MUST READ: "I Am In Politics To Stay, This Country Needs Someone Like Me" - Senator Abbo

The word Marlian came out of the Founder, Robert Nesta Marley, Bob Marley who stood for justice, he stood against the imperialists, against slavery.
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Senator Ishaku Abbo, Adamawa Northern Senatorial Zone [Photo: Michael V. Bolgent]

At 41, the youngest senator in the Senate is Ishaku Abbo who is widely called SIA; a native of Fali from Muchalla Ward, Mubi-North LGA of Adamawa State representing the Adamawa North Senatorial District in the 9th Assembly.

Speaking to THE GAZETTE NIGERIA online newspaper, Senator Ishaku Abbo spoke extensively on becoming a Marlian, massively endorsing the ambition of Big Brother's Laycon and as Governor of Adamawa State for 2023. Out of excerpts;

Let’s talk about your political career, some people knew nothing about you, even Google says very little about you, so how did you manage to unseat a sitting Senator with such a large margin?

If you check this parlour upstairs (referring to portraits), that is me in 2014 with the PDP State Chairman in Adamawa State, that is me with Senator Obanikoro, me with His Excellency Ayo Fayose, me with the former IG of Police and General Buba Marwa, with former Vice President Sambo and the man who brought me into politics, Chief Tony Anenih and His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan. Those portraits existed long before I became Senator, but I have been in politics for a long time but in a different way.

Have you ever contested any election?

Let me first tell you what I do. I am a Political Consultant, a Campaigns and Elections Strategist and a Community Mobilization Specialist. I mobilize the community for social, economic, political or any other causes. Sadly, it is in this part of the world that one walks into a community and cites a project without community mobilization, advocacy and buy in. so I specialize in mobilizing the community to buy into your project so that when the project is ready, they can accept it as their own. I strategize for politicians how they can get votes, how many votes they need to win, how they can get resources for human, time, funds and management for elections. I am one of the best Campaigns and Elections Strategist in Nigeria, generally, I am a political consultant. I have been doing that in the country for a long time now, there are some politicians and governors who are my clients.

So, what did you contest as?

In 2007, I was appointed by His Excellency, Murtala Nyako, the then Governor of Adamawa State as Principal Special Assistant on National and International Relations. I was advising the governor on relationship with Community, NGOs, external bodies like UNDP, International Development Agencies/Partners. At the same time, I was given dual appointment, I was in charge of Adamawa State Sports so Adamawa United Football club with over 150 staff was under me. Despite the lucrative appointment with PDP, I left PDP, and we formed ACN, then I took appointment with Mallam Nuhu Ribadu where I became his Personal Assistant, in fact, even when he came back from exile, we received him at the airport and we went to Babcock University where he was awarded Doctorate Degree.

So, when ACN was formed, I was the first person to contest for Chairmanship position in my Local Government. Sadly, in Nigeria today, Governors are not sincere. They are crying that they want free and fair elections but their State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, select their party members, give them ticket, and swear them in. Have you ever seen opposition win a local government election in this country? We have to change this, So, I contested, I know I won but the swore in someone who came number 3 in the election. I went back to my business, it was tough.

By 2014, I contested again for Senate, I was barely 34 years old at that time. There were no elections in Adamawa State. The PDP did their primary elections in Abuja instead of Adamawa State and I pulled out because they already had their results before the election was conducted.

Again in 2019 I contested; it was like swimming against the tide. None of the power brokers within the PDP was with me, I repeat, none! The current sitting Governor of Adamawa State had his own candidate who was actually the Former Speaker of Adamawa House of Assembly who was also the younger brother to the Emir of Mubi.

So, I had my plan. The Pharisees had told Jesus, “If you are the savior, save yourself”, so as a consultant, I had to save myself, I planned how to win my primary elections, I knew the figure I needed to win. I knew that my election and that of Mr President will take place the same day the same time, so I will be swimming against the tide but this time around, it is the current. I was swimming against ocean tide. I was harassed by the military, they parked armored tank in front of my father’s house as if I were a thief, or armed robber of a Boko Haram member. I was harassed all over the place on the day of election. The APC people said I was lying but that was the fact. I knew exactly what to do, I know the country very well. I have mad supporters that when I tell them Go, they go! Shoot they shoot, stone they stone. I realize that they knew us and they were deliberately provoking us so that we can react and they will utilize the opportunity.

So, I told my people, don’t do anything violent. I have mad supporters everywhere but I know that election is a 24-hour thing. Within that 24 hours, go out there, cast your votes and defend it by all means. By all means possible! If you give them your vote and they steal it from you, they are not fit to live. Then my supporters took over the streets, they were not afraid of bullet or even death. We protected out votes and won with a wide margin. It might interest you to know that in the Northern Senatorial District, I got the highest vote, higher than the Sitting Governor,  also in the PDP I am the only person who won in my local government. Every other PDP candidate from the President, Governor, House of Assembly all lost, I was the only person who won.

Let’s talk about the Marlian angle, lots of people View Naira Marley as a deviant who mislead the young generation and then you, a Sitting Senator makes videos telling the world that you are a Marlian. Your hair, grooming also shows some level of deviant attitude. You openly projected Big Brother Winner, Laycon, some schools of thought believe that it is unbecoming of a sitting Senator. Let us know your understanding of being a Marlian and why are you a Marlian?

The word Marlian came out of the Founder, Robert Nesta Marley, Bob Marley is the founder of the Marlian world. He stood for justice, he stood against the imperialists, against slavery.

But the Marlian of today is directly linked with another young man Naira Marley whose ideals seems to clash with Bob Marley…

(Cuts in) No, Naira Marley is grossly misunderstood because he is very vocal, he speaks his mind, he speaks what he feels, he may not be right, but, he doesn’t hide it. What made even me to be mad with him was his song that tends to support yahoo boys; those who sit on their laptops to steal from others. They said that we are angry that the yahoo boys were using laptops to dupe the whites, that's no, they are rather repatriating the money they stole from us, when they stole our Gold, Silver and Diamonds.

See what happened in Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, the white people came and stole all our resources and even took us as slaves. We built their countries for them and they pay us back by calling us monkeys. And Naira Marley says no, they stole from us so by all means possible, let it be brought back to us. That is his sin. He said it raw and they say he is a bad man, why do people who speak their minds taken as bad people?

What of the Marlian dressing of not wearing underpants, and brasseries and the likes?

It is not true, I believe this is what the media wants people to believe Marlians are. The Marlians are not irresponsible people. They are highly responsible and patriotic people. People who stand for the truth, people who have a reason to die for what they believe in. People who believe that if they touch you and today, they will come for me tomorrow so let me stand up now. We believe that we must stand for one another.

Bob Marley said something which is quoted in Romans chapter 12 vs 2 “do not conform to this world but transform yourself by renewing your mind” Marley said “Emancipate yourselves from Mental Slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds……..” (he also sang) “Get up stand, stand up for your rights …”, look at the country today, full of conservatives. I am not a conservative but we are living in the conservative society. In public offices, there are Dos and Donts on how to dress, behave, talk and they already gave us a metal jacket and I said, take the metal jacket off my body!

So as the youngest, how do you cope in the Senate?

I am good with my colleagues.

How do they view you?

They look at me as a radical. You know I started on a wrong footing.

How?

The video. So it was like an embarrassment to my colleagues. By fully knowing that I was innocent and was given jungle justice, the Senate set up a committee to investigate me, they wanted to bulldoze me and I shoot back immediately. You saw the video when I had a fracas with my own mother, her Excellency, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, she is a fantastic woman, a Pastor in Redeemed Church, she is a very good woman but in the heat of that problem, we exchanged words. So I already sent a message loud and clear that despite my age, I was not there to be a houseboy.

So when I came into the chambers in the heat of that video, Rauf Aregbesola came, and I stood up in a national television and told him “Sir, You stood up for me before, by giving me money to go and contest election in Adamawa State. You are a Yoruba man, I come from the core North, you welcomed me in your office and did that for me. You are a true Nigerian and I want all Nigerians to be like you” so they were shocked that I could interact with people like that.  I contribute positively in the floor of the Senate. I research everything, I believe in research. Don’t talk if you don’t have anything to say. Even if it is a shallow research, do it first before you talk. I have been making meaningful contributions because the senate is an ultraconservative place. People in their 60s and 70s, Former governors. We have about 17 former governors there so they cannot talk anyhow but I do, I speak my mind.

So,was that why you canvassed for Laycon? The same you canvassing for votes for him, how detribalized are you?

Honestly, I need to tell you the truth, I swear to God Almighty, I don’t know who is a Yorubaman, Igboman or Hausaman, when I see potentials, I go for it. I saw a very brilliant material in the house and everybody was looking down on him. They were looking at him as if he just jumped out of a test tube, looking at him as if he were a laboratory experiment, I honestly didn’t know his tribe, before I canvassed for votes for him.

Do you know Laycon is a First Class Product? You see brain at work, he is outspoken, he fell in love with a lady, and he was rejected rudely. That was when I spoke out. I said Laycon, concentrate and win, when you come out here, I have girlfriends for you. Just come back with the money. The women will be here waiting. Immediately, I became an object of attack most especially from the North, Conservative North, we have social media in the North, even Boko Haram has social media to do campaign too. I received so much bashing from the North because they said I am supporting immorality, what is so immoral there? It is a perception; it is a mental thing. There are more immorality in our films, phones and everywhere. Big Brother is a blessing, and not a curse. It brought in over N3 billion into the Nigerian economy, how can you throw this away? Some people are saying that alcohol is a curse yet they collect taxes and revenue from alcohol and they eat it. Why should we be hypocritical? That is how radical I am.

What is your stand on Domestic Violence and Rape especially in the north?

First of all, it is an international scourge, it is also a national scourge, it is not limited to the North, it is everywhere. It is a national problem, a national disaster and a crime with a very bad consequences for humanity because when you take someone’s dignity, the person is empty, his or her self-worth is gone. Generally, the media and religious institutions have roles to play because who are those raped?  it is the church members that are raped. The daughters and sons of the Imams and those who go to the mosque are victims too. Our wives and daughters are victims too.

Don’t you think that this calls for stiffer penalties because if there is bill passed into law on stiffer penalties….

(Cuts in) It is there

I know but what of the implementation?

I was coming to that, Rape is not the same as Domestic Violence, someone can be raped in the farm, office or anywhere but talking about domestic Violence, we need to do more and victims have to speak out. There must be a deliberate campaign. A help line given out strictly for victims of Domestic Violence. Apart from just punishment, I honestly think that aggressors, lots of them if not all, need help because a lot of them are sick people.

There was an incident that each time I remember it hurts me badly, the man was always beating his wife and daughter, he said, he couldn’t stop it, he knew he was wrong but couldn’t stop, one day he called his wife and apologize for all his actions, and committed suicide immediately after apologizing to his family. That man was sinking, he needed help, he wanted to speak with somebody but he knew nobody would to listen to him because he knew that he was already termed a bad man, he sent his children away to the market and hung himself in the ceiling.

Where do you see yourself in 2023 are you re-contesting as a Senator or going further?

Let me say this loudly, I am in politics to stay, this country needs someone like me. The country is in dire need of people like me, forget about the drama, I am not a corrupt man. I don’t steal government money. I don’t look at wealth as the number of houses I have, or the number of cars I own, or the places I go for holidays, or the volume of my bank account. I don’t define wealth that way, I define wealth as the number of people I pull out of poverty, the number of families I make them smile, the number of children I send to school, the number of children that go to bed filled instead of sleeping hungry.

Can you beat your chest that you have done that in Adamawa State?

I have been doing that long before I actually got into power, as I speak, I have a lot of widows that I feed, I have a lot of orphans that I refuse to publicize that I have been paying their school fees, paying for  healthcare for many.

Just yesterday, I received a bill from one hospital to pay N800,000.00 for some patients I refer to hospitals whenever I come across such health issues. They are not Northerners only, from South, East, West and all over the country. When I receive calls, I refer them. They come to me because they know that I have compassion. What made Jesus to heal people was not just the power he has to heal but the compassion he had for people.

So back to 2023 ambition are you re-contesting?

I an in politics as I said before not to make money but touch the lives of people. As I speak now, there is a call for me to run for governorship in Adamawa State, and I am running and I am winning. Nobody can beat me. I can never contest any Election in this country again and loose. I can never contest any election again and loose go and write it down. I can never, never, never, loose.

It was nice speaking with you Sir.

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