Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Governor Bindawa, the Nyako man?

Adamawa state Governor-elect, Mohammed Jibrilla Bindawa, was recently reported to have declared his unalloyed loyalty to former governor Murtala Nyako. Bindawa was quoted to have said that he rode on the back of the ousted former governor, Murtala Nyako to win the April 11 governorship election. Bindawa applauded Nyako for giving him a platform to contest on.

There are also insinuations that Nyako’s son, Senator-elect Abdulazeez, who was the de facto governor of his father’s regime is working aggressively to assemble the government for Bindawa. If this is true, then the Adamawa people should be ready for Nyako’s overriding influence in Bindawa’s government. 

In fairness to Bindawa, mere saying ‘I am an Nyako man’ does not entirely mean he will subject his government to Nyako’s control. However, when Bindawa begins to assemble his cabinet, we will know the true direction of his government. Bindawa might have been advised to make that statement to reiterate his loyalty as some Nyako men have started accusing him of betrayal.

Adamawa people must make sure Bindawa’s administration which is a product of ‘change’ is free from the shackles of some Nyako’s men who have been associated with Adamawa’s under-development. In fact, the stakeholders in the state must sit-up to prevent the state from derailing back to the unfortunate years of Nyako’s many blunders. Nyako’s 8 years in power were mostly characterized by wide disconnect between the government and the ordinary people; governance and policy making was centered around his family, friends and village members; third-rate politicians and gold diggers made up a greater percentage of his confidants and openly usurped political positions and government contracts for his friends and family. Cronyism was widespread in Nyako government and some Nyako’s men admitted to it publicly claiming it was only 0.273% not the 30 % as claimed by the Governor's adversaries.

The Adamawa state Governor-elect, Senator Mohammed Jibril Bindawa has assumed a post of prime political relevance in Adamawa state at a critical and difficult moment. His political future will be determined by the way he approaches the much needed development in the state and his ability to align his government to the reality on ground without letting any political jobbers and rent seekers hijack his government. 

Bindawa’s performance in the Senate was not a sterling one in the areas of quality of issues raised in the red chambers and project he influenced to his constituency, though we must give him credit for his stance on the emergency rule imposed on Adamawa state and his effort in promoting the use of vigilantes in the fight against Boko Haram.

Being very young, Bindawa’s political future is bright. He must work tirelessly along the lines of the ’change’ that brought him to power - a new thinking that will differentiate between politics and policy. Bindawa should build on the little gains made in the security situation in the state; close the obvious division in the state along ethnic and religious lines. Total loyalty to Nyako or any godfathers or their ‘men’ will be a mistake Bindawa should avoid. Bindawa should remember that, when Nyako was in trouble, some of Nyako’s men were the first to abandon him and said many bad things about him. Those people are now hanging around Bindawa claiming that they gave him the platform to run for governor. 

As a politician, we do not expect Bindawa for fight or abandon Nyako’s men, but he must be smart enough to avoid some of the wrong paths Nyako trekked through.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980. He blogs at www.zayyaddp.blogspot.com

Monday, April 13, 2015

Here's Why Nuhu Ribadu Lost The Adamawa Governorship Race

All the candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) that lost in the just concluded 2015 general elections, especially in the northern part of the country lost because of same factors regardless of their states. These factors include President Jonathan’s extreme unpopularity in the north, Buhari’s cult-like followers in the region, and most Nigerians being angry with the PDP because of certain reasons, especially its failure to combat the insurgency that has devastated the North-eastern part of the country with the attendant socio-economic effects being felt throughout the North. In fact, in some parts of Nigeria, including Adamawa State, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was overwhelmingly rejected that anybody the All Progressive Congress (APC) presented, was voted for. 

Apart from the above generic factors that affected Nuhu Ribadu’s fortunes in the Adamawa governorship race, there are other factors which were peculiar to Nuhu’s ambition. Mother-tongue; geography; faith and the usual Nigerian money-politics are deeply rooted in Adamawa polity and often shape the voting pattern in the state. The Adamawa 2015 governorship election was embroiled in deep religious sentiment. For instance, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate, Engineer Markus Gundiri ran his campaign on the sole platform of faith- banking on only Christian votes. Gundiri’s envisaged that since there were three Muslim-Hausa-Fulani running on the platforms of the APC, PDP and PDM, he will carry the day. Gundiri’s misadventure affected Nuhu’s chances; most of PDP strongholds gave their votes to Gundiri. In fact, Gundiri’s candidacy was a product of anger with the PDP for failing to allow the candidacy of a Christian. There were rumors that Governor Bala Ngilari supported the SDP instead of his party, the PDP. 

The second issue that effected Nuhu was the SDP campaign style which forced the Muslim Hausa-Fulani to follow the path and direction of their cousins in the northwest- the famous APC SAK. Thirdly, Buhari has a special relationship with Adamawa people- his wife is from Adamawa state. In fact, Buhari’s voice was aired on some radio stations in most states in the north asking people not to disgrace him and his party, the APC, that singular statement was very instrumental in denying Nuhu huge number of votes especially from the Hausa-Fulani dominated areas. 

The internal crisis within the PDP was also a disaster to Nuhu’s ambition. The crisis in the PDP was not settled up to the time of elections, the aggrieved were not fully integrated into the party. 

The Atiku factor was another of Nuhu’s albatross - at the tail-end of the governorship campaign period Atiku became very determined to deliver his state to the APC, this affected Nuhu in the southern part of Adamawa, especially in the Chamba chiefdom. 

The Adamawa governorship election results have some far reaching political implications on the state’s polity. There are losers and winners. Former governor Murtala Nyako is a winner- most of his political associates won elective posts; while all of his political foes suffered defeat. Atiku Abubakar is another winner- he has rekindled his hitherto strong political structure and kingmaker position in Adamawa. The Governor-elect, Senator Mohammed Jibril Bindawa is also a winner – he has assumed a post of prime political relevance, though his political future will be determined by the way he approaches the much needed development in the state and his ability to free himself from the shackles of Nyako’s men who were associated with Adamawa’s underdevelopment. The APC as a political party is a winner; it has completely displaced the PDP. There are also quite a number of losers- the PDP, Governor Bala Ngilari, Marcus Gundiri and Dr. Ahmed Modibbo are among the biggest losers. In fact, Mr. Gundiri will have a long and difficult political journey if he is to re-establish himself into all-inclusive and ‘secular’ politicking. 

Nuhu was the best governor Adamawa couldn't have, he fought a good battle, but PDP’s extreme unpopularity already made his platform very weak, President Jonathan extreme disapproval in the north makes it hard for people to approve anything associated with him, while the Buhari tsunami swept away anything and everything PDP, good, bad, or ugly. Nuhu was a good candidate but at the wrong time. 

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Nuhu Ribadu, Adamawa Governorship and 'Rice and Beans'

The results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections have brought surprises and further gingered-up the political atmosphere across the nation as we get ready to go to the polls for the governorship elections. The Adamawa governorship race is not left out. And Adamawa citizens and contestants are anxiously waiting to know if the ‘rice and beans’ mantra – cast your vote to candidates regardless of their political parties – that swelled the atmosphere prior to March 28 will work this time around.

I am one of the numerous Adamawa citizens that believed in and passionately sang the mantra for the 2015 elections.

‘Rice and beans’ advocates painstakingly sold the idea to many willing listeners, believing that a deal had been done. But, alas, after March 28, 2015, we got our results – a total rejection of the idea by many ordinary Adamawa people. In some parts of Nigeria, including Adamawa State, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was overwhelmingly rejected to the extent that anybody the All Progressive Congress (APC) presented was voted for. I know of a candidate who in an ideal situation cannot win a councillorship position in his ‘adopted’ ward, but was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria! Moreover, he defeated one of the finest candidates in the race in Adamawa state.

Many people are advocating for the ‘rice and beans’ pattern of voting, despite the fact that they fully understand that many people are angry with the PDP because of certain factors, including the failure of the party to combat the insurgency in the North-East which has devastated parts of Adamawa State. Will the governorship polls follow the same pattern? Or will ‘rice and beans’ be full of stones, thus unchewable?

The Adamawa governorship race is exceptional in relation to other states. This is because the state has been grossly mismanaged for many years. And out of the four main candidates contesting for the governorship position, Nuhu Ribadu stands out in terms of work experience, a rich curriculum vitae and the capacity to rescue the state. The public consensus in Adamawa is that the state needs a paradigm shift in terms of development because it is years behind other states in terms of socio-economic progress. It is time to salvage the state. Nuhu is well-cultured, well-read and has an integrity to protect, meaning that he is well resourced to leapfrog Adamawa’s development to where it is supposed to be.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980.