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Promoting Good Governance.

Alleged rigger, self-acclaimed ‘compassionate’ man … profiling Abbo, woman-assaulting senator

ELISHA Abbo, a lawmaker at the Senate, has been caught on a leaked videotape assaulting a woman at an adult toys store in Abuja after she pleaded on behalf of the store’s owner.

The video, published by Premium Times on Tuesday, also shows the senator inviting policemen to arrest the assaulted woman whom he accused of disrespecting him. In his response, the lawmaker said the event took place in March and that he was coordinating his team in order to properly respond to the allegation.

Since its release, Nigerians have continued to call for Abbo’s recall, arrest, and prosecution. Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, also set up a committee to investigate the incident and the Inspector-General of Police likewise ordered his arrest.

Following the uproar, Abbo eventually tendered an apology “with a deep sense of remorse and responsibility”, and said the episode has taught him “a very great lesson both as a private citizen and a public officer”.

But who really is he? Here’s what The ICIR discovered.

Ishaku Cliff Elisha Abbo describes himself on Facebook as “an incorrigible optimist, fearless visionary, a generational blessing, intelligent and compassionate”. He married Ojukwu Uche Eucharia Cheche in September 2006 and has two children.

The 41-year-old is today representing Adamawa-North senatorial district at the ninth assembly, and he is reputed to be the youngest serving senator.

He is described as an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert, and his LinkedIn profile states that he is the chief executive officer of DTC Ltd.

Accused of plotting to rig Ekiti elections

Last year, in the build-up to the gubernatorial elections, the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation (KFCO) alleged that former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, was conniving with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig.

The campaign organisation particularly named four INEC officials who it said were active participants in the plot: Egharevba John, Festus Aisien, Igidiogu Kelechi and Ishaku Abbo. Abbo, it said, led the team which had been lodging with the Fayose in the government house.

Bamidele Faparusi, KFCO’s Deputy Director General (South), in June 2018 said a secret meeting was held by all the parties at the government house and that “some sensitive INEC documents had been illegally produced” including stamps, result sheets, and accreditation forms.

“Curiously, these three top officials hold strategic positions in election management. One is from the Administration, one is from Stores and Distribution Dept while the other is ICT top official,” Faparusi said.

“For the reasons best known to them, only the Government House was their exclusive port of call; APC was never in the picture.”

Abbo soon after denied working with the former state governor to rig the election, describing the allegations as “blatantly false, malicious and a wicked attempt” to tarnish his reputation.

Discriminated against on the basis of HIV status

Academic papers published in 2002 and 2003 reported that Abbo, though he performed well after writing the recruitment test, was denied admission into the Nigerian Naval Training College, Port Harcourt, on account of his HIV status.

“According to his narration, he was admitted into the navy as a squadron leader and was then sent to Calabar for assignments. During the period a medical test was conducted without his knowledge of the reason of the test. He was later informed that he was HIV+ and was subsequently denied employment,” one study narrated.

In 2004, Abbo sued the college through a legal action instituted by Jude Okeke, then vice chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja chapter. He asked the court to declare that his withdrawal was “illegal, unlawful and breach of his fundamental right to personal dignity”.

Jonathan’s political opponent until …

Abbo had, in 2015, been very vocal on his Facebook wall against the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan and his policies, especially a perceived ethnic imbalance in his appointments. It’s also clear he publicly supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s policies during this period.

“No administration has used religion and ethnicity to divide Nigerians more than the current administration under the leadership of Mr Goodluck Jonathan. The ultimate test of any leader is looking at what has remained after he is gone,” he had written in March 2015.

However, in May 2018, Abbo wrote that he visited Jonathan, whom he described as “the father and Hero of democracy in Africa His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) the man that believed that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”.

“I seized the chance to apologise to him for disagreeing with him politically in 2015,” he said. “In his usual characteristic manner, he opened his arms wide, forgave easily and received me with love. This man is the embodiment of humility and gentleness. We promise to redeem ourselves from our mistakes of 2015 come 2019.”

Elected senator

In February, Abbbo was elected as the lawmaker representing Adamawa North senatorial district on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He polled 79,337 votes, while Binta Masi Garba of the All Progressives Congress received 63,219 votes.

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