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Adamawa: The unending drama

Since the election that brought Murtala Nyako to power in 2007, the state has had three governorship elections. The fourth was billed for Saturday until…

Since the election that brought Murtala Nyako to power in 2007, the state has had three governorship elections. The fourth was billed for Saturday until a court ruling cancelled it and made Nyako’s former deputy James Bala Ngilari the new governor.
The processes that culminated in the impeachment of Nyako and the swearing in of Mr Bala Ngilari as governor yesterday are the stuff of high drama.
In October last year, Nyako defected from the ruling PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) along with four of his colleagues.
But by mid-July, owing largely to his altercation with the central government, the PDP controlled Adamawa State House of Assembly served him and his deputy notices of impeachment. Though Ngilari has remained in the PDP, the bid to include him in the impeachment was said to have been added to douse certain sentiments for the plot to succeed.
But to stave off the implication of an impeachment to his reputation, a middle course was worked out for the deputy to resign, so that he does not suffer damages in an action that was clearly not targeted at him.
It is not clear what was offered Ngilari as a bargain, but whatever it was, it was obvious that the deputy had initially bought the idea and had played along.
Nyako, realising he has been abandoned by his deputy, quickly moved to prevent Ngilari from benefiting from his misfortune and quickly announced a new deputy when the state House of Assembly headed by then Speaker Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, announced the resignation of Ngilari.
But this was overlooked and the impeachment of Nyako and the purported resignation of Ngilari were taken as an omnibus bounty for those who wanted a change in the leadership structure of the state.
But left in the cold and forgotten in the frenzy that followed the process to get a candidate who will serve out Nyako’s tenure, the ousted deputy governor ran to the court to demand that he be sworn in as governor while faulting his purported resignation from office.
But as the court sat on the matter, a lot took place on the political landscape in Adamawa to further reinforce the grievance of Ngilari and to confirm to him that his matter was the furthest on the minds of those who had sought his cooperation to oust Nyako.
Those in the presidency saw an opportunity to woo former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu back to the PDP and offered him the ticket of the party. Speaker Fintiri, who was meant to act only for the period pending when an election would be conducted also became interested in vying for the seat and at the end of the battle which involved 14 notable big wigs in Adamawa , it became glaring that the interest of the powers that be has moved away from sympathies to an ousted deputy to who will be the new henchman in the state.
 This obviously  made Ngilari to continue with the case, praying for an order of the court compelling his swearing in as governor, following Nyako’s impeachment, while seeking an injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the October 11 by-election.
Ngilari also prayed the court to declare his resignation letter dated July 14, 2014, and addressed to the Speaker, Adamawa House of Assembly, as “illegal, null and void” contending that the letter was addressed to the Speaker, instead of the governor as stipulated in the Constitution.
This, he said, was in breach of the provisions of sections 306(1), (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution which he said provides that a deputy governor who intends to resign from office is strictly required by the provisions of the Constitution to send his resignation letter to the governor.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday upheld his submission and made him governor and cancelled Saturday’s bye-election.
Meanwhile, Nyako has a case pending in the courts challenging his impeachment.
As Ngilari has been sworn in and the by-election suspended, certain things are bound to happen concerning the 2015 tussle for the Adamawa Government House.
The first is that all the processes for the now aborted by-election would become stillborn, as the issue that led to certain agreement by PDP aspirants, which would have been the by-election, no longer took place.
The PDP aspirants had agreed that those among them that contested the September 6 primary will not participate in the next round of primaries that will elect the party’s flag bearer for the 2015 election.
But as it stands now, all the aspirants including Ahmed Modibbo, Buba Marwa, Dr. Umar Ardo and even Fintiri, would be free to contest.
Secondly, even as Ngilari assumes position as governor, it is obvious that given the stand of the judiciary on the matter, he cannot afford to overlook the possibility of Nyako also getting a favourable judgment and would, unlike Fintiri, be careful not to overreach himself until the case has been determined.
 Though Fintiri has said he would be appealing the judgment, it is obvious that time is not on his side as the matter could drag on up to the Supreme Court.
Besides, Fintiri’s loss of the coveted seat within the period he would be in court, could affect his mien and disrobe him of the confidence he had exuded when he was on seat, more so as the tenure he would be fighting for, would be only for the remaining six months left of Nyako’s tenure. Weighing the cost against the benefits, it doesn’t seem likely that Fintiri would be resolute in pursuing that course of action since he has the fall back option of remaining as speaker of the House of Assembly.
Analysts say if however he insists on that course, he risks the chance of losing his seat as speaker. For it is already being argued that it would be unfair to others for him to continue in that office since both he and the governor cannot come from the same zone.
The APC however appeared a little disappointed, because it is being said that it had done its homework to succeed in the aborted Saturday election.

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