Will the recent Appeal Court ruling which squashed Murtala Nyako’s impeachment as governor of Adamawa State, relaunch him in the politics of his state? MOHAMMED ISMA’IL writes.
Many thought that with his impeachment on July 16, 2014 the political future of former governor Murtala Nyako would completely be eclipsed. Many political analyst referred to his unceremonious exit back then as triumph of his political adversaries with whom he has waged an audacious and prolonged political battle since he emerged governor of Adamawa state in 2007.
But this postulation may well be rewritten as the former governor seems to be staging a come back to the realm of political reckoning with a bang. He seems set to tackle all the political obstacles placed on his path by his political adversaries.
The Appeal Court ruling which quashed Nyako’s impeachment by the state house of assembly was the major political lifeline that the former governor needed to ensure his resuscitation from the political coma caused by his impeachment.
There forces against Nyako had in their relentless bid to render him a political eunuch, and further seal his political destiny, coalesced without recourse to political persuasions.
The political rivalry between Nyako and his foremost contender, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has lingered. This was reflected in tussles involving their loyalists which transcended the days of All Progressives Party (APC) as an opposition to its emergence as the ruling party in Adamawa state and at the federal level.
Following Nyako’s impeachment, the former Vice President by virtue of his position as the former second citizen of Nigeria became the natural heir apparent to the leadership of the party in the state. It offered an opportunity for the former Vice President to consolidate his grip on the system by making a move to neutralize the state party executive that is predominantly a pro Nyako’s establishment through his support to the candidature of Yayaji Mijinyawa who is a seen as a green horn in the state’s political equation.
But loyalists of Nyako in the party’s executive at the state, local government and ward levels ensured that the gimmick did not sail through as they frustrated Atiku’s move to foist the candidature of Yayaji on the two occasions the governorship primaries of the party held, settling instead for the candidature of Umar Jubrilla, who eventually became governor.
In the build up to the impeachment Nyako, his antagonists and opponents from APC and PDP aligned forces to fight what they termed “a common enemy”. Some of his political associates also tacitly assisted his antagonists as they refused to take any proactive measure to avert his humiliation when the former President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly instigated the state assembly against Nyako.
Although, the State Assembly led by its speaker, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, cited 16 allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him by the House as reason for his impeachment, many believed that Nyako’s travails metamorphosed from his political difference with his former party PDP to his attack of Jonathan over the intensity of Boko Haram insurgency at the time.
However, the lethargy of Nyako’s associates especially in APC, could not save him from impeachment then.
Loyalists of Nyako blamed Atiku’s seeming lethargy to stem the tide of the impeachment dagger against Nyako despite being in the same political platform with him. They believe he didn’t not bring much of his influence to bear while the then house of assembly members commenced the impeachment process.
According to political analysts in the state, the rift between the two gladiators may not be unconnected with the selection of Nyako to rule the state in 2007 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a move to neutralize the influence of Atiku. This was at the heat of the fierce battle between Obasanjo and Atiku were they presided over the country.
It was postulated that in his bid to deal with his estranged vice president, the former president conscripted Nyako, whom he considered the only potent force that could checkmate and neutralize Atiku’s rising influence in his state.
To ensure that the project recorded huge success, the former president deployed the services of Professor Jibril Aminu who served as the PDP link man.
Surprisingly however, signs of crack begun to manifest between Nyako and Professor Jibril Amin and many others that lent support to his gubernatorial ambition shortly after he emerged the governor of the state. The likes of Alhaji Sallau Gidado, Awwal D Tukur, Alhaji Saidu Ahmed, Alhaji Aliyu Walga, had keyed into the Nyako project.
Many people in the state were surprised at the quick succession with which these stakeholders fell out of Nyako’s favor despite their contributions to his gubernatorial ambition. Sooner than later, Nyako consolidated power and entrenched himself in the political fabric of the state.
However during the 2011 presidential primaries of the PDP, which was fiercely contested between President Goodluck Jonathan and Atiku, governor Nyako who was not disposed of Atiku’s candidature, mobilized the states delegates to trounced Atiku, leading to the woeful outing of Atiku in the state.
He had also blocked Atiku from trying to rejoin PDP after his sojourn in the defunct ACN on whose platform Atiku took a shot at the plum position of the presidency sensing that the return of Atiku will endanger his grip in the polity. But Atiku, won the battle after he was accorded a waiver that allowed him stage a comeback into the PDP fold.
Nyako also had other battles. He fought an strenuous political war against the former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bamanga Tukur, which many analysts ascribed to caused both of them political injuries and led to the eventual defeat of PDP.
Nyako’s tussle with Tukur started when former president Jonathan, tipped him as national chairman of PDP. Nyako working against it which culminated in the rejection of Tukur by the North-east of the party at the zonal convention held in Bauchi State.
But insistent on Tukur, Jonathan overruled the decision of the zone and specifically Nyako to ensure the emergence of Tukur at the National Convention of the
party in Abuja.
From thereon, the battle festered between Nyako and Tukur, which eventually snowballed into the the formation of G7 governors who divided PDP into two factions.
But the recent Appeal Court verdict which quashed the Nyako’s impeachment seems to have for the umpteenth time, returned Nyako to the trajectory of his political triumph against sturdy political opponents.
Before the court ruling, Nyako seemed to have gone into political slumber as the weight of the impeachment, rendered him incapacitated. While it lasted former Vice President loomed large in the politics of the state, basking in the support he enjoys from the governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla.
The position made it possible for Atiku to enjoy a lot of government patronage in the state including influencing the appointment of a substantial number of commissioners in the state of which his daughter was a part of.
But with the impeachment dent erased from his political record, Nyako’s alleged ambition to chair the APC Board of Trustees is mounting. The alleged ambition is receiving the endorsement and imprimatur of powerful stakeholders of the party it is gathered. It is also alleged that Atiku, his arch political rival is also eyeing the same position.
But the battle for now remains within of APC in Adamawa state.
In the wake of the victory of the party at the General elections, the intractable struggle for the control of the party between groups loyal to Nyako and Atiku never ceased, even though the governor appears to be on the side of the former Vice President.
The uneasy calm led to the suppression of the chairman of the state chapter of the party loyal to Nyako late Shuaibu Yamusa who was completely schemed out of the governor’s favor. The action of the governor led to heightened tension in the party which climaxed with three senators from the state paying a courtesy call on the Yamusa’s led leadership. This prompted the governor to stage a palace coup of sorts, which swept Yamusa and out of power and brought in Dimas Ezra as acting chairman of the state chapter of the party.
Nevertheless, powerful stakeholders of the party including the eldest son of former Governor Nyako have opposed Ezra’s emergence, premising a subterranean ploy that threw up Ibrahim Bilal to assume the leadership of the party.
The inauguration of Bilal’s led executive by the national secretariat of the party would seem to have put Nyako in total control of the political impasse as it made him to be effectively in control of the party apparatus in the state.
This was further affirmed when upon his inauguration at the party’s secretariat as new acting state chairman (and despite assurances that he does not belonged to any faction within the APC) he wasted no time in going to pay a courtesy call on former Nyako at his Abuja residence, to seek his blessings and support.
On arrival at the party’s secretariat in Yola, the acting chairman further repudiated the existence of any faction in the party saying he was nobody’s errand boy.
But as a pointer to the fact that the crisis in the party was far from over, party officials loyal to the governor were conspicuously absent during the ceremony even though some commissioners graced the occasion.
When contacted over their refusal to attend the function, the organizing secretary of the party loyal to governor, Ahmed Lawal says they refused to attend the function as they did not recognized the activity calling it a sham that could not stand the test of time.
He noted that they have already written a petition to the national secretariat of the party challenging the development noting that even PDP would not have perpetrated such heist and disdain for rule of law.
Will this simmering crisis announce the return of Nyako to the center stage of Adamawa politics? Only time will tell.