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After victory, Nyako faces tough test of power-sharing

After the February conquest, sharing formula of appointments seems to be dragging  the ruling PDP in Adamawa State into another round of bitter feud. Fresh…

After the February conquest, sharing formula of appointments seems to be dragging  the ruling PDP in Adamawa State into another round of bitter feud. Fresh facts emerged that the issue of sharing formula of the ‘booties of the conquest’ is throwing the umbrella party into renewed bitter quarrel.

For those who think that Nyako’s victory has laid to rest the political crisis in the state, shocking surprises await them, as gladiators in the state, particularly in the ruling PDP are clamouring to position their cronies in strategic positions within the mainstream of governance.

Furthermore, the filing of petition by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) challenging the election of Governor Murtala Nyako in the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Yola on February 24, 2012 has not only put to rest the speculation that the ACN is entering into an alliance with Governor Nyako, but has allegedly cut short the victory party Nyako was planning to organise.

Investigations revealed that several gladiators are working assiduously to ensure that their supporters are given positions in the new cabinet, but they have met stiff resistance from Nyako’s foot soldiers.

There is the mutual suspicion that the various political camps which came together to ensure victory for Governor Nyako are involved in strategies that will enable them wrest the party structure from Nyako  ahead of  2015.

The election was keenly contested, and as expected, the election was decided between Nyako and Gundiri of the ACN. The result of the poll reflected the earlier position of pundits that Adamawa people would vote on the line of religion and ethnicity. At the General Murtala Mohammed College Yola, collation centre of the election, the Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Hamisu Mohammed of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi announced that Nyako had polled 302,953 votes out of 658,253 valid votes to place first while ACN’s Gundiri came second with a total vote of 241, 023. Marwa of the CPC secured the third position with 107,546. Candidate of the ANPP placed a distant fourth with 3,885 votes; Dr. Zainab Kwonchi of the ADC came last with 2,846 votes. Further breakdown of the result as declared by INEC showed that 26,850 were rejected votes; total number of votes cast stood at 685,103 just as a total of 1,843,619 voters were registered for the election.

The daunting Task

Be that as it may, the election could be said to be over, but there seems to be daunting task ahead of the governor. Will Nyako reconcile with aggrieved party members; will he recruit new cabinet members or will he just continue with the old team? What about the projects initiated but yet to be kick-started, like Lagdo Hydro Power project, among others? Will he survive the opposition’s onslaught at the tribunal? The  performance put up by the ACN is being attributed to the credibility, popularity and experience of its candidate. Gundiri was a retired civil servant and an acknowledged grassroots man having worked as a former Director General and Commissioner of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development from 1988 to 1991. By 1999, as a Deputy Director and later Director, he was in charge of all Federal Government dams and reservoirs while in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. In his local government of Hong, Gundiri won with 22,747 votes; followed by Nyako who got 11,562 while Marwa got 5,957.

His Deputy, Alhaji Abdulrazak Namdas, former Chief Press Secretary to Boni Haruna and Publisher of the only private newspaper in Yola, THE VIEWER made the Gundiri ticket stronger. As a young politician his people (Chamba) gave him all the support he needed even as the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who hails from the same area with Namdas supported Governor Nyako.

The presence of former Governor Boni Haruna, who is leader of the party in Adamawa, equally increased the fortunes of ACN as it won in Michika with 13,655 votes ahead of Gen Buba Marwa who hails from the same local government. Gundiri’s exploits in the civil service is largely responsible for the perceived over 70 per cent votes he got from civil servants in the state.

A sizeable number of Adamawa people have raised eyebrows and are bewildered over the result released by INEC which showed a 61,930 differential between Nyako and Gundiri. Many are suspicious of the result that gave Nyako a lead in 14 local governments with a total votes cast of just 302,953 as against Gundiri’s 241,023 which he won in 7 council areas.

Pundits had argued that though the election is now history the fact remains that the PDP will now have to go back to its fold to reconcile all aggrieved parties.

They cited that the imbroglio between the members of the state legislature and the executive arm is one crisis that if not handled properly could threaten the new administration of Nyako, but while fielding questions from Sunday Trust, Governor Nyako promised to make peace with members of the state House of Assembly and other aggrieved chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his second and last tenure.

He gave assurance that he would  mend fences with his political opponents, stressing that it is the only way to win the hearts of all, promising that a new page will be opened and embraced.

Nyako, who was speaking against the backdrop of political bickering between him and members of the State’s House of Assembly alleged to have been installed by him, said that in politics there is no permanent friend, but permanent interest.

“So, I can assure that we have since reconciled our differences. They will be allowed to perform their legislative functions and we will also do our work. You should remember that PDP is always one big family,’’ Nyako.

He said he was ready to do business with his perceived political enemies and would welcome them into his fold if they choose to come.

In recent weeks, Nyako and the state lawmakers were said to have been at loggerheads, which led to overtaking of the state Assembly complex by thugs alleged to have been sponsored by a PDP cabal in the state.

The Return of ‘’Mighty’’ SSG

Although Nyako is believed to be slow in reconstituting his cabinet, already there is hot, intense lobbying for juicy positions as many ex-commissioners and other political appointees were said to have since engaged the services of spiritualists, while others have  relocated to Nyako’s residence to seek favours.

As others continue to lobby, Mr Kobis Ari Thimnu, the recently sacked Secretary to the  State  Government (SSG) was re-appointed, barely 14 days after he was sacked.  Thimnu, the Katukan Adamawa, was sacked by the 13-day acting governor and now Speaker Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.

Sunday Trust reliably gathered that no less than five persons were said to have scrambled for the SSG plum job, but the race was hotter between two prominent figures of the state. One is believed to be the yet-to-be dropped Director in Nyako/Ngillari Campaign Directorate, Mr Felix Tangwami, and the SSG, whose local government went to the ACN during the elections.

During the swearing-in ceremony, held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Yola, Nyako disclosed that he was prevailed upon by highly placed individuals in the state to re-appoint the former SSG. Responding, Mr Kobis Thimnu saw his appointment as rare opportunity to continue to serve Nyako’s administration for the second term. Others re-appointed by Governor Nyako include his Chief Press Secretary, Mallam Mai Jama’a Adamu, Chief of Protocol Ahmad Mahmood, and Ja’afaru Malik, as his principal personal assistant.

In the meantime, there is uneasy calm in Yola, Adamawa state capital with politicians, especially from the ruling PDP, virulently divided along personal and political lines in the interpretations of the situation.  Some PDP leaders think they have been pencilled down to be appointed in the new kitchen cabinet. There may be tough battle ahead, as no one can even read the body language of the governor. Governor Nyako is not talking to anyone or disclosing his intentions.

Apart from the issue of sharing positions, the governor still has to contend with the opposition parties. Governor Nyako, shortly after he was declared winner of the February 4 election, pleaded with the opposition not to go to court, stressing that doing so will lead to waste of funds by both parties which ordinarily would help develop the state. According to him, even the time that will be wasted in pursuing the case in court will draw the state government backwards in its drive to accelerate development of the state.

He therefore urged members of the opposition to join hands with him in order to move the state forward. Consequently, while a lot of people commend his position, the opposition feels Governor Nyako is afraid of facing court considering that the gap between him and Gundiri is just 61,000 votes.

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