Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Between Bamanga Tukur and Gov Murtala Nyako

There is an interesting power struggle within the ruling PDP in Adamawa State. Two antagonist groups are involved- the Bamanga Tukur and Governor Murtala Nyako. Though the Atiku Abubakar group is also involved, the other two groups appear to be in the fore-front. The crisis in Adamawa PDP is simply about local politics. It has been there since the time former President Olusegun Obasanjo mandated Professor Jibril Aminu to seize the party structures from Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Boni Haruna. So, the genesis of the current crisis is embedded in the foundations on which the current PDP in Adamawa State was laid- the lack of fairness within the party and conflicting personal ambitions of its leaders.

What is currently fuelling the crisis is Governor Nyako’s clever usurping of most political positions and government contracts for his friends and family members. The Governor is said to be openly working hard to place his son, Abdul-Aziz in an advantaged position to succeed him as Governor. Abdul-Aziz recently undertook a tour of the state with the full protocol of a Governor. Opponents of Nyako said his son went to the extent of making promises of what the government would and would not do. Nyako is also accused of making an attempt to appoint one of his wives as the Chief Judge of state, while his other wife is rumored to be the highest paid medical consultant in the state.

On the other hand, Bamanga Tukur is also said to be highly interested in positioning one of his sons or a close confidant- Senator Silas Zwingina as Governor, come 2015. However, Bamanga’s goal will be impossible without a firm control of the state’s party executive. The opportunity to seize the party structure came when the state chapter of the PDP conducted primary elections for councillorship positions for the local council’s elections without approval from the PDP National headquarters. The National Headquarters, apparently with instructions from Bamanga, subsequently voided the elections and stopped the primaries for chairmanship positions. Nyako, desperate to keep the party structures under his armpit, went on with the chairmanship   primaries-in his sitting room.

From the way events are unfolding, Bamanga Tukur seems determined to use the same political maneuver that brought Nyako to power to flush him out of power.  But in the end; some political scenario is likely; Nyako still has control of the government, but if he eventually loses control of the party then the PDP would be sharply divided. The opposition led by former Governor Boni Haruna stands to gain from this. Consequently, come 2015, the opposition may easily displace the PDP. Even when the PDP presented a united front during the February 2012 governorship elections, the party could only narrowly defeat the ACN with just 60,000 vote margin, which the latter claimed was due to over-voting.  And the current situation could even be worse for the PDP if the merger talks between the ACN and the CPC materialize- and if the opposition in Adamawa state is able to formulate a winning arrangement. For instance, presenting Buba Marwa or Nuhu Ribadu as governorship candidate with a deputy from the Chamber chiefdom and also presenting Boni Haruna as senatorial candidate for the northern senatorial zone, Marcus Gundiri for the central zone with P.P. Pwa for the southern zone will be a hard nut for the PDP to crack. Though there is hint within political pundits that intellectuals from Adamawa state are working hard to present Hassan Tukur the Personal Private Secretary to President Goodluck Jonathan as PDP governorship candidate, Hassan Tukur can easily win, but his likely platform, the PDP, is in serious in-house power struggle. As earlier noted, the Atiku Abubakar group is another group that can also alter the political equation within the PDP.  Whichever way the pendulum swings, this group would try to take advantage of the situation to establish a strong home support for Atiku’s presidential ambition as well for the group’s governorship hopeful- Adamu Mua’azu Modibbo.

The climax of the current fight would be when a new state executive for the PDP is to be formed – there would be serious horse-trading as each of the political bigwigs would attempt to grab the most important positions.

As observed above, the current fight between Nyako and Bamanga Tukur is all about control of local politics by four political bigwigs - Bamanga Tukur, Governor Nyako, Atiku Abubakar and Jibril Aminu.  Interestingly each one of them was one time or the other a beneficiary or a victim of the PDP’s style of using ‘Abuja power’ to have one’s way.  The fight would also have a serious effect on the PDP and would produce some casualties. For instance, If Governor Nyako insists on installing his son as his successor, but without having control of the PDP, there is likelihood he may leave the party to join another.   But the biggest casualties would be the present MPs representing Adamawa State in the National Assembly, because most of them found their ways through their godfathers. Probably that is the reason they appear to be ‘seat warmers’ at both the green and red chambers. Already, the Senator representing Adamawa central has pitched his tent with the Bamanga Tukur camp, but the Nyako camp said it is not bothered, describing the Senator as a gold-digger. The Senator was once deputy to the former Governor Boni Haruna when Atiku was in control, then he jumped to Jibril Aminu’s camp, later to Nyako’s and now to Bamanga’s. One major implication of this in-house scuffle on the entire PDP structure is that in future, most PDP governors would strongly avoid having the national chairman from their state. Especially when they recall that what Adamawa is experiencing now once occurred between  Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State and the then PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980