Adamawa 2019: Odds against Bindow’s second term

Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa State

• As PDP Flaunts Fintiri
• Buhari’s Inlaw Compounds Governor’s Nightmare

The Adamawa State Governor Alhaji Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, is no longer at peace with himself as an array of political enemies have gathered round him.

He won the governorship ticket of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 using the structure of former governor Murtala Nyako, who was in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but had just converted into APC. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar wanted Lamido Cinema to be governor, but Nyako used incumbency advantage to market Bindow.

After becoming governor, Bindow courted trouble when he declared Atiku as his political godfather and the one who helped him win the governorship. He told the world that the former Vice President gave him N500m for the election.

Bindow, who appears to delight in political battles took his second fight to the doorsteps of the group he tagged ‘Abuja politicians.’ He accused the group of many sins against his government, including demanding favours and other political request. On many public occasions the governor told his listeners that his government would not share money to Abuja politicians.

Bindow’s appointments also took him to another battlefield with the Christian community in the state. Both former chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Adamawa State chapter, pastor Mike Moses and the present chairman Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese Dr. Stephen Dami Mamza, have accused the governor of lopsided appointments where he excluded Christians in his cabinet.

Now, the APC state congress seems to have driven the final nail into the Governor’s political career, as majority of senior stakeholders have declared not to support him in 2019. They accused the Governor of disrespecting the state’s zoning policy on sharing political offices between Christians and Muslims, by appointing a Muslim party chairman coming from the same northern zone with him.

The Governor was also accused of instigating the recent brutal attack on the private office of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal.

Reacting to the decision of Bindow to adopt indirect primaries for 2019, Babachir Lawal, told The Guardian that the decision taken by the governor’s group is an exercise in futility and cannot stand the test of time. He said that a state executive lacks powers to override the decision of National Executive Council (NEC), pointing out that there are guidelines to follow before any state can adopt indirect primaries outside the direct primaries adopted by NEC.

“NEC was very clear on the issue of indirect primaries. The NEC stated that any state that wants to adopt indirect primaries as against direct primaries should convene a meeting of all senior stakeholders and members must agree. So what happened in Government House did not involve stakeholders. The meeting can best be described as an action of a desperate person like Bindow,” he stated.

Babachir challenged the state Secretary of the party to publish names of senior stakeholders that attended what he called a kangaroo meeting, noting that the attack on his office located in Bekaji quarters is part of the desperation of government to intimidate and harass those who refuse to support satanic policies in the state.

Senator Abubakar Mo-Allah Idi, representing Adamawa Southern zone told journalists that he will not enter Yola Government House as long as Bindow occupies the building, pointing out that he will only work for President Buhari for 2019 poll.

Bindow, has countered those that want him out of office, while reacting to Atiku Abubakar’s boast that he will reclaim Adamawa State for PDP. He said both him and President Buhari will win the state without any stress.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media Affairs, Maculae Hunohashi, told The Guardian that the Governor is not losing sleep concerning his second term ticket because of the projects he executed within his short time in office are huge.

He said those accusing him of lopsided appointments are not sincere, pointing out that out of six major parastatals in the state three are headed by Christians from Numan local government and that out of six media aides three are Christians from the southern zone of the state.
“ People just want to give the governor a bad name so that they can find a reason to hang him. I don’t see any reason why the governor will be accused of what is so open to the world. The appointments are not hidden; they are announced and published in newspapers.

On the attack on Babachir Lawal’s private office in Yola, the governor’s spokesman said it took place when his boss was in China, so he does not see how he is connected to the attack.

The entrance of Dr. Mahmood Halilu Ahmed, younger brother of Aisha Buhari into the governorship race on the platform of APC has compounded Bindow’s chances of getting his party’s ticket.

Some Adamawa youths contributed money to purchase his nomination form despite his wealthy background. Bindow’s supporters are worried because of the recommendation of direct primaries by the APC national leadership. The youths have vowed to use their numerical strength to ensure that a youth takes over power in the state.

When Ahmed declared last Monday, some APC national leaders were in attendance, with other top chieftains of the party from six states in the Southwest, Southsouth and Southeast. This is an indication of the powers behind him.
Ahmed said that it was the failure of the present government that forced him to join the race in order to rescue his people.

“The present government is anti-indigenous contractors, I challenge anyone in government to mention one indigenous company that has been awarded contract under this administration. The workers in the state have been reduce to beggars, because their statutory entitlements are not paid to them, as a youth it pains me because majority of the workers are youths,” he said.

He donated N10m as part of his assistance to the party and promised to make the party officials comfortable.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu

Nuhu Ribadu, pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is also contesting the governorship.

Ribadu contested the governorship on the platform of PDP in 2015, and that generated crisis for the party in the state, leading the party to lose the election due to the protest votes.

The present PDP chairman in Adamawa Alhaji Abubakar Tahir Shehu, was the secretary of the party in 2015 when he described Ribadu as a political fortune seeker that has no capacity to win even councillorship election, but depended on federal authorities to manipulate things to his favour.

Ribadu used the Presidency to relocate Adamawa PDP primary to Abuja, when it was clear he could not get the party’s ticket. Till date, majority in PDP have not forgiven Ribadu for making the party lose that election through his manipulative tactics.

He has left PDP for APC, but his new party is afraid of his tactics. He is among those fighting Bindow, while the governor’s supporters are waiting to show him the exit door at the primary.

Since the governorship contest of 2015, Ribadu only visited the state twice, a situation APC members suspects he might be fronting for another aspirant, either in the APC or another party.

When Ribadu visited APC secretariat to declare interest, he said the plight of Adamawa people forced him to join the contest and urged the electorate to give him the party’s ticket.

His only strong political weapon is his being Muslim and Fulani. He is not a grassroots player.

Ahmed Umaru Fintiri, popularly called ATM by Adamawa workers joined politics in 2007 when as member of defunct Action Congress (AC) he defeated a candidate of ruling PDP, who was already a serving member in the Adamawa State House of Assembly. He became a powerful politician among the youths.

Fintri then became deputy Speaker in 2011 during his second term when he defected to the PDP. He was later elected Speaker and then acting Governor in 2012, when the court declared that Nyako and four other governors cannot take oath of office twice.

Fintri returned to Government House in July 2014 as acting Governor again, when former Governor Nyako was impeached. He spent 87 days in office before an Abuja High court give a judgment that removed him from office two days to the governorship by-election, after he won the PDP ticket to contest the governorship.
He returned to the Assembly as Speaker and vacated office in June 2015, after the tenure of the Assembly expired. The youthful Fintri did not only become a household name in Adamawa politics, but he also became the hope of politically oppressed minority tribes in the state.

His strong political weapons are workers, minority tribes, Christians across parties, elders, women and youths.

While speaking at his declaration after picking his nomination form last week, Fintri said he joined the race to rescue the people from poverty imposed on them as a result of poor governance.

He said his return to government will wipe away the tears of Adamawa workers, especially local government and health workers, who he said have been reduced to executive beggars due to lack of payment of salaries and other entitlements.

A former member of Adamawa House of Assembly for Guyuk constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mrs. Wulbina Jackson told The Guardian that there is no aspirant in the state that can equal Fintri in administrative and political records.

She said the choice of Fintri as replacement for Bindow is not only a PDP project but that of Adamawa people who want the return of good governance.

Bala Ngillari was deputy governor to Nyako. He took over as governor after the controversial impeachment. He is from the same Madagali local government as Fintri.

He is believed to lack the ability to take bold steps when he is confronted with serious issues. When he was a serving governor he allegedly refused a governorship ticket after some Abuja politicians intimidated him. He rather settled for a senatorial ticket, which saw Senator Binta Masi of the APC outclass him by a huge margin.

Not many think him a serious contender for 2019.

Adamu Modibbo has been a perpetual governorship aspirant, always picking nomination forms to participate.

For the past three years, he has not been very visible within PDP circles, until Atiku Abubakar defected to the party. Not many people can locate his political structure in the state to back up his contest. His strongest weapon is that he is Fulani.

Another PDP aspirant is Alhaji Mohammed Jameel, former director of protocol in the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency. He was accused in 2014 of being among those who took the state PDP primary to Abuja.

To many PDP leaders, his expression of interest is not to be taken seriously. He is seen as one of those that come to the party only during election periods.

Jameel’s only strong political advantage is that he is Fulani, which is the campaign slogan of his supporters.

Mohammed C. Tahir, was elected into the House of Representatives in 2007, to represent Yola North/Yola South and Girie Federal Constituency. He lost his return ticket in 2011 and returned home to manage his hotel in Yola.

In 2014, Tahir was picked as deputy governor to Ngillari. After their eight months in office, he contested the chairmanship of PDP, but lost to Shehu. He has since distanced himself from the party until now.

He picked his nomination form, but there is little sign he is in the race.

DR. Umar Ardo, former lecturer with the Nigerian Defence Academic (NDA) was brought by Atiku Abubakar into politics and made adviser on local government affairs.

Ardo’s political relationship with Atiku did not last because of his military background. He is an opposition within PDP in the state.

Since he began the governorship race in 2011 peace has deserted the party. Within this period has taken the party to court 16 times and lost all the cases. Party chieftains don’t reckon much with him because of his rather bellicose posture.

The only sign that Ardo is contesting the governorship is his mighty billboards scattered across the state. He is yet to visit the party Secretariat in Yola to announce of his interest. His greatest disadvantage is that his attempt to dissolve the present party executive failed woefully. He is now nursing his wound silently.

Emmanuel Bello, former House of Representatives member in 2007 on the platform of PDP is the only governorship aspirant on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Adamawa. He was in APC until his recent trip into SDP, which is now the source of the crisis for the party.

The founding fathers of SDP have all moved to Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), leaving Bello with the party and him struggling to recruit members so close to election.

Bello’s main problem is that SDP is seen as another wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Senator Abdullaziz Nyako, is a serving senator and first son of former governor Murtala Nyako. He recently defected from APC, a party groomed by his father on which platform Bindow was assisted to become governor.

His father refused to follow him to ADC, which it is a clear signal that he is running alone without the blessing of his father.

To compound his problems, the court last week sacked the state executive of his party few days to the primaries. The implications of the judgment is that if the sacked executive goes ahead as they plan to nominate him as the party’s candidate, his candidature will not stand on solid rock.

He lacks political exposure, apart from using his father’s structure, which Bindow has collapsed into his own. As things stand, Nyako is not on solid ground.

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