Daji Sani writes that the governorship contest in Adamawa State features 29 gladiators including four women
A novelty in the 2019 governorship election in Adamawa State is the agreement reached by the majority of the parties in the competition to keep the peace. In a bid to avoid post-election violence, clashes during the campaign and any election-related violence all the contestants have entered into a peace accord.
The symbolic peace accord signing ceremony was conducted under the Interagency Consultative Committee on Electoral Security (ICCES) and coordinated jointly by the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Kassim Gaidam and Police Commissioner, Abdullahi Yerima. However, Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow was absent.
The governor who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for 2019 general elections sent the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Umaru Bindir to sign on his behalf.
But the terms of the accord disqualifies a representative from signing for his principal but provides room for the principal to sign on a later date
Rt. Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Emmanuel Bello of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were among 13 governorship candidates who personally signed the accord.
Adamawa has 29 governorship candidates, four of them are women, 13 candidates signed the accord, 10 candidates excused themselves, but promised to sign the accord on a later date, while six candidates were yet to explain their absence from the peace accord signing ceremony.
However, some stakeholders who witnessed the signing ceremony at the Green Park Hotel in Yola reasoned that the signing of the accord was very important and candidates of various political parties should take the accord seriously in order to prevent post-election violence.
This development has touched the conscience of political warriors and party stalwarts across the 21 councils of the state, who has been deploying all their political arsenal in readiness to wrestle power from the ruling APC led by Governor Bindow in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Barrister Kassim Gaidam has said only 29 political parties will participate in the 2019 general elections in the state.
The political arena was tense during the last party primaries, particularly in the APC, where internal wrangling resulted in a faction led by the former SGF David Lawan Babachair supported by the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari was bent on imposing her younger brother, Dr. Haliru Modibbo against the wish of the incumbent governor of the state who was also seeking for his second term on the platform of the APC .
The APC primaries became more interesting because despite the fierce opposition to unseat the incumbent governor, the governor defeated all the APC aspirants including Modibbo and the ex-EFCC boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu at the party primaries and he was declared flag bearer of the APC in the state.
The former SGF faction had alleged that the incumbent governor may not work for President Buhari’s victory in the state following his romance with the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar who is the presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP).
The involvement of the wife of the president and the former SGF was said to have attracted sympathy votes for Bindow during the primaries because the APC stakeholders in the state feared that if the future of the state was allowed to be determined from Abuja, it will not augur well for the coming generation. However, political pundits are of the notion that the Adamawa governorship election will be the hottest fight of the Titans, especially with the emergence of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, (Waziri Adamawa) as the presidential flag bearer of the PDP.
They further explained that Abubakar in PDP is going to meet stiff oppositions from the wife of the President, who hails from Adamawa, both the current and former SGF Mr. Boss Mustapha and Chief David Lawan Babachair respectively and the power of the incumbent governor, Senator Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow all from the APC who have all agreed to work for President Mohammed Buhari.
According to them, these forces in APC can only defeat the PDP in the state if they put an end to the internal crisis ravaging the APC which has polarized the party into three factions, the former governor Murtala Nyako led factions also known as the ‘Black Cap’ which produced Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as its governorship aspirant during the just concluded APC primary.
There is the former SGF, David Lawan Babachair-led faction supported by the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari which preferred Dr. Halilu Modibbo, her younger brother who has gone to court to demand cancellation of the APC primary, alleging that there were glaring irregularities.
The third faction is the faction of Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow that defeated all other aspirants. He is the flagbearer of the APC in the state.
Because of the unresolved crises, Bindow is cannot sleep with his two eyes closed. His steps are dogged with many challenges; including certificate forgery- which is still in court. An increasing number of people are saying they will not vote Bindow due to failed promises. About 115 of his loyalists who bought forms to contest the primaries for the state house of assembly were not allowed and their monies were not refunded, leaving them with no other option than to dump the APC and Bindow.
“These crises may work against the APC if it is not resolved. It will put the PDP at a vantage position to win all the political positions in the state,” one of them said.
According to them, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar who hails from the state will want to prove his political weight by making sure he delivers his state even though the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, Umaru Finitiri is equally a good material and could win the governorship of the state without help from Atiku based on his track record when held served as the Acting Governor.
According to the INEC ‘s REC in-charge of Adamawa, 425,252 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) are ready, but a total of 288043 PVCs are yet to be collected and out of this total, 164408 cards are for 2017 and 2018 registrations which he had pleaded with the owners to go to all INEC Registration Centres across the 226 wards of the state to collect their PVCs.
It is of utmost importance to analyze the political strength and weakness of some governorship candidates.
PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP): Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Urmaru Fintiri.
He is a front line politician in Adamawa, who has made a name for himself when he was the Acting Governor of the State, especially in the civil service by paying a backlog of salary and leave grant including pension and gratuity of retired civil servants in just two and half months of his reign.
That action earned him the nickname “ATM Alert”, with his popular slogan “The Happy days are here again.”
He is a successful business man who was elected to represent Madagali Constituency in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. He rose to the rank of the Speaker Adamawa State House of Assembly, a position he held up to 2015 when he became twice the Acting Governor of the state after he spearheaded the impeachment of ex-governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy Bala James Ngillari as the then speaker of the 7th State House of Assembly
A historian who bagged his first degree from the University of Maiduguri, he is believed to have researched into why the state is underdeveloped. This singular reason propelled his motives to enter the governorship battle.
Fintiri who said he has been used to defeating the incumbent will never settle for second best. He is a man whose life is full of unprecedented, pleasant and unusual events
His presence in the governorship race will split votes from the northern part of the state because he and the incumbent governor come from the same northern Senatorial Zone. He stands a chance of defeating the incumbent if the APC internal crisis continues.
Because he spearheaded the impeachment of former governor Murtala Nyako from office, the majority of Nyako’s loyalists from the Falani dynasty in the state might not vote for him. They will rather vote for Nyako’s first son, Senator Abdulazeez Nyako who is also in the governorship contest on the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC).
ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS PARTY (APC): Senator Mohammed Jibrila Bindow (Sardauna Mubi)
Bindow is the incumbent governor of the state and the flag bearer of the APC.
He once served his people as a Senator. He is a successful businessman who has constructed quite a number of roads, particularly in the state capital. He has received a lot of awards and commendations from within and outside the state as one of the Best Performing Governor in the North East ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
As the Governor and chief security officer of the state, Bindow has all the powers it takes to win the 2019 general elections. With the leadership position, he is ready to use the available resources at his disposal to fight especially PDP, and also to prove to other political parties that there is no vacancy in Dugarri, Adamawa State Government House Yola.
However, despite all the good works and the powers of the incumbent, Bindow may find it very tough to win the governorship election due to the internal crisis of the APC which has polarized the party into three different factions, with those against him resolved to work against his return as governor for a second term.
Critics down play his achievement in road construction, saying that the roads were sub-standard and cannot stand the test of time
He is also going through a scandal on certificate forgery which the matter is in court and only the verdict of the court can determine his fate whether he will still continue as the flagbearer of the APC or he will be replaced by another.
On the 2nd November 2018, Adamawa Youths staged a protest to the State House of Assembly demanding INEC to authenticate the genuineness of his credentials. While the governor is fighting to defend allegations on his secondary school certificate forgery in the court, Unconfirmed sources have it that the place where Bindow claimed to have attended his higher institution and obtained his Diploma certificate in the United Kingdom UK was recently allegedly discovered to be a shopping plaza.
With the recent appointment of Chief Felix Tangumi as the new Director General (DG), Bindow Campaign Organisation to replace the late DG and former government house Chief of Staff Alhaji Abdurahman Abba Jimeta who died in Suadi Arabia while performing the pilgrimage, there are renewed hopes for Bindow.
Tangumi known to be a grassroots mobilizer and his credentials and capacity can help resolve the APC crises. The new DG commands a lot of respect among Adamawa stakeholders. Only time will tell if he can do it again as he did for ex-governor Murtala Nyako
SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (SDP): Mr. Emmanuel Bello
A business Tycoon who is going into politics to test worth. He is a political big wing from Gombi axis and has single-handedly sponsored the (SDP) while he raises additional funds through the sale of forms and voluntary contributions from members of the public.
Bello contested elections twice and failed on the platform of APC, as a member of the House of Representatives. With the crises in APC, his party may be the only party to challenge the PDP. In politics, anything can happen. He stands a chance of winning the governorship election if all that mattered was academic qualifications and business sense. He has the capacity to transform the state into an industrial and technology-driven state that can generate more job opportunities for the youths.
AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (ADC): Sen. Abdulazeez Nyako
A serving Senator, Abdulazeez Nyako comes from a military background but has since settled in well and appears to be staying afloat in the murky waters of politics. He is the first son of former Governor Murtala Nyako, who ruled the state for seven years before he was impeached. In his time, the elder Nyako did a couple of good things which may count in his son’s favor as he makes a bid to rule the state. He increased his political capital by bringing into government Special Assistants. This earned him a lot of loyalists in the state.
Despite the fact that he left office under the controversial circumstance, the former governor is still a political force to reckon with. His army of former SAs, people living with disabilities, women and a teeming number of quite who were trained in various kinds of skills owe a world of gratitude to Nyako.
Abdulazeez believes he can ride on the political goodwill of his father to clinch the office of the governor of Adamawa state. However, his major challenge is in the way he relates to people. The Senator does not have the charm with which his father captured the hearts of the people. The gate to his house is only open to a few. He also has an on-going case of corruption and other charges that opponents may capitalize on.
Nyako defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to actualize his governorship ambition in the ADC sequel to what he described as impunity, high-handedness and lack of internal democracy in the APC. Along with others, they exited the party. Had he remained in the APC, there was a good chance of getting an automatic ticket to contest for Adamawa Central Senatorial district, the zone he presently represents in the Senate.
Interestingly, Nyako’s loyalists have resolved to vote Buhari of APC at the forthcoming presidential election, but will vote Abdulazeez Nyako of the ADC in the governorship elections due to the internal crisis in the APC, in addition to the fact that many of them are still embittered about the way they left the party. They have since resolved not to support the incumbent governor who is the candidate of the APC.