to secure all the 7 votes from his geo-political zone (North-West). But when Bafarawa saw how dismally Buhari’s performance had been, he not only suspended the meeting for a break but also requested the state chairmen to stay behind for some announcements. He later cajoled the chairmen and explained to them that his preference was for Buhari to emerge the winner. In response, they all assured him that, although they were ready to do whatever he requested, as their leader, they were still not inclined to vote for Buhari.
“On enquiry, the chairmen explained that it would be foolish for them to vote for someone who did not even know their names. They charged that whenever he came across them, the best he could do to address them was to use generic terms of “Mister” or “Alhaji,” depending on whether a chairman is from the South or the North, respectively. They sensed the futility of supporting someone who did not bother to know them while he was seeking for their support.”
The preview copy of the book, published by Safari Books, quoted Bafarawa as saying in an interview with the author: “I appealed to the chairmen to change their mind because of the prospects of the party at the polls if it were Buhari that emerged as our flag-bearer. I also directed one of my staff, Abdullahi Bida, a relation to Buba Galadima, to give each of them five hundred thousand naira (N500,000:00). I later called General Buhari to meet me at the Niger State Governor’s Lodge, where I was staying. He came around 4 a.m. together with Sule Hamma.
“I informed him about the efforts I had made to turn the table against Rochas. I also explained to him that I had arranged for a private meeting between him and the state chairmen, later at 2 p.m. Furthermore, I begged him to be patient with all the criticisms and the complaints they would lodge against him.
“Additionally, I gave him five million naira (N5,000,000:00) to give them to fuel their vehicles back to their respective states. He collected the money and thanked me for all the trouble that I took to see him through. He later handed over the money to them at the end of their meeting.”