Adamawa 2019: How Bindow dribbled himself out of power
The outgoing Adamawa State Governor, Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, has set record as the first governor in Adamawa since the return of democracy in 1999, to be voted out after his first term in office. Close watchers say the governor failed to demonstrate leadership. He refused to show flexibility and accommodation for all the tendencies that exist in Adamawa.
Bindow was selective in his appointments and recruitments. He did not show consideration for welfare of works. He rather turned his administration into a private estate, as all contracts and procurements did not follow the law.
Immediately he took over the mantle of leadership, he did not take long to abandon former governor Murtala Nyako, on whose back he rode to become the governor. Instead, he explained that he abandoned Nyako and pitched tent with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, because Atiku gave him N500m for his campaign in 2015. This angered Nyako’s battalion of supporters and they vowed to retire Bindow from politics come 2019.
The Governor took his fight against Nyako to the next level, when by refusing to either visit or send condolence when Nyako lost his wife. As Nyako arrived Yola International airport for the burial of his wife, Bindow was reportedly at the airport on his way to Abuja.
On appointments, lopsided and secret recruitments were said to exclude Christians and other minority groups was said to be the style of Bindow. All the juicy offices like chief of staff to the governor, secretary to state government, commissioners of finance, local government, high education, agriculture, health and other important parastatals were all occupied by Muslims.Since Bindow became governor, job vacancies are not advertised but only last month over some secondary school teachers were employed secretly and over 6,000 lecturers recruited secretly at the Adamawa State Polytechnic, all in the name of the Governor.
The Guardian gathered that out of 38,000 people recruited in the last three months, in a multi-religious state like Adamawa, less than 200 are non-Muslims. The leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was not pleased with the manner of recruitments and promised to address the matter during polls.
The outgoing governor takes delight in engaging in unnecessary political battles. He does not discriminate where he took his battles. He took that to doorsteps of some top stakeholders of All Progressive Congress (APC), whom he nicknamed ‘Abuja politicians.’ The commander of Abuja politicians, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. David Babachir Lawal, warned that Bindow could only return to government house if he and others were no more before the governorship elections.
He described Bindow as a political cancer that must be uprooted for the state to move to the development lane and for workers to enjod the dignity of their labour.
Workers, pensioners and local government employees placed their curse on the governor, for treating them like slaves. For three years, Adamawa pensioners have not been paid, local government workers’ salary for eight months was hanging, but due to the elections, Bindow paid some months, but pensioners remained unpaid. For three years, government workers have not received their leave grant/allowances, despite the bailout funds received by the state.
It was on this ground that pensioners, local government workers and civil servants reached an agreement to sack the Governor. Bindow’s poor performance laid a solid foundation for his exit, as both APC and chieftains of other political parties see the governor’s tenure as wasted years. He squandered the goodwill the people gave him on a platter of gold. Under his government, students in boarding schools go on streets to beg for food, as government no longer provides money for their feeding. Students in most of the government schools have their lectures under the trees, in some cases they sit on bare floor due to lack of furniture. Teachers contribute money to buy chalk and other learning materials.
The former prestigious Adamawa State University Mubi, has been reduced to a glorified secondary school, as the school operates without a single professor in any of the departments. Despite huge deductions drawn from the accounts of the 21 local governments to fund the university, the institution still operates on zero allocation. The leadership of ASUU of the university told journalists last year, that since the present government came on board, the institution has not received its seven percent deductions from the 21 councils.
Government hospitals have been neglected. Due to poor welfare, medical workers have relocated elsewhere to health institutions that have better pay package.But the Governors said he has performed well. According to him, he constructed over 300 roads, which many citizens are not aware where they lead.
The crisis that broke the camel’s back is the governor’s recruitment of wife of the president Aisha Buhari, as one of his political enemies. Trouble started when Alsha (an indigene of Adamawa pleaded with the Governor to move one of his female commissioners to take over the ministry of women affairs from a male commissioner. Bindow replied that,” nobody can dictate for me how I run my government,” and he refused to effect the changes as requested by Alsha Buhari.
While the rift with the president’s wife persisted, Bindow picked another crisis with the Emir of Mubi, Alhaji Ahmadu Isa, who is the Governor’s traditional ruler. The only offence the Emir committed was that he advised Bindow to pay local government workers their over seven months salary arrears and also pensioners.
A furious Bindow was embarrassed and threatened to sack the Emir, a move, which backfired and consumed the Governor’s return ticket. The Governor’s last fall was precipitated by an alleged secondary school certificate fraud that became the most topical issues at the tail end of his campaign. The people of Adamawa were embarrassed with allegations of their governor having to answer queries regarding his secondary school certificate. His opponents latched on to it and used to de-market him.Media men in Adamawa did not escape the sweeping attacks of the Governor, as he banned and unbanned journalists from having access to Government House over some allegations that their reports do not favour government.
Three journalists were last year threatened with death by some security officers attached to Governor House. The matter was officially reported to the then commissioner of police for action.The collapse of Bindow’s political dynasty was due to visionless and shortsighted leadership style built on the faulty foundation of ethnicity and religion.