Monday, 3 June 2019

PRESS STATEMENT - Taraba State Youth Stakeholders’ Forum appealing for their inclusion in the national working committee of APC

Distinguished members of the Press,
Esteemed leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress from Taraba State,
Our special guests,
Ladies and gentlemen.
We, the officials of the Taraba State Youth Stakeholders’ Forum, being the caucus of the amalgamated All Progressives Congress (APC) youth support groups in Taraba State, deem it apt and necessary to convene this extraordinary press briefing, to humbly give vent to the noble wishes and aspirations of our teeming members and by extension, the entire Taraba State Chapter of the APC, with respect to the existing vacancy in the national hierarchy of our great party, and the constitution of the new national government under the able and visionary leadership on His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
But in the subsisting spirit of the 2019 Civilian to Civilian Transition, we wish to begin by felicitating with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari; the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); all the newly inaugurated governors across political party divides and indeed, the entire citizenry, for the successful swearing-in ceremonies witnessed on May 29th, 2019. There is no grain of doubt that by crossing the 20 years’ milestone of uninterrupted civilian rule, democracy has indeed attained an even keel in Nigeria. It is our earnest prayer that the Almighty will continue to grant our leaders the divine vision, courage, protection and support in their untiring efforts to rebuild the sinews of our nation’s socio-economic prosperity, and in the delivery of democracy dividends to all Nigerians.

We consider it a point of duty to, on behalf of the good people of Taraba State, express our heartfelt gratitude to the APC-led Federal Government under His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for giving the needed impetus to the actualization of the long-envisioned Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project in the last dispensation. The commitment of the Federal Government in bringing that monumental project to light, speaks volumes of Mr. President’s good intentions to tackle the nation’s knotty challenge of acute shortfall in power supply, amid other infrastructural deficits. The Mambilla Power Project has become a huge cornerstone of Taraba State’s economic renewal, and a leading corridor for other socio-infrastructural projects that will be of immense benefits the people of Taraba State.
We also wish to thank the National Working Committee and other national organs of our great party, for the unflinching support extended to the Taraba State Chapter of the APC in prosecuting the 2019 general elections in the state. Although the APC gubernatorial candidate, Alh. Sani Abubakar Danladi, was not returned elected at the polls by the verdict of the electoral umpire, we wish to assure the national hierarchy of our party, and our teeming members and supporters across Taraba State and beyond, that we are fully determined to exhaust all the legal instruments at our disposal, in our bid to reclaim what in our honest view, is our stolen mandate.

Distinguished members of the Press, ladies and gentlemen; as you are well aware, the erstwhile National Secretary of our party, His Excellency Alh. Mai Mala Buni, was one of the new governors recently sworn-in, having been elected on a landslide as governor of Yobe State in the 2019 general elections. The auspicious ascension of His Excellency, Alh. Mai Mala Buni to the pinnacle of Yobe State’s governance, therefore created a vacancy in the national hierarchy of the APC. We are of the informed view that in the careful consideration of candidates to fill the vacant position of National Secretary of the APC, which is still zoned to the North-East geopolitical region, due cognizance should be accorded to Taraba State, which currently does not hold any position in the National Working Committee of the party, as has been the case from the party’s inception.
In particular, we passionately appeal to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Leader of our great party, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all other personable members of the APC top echelon, to kindly consider the candidature of our dependable, loyal, tested and trusted brother, Barrister Mohammed Bello Mustapha, in whom we are very well pleased and have unanimously endorsed, on the basis of his personality, capabilities and sterling pedigree, and on the strength of the other cogent reasons that we shall advance in this press text.

Although Taraba State has been governed inexplicably by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since the return to democracy in 1999, it is on record that the state has a very robust, deeply-entrenched and mass-based All Progressives Congress structure. In fact, the race to the Taraba Government House has always been keenly contested with the PDP, with the margin of loss being relatively narrow. As proof of the virility of the opposition All Progressives Congress in Taraba State, elections in some of the major constituencies in the state, like Jalingo, Yorro, Zing Federal Constituency, Jalingo 1 and Jalingo 2 State Assembly constituencies, among a host of others, have been consistently and exclusively won by the opposition party in the state.
It is also on record, that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari enjoys an overwhelming followership in Taraba State. Ever since Mr. President joined partisan politics and contested the 2003 presidential election, the Taraba State electorate has massively voted for him in a consistent pattern, up to the 2019 general elections. This trend confirms the firm belief of the majority of ‘Tarabans’ in the person of President Buhari.
We should also not forget in a hurry, that during the visit of the APC 2019 Presidential Campaign Team to Jalingo, ‘Tarabans’ in their thousands, from all walks of life, abandoned their daily routines and marched in unanimity from various locations across the state, in a rare display of staunch solidarity, to converge at the venue of the APC Presidential Rally in Jalingo. In the unfortunate stampede that followed the massive turnout of supporters, not less than seven (7) persons lost their lives, with several others inflicted with varying degrees of injuries. While the tragic incident of that rally is regrettable, the massive turnout of ‘Tarabans’ was nonetheless, a reflection of the love that they have for Mr. President, and the capacity of Taraba State Chapter of the APC to galvanize and mobilize the teeming citizens of Taraba State.

Mohammed Bello Mustapha Esq. is a 47-year old constitutional lawyer, human rights crusader and pro-democracy activist of national acclaim. An unassuming, dedicated and loyal party member, he stood to contest the position of National Secretary of the APC against the immediate past holder of the office, His Excellency Alh. Mai Mala Buni, at the 2018 National Convention of the party in Abuja. But he was impressed upon by some eminent leaders of the party, to step-down his ambition for the eventual holder of the office. In total humility and respect to the party hierarchy, M.B. Mustapha Esq. jettisoned his ambition, and went further to give his unflinching support to His Excellency Alh. Mai Mala Buni. Prior to the 2018 National Convention of the APC, Barrister M.B. Mustapha had vied unsuccessfully to be the National Scribe of the party at its 2014 National Convention.
A focused and resolute young man who had cut his teeth at leadership from his undergraduate days at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he bagged his law degree; and an unwavering stalwart of the opposition party in Nigeria since 1999. M.B. Mustapha Esq. was the gubernatorial candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Taraba State, in the 2011 general elections. It was the very party of Mr. President at that time, before the decisive merger with other progressive parties to form the APC. Barrister M.B. Mustapha made history as the youngest gubernatorial candidate in the 2011 general elections.
Barrister M.B. Mustapha served as the pioneer National Youth Leader of The Buhari Organization (TBO), and was the Adamawa State Returning Officer of the TBO/Presidential Campaign Council, at the April 19th 2003 Gubernatorial and Presidential Elections. Barrister Mustapha also vied for the office of the Zonal Chairman, North-East of the APC, in the 2017 replacement exercise.
A member of the APC Ekiti State 2018 Gubernatorial Aspirants’ Screening Committee, Barrister Mustapha was also a Senatorial Aspirant of the APC in the 2019 General Elections, and a Member of the 2019 APC Presidential Campaign Council.
Furthermore, M.B. Mustapha Esq. served our great party as its Returning Officer/Collation Officer, Taraba North Senatorial District, for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections; and as the Collation Officer, 2019 APC Gubernatorial Election in Taraba State.
But Barrister M.B. Mustapha’s pedigree transcends the political terrain. On the professional turf, he has over ten (10) years post-Call experience as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He has served as Company Secretary/Legal Adviser to Solid Builders Nigeria Limited, and later as Company Secretary/Legal Adviser to Modi Investments Company Limited.
In addition, Barrister Mustapha serves as Legal Consultant to a vast number of agencies and organizations, and as the Executive Director for the Centre for Human Rights Advocacy, Jalingo, Taraba State. He is equally the Principal Partner, Reputation Law Chambers.
A multi-dimensional personality and student unionist, Barrister Mustapha had previously served as President, Taraba State Students Union (TASSU), A.B.U. Zaria Chapter; President, Students Union Government (SUG), A.B.U. Zaria (Kongo Campus) and National Coordinator, Students Human Rights Association of Nigeria (SHURAN). He also served at various times as the Director of Action and Mobilization; the Chairman, Joint Campus Committee as well as the National Convention Chairman of the apex student body in Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), among other positions too numerous to mention.
Among his many awards, Barrister Mustapha has been honoured as the “Role Model of Nigerian Students” by the National Leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and also holds the 2018 “Award of Excellence” for his outstanding contributions to the protection of Human Rights, conferred by the Taraba State Chapter of the Centre for Human Rights Advocacy.
A widely travelled young man, Barrister M.B. Mustapha speaks English, Arabic, Fulfulde and Hausa Languages fluently, and is a responsible family man.
Time and space cannot permit us to reel out more of Barrister Mustapha’s sterling profile, but the foregoing should suffice to establish that our preferred candidate for the Office of APC National Secretary, is a man that possesses the requisite qualifications, aptitude and character to perform exceedingly in the capacity we have endorsed him for.
Therefore, in the spirit of fairness, and considering, like we have mentioned before, that Taraba State has not held any position in the National Working Committee of the APC, we humbly appeal that the party hierarchy, members and teeming supporters should rally their support for M.B. Mustapha Esq., to become the next National Secretary of the APC.
In addition to a fair compensation for Barrister Mustapha’s numerous contributions to the APC, his election as the party’s National Scribe will accord the party the opportunity to bring an eminent and deserving young person on board the party hierarchy, in line with the party’s campaign promise of empowering more young people with leadership opportunities.

In similar vein, we consider it instructive to point out that in spite of the massive support which the good citizens of Taraba State gave to the APC and His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general elections, no indigene of Taraba State was appointed to head any federal parastatal in the last dispensation, except for the appointment of a Minister of the Federal Republic, which is the statutory right of every Nigerian state, whether it be a stronghold of the ruling party or the opposition.
We strongly believe in the capacity and disposition of Mr. President and the APC hierarchy, to uphold the tenets of fairness and equity, therefore we wholly ascribe the unusual exclusion of Taraba State from the constitution of the previous federal administration, as an oversight, and the consequence of Taraba State APC stakeholders not bringing the matter to the attention of the appropriate quarters at the right time.
Therefore, since the current dispensation is at its inchoate stages, we consider it timely and apt to draw the attention of Mr. President and the national hierarchy of our great party, to the need to accord fair compensation to Taraba State in the constitution of the new federal government.
While the legal battle is on to reclaim our missing mandate, Taraba State remains firmly in the grips of the PDP, therefore no stalwart of the APC can anticipate any fair inclusion in the constitution of the Taraba State Government. Hence, the Federal Government remains the only tower of hope for APC leaders and supporters from Taraba State, that seek opportunities to render selfless service in the governance architecture of our country.

It is rightly said that, to whom more is given, more is expected. If our prayers as articulated in this press text are acceded to, and our trusted and capable son, Mohammed Bello Mustapha Esq. is given the long sought-after opportunity to serve as the next National Secretary of our great party, and more sons and daughters of Taraba State are included in the next national government of the APC, there is absolutely no doubt that the Taraba State Chapter of the APC will be further reinvigorated and motivated to contribute even more, to the electoral fortunes of the party at all levels.
We therefore conclude on this note, with the firm belief that our noble wishes and aspirations will be given the humane and expeditious attention that we earnestly seek.
Thank you all, and God bless.
Long live the APC!
Long live Taraba State!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Hon. Sulaiman Bakari (SB),
National Chairman

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