Bindow in the web as Buhari, Atiku clash over 2019
SGF, Nyako back President, plot against former vice president
The presidential ambition of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, particularly on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), may be dimming by the day, given the unfolding developments in his home state, Adamawa.
Atiku, who has the state governor, Muhammed Umar Jibrilla Bindow as his main ally is pitted against former governor, Murtala Nyako; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir, who collectively with the state leadership of the party, have made it known that the state has only one presidential candidate for 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Already, they have commenced campaign for the president and have informed whoever cares to listen that Bindow does not have their blessing for a second term.
The Guardian learnt that the group is shopping for the governor’s replacement. Two names are on the table, Engr. Markus Gundiri who hails from the same local government with the SGF and Senator Ibn Na’allah, representing Adamawa South in the Senate.
To put paid to their plot, the Buhari group has ensured that congresses were not held to properly constitute the state executive committee of the party which has been operating without a substantive chairman and deputy chairman.
The fear is that should there be a congress to elect a chairman as well as fill other vacant positions, the former vice president and the governor would be able to muscle their way through to install their lackeys.
Binta Masi who belongs to the Nyako group was the state chairman of APC prior to 2015 when he resigned to contest the senatorial election and won. He was subsequently replaced by Alhaji Ibrahim Bilai who prior to his emergence as state chairman was one of the three vice chairmen of the party in the state.
Sources claimed that he was schemed into the position by the Nyako group in collaboration with the leadership of the party in Abuja, which allegedly granted him an acting tenure for six months.
“Masi was replaced by the current chairman and he assumed that office without due process. There was no congress or election. He claimed to have been endorsed by the national headquarters in Abuja,” one of the sources volunteered.
The source maintained that the current chairman’s acting tenure was supposed to have terminated in September 2016 having allegedly gotten an initial six months acting regime that commenced in March.
Besides the chairmanship position, the office of the deputy chairman is till vacant following the death of the incumbent, Ibrahim Yamusa.
Last month, the state APC in collaboration with the Nyako group endorsed the candidature of Buhari for reelection in 2019, an action that practically sealed the chances of Atiku getting the party’s ticket. However, the endorsement was a response to the pronouncement by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Alhaji Adullaraman Abba Jimeta.
Jimeta apparently acting on behalf of the governor had in November declared that the former vice president has been approved as Buhari’s replacement for the 2019 poll.
Incidentally, Bindow emerged the governorship candidate of APC through the active support of Nyako who ensured that Atiku’s choice and current commissioner for Lands and Surveys, Ibrahim Mijinyawa, was defeated at the primaries.
The governor ran into troubled waters few months after he became governor when he dumped Nyako’s camp for Atiku and purportedly informed the public that his decision was due to an alleged ‘gift’ of N500million from the former vice president.
This was not taking kindly by the Nyako Supporters Group (NSG), which called on the State House of Assembly to impeach the governor for supposedly flouting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s regulation on funding during the governorship campaign of 2015 general elections.
The state coordinator of the NSG, Alhaji Adamu Namtari bemoaned the claim that the governor admitted receiving the money from Atiku through one Alhaji Jauro Turaki, insisting that it was a gross violation of section 91(3) 9 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“Under section 91 (3) the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a governorship candidate shall not exceed N200 million,” arguing that sub section 9 of the same Electoral Act states that no individual or other entity shall donate more than N1 Million to any candidate, and that any candidate who knowingly act in contravention of the provisions, “Commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable: in the case of a governorship election to a fine of N800000 or imprisonment for 9 Months or both.”
Recently the Bilai-chaired state leadership of the party openly backed the joint ticket for President Buhari and his vice for the 2019 elections but remained silent on the fate of Bindow.
Speaking when the pro-Buhari group led by Alhaji Yahaya Hammajulde visited the state secretariat of APC, Bilai who commended the group threw some jabs at the governor.
He said that some politicians occupying elective offices on the platform of the party would not get return ticket due to what he described as ‘poor performances and lack of respect for the party leadership’ both at state and national
“The House of Representatives member for Gombi/Hong Hon. Buba is doing well we recognize his services; Hon. Namdas representing Tongou, Genye, Jada and Mayo-Belywa is also doing well and few others. But those that used our party platform to get juicy offices will face the music come 2019,” he declared
The APC chairman said that some people he described as political job seekers and commercial politicians are upsetting them, advised that those that joined the party for ‘bread and wine’ should stay clear of the party.
Last week, the Nyako camp in conjunction with the Buhari and Osinbanjo campaign group overran the state capital, Yola when it staged a solidarity rally. Senator Abdullazi Nyako (Adamawa Central) represented his father and former governor of the state at the rally.
The governor and his political appointees were conspicuously absent at the rally, attesting further to the widening schism and festering rancor between the Buhari/SGF/Nyako group and Atiku/Bindow group.
A top official of APC who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity during the rally said “this rally is not about the issue of Buhari second term, but we the APC officials in the state want to pass a message to our outgoing governor that there is no vacancy for him in our party again come 2019. Since he appreciates Atiku’s N500million more than the governorship we the Nyako group gave him, we are going to take it from him.
“We are doing it so that Nigerian politicians will learn to appreciate voters; if we electorate love money like our governor we will have collected Atiku’s money and voted the candidate he presented against governor Bindow, but we said no, money is not everything in life.”
However, the director general of Bindow Economy and Social Transformation (BEST) agenda, Alhaji Ahmed Lawan, said that it is only Adamawa voters that have the powers to decide who become the next governor of the state and not individuals in the party.
Lawan said that those that are talking about campaign are just out to distract the governor’s focus on governance averring that those seeking attention through campaign of calumny and local political intimidation of dropping the president’s name to win favours among politicians will be disappointed at the end.
Lawan who is the state organizing secretary of APC blamed the crisis on the inability of the party leadership to hold stakeholders meeting and dialogue on issues that would bring cohesion to the party and development to the state.
The organizing secretary, who claimed that Bindow would not join issues with anyone on the crisis, urged the party leadership to convene a meeting of all stakeholders where all the allegations and rumours can be discussed and resolved.
“The governor has no problem with the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachir and any other Adamawa state politician either in Abuja or in Yola; it is political job seekers that are shouting because they are broke and their only life investment is political crisis,” he claimed.
A serving commissioner in Bindow’s government, who spoke to The Guardian, hinted that the Abuja-based APC leaders have concluded arrangements to stop the governor from getting APC ticket.
“We are aware of their plans and we too are not sleeping, we have our plan B, if things are proving difficult we will use our next plan. Those that are drumming for trouble in the party should remember what happened to PDP in the last year general elections,” the cabinet member stated.
It was gathered that one of the options being considered by the Atiku/Bindow camp was a move to the PDP or any other platform
Also sources claimed that the governor and some other ‘discredited’ colleagues intend to use the APC Governor’s Forum to reach an agreement with national leadership of the party to ensure that they get automatic ticket.