Atiku, Tinubu flex muscles as Ribadu returns to APC
There has been a nervous calm in Adamawa State chapter of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) since the surprise return of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 general elections, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Ribadu’s return to APC last month, heightened the intrigues and tussle for supremacy and control of the party in the state between former vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former governor of Lagos State and APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
When Ribadu arrived the state secretariat of the party last month in Yola, the state capital, he was received by the state acting chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Birale amidst growing tension between those who wanted him and party members that were opposed to him.
The former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) had told Ibrahim and others that gathered to receive him that his return to APC was homecoming, to help in rebuilding the party for the challenges ahead as well as contribute to the growth of the country through the party.
According to him, APC has remained his party right from the time he joined politics and contested in the presidential election, noting that he went on “political tourism” in PDP, a period he described as part of political adventures.The APC chairman had in response, in a manner that betrayed a rehearsed event, said that one of the greatest things that has happened to the party in the state was to have the former EFCC boss back in its folds.
Ibrahim told Ribadu that he was not just a chieftain of the party, but was one of the major stakeholders in the party, and that the party was prepared to assist him at any level to achieve his political ambition.The Guardian learnt that Ribadu’s return to APC has been in the offing since the beginning of this year when Tinubu visited the state about five months ago. The APC national leader was alleged to have declined to enter state-owned SUV vehicles made available by Governor Mohammed Umar Bindow to pick him at the Yola international Airport. He was said to have been picked at the airport by a convoy dispatched to the airport by Ribadu, which allegedly took him Ribadu’s private residence where he was entertained.
The state party executive loyal to the Governor was sack by the national secretariat, a move supposedly undertaken to pave way for the return of Ribadu. When the tenure of the present acting executive expired, the ‘Abuja APC wing’ pushed for extension instead of conducting elections for substantive executive members to be elected. The fear entertained by the ‘Abuja APC wing’ along with their collaborators in Adamawa was that if election was conducted former vice President who many believe is the political godfather of Bindow, would use his influence to plant his men in the state executive.
The coming of Ribadu, sources claimed was to completely shut the doors of the party against Atiku and Governor Bindow’s men ahead of the 2019 general elections.Observers have argued that the Governor had as part of his political permutations prodded members of the state House of Assembly to cut the tenure of the local governments councils elected into office last week to two years.
The political calculations was that by 2018, the governor will conduct another council polls and in the process plant his men that would work for him to harvest votes in the 2019 poll.Party sources claimed that the Governor had, as a way of expressing his disapproval of the interference from Abuja snubbed the councils’ election, noting that the Governor who left the state on the eve of the councils’ election was yet to return to the state,
They claimed that the governor was cleverly avoiding a situation where he would have to receive Tinubu and other top APC chieftains including the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, for a ceremony billed for Yola this week to officially welcome Ribadu to the APC fold.
Political analysts see Ribadu’s return to APC as a grand design by a group called ‘Abuja politicians’, to ‘award’ the 2019 governorship ticket to him to the detriment of Governor Bindow, who apparently has lost control over the state party structure. As an indication that the governor was not fully in control of APC in the state, it was gathered that when the local government primaries was conducted out of the 21 local governments in the state only three of the governor’s candidates won and two emerged victorious at the elections.
Some believe that Ribadu’s return to APC posed more dangers to the party fortunes, considering his past political records in the state. Some of the APC top members were already predicting the collapse of the party if Ribadu was allowed back into the party.
The former chairman of Hong local government Mr. Eric Dollars, told The Guardian that Ribadu was not only a liability, but a political agent of destruction and that the manner some party chieftains in Abuja were arranging his return to APC was clear about their intention in the state.
“Ribadu is not needed in APC he is a big political burden there is no political party that will house Ribadu and can make progress. It was a great advantage and good luck for APC in Adamawa state that Ribadu left for PDP. You can see what happen to PDP a ruling party, Ribadu is not a blessing in politics, he is a liability, those that need Ribadu should take him to their states,” he said.
Dollars said that the presence of Ribadu in APC would not only push important members out of the party, but also result in APC loosing at the polls because Ribadu has no political value to add to the party.“I wonder why our leaders don’t look at past events before taking decision, when Ribadu decamped to PDP few weeks to elections and PDP leaders gather people from Niger state and Nassarawa state and organized a kangaroo primaries in Abuja what was the result at the
general elections? When you are decamping you register in your ward, but Ribadu did his own in Abuja, I know the man called Ribadu like short cut to whatever he want in life,” he said.
Dollars who asked Ribadu to stay away from APC, pointed out that the party is ready to accept people that will add political value not people that want to use the platform to achieve their personal interest.However, Alhaji Ibrahim Bappa, a chieftain of APC in the state and former member in the state Assembly who represented Yola-North constituency, told The Guardian that Ribadu was welcomed to APC, pointing out that for a ruling party to maintain its leadership, it must be prepared to accept more people in the party.
“Politics is a game of numbers, so the more members your party have, it has greater chances of winning elections. We should open our doors for those that want to come into our party and add their experience to build the party and the country. We need Ribadu more than he needs APC, I know many people are already entertaining fears as a result of his coming because they feel their political interest is in danger.“But whoever is afraid of competition cannot go far in politics, if you are afraid of Ribadu in APC because he may contest election against you, the question is will you stop the same Ribadu from contesting if he is in another party?” he stated.
Bappa maintained that with Ribadu in APC the party would be more intimidating than before and he urged other intended persons that want to join APC to come and help to build the party. He added: “people that are talking about contests now are not fair to this government, what they are doing is like a greedy man who is still eating and he is fighting for the food that is yet to be cooked; that kind of person is not fit to stay in a civilize society, even if two hundred people join APC today and they all want to contest they are free to contest, APC has no biological father or mother, so nobody can claim monopoly of running the party or deciding those that can join the party.”
There are political pointers that Atiku and his men headed by the Governor, have already started preparing ground to use PDP as their second option if they failed to push out the Tinubu group and take hold of the party structures in the state.
With all the Senators in the state and six House of Representative members allegedly queuing behind the Tinubu’s group, it is believed that the Atiku camp would have a herculean task ahead of them.
While the battle rages, the question is will Ribadu’s return to APC be a blessing to the party? Or is the party expected to suffer the same ill-fate PDP suffered as a result of the former EFCC boss joining the party? Time will tell soon, but there is serious infighting in the party.