The political atmosphere in Adamawa State is presently charged to the brim, following a political struggle between the camps of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar over the control of the soul of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. Mohammed Ismail dissects the issues.
Less than a year after the All Progressives Congress (APC) wrestled power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Adamawa State chapter of the ruling APC has begun to show signs of distress as a seemingly interactable imbroglio between former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari’s camps is on the verge of sending the party into the abyss of political oblivion.
Already, the gladiatorial warfare for the control of the soul of the party in the state has commenced in earnest between the two camps led by eminent political forces in the state represented by Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla who was spearheading the battle from the Atiku’s camp and the three Senators in conjunction with the Secretary to the Federal Government of the Federation Eng. Babachir David Lawal who are poised for the show down from Buhari’s camp.
As the uneasy calm in the party began to manifest into full blown political attrition, Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla has since fired the first salvo signaling the beginning of what promises to be a long drawn battle with the Buhari camp for the control of the soul of the party through a subtarenean plot culminating into the sacking of the acting chairman of the party, late Shuaibu Yamusa which was recognised by the the three Senators as well as the SGF.
The action of the governor according to reliable sources in the party, was premised on the show of camaraderie and recognition accorded the late acting chairman of the party Mallam Shuaibu Yamusa who since the inception of the current administration was seemingly sidelined by the governor in the scheme of party affairs in the state.
As the cleavage between the two groups widens, the three senators from the state namely AbdulAziz Nyako, Binta Masi Garba and Mohammad Abubakar MoAllahyidi paid a courtesy call on late Yamusa where they reiterated their full support for his leadership and in the process paid the arrears of party dues for 7 months to the tune of N2.1 million.
The spat between the two sides according to political watchers in the state was a fall out of the frosty relationship between governor Murtala Nyako on whose established political platform governor Jibrilla rode to victory in the April 2015 gubernatorial election and governor Jibrilla who was believed to have bitten the fingers that fed him by disassociating himself shortly after emerging victorious in the governorship election.
Although Governor Jibrilla has not openly called off relations with former governor Murtala Nyako, his body language ostensibly pointed otherwise as his actions have consistently showed that he was not on the same page with the former governor.
The no love lost between former Governor Murtala Nyako and Governor Jibrilla came to the fore when the governor refused to welcome former governor Nyako after his phenomenal return to Adamawa State from exile in Europe to escape what he termed an attempt by the then government of President Goodluck Jonathan to kill him in the wake of his vitriolic comments against the Federal Government over its lackluster attitude towards the Boko Haram incursion in the North East.
Another issue that was believed to be responsible for the frosty relationship between Governor Jibrilla and former governor Murtala Nyako may not be unconnected with insinuations that the son of the former governor who is a serving senator AbdulAziz Nyako is eyeing the governorship in 2019.
Another issue that is believed to put a cog in the relationship between the two politicians is the fact that majority of Nyako’s supporters were sidelined during the distribution of political offices by governor Umaru Jibrilla despite the fact that Nyako’s supporters were the main foot soldiers that criss crossed the state to sell Governor Jibrilla’s ambition in what many political analysts termed a desperate move by Jibrilla to crush Nyako’s political grip in the state.
But the lethal dose that seems to have confirmed the political animosity between the duo is the recent vituperation of governor Jibrilla where he publicly proclaimed that he has shifted his loyalty to the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar following the cash gift of N500 million he received from the former Vice President during electioneering campaign that led to his phenomenal victory in April 2015.
The statement has undoubtedly generated a lot of political opprobrium across Nigeria as many found it rather demeaning for a sitting governor to make such condescending statements to show his political animosity against a certain politician despite being in the same political party.
As expected, the situation has led to a flurry of political activities in the state as supporters of Nyako who are seen in the state as the protagonists of Buhari’s camp including the three senators, the SGF as well as many others braced up for the challenge which ostensibly culminated into the recognition of Yamusa’s led Exco by protagonists of Buhari’s leadership in the party.
It is worthy to recall that the present leadership of the party in the state was constituted by the former governor Murtala Nyako, who by all measures is a renowned and unabashed supporter of Buhari. Nyako carefully selected the members of the APC executive under the leadership of Senator Binta Garba Masi.
It was also an establish fact that during the process that led to the emergence of the APC exco in the state, all Atiku’s loyalists lost out of the contest including the present House of Representative member representing Jada, Toungo, Mayo-belwa and Ganye Federal constituency Abdularazak Namdas, due to the dominant control which Nyako wields in the party.
It is also on record that some Atiku’s loyalists in the state exco of the APC including the publicity secretary of the party Phineas Padio deemed it fit to decamp to PDP a fortnight to the conduct of the gubernatorial election in the state.
The calculation according to political pundits was to give the former president Goodluck Jonathan an edge over Buhari at the poll and to also prove that APC under Nyako could not win the state for Buhari despite the fact that the president’s wife is from Adamawa state.
During the APC governorship primaries Atiku had twice supported the ambition of Alhaji Yayaji Mijinyawa, against Governor Umaru Jibrila, but the largely loyal supporters of Nyako has called up the bluff of the governor on the two occasions leading to the emergence of Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla as the APC’s standard bearer in the April polls even though the former governor was on exile.
On the day the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the governor as the winner of the poll, he told the world that he became the governor on the platform of Nyako’s APC structures and he assured the party executive that his loyalty will ever remain with the present leadership of the party which he said make it possible for him to scale through all the electioneering hurdles.
However, immediately after the governor took oath of office he swallow his words and switched his loyalty to Atiku Abubakar, the man that presented a candidate against him at the party primaries.
In a dramatic move to dismantle Buhari’s APC leadership in the state preparatory to 2019 general elections which it is alleged that Atiku has invested interest to contest, the governor two weeks ago appointed his APC state chairman without the conduct of any election.
Since the governor took over the mantle of leadership in the state APC was bedeviled by serious financial crisis due to dearth of funding by governor Jibrilla which many political observers say was a hidden agenda by the governor to pulverize the party ahead of the 2019 general elections so that his mentor, Atiku Abubakar who is believed to have a huge financial war chest can take over the party.
While speaking on the issue, the deputy national vice chairman of APC Boss Mustapha, told our correspondent on Monday that the state chapter of the party is not in crisis and that the party has only one chairman who he said died last week in Kano and that there is no other person acting in his capacity.
“Adamawa APC is intact as far as we at the national secretariat are concern, the acting state chairman of the party died last week and a new acting chairman is not appointed, so I don’t know the person you say that he is calling himself chairman of APC in Adamawa, may be is another party but certainly not my party APC which am the deputy national vice chairman and am from Adamawa state so anything concern my state I must know and there is nothing like faction in Adamawa APC”, he stated.
Mustapha further added that while he was in the state to attend the burial ceremony of the late acting chairman of the party, alongside other APC chieftains nobody came out to introduce himself or herself as the acting chairman of the party, this he said is a proof that there is no other acting chairman of the party apart from the late Yamusa.
Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, representing Adamawa central who spoke in Yola recently when he visited APC secretariat over the actions of the governor appealed to the governor to concentrate on issues that can improve the lives of the people instead of political issues.
With the crisis rocking the party, whether the governor will conduct local governments elections with Buhari’s men in charge of the party or will the national secretariat of APC back Aiku to take over the party at the detriment of the president? Only time will tell.