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Where is ex-Governor Murtala Nyako?

Former Governor Murtala Nyako went on self-exile shortly after his impeachment in July 2014 and was said to have headed first for Germany and later…

Former Governor Murtala Nyako went on self-exile shortly after his impeachment in July 2014 and was said to have headed first for Germany and later proceeded to England, where he remained until the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2015. Since then, Nyako, who had always graced media headlines, has maintained a low profile and remained relatively less visible on the political scene. 

The much that has remained in the public domain is that since he left office, the former governor, who played a key role in the victory of the APC in the last general elections, had been embroiled in an intractable political case being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Not a few students of political history, and indeed, keen watchers of political events in Nigeria are, therefore, wondering at the sudden disappearance of the former governor of Adamawa State from the country’s political landscape. 

Shortly after losing the bid to return to his office in December last year, Murtala Nyako reportedly said he would continue his farming business and contribute his quota to humanity.

Addressing reporters after the Supreme Court verdict was delivered, Nyako, who accepted the verdict in good faith, said his major reason for going to court was to seek redress over his “illegal” removal.

The former governor, who reportedly thanked his supporters and well-wishers for their show of support and solidarity said: “I am relaxed and will remain so. I always believe that the future is better.” 

It was believed that Nyako’s frosty relationship with former President Jonathan had prepared the grounds for the intense political fireworks that forced him and his son out on self-exile after losing his bid to return to power.

Baba Mai Mangoro, as he is fondly called, Nyako had always told the story of how he was born a cattle owner as his mother had been allocated some cows for her offspring before he was born. He was, therefore, involved with cattle rearing at a tender age before later venturing into general agriculture. Little wonder that his popular Sebore Farms, situated in Mayo Belwa, Adamawa State, had been adjudged by agriculture experts as one of the largest mechanised farms in the country.

Interestingly, his career in the Nigerian Navy, as well agriculture, did not generate as much controversy as his involvement in politics. Having made his foray into politics in 2006, Nyako was elected the governor of Adamawa State in April 2007. But he faced baptism of fire in February 2008 as the Election Petition Appeal Tribunal annulled his election, alleging electoral malpractices. 

Consequently, the then speaker of the state House of Assembly, James Barka, was sworn in as acting governor on February 26, 2008. But in a fresh election, Nyako was re-elected with a landslide victory. He resumed office on April 29, 2008. Not long after that, the House initiated moves to impeach him, but was dissuaded after the personal intervention of former President Umaru Yar’Adua. Thereafter, the relationship improved to the extent that in March 2010, the Adamawa State House of Assembly passed a vote of confidence on Nyako, describing him as a “messiah” to the people of the state. 

At the expiration of his first tenure in 2012, he ran for a second term and was once again elected. On July 15, 2014, Nyako was impeached after the state House of Assembly deliberated on the report of an investigative panel that probed allegations of financial misconduct against him. The report found the then governor guilty of all the 16 allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by the House.

Nyako, who eventually defected from the PDP to the APC, had been having a running battle with the state lawmakers, most of whom did not join him to defect to the then opposition party.  Nyako had, along with governors Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, joined the APC after staging a walkout on the PDP national convention in Abuja.

The ex-governor’s political travails assumed a hurricane dimension when he released what was described as a ‘political bombshell’ through a memo he wrote to his colleagues in the Northern Governors’ Forum, accusing the then President Goodluck Jonathan of genocide in the war against Boko Haram in the region. That letter reportedly earned him a strong rebuke from the Presidency.

Also, in the buildup to the 2015 elections, another dimension was added to Nyako’s political battles that culminated into another round of bitter showdown within the PDP.  Consequently, political watchers were treated to yet another cut-throat battle of supremacy that preceded the sack of the Alhaji Umaru Mijinyawa Kugama-led executive of the PDP in Adamawa State by its national body, a development that climaxed a long-running face-off between the state branch of the party and its national leadership. 

On February 11, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal declared the impeachment null and void and ordered that all his entitlements from the date of impeachment be paid to him. The judgement was upheld on December 16, 2016 by the Supreme Court of Nigeria but declined to reinstate him. 

Soon after he returned to Nigeria after nearly a year on self-imposed exile, the embattled Nyako was reportedly detained by the EFCC, which had declared him and his son, AbdulAziz, wanted for alleged criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering, to the tune of N29billion. The commission alleged massive looting of state funds by top officials in Nyako’s government, leading to the arrest of key officials in the state, including the then Secretary to the State Government, the state commissioner for finance, the commissioner for higher education, the accountant-general of the state and the permanent secretary, Ministry of Local Government.

His travails took a new twist on October last year when a paramount ruler in Adamawa State, Muhammad Mustafa, reportedly stripped Nyako and his son, Abdul’Aziz, of their traditional titles of Sarkin Yamma and Sarkin Matasa respectively. 

The Adamawa Emirate Council was also reported to have dismissed the former governor from the membership of the council.

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