As the 2019 governorship election is getting closer, forces within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa are strategizing to stop the incumbent governor, Muhammadu Umar Jibrilla from seeking re-election for a second term of office.
Despite his recent declaration of support for President Muhammadu Buhari, key associates of President Muhammadu Buhari in Adamawa State remain suspicious of the governor, alleging that desperation for survival beyond 2019 forced him to align with the president.
Although the governor refused to defect with Atiku and eventually showed support for the president, members of Buhari camp comprising the forces Former Governor Murtala Nyako, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawan, former Lagos State Military Governor, Buba Marwa, and the senator representing Adamawa Central, Abdulaziz Nyako are teaming up gainst him.
Pundits believe that the group which has a plethora of gubernatorial aspirants, like Buba Marwa, Nuhu Ribadu, Abdulaziz Nyako, Engineer Marcus Gundiri, Emmanuel Bello could constitute strong obstacle to the governor if they were able to align their interests and field an acceptable candidate.
Until recently, the governor had been loyal to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who formed an internal opposition against President Buhari in the APC before his recent defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to realise his presidential ambition.
Before Atiku’s defection, Jibrilla’s Chief of Staff and Director General of his campaign, Abdurrahman Abba Jimeta had in the presence of his principal declared support for the presidential aspiration of Atiku, saying the entire members of Jibrilla’s cabinet and members of the Legislature had resolved to support Atiku and that it was high time they backed someone from Adamawa. The remarks irked Buhari supporters, eliciting criticism from across the country.
His opponents are still using the remarks against the governor, noting that he became skeptical about the fledgling state of the PDP and decided to stick with the ruling party where he believed it would be easier to seek re-election for another tenure of four months.
Musa Kamale, a close associate of Marwa, said although the former defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) guber candidate had not formally declared, he remained the top contender in view of his followership and acceptability in the state, adding that the formidable political structure established by Marwa over the years remained intact while his outreach to other camps that matter placed him above the incumbent governor, Muhammadu Jibrilla.
Insisting that the governor would not be a force to reckon in the party primaries for 2019 general election having lost his major backers who helped him to win election in 2015, Kamale said defeating Jibrilla would be easy for a politician like Marwa.
“The incumbent governor has no political structure. He rode on Murtala Nyako’s structure to become governor in 2015 and has since parted ways with Nyako after he betrayed him. Bindow currently controls less than one-third of the party structure in the state. If Marwa declares, he will team up with Nyako and no way for Bindow”, he pointed out.
According to him, Jibrilla had always worked against Buhari in favour of his political godfather, Atiku Abubakar until the later defected to the PDP, saying Buhari supporters would not trust him with any responsibility under the party.
“Politics is not about empty words, let the time of action comes. When Nyako helped Bindow to defeat Atiku, everybody talked of Atiku’s strength but the results of the primary election showed the contrary”, Kamale added.
Reacting to the allegation, the founder of Bring Back Buhari and Bindow 2019 for Continuity, Alhaji Dahiru Hamman-Dikko accused Jibrilla’s opponents of plotting to frustrate his efforts at rebuilding infrastructure in the state because he refused to serve their selfish interests.
Hamman-Dikko said those calling themselves Buhari loyalists were exposed during Buhari’s recent visit to the state where he witnessed the achievement of Jibrilla’s administration in the last three years. He therefore called on other governorship aspirants to shelve their ambition until 2023 when Jibrilla must have completed his second term.
“Buhari came to Adamawa and saw the gigantic developmental projects. Those calling themselves Buhari men have failed and we are waiting for them in 2019. They want to bring him down because he does not give out money. Nuhu Ribadu or anybody looking for governor from Adamawa Central should wait until 2023. They asked the party national secretariat to give them control of the party but the party told them to come back and work with the governor. ”, he stated.
Also believed to be aspiring for governorship is Gundiri. The candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, left the APC alongside Marwa following disagreement with the then Governor Nyako over control of party machinery. He became the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 2015 and was defeated by Jibrilla.
He is believed to be a close ally of Babachir and rumours making rounds indicated that he is working to realise his long time ambition of becoming the governor of the state under the APC platform.
Uba Dan Arewa, a loyalist of Nyako who is aspiring for governorship accused the state executive of the party under the acting chairmanship of Ibrahim Bilal of creating division among party members by publicly supporting the 2019 aspiration of the governor, thereby expressing bias against other aspirants in APC.
He noted that the aspirants simply clamored for free and fair primaries, alleging that the party leadership in the state had already taken sides with the governor after the State Organising Secretary, Ahmad Lawan announced that all other aspirants should not waste their resources in contesting against the governor.
He noted that the acting state executive was lopsided and biased, saying the state chairman, Bilal was from the governor’s senatorial zone, the Secretary, Saidu Naira and the Treasurer were from Mubi, the governor’s home town, in addition to the fact that the chairman who was local government chapter chairman was not qualified to be the acting when there were vice chairmen.
He said various aspirants from pro-Buhari camps had lost faith in the ability of the executive to conduct free and fair primaries after they vowed to support the incumbent governor.
In his response to the allegation, the state Organising Secretary noted that although the exco had resolved to support Governor Jibrilla, they would allow for free and fair election and winner would be declared.
“We, the executive are supporting Bindow and Buhari for 2019, we are giving them our votes. That does not stop us from conducting a free and fair election. Everyone can contest in the primaries, we will be just and whoever wins will be declared winner,” he said.
A member of the pro-Buhari camp led by Murtala Nyako, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawan, retired Brigadier General Buba Marwa told Daily Trust on Sunday that the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu was the most acceptable person from the camp as a result of his impressive service records, exposure and good relationship with politicians and other interest groups in the state, saying his defeat in 2015 when he contested as the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was due to electoral protest from voters against the PDP.
“We have credible candidates, Abdulaziz, Ribadu, Marwa, Gundiri among many others, any one of them is capable and can win election and but for obvious reasons Ribadu has wider acceptance in the Buhari camp to which I belong. Because he has good records, he is accessible all the time and you know he is easy to sell due to his known achievements at the EFCC. He picks phone calls and does not feel big or snub people. But as it is, we are in an open game, everyone is strategizing, negotiations will take place to achieve the best result. New developments may unfold, so I am not saying we have chosen any one”, he stated.
Failure to reconcile Murtala Nyako and the governor despite several attempts as well as increased level of desperation from both sides within the ruling party is eliciting fears among some chieftains that losers at the primary election may give protest votes to the PDP candidate.
Former Acting Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Dr Umar Ardo are currently the prominent PDP aspirants being promoted by their supporters. Fintiri contested for the aborted 2015 by-election to complete the tenure of Nyako who was removed by the House of Assembly while Ardo, a national figure in the PDP has severally contested for the office of governor.
The ability of Jibrilla’s opponents within the APC to work in synergy will determine the nature of the challenge they can give the governor ultimately the outcome of the governorship primary for 2019 election.
Source: Daily Trust