Bin­dow reels un­der weight of Atiku’s de­fec­tion in Adamawa

No doubt, adam a was tate is go­ing to be one of the hot spots of pol­i­tics ahead of the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion be­cause of in­tri­cate fac­tors of power play that con­nect Y ola with abuja as gover­nor Jib rill a bin dow ap­pears to be at across road with the

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - POLITICS - By Leo Sobechi (La­gos) and Em­manuel Ande (Yola)

AS spec­u­la­tions mount over a pos­si­ble 2019 elec­toral clash be­tween Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari and former Vice

Pres­i­dent Atiku Abubakar, who just re­signed his mem­ber­ship of All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC), there are in­di­ca­tions that Gover­nor Mo­hammed Jib­rilla Bin­dow, might be caught in the cross­fire.

Bin­dow is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Atiku’s home state and prior to Atiku’s de­fec­tion; the gover­nor had on sev­eral oc­ca­sions sold the idea that the former Vice Pres­i­dent was his po­lit­i­cal godfather.

Those con­ver­sant with Adamawa pol­i­tics saw the gover­nor’s state­ment as a clever at­tempt to curry do­mes­tic sup­port, while up­hold­ing par­ti­san sol­i­dar­ity. Right from 1999 when Atiku won the gov­er­nor­ship seat, which he later aban­doned to join Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the Pres­i­den­tial ticket of Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), it has al­ways been an up­hill task win­ning the Adamawa gov­er­nor­ship with­out the former Vice Pres­i­dent’s bless­ing.

The only time was in 2007, when his boss, Obasanjo, ap­plied the gar­ri­son ap­proach to en­sure that the Ac­tion Congress of Nige­ria (ACN) on which Atiku con­tested the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of that year, did not win in Adamawa.

But, with the con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment in the elec­toral process, and the pos­si­bil­ity of Atiku stand­ing an­other pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on the plat­form of PDP, it seems to have dawned on the gover­nor that he needs the best po­lit­i­cal strat­egy to bal­ance the del­i­cate threats both the fed­eral might and na­tive sol­i­dar­ity might pose for his sec­ond term in of­fice.

That may ex­plain why im­me­di­ately the former Vice Pres­i­dent waved bye to APC, the Adamawa gover­nor could not sleep with his two eyes closed. With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, Bin­dow seems to en­vis­age that po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions in the state is no longer flow­ing in his favour, par­tic­u­larly in the light of his ‘godfather’s’ exit from APC.

The gover­nor’s dilemma ap­pears from two fronts. Fol­low­ing his exit from APC, signs have be­gun to emerge that Atiku has started mo­bi­liz­ing his sup­port­ers for even­tual en­try into PDP, prepara­tory for the ex­pected heavy­weight po­lit­i­cal bat­tle in 2019. As a politi­cian that has gone through the rigours of elec­tions, Bin­dow knows how far that de­vel­op­ment could go to hurt his sup­port base.

Then, on the flip­side, an­tic­i­pat­ing Atiku’s exit from APC, the party lead­er­ship, es­pe­cially in Adamawa, de­cided to in­duce a former gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rant on the plat­form of PDP, Nuhu Ribadu, to join APC in readi­ness for the ex­pected de­fec­tion of Bin­dow in sol­i­dar­ity for his godfather. This is where the Adamawa State chief ex­ec­u­tive re­quires so­phis­ti­cated po­lit­i­cal think­ing and plan­ning to over­come the dou­ble edged sword. Would Bin­dow stay back in APC to slug it out against who­ever Atiku might throw up in PDP in the be­lief that the com­bined ar­mour of power of in­cum­bency and fed­eral might could fetch him vic­tory, or join the former Vice Pres­i­dent in PDP in the hope that na­tive sol­i­dar­ity would trounce fed­eral might and fee­ble chal­lenge of Ribadu? It should be noted that Bin­dow won the 2015 gov­er­nor­ship poll with the ac­tive sup­port of former Gover­nor Mur­tala Nyako’s APC struc­ture, de­feat­ing Atiku’s can­di­date, Al­haji Ibrahim Mi­jinyawa, whom he ap­pointed Com­mis­sioner for Land and Sur­vey. So, what if Mi­jinyawa re­signs from Bin­dow’s cab­i­net and in sol­i­dar­ity with Atiku, ends up in PDP while Bin­dow is vac­il­lat­ing?

The gover­nor could con­front a pos­si­ble pay­back for his de­ci­sion to adopt Atiku at the ex­pense of Nyako, im­me­di­ately af­ter tak­ing the oath of of­fice as gover­nor. It was at the point of ex­chang­ing god­fa­thers that Bin­dow an­nounced to the whole world that he took the de­ci­sion to dump Nyako, be­cause the former Vice Pres­i­dent sup­ported his elec­tion with N500 mil­lion as take­off grant.

At that turn of events, Nyako’s sup­port­ers were sad­dened and vowed to take their own pound of flesh at an op­por­tuned time, de­scrib­ing the gover­nor’s ac­tion as be­trayal against Nyako and his po­lit­i­cal benev­o­lence. Not that alone, the gover­nor’s po­lit­i­cal for­tunes con­tin­ued to plum­met be­cause he failed many of his sup­port­ers by not ful­fill­ing his promised com­pen­sa­tion to them.

Also, strong in­di­ca­tions emerged re­cently at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Nige­ria (AUN) event that the once buxom re­la­tion­ship be­tween Bin­dow and Atiku might have gone sour. The gover­nor, who had been in the habit of at­tend­ing the univer­sity’s founders’ day, was nowhere to be found last Satur­day, with­out even send­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the oc­ca­sion.

Early this year, the gover­nor had through his Chief of Staff, Al­haji Ab­dul­la­man Abba Jimeta, en­dorsed Atiku for 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, but in a re­cent state­ment in Yola de­clared that he will not de­camp with the former Vice Pres­i­dent to PDP.

Many peo­ple cited the gover­nor’s ab­sence at the Atiku’ AUN founder’s day cer­e­mony as a clear in­di­ca­tion of the en­su­ing po­lit­i­cal bat­tle be­tween god­son and godfather. Just last month, Bin­dow was en­dorsed for sec­ond term by a sec­tion of APC sup­port­ers in what was de­scribed by ri­vals as a kan­ga­roo meet­ing in Gov­ern­ment House.

How­ever, that con­tro­ver­sial en­dorse­ment, rather than se­cure great po­lit­i­cal mileage in terms of pro­pa­ganda and pub­lic adu­la­tion, gen­er­ated more po­lit­i­cal cri­sis for the gover­nor than the cam­paign pro­pa­ganda his sup­port­ers in­tended to achieve.

Adamawa State Or­ga­niz­ing Sec­re­tary of APC, Al­haji Ahmed Lawan, said crit­i­cism of

Bin­dow’s en­dorse­ment is un­war­ranted; point­ing out that the party took the de­ci­sion in the in­ter­est of APC in the state. Speak­ing to The­guardian in an in­ter­view, Lawan ex­plained that the de­ci­sion of the party was not to close the door against other gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rants on the plat­form of the party for the

2019 poll. “Ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers of the party and other stake­hold­ers in the state were only ex­press­ing their de­sires to re­turn the gover­nor, con­sid­er­ing his ex­cel­lent per­for­mance in his first term,” he noted.

Lawan, who is also the Direc­tor Gen­eral of Team Bin­dow, the gover­nor’s cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tion for the 2019 poll, claimed that Bin­dow’s gov­ern­ment has cleared the rots of the past

But, with the con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment in the elec­toral process, and the pos­si­bil­ity of Atiku stand­ing an­other Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on the plat­form of PDP, it seems to have dawned on the gover­nor that he needs the best po­lit­i­cal strat­egy to bal­ance the del­i­cate threats both the fed­eral might and na­tive sol­i­dar­ity might pose for his sec­ond term in of­fice. That may ex­plain why im­me­di­ately the former Vice Pres­i­dent waved bye to APC, the Adamawa gover­nor could not sleep with his two eyes closed. With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, Bin­dow seems to en­vis­age that po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions in the state is no longer flow­ing in his favour, par­tic­u­larly in the light of his ‘godfather’s’ exit from

ad­min­is­tra­tions, as well as re­stored fi­nan­cial dis­ci­pline and ac­count­abil­ity in gov­er­nance.

Jus­ti­fy­ing the en­dorse­ment fur­ther, the or­ga­niz­ing sec­re­tary said: “We are x-ray­ing those show­ing in­ter­est in the gov­er­nor­ship, but for now we are yet to get a bet­ter can­di­date than Bin­dow to win the elec­tion for our party.

“It will be fool­ish of us as a party to drop a top striker and replace him with clay footed de­fender in po­si­tion of a striker, such a team will lose the game like Nige­ria ver­sus Ar­gentina, we will not al­low that in Adamawa APC.” He stressed that Bin­dow should be given the chance to fin­ish the good work he has started in the in­ter­est of the state, say­ing; “My ap­peal, es­pe­cially those as­pir­ing to con­test the gov­er­nor­ship, is that they should put aside their per­sonal in­ter­est and work for the in­ter­est of the state by sup­port­ing the gover­nor’s sec­ond term.”

But spokesman of Adamawa APC chief­tains work­ing against Bin­dow’s sec­ond term agenda, Al­haji Us­man Ibrahim, a former Spe­cial Ad­viser on Elec­toral Mat­ters to former Gover­nor Nyako, de­scribed the gover­nor’s en­dorse­ment as im­punity and lack of re­spect to the APC con­sti­tu­tion.

Ibrahim re­ferred to those that gath­ered in Gov­ern­ment House last month to en­dorse Bin­dow as con­tract seek­ers, say­ing that they have no po­lit­i­cal weight to win their wards, even as he ac­cused the gover­nor of try­ing to use short-cut to re­turn to Gov­ern­ment House.

In­sist­ing that it won’t be pos­si­ble, Ibrahim main­tained that Bin­dow must prove to the peo­ple why they should trust him with their votes for a sec­ond term.

He added: “Those en­dors­ing Bin­dow are his great­est po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies, but be­cause the gover­nor is blinded with his po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tion, he feels they are his friends. The ques­tion is, was Bin­dow en­dorsed in 2015? He went for a con­test and de­feated the rich­est as­pi­rant, so why en­dorse­ment now if not po­lit­i­cal de­ceit?”

Ear­lier this month, per­haps af­ter learn­ing about Atiku’s exit from APC, Gover­nor Bin­dow apol­o­gised to Nyako, ask­ing the former gover­nor to for­give him with the claim that he is now a re­pented man. Fur­ther­more, the in­cum­bent may have also no­ticed that there may not be space for him in PDP and that with Atiku out of APC, he stands the risk of stand­ing alone as a po­lit­i­cal or­phan in the party.

But, about the great­est po­lit­i­cal chal­lenge threat­en­ing Bin­dow’s sec­ond com­ing is that he has no hold on Adamawa APC lead­er­ship. All this while, the party was

The­guardian in­ves­ti­ga­tions show that since Atiku’s ar­rival in Adamawa last Fri­day af­ter of­fi­cially re­sign­ing from APC, the gover­nor fled to Abuja, os­ten­si­bly to take po­lit­i­cal refuse and coun­sel­ing from Nyako’s sup­port­ers, whom he has been beg­ging for for­give­ness. Would Nyako’s men take him se­ri­ous and re­ab­sorb him in their group, cel­e­brat­ing the re­turn of a prodi­gal son, or keep him at arm’s length to watch the long drawn po­lit­i­cal drama un­folds? It is ob­vi­ous how­ever that Gover­nor Bin­dow has been rid­ing on the back of a tiger for dump­ing Nyako and fi­nally dump­ing Atiku his adopted godfather. The big ques­tion is, will he end up in the belly of the tiger or hit a bull’s eye as the big ele­phants fight their own big bat­tle in

be­ing run from Abuja by Nyako and Pres­i­dent Mo­ham­madu Buhari’s foot sol­diers.

The present Adamawa APC ex­ec­u­tive was se­lected in Abuja by the Abuja cau­cus with­out any elec­tion or con­sent of the gover­nor, thus mak­ing Bin­dow a tran­sit pas­sen­ger on APC plat­form and count­ing his days in of­fice in num­bers.

The­guardian in­ves­ti­ga­tion show that since Atiku’s ar­rival in Adamawa last Fri­day af­ter of­fi­cially re­sign­ing from APC, the gover­nor fled to Abuja, os­ten­si­bly to take po­lit­i­cal refuse and coun­sel­ing from Nyako’s sup­port­ers, whom he has been beg­ging for for­give­ness.

Would Nyako’s men take him se­ri­ous and re­ab­sorb him in their group, cel­e­brat­ing the re­turn of a prodi­gal son, or keep him at arm’s length to watch the long drawn po­lit­i­cal drama un­folds? It is ob­vi­ous how­ever that Gover­nor Bin­dow has been rid­ing on the back of a tiger for dump­ing Nyako and fi­nally dump­ing Atiku his adopted godfather. The big ques­tion is, will he end up in the belly of the tiger or hit a bull’s eye as the big ele­phants fight their own big bat­tle in 2019?

All th­ese and more would make Adamawa State in­ter­est­ing in the days to come.

Bin­dow

Atiku

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