It appears Governor Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow is already on a collision course with the elites of Adamawa state. And the euphoria which heralded the coming of his administration has started to ebb away.
Sen. Mohammed Bindow, Adamawa’s governor, who has lived long enough in Mubi to call it his hometown, it is argued cannot freely visit Mubi without attracting the ire of disillusioned supporters who are now disenchanted about his administration.
It is ironic, that the man who some few months back was the toast of talakawas ( downtrodden masses) in the state will all of a sudden suffer such fate.
The trouble with Gov. Bindow’s administration is that the people placed so much expectations on it, considering the timing of its advent.
Catapulted to power as the preferred choice of people who were battered by years of maladministration and were looking to make a clean break with the change promised by All Progressive Congress, APC, the locomotives which powered him into office. But it appears six months into his rule, there is widespread discontent which has filtered into his party, the APC and even within his own political base.
But Barrister Bala S. Sanga, the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice who weighed in on the development, said it is hard to grasp what the elites and the people really wanted. Because here’s an administration, that within its short span has embarked on the construction of over 20 roads alone within the state capital. Added to this he said were other roads construction and rehabilitation works been carried out in the three senatorial districts, which includes the upgrade of some selected hospitals across the state.
He wondered that perhaps the “ Governor’s fault in all of this is because he has refused to share the state resources with the big men, and instead committed the meagre funds to roads construction”. Something, he noted, the state was accustomed to, judging by the lack of development in the state. “Because monies which ought to be used for its development were just shared on the table, without scant regard to the growth of the state”. He said there were at the moment three cases challenging the legitimacy of the administration, but which were itself needless distractions. Confessing that had there been unity among Adamawa’s political elites none of the cases would have gotten to the courts. The cases awaiting adjudication before the courts, and which hung like the proverbial dangling sword of Damocles over the administration, in that order in which they likely tilt the scale against the administration.
The first is the case filed by impeached former Governor Murtala Nyako, which is before the court of appeal, seeking to quash his impeachment. It is very likely, Nyako a ‘compromised’ candidate for the All Progressive Congress, APC Chairmanship post for the party’s Board of Trustees, is likely to be freed of the encumbrances imposed by his impeachment, through the courts, and thus be reinstated back to his former position as governor of Adamawa state. There’s also another instituted by Nyako’s deputy, Barr. Bala James Ngillari, bothering on tenure elongation, even though the case is still at the Federal High Court. Ngillari who was re-instated by an Abuja High court as governor, following Nyako’s ouster, and his purported resignation, which he challenged in court, is among other relief, seeking determination whether the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC ought to have conducted elections in Adamawa state.
Since his tenure is assumed to be an extension of Gov. Nyako’s tenure, expected to terminate in 2016, having been elected into that office for a second term in February of 2012. While the third, instituted by a former Governorship aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Umar Ardo, also before the Court of Appeal in Abuja is challenging the elections held into the office of governor in the state, arguing that any elections held ipso facto remained void because there’s no vacancy in the office until February 2016, when elections, he prayed, ought to be held by INEC.
But perhaps the greatest of concerns for the administration is the growing public angst against it which is gaining ground by the day with more revelations about the government’s conduct of its business further eroding any modicum of trust the civil populace still has of the government.
Though much of the administration’s problem has got to do with perception and that the administration came at an inauspicious period of dwindling Federal allocations to the state due to falling global oil prices. But unlike his predecessors, who utilized a sizeable part of its earnings to pursue welfarist programmes as a palliative to cushion the gaps created by its low entrepreneurial depth and industrial density.
A development which obviously warranted past government, to take steps to vitiate its bloated vortex of unemployed through a populist programme that ensures its commonwealth trickled down.
This made sense, as the government remained the single biggest industry. However, the Bindow administration has refused to pay heed to the situation, nor would it tow that path. But instead has been defiant to its logic.
Although, his constraints have remained purely that attributed to the current financial squeeze experienced across the federation.
Yet even the administration’s own initiative under the Bindow Social Change policy where between N30,000 to N50,000 will be advanced as soft loans to small businesses in the state as replacement for the loose cash given by previous administration to certain beneficiaries under its Special Assistant (S.A) Scheme, has not taken off.
The BSC initiative mooted as an alternative to boost productive enterprise still remains in the drawing boards, awaiting
implementation despite the release of N500 million meant for the scheme two months after inauguration.
It is such drag, between the administration’s public policy pronouncements and implementation, that is ultimately defining the administration as one which came to power without a clear- cut plan of what it intends to do and how it ought to go about it. The same problem sufficed in the government’s handling of fertilizer procurement shortly upon its inauguration on May 29. The government had promised to alleviate the suffering encountered by farmers in the state in getting fertilizer, it therefore said it would be procuring 30,000 Metric tonnes of the product at the cost N3.5 billion to cushion their hardship ahead of the rain fed farming season. But it was not until the close of the rainy seasons that the administration took delivery of a paltry 3,000 metric tonnes. This is even after it has paid almost half of the contract sum upfront to the supplier of the commodity which also coincided with its release of the N500 million meant for the implementation of the government social change initiative.
Sensing the lateness in the delivery of the fertilizer to farmers in the state, Ahmadu Waziri, the state commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, urged farmers to utilize the fertilizers distributed in October, instead for dry season farming which he was also advocating the farmers switch into because of the unreliability of rain- fed farming. Waziri attributed the lateness in the delivery of the important farm input on the government’s observance of due process in selection and award of the fertilizer procurement contract.
But it is the same administration which says it will not be derelict in the discharge of the mandate given to it, that is now facing allegations of impropriety and non- compliance with due process in piloting governance of the state. This allegation were made against the Governor by the former chairman of the Committee on Finance, Budgets and Public Accounts in the state legislature, Hon. Abdulrahman Abubakar Isa, who for safety of his life has since fled the state after he made damning revelations about the government’s alleged breach of due process its conduct of government affairs.
The embattled lawmaker, even went further to call for the resignation of Governor Bindow, premising his call on claims that Bindow committed acts of gross financial misconduct when he sought and took over N3 billion in loans and expended same without the approval of the house.
Abdulrahman’s attack has provided the much needed ammunition needed by Bindow’s traducers, at least unknown to his political class whom he had pointedly told he would not share “government money” with, the way they were accustomed to again- to take a swipe at him. Already, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has already set its eyes on the activities of governance in the state. The Speaker and the State Finance commissioner, expectedly getting an invite, following the petitions it received from the former chairman Budget, Finance and Public Accounts, Hon. Abubakar, whose committee in the house has been dissolved and he is also serving suspension.
Bindow in trouble
Hon. Emmanuel Tsamdu, an opposition member from the PDP, and Minority Whip, who has served previously as Acting Speaker and deputy Speaker of the state assembly in the past and currently representing his Madagali constituency, and one of the leading voices in his area believes Governor Bindow is already in big trouble. He thinks the forces riled up against the Governor is overwhelming, and by their estimation it won’t be long before they get at him.
“If you go to Abuja, when issues of Adamawa are discussed, particularly among its powerful elites, you would think another elections is around the corner and that the removal of the current holder of the office of governor is already foreclosed,” he said, lamenting the unbriddled obsession of some of its elites to control the levers of power in the state.
“ We have a big problem on our hands. Those preoccupied with the ambition of governing the state, anytime you meet them, it is as if the governor will be removed tomorrow and another election held within a short time”.
Adamawa’s political elite have been castigated in the past for their belligerence and their politics has notoriously been reviled as having a stifling hold on its polity and the state’s socio- economic development, going by the revelations of every occupant of the Dougirei Government House, blaming their woes on them. What with signs of strained relationship already emerging on the horizon between Bindow and some power brokers within the state. The young turk feeling the crushing grind of what past occupants of the office once felt, was forced recently into regurgitating the refrain “Abuja Politicians” an euphemism for its political elite, first used and made popular by former Gov. Murtala Nyako, who fought them up till his impeachment. Just as his predecessors have held them responsible for the continued under-development of the state.
Except, in his case, Gov. Bindow, trying to assert his independence, has consistently maintained his stand not to share one kobo of the state resources with them. But how far can he go? If former Governor Murtala Nyako who took up the political elites he uncannily chided as ‘Abuja Politicians’ was brutally bruised by them. And erstwhile, former acting Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri, allegedly propped up by the same elites to replace Nyako, they were riled up against, but who later realized he was used and dumped. This is after they wittingly removed him from power as quickly as they have had their satisfaction with him. Nor, is it Gov. Bala James Ngillari who is in court trying to restate his claim as governor, who the ‘Abuja Politicians’ neither cared much about. Considering the humiliation he suffered in their hands, as being the only sitting Governor among his ilk denied the priviledge of incumbency, deftly denying him the chance to contest his party, the PDP’s governorship primaries to enable him continue in his stewardship as governor of the state.
Perhaps to survive their onslaught, Bindow has now cunningly turned to the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, the Turakin Adamawa. And some of the former vice president’s loyalist, have been quoted,to have questioned Bindow’s loyalty. They have been quick to state that Bindow was only cunningly clinging on to Atiku because of a favour, adding that once that favour has been completed, the man will have nothing to do with Turaki. The favour, as it is claimed by the associates of Mr. Abubakar, is connected with the legal battle being waged against the Bindow administration which consequently has put his stewardship hanging in the balance.
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