The Adamawa state governor, Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow is facing a formidable opposition, or better said, a ‘threat’ within his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Bindow’s two adversaries within the APC are the former governor Murtala Nyako and son-led group and the ‘Abuja Group’- aggrieved members of the legacy parties, led by Secretary to the Federal government (SGF) Babachir David Lawal. The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) still remains an outside threat which cannot be written-off, though it seems to have no clear leader and is a ‘sleeping giant’.
Each of the groups is mainly composed of elites. Political fight among Adamawa elites is not new; but it takes different dimensions depending on the political leanings of the sitting governor. Elitism is so much rooted in the politics of Adamawa to the extent that most political fights are centered on ‘government patronage.’
The Nyako and the Babachir groups share almost same interests apart from belonging to the APC. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s alleged over-bearing influence on Bindow’s government and the obvious sidelining of Nyako and Babachir political associates is one of the main reasons for the current political hostility between them and Bindow. The Nyako and Babachir groups will definitely work together to accomplish their common goals.
Before becoming the SGF, Babachir was said to have called Bindow on phone many times, but the governor ignored the phone calls. Thanks to providence- few days after the incident, Babachir was appointed SGF-. The political hostility between Babachir and Bindow became very obvious during Babachir’s daughter wedding. There was a visible absence of Bindow and his entire government- some political observers said that it was even a command from the Governor that no government appointee should attend the wedding. It was so bad that Bola Tinubu, APC national leader had to use the vehicle of one of his friends when he came to Yola to attend the wedding.
For the Nyako group, they definitely have to be aggrieved. In the build-up to the 2015 elections; a very small committee was setup to shop for a saleable governorship candidate- three names emerged- Dahiru Bobbo former Director General of National Boundary Commission, Boss Mustapha, APC chieftain and Tahir Mamman former DG, Law School, Yola campus. Bindow’s name was not even in the list. The Nyako group had to field Bindow during the primaries because they did not have an option, because among all the contenders, it was only Bindow who openly opposed Nyako’s impeachment and the group felt they could be at home with him. Atiku in his political reasoning opted for Ibrahim Yayaji Mijinyawa, probably because of loyalty. In fact, the APC governorship primary election was a contest between Atiku and Nyako. Governor Bindow won APC governorship primaries solely by relying on former governor Nyako’s political structures. And twice, Bindow beat Atiku Abubakar’s preferred candidate Yayaji Ibrahim Mijinyawa in the primaries.
Though, the Nyako/Atiku rivalry dates back to 2003, Governor Bindow could have taken ‘advantage’ of both sides and simply used the presidency’s influence to reconcile Atiku and Nyako and remain the ‘son’ of both camps. After all, when the chips are down; everyone answers his father’s name. Well, Bindow is not to be blamed entirely, because no right-thinking politician can ignore Atiku’s well-established vast political structure, immense war chest and history of successes in political legal battles that easily scares off his opponents. Some political observers are of the view that Governor Bindow appears ‘self-assured’ in the murky waters of Adamawa politics, because he thinks, once one has Atiku’s group by his side- most political opponents can easily be dealt with. There is even insinuation that Bindow has started reaching some of his governor-colleagues to support Atiku’s quest for presidency come 2019. Well, it is politics.
There is need for Bindow to look inwards and start re-engaging all APC stakeholders, instead of just local government party chairmen once in a while. Looking at the current atmosphere of Adamawa political settings, the Babachir and Nyako group may have an edge over Bindow if they play their cards together and smartly, they will sway aggrieved members of the APC; they may also have ‘Abuja’ as all three senators from Adamawa are not Bindow’s men- Abdul-Aziz Nyako is Nyako’s blood son, Ahmed Abubakar Mu Allahyidi is Nyako’s relative, while Binta Massi Garba was very close to Nyako.
Both supporters and antagonists of Governor Bindow share a common view- they agree that Governor Bindow has performed and is doing excellently well in terms of critical infrastructure development, but he has a shortcoming in payment of salaries for primary school teachers, health & LGA workers and the failure to manage the widening division within his own party. There is ample time for all the groups to consider reconciliation, realignment and the spirit of give and take, most especially with the forthcoming June 2016 local government elections.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08036070980.