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Published On: Tue, Aug 26th, 2014

2014: APC and battle for the soul of Adamawa

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Atiku and JonathanThe political atmosphere of Adamawa State is very tensed up with less than two months to the governorship re-run election in the state. The two major political parties in the state; especially the All Progressives Congress (APC) have started to deploy every political arsenal at its disposal to ensure that they regain the Government House that slipped off their hands following the controversial impeachment of Murtala Nyako, this makes the contest a very intriguing one. Ochiaka Ugwu and Umar Dankan, write.

In Adamawa State, only the PDP and the APC are said to be fully on ground, while the Labour Party is just coming up but not yet a party to be reckoned with. In fact, in the last few weeks, the political activities in the state have been very hot following the controversial impeachment of Former governor Murtala Nyako and the purported resignation of his erstwhile Deputy, Mr. Bala Ngilari. The political space became intense as the two leading political parties have been engaging themselves in both subtle and physical confrontations. They have also been involved in war of words and their actions have been creating fears in the minds of the ordinary citizens of the state, who are now apprehensive of what could happen before and during the election. According to some of the members of both parties, the contest would be a tough one. What that is making the run up to the election to be tensed up is that both parties are very strong on ground and are not willing to give lose ground to the other.

However, stakeholders believe that the two political parties would be facing the election with all it takes to win, but warn against violence. Feelers from the state indicate that the APC is determined to take the state back if not anything to staple their foot in the North East region. They also want to pay the rival PDP back for controversially impeaching Nyako who was one of their own until his controversial ouster. PDP on their own never believed they lost the state as they argued that the former governor came to power on PDP shoulders and decamped to APC just to humiliate the party and they are now more than determined to take what belong to them. This was what made the acting Governor, Hon. Ahmadu Fintiri to say on assumption of office that he has regained PDP stolen mandate. The ruling party believed that it had a clear victory, arguing that the party has been vindicated with all the court judgements on the last election which were in its favour and restored Nyako given the fierce opposition placed by Markus Gudiri former gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria who was Nyako’s main rival in the last governorship contest.

In fact, the 2014 governorship re-run is now being debated all over the state and that was why the atmosphere appears charged before the impeachment of Nyako. Prior to the impeachment which eventually consumed Baba Mai-Mangoro, the PDP had confidence that the 2015 election would go in its favour, and this made members of PDP to boast that the former governor and his adopted party (APC) would be thrown out, if not by impeachment then through election.

What the Peoples Daily investigation revealed that could be the cause of the tension and apprehension in the state, on the coming governorship election was the fact that the APC and the PDP have considerable followership and sympathisers from within their respective parties and the general public that could make either of the two win the election. Also, the personalities involved are another major factor. While the PDP seems to have arrays of big wigs as candidates and members, the APC too is parading sizeable numbers of heavy weights who are very strong in their respective areas and all these people are determined to deliver their constituencies for their political parties. Apart from this, the gladiators in the PDP are adding weight to the battle and making it look like war. The party as at today has no less than 15 aspirants to slug it out at the primary of the party, which could come any time from now.

The APC on its part is for now still parading only five candidates. They include, the son of the former governor Nyako, Mr. Abdulaziz Nyako who was very prominent during his father’s administration, Senate Committee Chairman on Culture and Tourism, Senator Hassan Ahmed Barata, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Mr. Emmanuel Bello. Peoples Daily gathered that there are others in the party who are interested in which prominent politicians are among them, they have not openly declared their intentions but are making underground moves that would eventually lead to their open declaration before the primary of the party. Again, the rumoured endorsement of Boss Mustapha by the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and some powerful people within the APC family in the state, is said to be causing crisis within the party and in the entire state as some of the gladiators believe such endorsement should not have come at this time that all of them are jostling for the same position.

This development did not go down well with some members of the APC who saw it as a diversionary tactics and a ploy to confuse the people of the state. It has led to most of the aspirants pulling forces together to give Mustapha and his godfathers a good fight. These aspirants are said to be the only force to stop the machination of this yet to be proven allegation and they have kicked against it in strong terms.

Mustapha was said to be a long time political associate of Atiku and the old political horse now want him to take turn in the political recompose of the state.

The move has split the party into two camps. Our correspondent learnt that currently, there is a camp comprising supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar while another comprises the followers of the former governor, Murtala Nyako.

Nyako had set up the leadership structure of the party and was set to determine who picks the party’s ticket in 2015 before he was impeached. The removal of Nyako is said to have created a vacuum threatening to change the power equation within the party.

In order to pay Atiku in his own coin, the Nyako camp who is still grappling with the reality of his impeachment is said to have been trying to nurture the scion of the family Abdulaziz.”

However, the Director General of Atiku Support Group, Abdurrazaq Namdas denied that Atiku is working to field his long time ally, Barrister Mustafa who aspired for governorship in the past under the banner of the defunct Social Democratic Party (PDP) and was defeated by Alhaji Saleh Michika who then was the flag bearer of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1991.

Namdas maintained that Atiku has no plans to support any aspirant before the conduct of primary election saying any candidate who emerges as flag bearer will enjoy the support of the former Vice President.

APC chairperson in the state, Binta Garba Masi also denied the existence of camps in the party saying all members are working closely to unite the party against internal divisions.

Lending its weight to the contest, the North East caucus of the (APC) has said it would participate in the governorship re-run election.

Vice Chairman, Mr. Babachir Lawal, who briefed journalists in Abuja, said while the party was to challenge Nyako’s impeachment in court, it would also prepare for an early election, which he noted, the constitution stipulated must be held within 90 days.

Lawal, however, added that in the event that Nyako won at the court, the supposed winner in the forthcoming election would honourably vacate the Adamawa Government House for him.

Lawal said the APC would be participating in the election in order not to play into the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He also noted with dismay how 19 members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly, supported by federal might, removed the constitutionally elected Nyako, thereby plunging Adamawa state into a state of utter despair.

He maintained that the brazen illegality and blatant disregard of the basic rules of democracy and human decency had left the people of the state feeling abused and totally disoriented.

Lawal berated the presidency, saying the party was at a loss as to how the President could condone and even assist such brazen disregard of due process, rule of law and blatant violation of the nation’s constitution which they sworn to uphold.

However, all those who spoke with our reporter on the political situation in the state, expressed worry that the situation if not properly controlled could lead to violence. But they could not speak categorically the political party that would carry the day at the end. Although with what Peoples Daily gathered, PDP may have the problem of selecting a candidate given the army of candidates the party is parading right now. On the other hand, APC may have the problem with the people whose shops and stalls were demolished for both the beautification of the state and construction of roads. Despite this, Peoples Daily’s findings through random sampling on the political situation in the state, from the market women, Okada, riders and those at various joints, the game is to them, a 50- 50 affair.

Politician in the state see the situation differently as they were optimistic that their party would win the election. Sympathizers of APC has expressed concern on the attitude of the PDP and warned that the party should not use Adamawa State to do what its leaders claimed they know how to do best.

According to them, what the PDP knows how to do best is rigging and the party should not use the state as a testing ground, because Adamawa is strategic in the region. They seriously warned that there would not be any room for any kind of rigging in the state.

As the state is getting ready for the election which would be the first, since the declaration of state of emergency, there is no doubt that the PDP would make it a do-or-die affair. While the APC would want to see if it could start to reclaim what the ruling party tacitly snatched from them. It would as well be the first election that would test the strength of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as a political party in the region after the merger. As political observers put it that “it is going to be the battle of the giants”.

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