Poorlitics: Bukar, Gaidam And How An Igbo Man Helped Stop Political Crisis In Yobe


Poorlitics: Bukar, Gaidam And How An Igbo Man Helped Stop Political Crisis In Yobe

Abuja, Nigeria Political News 1st October, 2018: This is Sam Agha Egwu’s experience in Yobe State and how he passionately preached peace between warring politicians.

Hear him:


By Agha Egwu

On October 1, 2018, the rather controversial book Poorlitics will go on world-wide internet release on the birthday of Bukar Abba Ibrahim, the subject and author of the book and also on Nigeria’s Independence day. For details on how to get the book, check the Publisher’s website on www.bassbooks.co.uk

Last week, the internet was buzzing with the controversies in the book. I got calls and texts about how the book and myself were being maligned or praised as the co-author.

As a younger man I ran Summer Schools in British Universities. We played a game called Chinese whispers: if you put a line of people together, whisper something into the ear of the first, who whispers to the second, and so on. By the time you get to the last person, the first message is not only garbled up, but will have a nasty twist.

People urged me to reply and clear the air, but what I was involved in at the time made the facebook palava rather tame: I was helping to save Yobe State from a major political crisis.

The former Governor, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, and the present Governor Geidam were running for the same Senate seat and Yobe was split. Bukar normally sends much of his salary to help his constituents who might be in need. Every month he receives a long list and he starts paying to help. This is Poorlitics!!

Many of his people did not want to lose this charitable giver. On the other hand Geidam’s supporters wanted Bukar to go. Bukar was worried that his constituents would lose the huge largesse. In the book Poorlitics, he said that Senators were being paid too much, but he accepts it because he gives it to his people.

I met Bukar in 2006 as the head of a British University team that came to help develop the new Yobe State University. I watched his simplicity and amazing connection with local people, how he could stop in a village, sit on a mat with the poorest and share food with them, then give them some help.

I had never seen any Governor like that, and in my work for British Universities, I had been to most Nigerian States. I was even more fascinated because the EFCC under the efficient, no-nonsense Nuhu Ribadu, declared him and Yaradua as the only two Governors that were free of corruption during the Obasanjo era.

I started writing about it five years ago. He did not pay me. It was my initiative because I wanted to let other Nigerians know there was a Nigerian politician like him and it became our joint venture. I came to realise that other great progressive leaders like Zik, Awo and Aminu Kano had a similar approach. That was when we gave it the name Poorlitics, the politics of the poor, of mass mobilization. If you give to the people with sincerity, they will give back to you, many times over.

To my surprise, a delegation of Yobe people called on me last week, to bring peace to their State, because of my long friendship with Bukar and the book “Poorlitics” we wrote. Eventually, I found myself in the Yobe Government House surrounded by dignitaries and community elders from Yobe.

It was a surreal moment. I was the only Igbo man and Christian in the centre of Fulani and Kanuri Muslims. Some people think we should be enemies. They did not think of that. They simply saw me as a friend of Yobe people and trusted me to act in the interest of their State. They appointed me to be their Spokesman to help bring peace to their State. This was truly profound.

I used Bukar’s principles of Poorlitics to achieve the objective. They all reconciled. They hailed Bukar the grandfather of Yobe politics and Geidam, the father of Yobe politics.

In the picture below I am standing on the left, with the future, present and past Governors of Yobe State, presenting the book Poorlitics after we made peace. To them it was a major political event. To me it was also a good marketing opportunity for the book as I am not a politician.

With the same spirit of Poorlitics, I think of the controversies on the internet last week. I have just helped to save Yobe from political crisis or even worse, so putting it in perspective, what is the big deal about this Internet hullabaloo?

Some social media bloggers, whilst trying to shake the table, did a lot to highlight controversies that enormously promoted the book. Should this make me angry? It made me smile because our meeting in Abuja was about highlighting the controversies in the book and they just gave us a long week of controversies.

They are great people that probably mean well, but just had a wrong picture. They thought we were manipulating PDP internet stalwarts to promote Buhari. This was false. We are just promoting a book.

I had hoped that they would join us, but for various reasons concerning cash and contract we declined. We made sure people had our book, we booked their flights and had a contract after they were sure they believed in the book. Luckily, some very astute and responsible social media influencers also attended and put the records straight.

There were others that I had great respect for that joined the bandwagon, without even calling to ask for the truth. One dredged out pics of an old false, sex video that was a fall out of the Yobe political conflict we had just settled. It was an attempt to damage the image of Bukar.

All I can say is that if I have hurt anyone’s feelings without being aware of it, then I apologise. I have really learnt a lot from Bukar about the importance of peace. He was really maligned in the Yobe battle, but he was willing to bring them all together for Peace. That is Poorlitics.

So I say to all the bloggers who were invited earlier, but who doubt, that they are welcome to Bukar’s birthday bash on October 1 to launch the International Internet Release of the book, sponsored by Mr Goodie Ibru, founder of Sheraton.

There is no sarcasm here, just sincere gratitude.


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