Signals are beginning to emerge that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will have more influence than former Governor Murtala Nyako, in the government of Governor Muhammad Bindow Jibrilla of Adamawa state. Though, it is early to pin point who already holds the ace between Atiku and Nyako in the Jibrilla government, Atiku’s associates have so far cornered more positions in the recent appointments made by Gov Bindow- Dr Umar Bindiri, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Yohanan Mathias, Chief Press Secretary and Barrister Bala Silas, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General. Moreover, Bindow is now a son in-law to Atiku. Nyako’s associates have so far dismissed this impression, saying it is purely speculative, claiming that for example the newly appointed SSG, Dr. Bindir is no political associate of anyone. Atiku or anyone else cannot claim him. He is a technocrat who is determined to remain so.
The worries of the Adamawa people however remain whether the state is on the verge of returning to the era of a government remote-controlled by few power-hungry politicians and the self-appointed godfathers and kingmakers. The pertinent question on the minds of most people in Adamawa is whether Atiku’s influence will be reminiscent of the 8-years of Boni Haruna, which brought regrets. Equally, whether Nyako’s influence in Bindow’s government will be the return of Nyako style of governance- wide disconnect between the government and the ordinary people; governance and policy making centered around ruling family and associates; third-rate politicians and gold diggers making up a greater percentage of Nyako confidants.
There are feelings of uncertainty in the minds of many people in the state. Adamawa people are confused about whether the ‘change’ mantra that brought Bindow to power is mere mouth talk? However, quite a number of people believe that Atiku has learnt a lot of lessons from his 8 years as Vice President, the underdeveloped status of the state and the resultant bashings he received afterwards. The general belief is that Atiku will now use his influence in the Bindow government to give fatherly advice on people oriented programmes and projects. Some pundits are also of the view that Bindow needs Atiku for political protection because of Atiku’s influence in the APC, the good rapport he has with the Buhari government and his political strength in Adamawa- quite a number of Atiku’s associates won elective positions in 2015 elections.
Notwithstanding, most Adamawa people expect Governor Bindow to run a government that is free of over-bearing influence from anybody. For Bindow to balance such complex political settings, he needs to run a representative government and appoint a cabinet that is ‘bi-diverse’ i.e. policy designers/implementers and political strategists to handle the political front.
With the current political, social and economic conditions in the country, especially the dire situation in Adamawa brought about by abject poverty and Boko Haram senseless war, neither Atiku nor Nyako can survive people’s anger if it appears that either has an over-bearing influence on a government that is performing below people expectations. This writer shares the opinion that Atiku is all out to influence the scheme of things in Adamawa in order to rewrite his name in the history of the state’s development.
The only reason many people are giving Atiku this benefit of doubt is because of the unprecedented development he brought to the state after leaving power. Many Adamawa people were critical of Atiku’s 8-years as vice president because of underdevelopment the state witnessed.
On the other hand, Nyako must have learnt his lessons through a bitter way– during his impeachment crisis, the Adamawa masses could have been his saviour, because he had once enjoyed an unprecedented support from them. But he lost their sympathy because of his failure to correct his political blunders- open cronyism, non-representative government and poor resource distribution.
From the way political events are unfolding, one can deduce that the affinity between Nyako and Bindow is not as strong as people thought- for example, after Bindow’s victory at the polls; one expected Nyako to withdraw the two courts cases instituted- one challenging his impeachment and the other his tenure, because both were aimed to return Nyako to power. Secondly, when Nyako returned to Adamawa, neither Gov Bindow nor any top government official nor APC stalwarts were present to receive him. On the other hand, Bindow is showing whoever wants to know that his loyalty to Atiku is unquestionable- whenever Atiku is in the state, Bindow comes to receive him, in fact, at a function to open Madugu Hotels in Jimeta, as a sign of honour, the governor arrived the venue before Atiku. Nevertheless, Gov Bindow is a politician, so, the Adamawa people do not expect him to fight or abandon the fingers that fed him, but he must be smart enough to avoid some of the wrong paths Adamawa had been shepherd through.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08036070980.