Intriguing battle over Adamawa APC structures

From David Molomo ,Yola

Although,various interests and tendencies in the All Progressives Congress,APC,in Adamawa State,were unanimous in ousting the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, they seem not cohesive in managing the victory. The leaders are now at daggers drawn over who controls the party’s structures in the state.

Most visible in the battle for the soul of the party are two power blocs- that of former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the one controlled by former governor of the state, Murtala Nyako. Both have their loyalists and godsons planted in key offices in the state and the centre.

Before the demise of Mallam Shaibu Yamusa, the Acting Chairman of the party in the state,recently, another group within the party had pledged their allegiance to Mr Dimas Gombi. Each of them held sway.And that resulted in having two chairmen belonging to two warring factions led by seasoned politicians in the state.

The late Yamusa’s faction was generally believed to be working with the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) Lawal Babachir and former Governor Murtala Nyako, Alhaji Haladu Mohammed, [Sardauna Jimeta] and three Senators representing the state at the Senate. Rightly or wrongly many see them as having the ear of President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, Mr Dimas Gombi,who is the chairman of the new faction is believed to be working with the former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar and the Governor of the state, Senator Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla.

The whole drama albeit suppressed by the gladiators is providing an interesting political theatrics. As would be expected varied reasons are being assigned to the fascinating development. Some anchor it on 2019 while others believe it is all about who calls the shot in the party and the state generally. Those who finger 2019 elections are of the opinion that the struggle over who controls the levers of the party is to prepare ground for the likely epic battle that may play out that year.

The then chairperson of the party in the state,Senator Binta Misi Graba, who eventually emerged victorious in her bid to represent Northern senatorial district had resigned from her position as Chairperson. On the surface the move is innocous as it is taking as a decision to concentrate on her legislative duties in the senate. but others see it as being more than that.

Sequel to Garba’s resignation from the position of Chairperson of the party, the late Alhaji Shuaibu Yamusa was made the acting Chairman since he was the Vice – Chairman of the party before Senator Garba’ s change of level. Many however see his elevation as satisfying the interest of some key players who are in the dugout for the soul of the party.

The 2015 APC governorship primary ,seemed to have set the stage for the political battle that is being waged. The emergence of the incumbent Governor, Senator Jibrilla , as the flag-bearer of party came out of interesting power play. It came some months after the constitution of the leadership of the party.Former Governor Murtala H Nyako had played prominent role in that regard. The former governor’s structure was used to support Major- General Muhammadu Buhari,(rtd) during the APC presidential primary .

Nyako did not only use his structure to ensure the success of the president at the primary , he also was sucessful in selecting members of the APC executive led by Senator Binta Masi Garba, as the state chairperson. Atiku candidates lost the battle for party offices.

The former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had thrown his political weight behind his political god son,Alhaji Yayaji Mijinyawa, against Governor Jibrilla at the APC’s primaries but Alhaji Haladu Mohammed who is one of the arrow heads of Buhari supporters mobilized the delegates in favour of Jibrilla . That was how Atiku’s candidate lost the aspiration to fly the flag of the party in the state.No sooner ,Senator Jibrilla was announced the winner of the governorship election by Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] than he declared to the world that he became the governor on the platform of Nyako’s APC structures. He assured the party executive that his loyalty and allegiance would be with the present leadership of the party which he said made it possible for him to scale through all the political hurdles.

But tht promise was not last too long . The Governor , recently made a U-turn and declared his total loyalty to the former vice president Atiku Abubakar’s camp which has been a political rival of the Nyako camp , .

The change of mind by the Governor has drawn huge reactions and interpretaion among the people of thev state. But some have explained it away on some rumours which claim that Nyako’s camp is mo longer solidly behind the President,

This is clearly in contrast with the submission of the Governor last December that he dumped Nyako because Atiku supported him financially during his campaign which enabled him to win the election.

Jibrilla’s declaration generated diverse reactions from his camp. While some of his close political associates were of the opinion that what Governor said was not exactly the main reason he the dumped Nyako’s camp, some other loyalists said the action of Jibrilla was not new in politics,and should not be used to crucify him .

The loyalists posit that the Nyako camp, which brought the incumbent Governor to power, was the same camp that has fought for Nyako’s political battles in the past. The camp ensured his return through the court to office to complete his tenure truncated by his impeachment by the Adamawa State House of Assembly under the leadership Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.

Nyako had prayed the court to give him justice because he was illegally impeached by the state Assembly. This action by Nyako and loyalists became a serious threat to the Jibrilla’s Administration due to the fact that if the court happen to rule in favour of Nyako that automatically means the incumbent Governor will be forced out of his seat for Nyako to complete his tenure truncated by his removal.But the recent Federal Appeal Court Yola ‘s judgment,though ruled in favour of Nyako,that he should be accorded all entitlements due to him,but not to come back to power to complete his tenure,which had elapsed.

Some of the loyalists of the governor ,said he shifted his loyalty to the former Vice-president as result of the great influence of the former number two man both at home and abroad . He is believed to likely deploy his influence to stop the plan to force him out of the office unjustly.

Another issue that has generated another controversy is the recent action by Governor Jibrilla to dismantle Babachir /Nyako ‘s APC leadership in the state as he singlehandedly appointed his APC state chairman without the conduct of any election.

The move was expected to generate ripples and it did. When the late APC state acting chairman, Alhaji Shaibu Yamusa’s office ,before his demise was broken into and taken over by one Mr. Dimas Gombi, the APC vice chairman Adamawa central, while the late chairman was attending a meeting in Numan, his home local government it clearly showed that the ring has been set for a boxing contest.. Dimas’ emergence as a chairman is regarded in some quarters as a creation of the governor in his bid to take over the party leadership and structure in earnest in the state.

He may have succeeded but there is a price to play. and that price is that the party is wobbling .The centre can no longer hold.

A number of APC loyalists that spoke with Daily Sun, are not happy with the state of affairs in the party but thry are helpless. They are quick to recall the drama had started to play out even when the late Acting Chairman,Yamusa, was still holding sway. He was denied official car,rather . He used commercial tricycle ( Keke Napep) for his operations .But in December,2015,Haladu bought a brand new Prado jeep for the late APC chairman and also gave out over 18 cars and cash to other party officials to boost their operations.

Similarly,Haladu and the three senators who belong to the Buhari’s camp with the strong backing of the SGF,Mr. David Babachir, Nyako loyalists, the national secretarial of APC, with sympathy from the Adamawa elites ,whom the governor is accusing of working against his administration ensured that they called the shot..

As the political hemisphere seems to be cloudy,the Atiku group ,which is headed by the Governor, with his cabinet, the speaker of Adamawa state House of Assembly Alhaji Mijinywa Kabiru,more APC members are taking over the structure and ,machinery of the party.

Significant number of APC members are of the view that the prevailing scenario must not be allowed to continue. But they do not want to offend offend the Governor . To do that is to only to only whisper their views.

“Adamawa APC is intact as far as we at the national secretariat are concern, the acting state chairman of the party died last week and a new acting chairman is not appointed, so I don’t know the person you say that he is calling himself chairman of APC in Adamawa, may be is another party but certainly not my party APC which am the deputy national vice chairman and am from Adamawa state so anything concern my state I must know and there is nothing like faction in Adamawa APC”, he stated.

According to him,he had attended his burial ceremony with other APC chieftains in Numan ,but nobody came out to introduce himself or herself as the acting chairman of the APC in the state, this ,he said suggesting the fact that there is no other acting chairman of the party apart from the late Yamusa.

In his recent interaction with newsmen,Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, representing Adamawa central who was at the APC secretariat on the governor’s bid to take over the party for Atiku, urged the governor to to rather focus on issues that can improve the lives of the people instead of political issues.

“There is the need for one to make out time once in a while to visit his or her party headquarters, you cannot have party headquarters and leave it until after about four years or two years then you visit it.” Left to me, every quarter or half yearly, one should pay visit to his party headquarters.

“In our own case, just after our election as senators, the three of us visited the party headquarters after that, we never had the opportunity to visit the party. So we felt that after almost seven months we have not been there, it was necessary for us to go and see members of our party and to also give them what we consider to be party dues. “

The three of us have decided that every month, we will give the party N100,000 each from our allowances. So we visited the party headquarters firstly to thank them for the unflinching support they accorded us.

During the visit, we told them to count on our support and cooperation on issues relating to the party and lastly to also give them what we consider as their party dues over a period of seven months. We gave them the sum of N2.1million for the seven months and we intend to maintain this until the end of our tenure Insha Allah”, he maitained.

On the controversy,of what the visit of the three senators to the APC secretariat is generating in the Atiku’s camp, Senator Nyako described such actions as mere insinuations , but that those that are reading different meaning from the visit should come out and announce to the world the assistance they give the party since after elections.

“It is quite unfortunate because for me anybody who is a Muslim has a right to visit a Mosque of his choice and anybody who is a Christian has a right to visit a Church of his choice. In the same vein, I believe that if you belong to a party, you have a right to visit your party at any time of your choice.”

So for me, any card carrying member or even any member of the public has a right to visit our party headquarters. So our visit should not have any controversy. Just after our visit, perhaps one would say, the issue of party chairmanship came up just the week after we visit the party.”

I believe that is a wrong way to react. What we have expected is a situation where by if we as senators, we have set a due of N100,000 each month and the three of us are giving the party N300,000 and members of the House of Representatives have also agreed to give the party N50,000 each that is N300,000 for the six of them from the party and the 20 members of the House of assembly also agreed to pay N20,000 each on monthly basis at the end of every month, we would realize about N1 million for the party. “

Ordinarily, the governor could have make up his mind and say let me give N500,000 from my allowance and even if it is N200,000 that gives the party some form of running cost. If you don’t do it now, eventually, the party will ask you but it is the right of the party to receive this amount of money and that is what we did and I don’t see any reason why that should raise any form of controversy whatsoever, but unfortunately, it has”.

While Senator Nyako,attributed the crisis in the state APC to the 2019 agitators in the state,however enjoined them to give democracy a chance to grow and asked those that are fanning the embers of discord by introducing issues of 2019 elections when the present government is less than one year in office to stop campaigns that are capable to derail the operations of government.

“I am very much aware of this issue of 2019 being circulated but like I kept saying, for me, 2019 is something that is too far away for one to even comment on because we could just end up going into controversy over an issue that we have no control over. “

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