Atiku, Nyako rift tears Adamawa APC apart
The growing rift between the camps of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and that of former Governor Murtala Nyako is splitting the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa State.
Muhammad Umar Jibrilla, then a senator stood on the political structure of Murtala Nyako to defeat Atiku’s candidate, Ibrahim Mijinyawa twice to emerge as the APC’s gubernatorial flag bearer in the aborted byelection.
Jibrilla repeated same feat in the 2015 general elections to emerge governor.
The victory was largely interpreted as victory for Nyako and a signal to the demise of Atiku’s political relevance in the state.
After Jibrilla’s resounding victory at the election, the battle of supremacy between the Nyako and Atiku camps surged with the former’s loyalists accusing Atiku of plotting to hijack the governor.
Key loyalists of Nyako reportedly felt threatened by the sudden shift of loyalty after the election and called for a meeting between the then governor-elect Jibrilla, the son of Nyako, Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, and an associate of Nyako, Umar Kugama as well as the Chief of Staff to the new governor, Abdurrahman Abba Jimeta, to remind Jibrilla of the circumstances that propelled him to victory.
A source close to the meeting said a call was put across to Nyako, who was then in exile in London, to personally admonish the governorelect against ditching the group that stood with him when Atiku vehemently opposed him and funded his opponent during the nomination processes of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Under intense pressure, the source added, Jibrilla restated his allegiance to Nyako as his political godfather ostensibly to settle the dust.
“Problem started when the governor-elect suddenly ditched his benefactors and tilted towards Atiku who had refused to support him at the primaries despite appeals. He often traveled with Atiku and consulted him on almost every issue. Nyako and his loyalists really felt betrayed and will surely not support him in the future,” the source said.
However, Jibrilla had once told journalists during an interactive session that those accusing him of betrayal are politicians who lost relevance and failed in their attempt to control him.
Jibrilla also denied having any godfather, insisting that his loyalty to the people of the state remains intact and that his resolve to provide infrastructure and development to the state is unshaken.
The former publicity secretary of the APC in the state, Phineas Padio, blamed members of the Nyako group for attempting to shortchange Jibrilla of his electoral victory.
He accused them of plotting to remove the governor barely a week to his assumption of office on May 29 through a court process initiated to ensure the return of Nyako, who was impeached by the state House of Assembly.
Justice Bilkisu Bello Aliyu of the Federal High Court Yola, had on 21st May, 2015 dismissed the suit filed by Nyako, who was challenging his removal by the assembly.
Many believed that if Nyako had won, he would have been reinstated to continue his tenure.
Padio said Jibrilla would have been happier to take over from Nyako, but he felt betrayed after sensing that the retired admiral, fondly called Baba Mai Mangwaro, was planning to stay beyond May 29th.
He said they learnt that if Nyako had succeeded, the plot was that he would rush to court and ask for permission to stay for four years, dating back to his re-run election in 2012.
Nyako was reelected for second term in 2011 but the election was nullified and fresh election conducted in 2012, meaning he spent three years since the rerun election.
”The rift Bindow and between
Nyako has been in the air for some time now. I am not the spokesperson of Governor Jibrilla but the issue that I think finally endeared Atiku to Governor Jibrilla was the fact that some people held meetings to discuss Nyako’s return.
“They said Nyako’s tenure would end in 2016. They sew uniforms to welcome Nyako to Adamawa but Atiku gave Governor Jibrilla all moral and financial support to remain in office,” Padio added.
However, a close ally of Nyako, who served as the Director of Publicity in Jibrilla’s gubernatorial campaign, Uba DanArewa, said the rumour of Nyako’s plot to seek tenure extension was planted and peddled by politicians who wanted to create discord between Nyako and the incumbent governor.
Speaking to our correspondent on telephone, Dan-Arewa challenged those peddling the rumour to substantiate their claims and advised the public to reject such unscrupulous acts.
He argued that Nyako did not ask the court for tenure elongation, and that the case was filed long before Governor Jibrilla was elected.
“The rumour was the handiwork of people who thought it was not possible for Jibrilla to become governor, and when he won the election, they desperately made frantic moves to create enmity between him and Nyako,” he said.
On allegations that Nyako was not consulted in the formation of cabinet, while Atiku nominated several candidates, Dan-Arewa said Nyako’s loyalists made it into the cabinet on merit and their contribution to the campaign.
“We advised Nyako not to ask for any favour from the government in order to retain his integrity as a father… So, he did not nominate anybody but members of his group were appointed commissioners based on their contribution to the campaign, not because of their relationship with Nyako,” he also said.
Dr. Fatima Atiku Abubakar, the daughter of Atiku as well as Ibrahim Mijinyawa, his loyalist who was defeated by the governor at the party primary were among the 23 commissioners in the state.
As the new governor settles to deliver the mandate given to him by the people of Adamawa, only time will tell who, between Atiku and Nyako, will be the ‘real godfather’.
Former governor Nyako
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar