In Adamawa, Bindo to Bat­tle APC Chief­tains For Re-elec­tion

Sunday Trust - - SUNDAY MENU - By Kabiru R. An­war, Yola

As the 2019 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion is get­ting closer, forces within the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) in Adamawa are strate­giz­ing to stop the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor, Muham­madu Umar Jib­rilla from seek­ing re-elec­tion for a sec­ond term of of­fice.

De­spite his re­cent dec­la­ra­tion of sup­port for Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, key as­so­ciates of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari in Adamawa State re­main sus­pi­cious of the gov­er­nor, al­leg­ing that des­per­a­tion for sur­vival be­yond 2019 forced him to align with the pres­i­dent.

Al­though the gov­er­nor re­fused to de­fect with Atiku and even­tu­ally showed sup­port for the pres­i­dent, mem­bers of Buhari camp com­pris­ing the forces For­mer Gov­er­nor Mur­tala Nyako, for­mer Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion, Babachir David Lawan, for­mer La­gos State Mil­i­tary Gov­er­nor, Buba Marwa, and the sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing Adamawa Cen­tral, Ab­du­laziz Nyako are team­ing up gainst him.

Pun­dits be­lieve that the group which has a plethora of gu­ber­na­to­rial as­pi­rants, like Buba Marwa, Nuhu Ribadu, Ab­du­laziz Nyako, En­gi­neer Mar­cus Gundiri, Em­manuel Bello could con­sti­tute strong ob­sta­cle to the gov­er­nor if they were able to align their in­ter­ests and field an ac­cept­able can­di­date.

Un­til re­cently, the gov­er­nor had been loyal to for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Atiku Abubakar who formed an in­ter­nal op­po­si­tion against Pres­i­dent Buhari in the APC be­fore his re­cent de­fec­tion to the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) to re­alise his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion.

Be­fore Atiku’s de­fec­tion, Jib­rilla’s Chief of Staff and Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of his cam­paign, Ab­dur­rah­man Abba Jimeta had in the pres­ence of his prin­ci­pal de­clared sup­port for the pres­i­den­tial as­pi­ra­tion of Atiku, say­ing the en­tire mem­bers of Jib­rilla’s cabi­net and mem­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture had re­solved to sup­port Atiku and that it was high time they backed some­one from Adamawa. The re­marks irked Buhari sup­port­ers, elic­it­ing crit­i­cism from across the coun­try.

His op­po­nents are still us­ing the re­marks against the gov­er­nor, not­ing that he be­came skep­ti­cal about the fledg­ling state of the PDP and de­cided to stick with the rul­ing party where he be­lieved it would be eas­ier to seek re-elec­tion for an­other ten­ure of four months.

Musa Ka­male, a close as­so­ciate of Marwa, said al­though the for­mer de­funct Congress for Pro­gres­sive Change (CPC) gu­ber can­di­date had not for­mally de­clared, he re­mained the top con­tender in view of his fol­low­er­ship and ac­cept­abil­ity in the state, adding that the for­mi­da­ble po­lit­i­cal struc­ture es­tab­lished by Marwa over the years re­mained in­tact while his out­reach to other camps that mat­ter placed him above the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor, Muham­madu Jib­rilla.

In­sist­ing that the gov­er­nor would not be a force to reckon in the party pri­maries for 2019 gen­eral elec­tion hav­ing lost his ma­jor back­ers who helped him to win elec­tion in 2015, Ka­male said de­feat­ing Jib­rilla would be easy for a politi­cian like Marwa.

“The in­cum­bent gov­er­nor has no po­lit­i­cal struc­ture. He rode on Mur­tala Nyako’s struc­ture to be­come gov­er­nor in 2015 and has since parted ways with Nyako af­ter he be­trayed him. Bin­dow cur­rently con­trols less than onethird of the party struc­ture in the state. If Marwa de­clares, he will team up with Nyako and no way for Bin­dow”, he pointed out.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Jib­rilla had al­ways worked against Buhari in favour of his po­lit­i­cal god­fa­ther, Atiku Abubakar un­til the later de­fected to the PDP, say­ing Buhari sup­port­ers would not trust him with any re­spon­si­bil­ity un­der the party.

“Pol­i­tics is not about empty words, let the time of ac­tion comes. When Nyako helped Bin­dow to de­feat Atiku, ev­ery­body talked of Atiku’s strength but the re­sults of the pri­mary elec­tion showed the con­trary”, Ka­male added.

Re­act­ing to the al­le­ga­tion, the founder of Bring Back Buhari and Bin­dow 2019 for Con­ti­nu­ity, Al­haji Dahiru Ham­man-Dikko ac­cused Jib­rilla’s op­po­nents of plot­ting to frus­trate his ef­forts at re­build­ing in­fra­struc­ture in the state be­cause he re­fused to serve their self­ish in­ter­ests.

Ham­man-Dikko said those call­ing them­selves Buhari loy­al­ists were ex­posed dur­ing Buhari’s re­cent visit to the state where he wit­nessed the achieve­ment of Jib­rilla’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in the last three years. He there­fore called on other gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants to shelve their am­bi­tion un­til 2023 when Jib­rilla must have com­pleted his sec­ond term.

“Buhari came to Adamawa and saw the gi­gan­tic de­vel­op­men­tal projects. Those call­ing them­selves Buhari men have failed and we are wait­ing for them in 2019. They want to bring him down be­cause he does not give out money. Nuhu Ribadu or any­body look­ing for gov­er­nor from Adamawa Cen­tral should wait un­til 2023. They asked the party na­tional sec­re­tar­iat to give them con­trol of the party but the party told them to come back and work with the gov­er­nor. ”, he stated.

Also be­lieved to be as­pir­ing for gov­er­nor­ship is Gundiri. The can­di­date of the Ac­tion Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, left the APC along­side Marwa fol­low­ing dis­agree­ment with the then Gov­er­nor Nyako over con­trol of party ma­chin­ery. He be­came the So­cial Demo­cratic Party (SDP) in 2015 and was de­feated by Jib­rilla.

He is be­lieved to be a close ally of Babachir and ru­mours mak­ing rounds in­di­cated that he is work­ing to re­alise his long time am­bi­tion of be­com­ing the gov­er­nor of the state un­der the APC plat­form.

Uba Dan Arewa, a loy­al­ist of Nyako who is as­pir­ing for gov­er­nor­ship ac­cused the state ex­ec­u­tive of the party un­der the act­ing chair­man­ship of Ibrahim Bi­lal of cre­at­ing divi­sion among party mem­bers by pub­licly sup­port­ing the 2019 as­pi­ra­tion of the gov­er­nor, thereby ex­press­ing bias against other as­pi­rants in APC.

He noted that the as­pi­rants sim­ply clam­ored for free and fair pri­maries, al­leg­ing that the party lead­er­ship in the state had al­ready taken sides with the gov­er­nor af­ter the State Or­gan­is­ing Sec­re­tary, Ah­mad Lawan an­nounced that all other as­pi­rants should not waste their re­sources in con­test­ing against the gov­er­nor.

He noted that the act­ing state ex­ec­u­tive was lop­sided and bi­ased, say­ing the state chair­man, Bi­lal was from the gov­er­nor’s sen­a­to­rial zone, the Sec­re­tary, Saidu Naira and the Trea­surer were from Mubi, the gov­er­nor’s home town, in ad­di­tion to the fact that the chair­man who was lo­cal gov­ern­ment chap­ter chair­man was not qual­i­fied to be the act­ing when there were vice chair­men.

He said var­i­ous as­pi­rants from pro-Buhari camps had lost faith in the abil­ity of the ex­ec­u­tive to con­duct free and fair pri­maries af­ter they vowed to sup­port the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor.

In his re­sponse to the al­le­ga­tion, the state Or­gan­is­ing Sec­re­tary noted that al­though the exco had re­solved to sup­port Gov­er­nor Jib­rilla, they would al­low for free and fair elec­tion and win­ner would be de­clared.

“We, the ex­ec­u­tive are sup­port­ing Bin­dow and Buhari for 2019, we are giv­ing them our votes. That does not stop us from con­duct­ing a free and fair elec­tion. Ev­ery­one can con­test in the pri­maries, we will be just and who­ever wins will be de­clared win­ner,” he said.

A mem­ber of the proBuhari camp led by Mur­tala Nyako, for­mer Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion, Babachir David Lawan, re­tired Bri­gadier Gen­eral Buba Marwa told Daily Trust on Sun­day that the for­mer chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion, Nuhu Ribadu was the most ac­cept­able per­son from the camp as a re­sult of his im­pres­sive ser­vice records, ex­po­sure and good re­la­tion­ship with politi­cians and other in­ter­est groups in the state, say­ing his de­feat in 2015 when he con­tested as the flag­bearer of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) was due to elec­toral protest from vot­ers against the PDP.

“We have cred­i­ble candidates, Ab­du­laziz, Ribadu, Marwa, Gundiri among many oth­ers, any one of them is ca­pa­ble and can win elec­tion and but for ob­vi­ous rea­sons Ribadu has wider ac­cep­tance in the Buhari camp to which I be­long. Be­cause he has good records, he is ac­ces­si­ble all the time and you know he is easy to sell due to his known achieve­ments at the EFCC. He picks phone calls and does not feel big or snub peo­ple. But as it is, we are in an open game, ev­ery­one is strate­giz­ing, ne­go­ti­a­tions will take place to achieve the best re­sult. New de­vel­op­ments may un­fold, so I am not say­ing we have cho­sen any one”, he stated.

Fail­ure to rec­on­cile Mur­tala Nyako and the gov­er­nor de­spite sev­eral at­tempts as well as in­creased level of des­per­a­tion from both sides within the rul­ing party is elic­it­ing fears among some chief­tains that losers at the pri­mary elec­tion may give protest votes to the PDP can­di­date.

For­mer Act­ing Gov­er­nor, Ah­madu Umaru Fin­tiri and Dr Umar Ardo are cur­rently the prom­i­nent PDP as­pi­rants be­ing pro­moted by their sup­port­ers. Fin­tiri con­tested for the aborted 2015 by-elec­tion to com­plete the ten­ure of Nyako who was re­moved by the House of Assem­bly while Ardo, a na­tional fig­ure in the PDP has sev­er­ally con­tested for the of­fice of gov­er­nor.

The abil­ity of Jib­rilla’s op­po­nents within the APC to work in syn­ergy will de­ter­mine the na­ture of the chal­lenge they can give the gov­er­nor ul­ti­mately the out­come of the gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary for 2019 elec­tion.

Gov­er­nor Mo­ham­madu Bin­dow JIb­rilla

For­mer gov­er­nor, Mur­tala Nyako

Mar­cus Gundiri

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