Where is Ex-Gov­er­nor Mur­tala Nyako?

His tra­vails took a new twist on Oc­to­ber last year when a para­mount ruler in Adamawa State, Muham­mad Mustafa, re­port­edly stripped Nyako and his son, Ab­dul’Aziz, of their tra­di­tional ti­tles of Sarkin Yamma and Sarkin Matasa re­spec­tively

Sunday Trust - - SUNDAYMENU - By Fidelis Mac-Leva

Af­ter he suc­cess­fully en­sured a change of guard from the then rul­ing Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) to the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) in the buildup to the 2015 polls, Vice Ad­mi­ral Mur­tala Ham­man-Yero Nyako (re­tired), a for­mer gov­er­nor of Adamawa State, ran into trou­bled waters and grad­u­ally be­came less vis­i­ble on the Nige­rian po­lit­i­cal scene. Daily Trust on Sun­day high­lights the twists and turns that trailed the po­lit­i­cal an­tecedents of the em­bat­tled for­mer gov­er­nor.

For­mer Gov­er­nor Mur­tala Nyako went on self­ex­ile shortly af­ter his im­peach­ment in July 2014 and was said to have headed first for Ger­many and later pro­ceeded to Eng­land, where he re­mained un­til the inauguration of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari in May 2015. Since then, Nyako, who had al­ways graced me­dia head­lines, has main­tained a low pro­file and re­mained rel­a­tively less vis­i­ble on the po­lit­i­cal scene.

The much that has re­mained in the pub­lic do­main is that since he left of­fice, the for­mer gov­er­nor, who played a key role in the vic­tory of the APC in the last gen­eral elec­tions, had been em­broiled in an in­tractable po­lit­i­cal case be­ing pros­e­cuted by the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC).

Not a few stu­dents of po­lit­i­cal his­tory, and in­deed, keen watch­ers of po­lit­i­cal events in Nige­ria are, there­fore, won­der­ing at the sud­den dis­ap­pear­ance of the for­mer gov­er­nor of Adamawa State from the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape.

Shortly af­ter los­ing the bid to re­turn to his of­fice in De­cem­ber last year, Mur­tala Nyako re­port­edly said he would con­tinue his farm­ing busi­ness and con­trib­ute his quota to hu­man­ity.

Ad­dress­ing re­porters af­ter the Supreme Court ver­dict was de­liv­ered, Nyako, who ac­cepted the ver­dict in good faith, said his ma­jor rea­son for go­ing to court was to seek re­dress over his “il­le­gal” re­moval.

The for­mer gov­er­nor, who re­port­edly thanked his sup­port­ers and well-wish­ers for their show of sup­port and sol­i­dar­ity said: “I am re­laxed and will re­main so. I al­ways be­lieve that the fu­ture is bet­ter.”

It was be­lieved that Nyako’s frosty re­la­tion­ship with for­mer Pres­i­dent Jonathan had pre­pared the grounds for the in­tense po­lit­i­cal fire­works that forced him and his son out on self-ex­ile af­ter los­ing his bid to re­turn to power.

Baba Mai Man­goro, as he is fondly called, Nyako had al­ways told the story of how he was born a cat­tle owner as his mother had been al­lo­cated some cows for her off­spring be­fore he was born. He was, there­fore, in­volved with cat­tle rear­ing at a ten­der age be­fore later ven­tur­ing into gen­eral agri­cul­ture. Lit­tle won­der that his pop­u­lar Se­bore Farms, sit­u­ated in Mayo Belwa, Adamawa State, had been ad­judged by agri­cul­ture ex­perts as one of the largest mech­a­nised farms in the coun­try. In­ter­est­ingly, his ca­reer in the Nige­rian Navy, as well agri­cul­ture, did not gen­er­ate as much con­tro­versy as his in­volve­ment in pol­i­tics. Hav­ing made his foray into pol­i­tics in 2006, Nyako was elected the gov­er­nor of Adamawa State in April 2007. But he faced bap­tism of fire in Fe­bru­ary 2008 as the Elec­tion Pe­ti­tion Ap­peal Tri­bunal an­nulled his elec­tion, alleging elec­toral mal­prac­tices. Con­se­quently, the then speaker of the state House of Assem­bly, James Barka, was sworn in as act­ing gov­er­nor on Fe­bru­ary 26, 2008. But in a fresh elec­tion, Nyako was re-elected with a land­slide vic­tory. He re­sumed of­fice on April 29, 2008. Not long af­ter that, the House ini­ti­ated moves to im­peach him, but was dis­suaded af­ter the per­sonal in­ter­ven­tion of for­mer Pres­i­dent Umaru Yar’Adua. There­after, the re­la­tion­ship im­proved to the ex­tent that in March 2010, the Adamawa State House of Assem­bly passed a vote of con­fi­dence on Nyako, de­scrib­ing him as a “mes­siah” to the peo­ple of the state.

At the ex­pi­ra­tion of his first ten­ure in 2012, he ran for a sec­ond term and was once again elected. On July 15, 2014, Nyako was im­peached af­ter the state House of Assem­bly de­lib­er­ated on the re­port of an in­ves­tiga­tive panel that probed al­le­ga­tions of fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct against him. The re­port found the then gov­er­nor guilty of all the 16 al­le­ga­tions of gross mis­con­duct lev­elled against him by the House.

Nyako, who even­tu­ally de­fected from the PDP to the APC, had been hav­ing a run­ning bat­tle with the state law­mak­ers, most of whom did not join him to de­fect to the then op­po­si­tion party. Nyako had, along with gover­nors Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Aliyu Wa­makko of Sokoto, Ab­dul­fa­tah Ahmed of Kwara and Ro­timi Amaechi of Rivers, joined the APC af­ter stag­ing a walk­out on the PDP na­tional con­ven­tion in Abuja.

The ex-gov­er­nor’s po­lit­i­cal tra­vails as­sumed a hur­ri­cane di­men­sion when he re­leased what was de­scribed as a ‘po­lit­i­cal bomb­shell’ through a memo he wrote to his col­leagues in the North­ern Gover­nors’ Fo­rum, ac­cus­ing the then Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan of geno­cide in the war against Boko Haram in the re­gion. That let­ter re­port­edly earned him a strong re­buke from the Pres­i­dency.

Also, in the buildup to the 2015 elec­tions, another di­men­sion was added to Nyako’s po­lit­i­cal bat­tles that cul­mi­nated into another round of bit­ter show­down within the PDP. Con­se­quently, po­lit­i­cal watch­ers were treated to yet another cut-throat bat­tle of supremacy that pre­ceded the sack of the Al­haji Umaru Mi­jinyawa Kugama-led ex­ec­u­tive of the PDP in Adamawa State by its na­tional body, a de­vel­op­ment that cli­maxed a long-run­ning face-off be­tween the state branch of the party and its na­tional lead­er­ship.

On Fe­bru­ary 11, 2016, the Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal de­clared the im­peach­ment null and void and or­dered that all his en­ti­tle­ments from the date of im­peach­ment be paid to him. The judge­ment was up­held on De­cem­ber 16, 2016 by the Supreme Court of Nige­ria but de­clined to re­in­state him.

Soon af­ter he re­turned to Nige­ria af­ter nearly a year on self-im­posed ex­ile, the em­bat­tled Nyako was re­port­edly de­tained by the EFCC, which had de­clared him and his son, Ab­du­lAziz, wanted for al­leged crim­i­nal con­spir­acy, steal­ing, abuse of of­fice and money laun­der­ing, to the tune of N29­bil­lion. The com­mis­sion al­leged mas­sive loot­ing of state funds by top of­fi­cials in Nyako’s gov­ern­ment, lead­ing to the ar­rest of key of­fi­cials in the state, in­clud­ing the then Sec­re­tary to the State Gov­ern­ment, the state com­mis­sioner for fi­nance,

the com­mis­sioner for higher ed­u­ca­tion, the ac­coun­tant-gen­eral of the state and the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment.

His tra­vails took a new twist on Oc­to­ber last year when a para­mount ruler in Adamawa State, Muham­mad Mustafa, re­port­edly stripped Nyako and his son, Ab­dul’Aziz, of their tra­di­tional ti­tles of Sarkin Yamma and Sarkin Matasa re­spec­tively.

The Adamawa Emi­rate Coun­cil was also re­ported to have dis­missed the for­mer gov­er­nor from the mem­ber­ship of the coun­cil.

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