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In 2019, Adamawa voters shop for candidates withtrack record, not parties

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Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa State


• As Bindow Battles Certificate Scam Allegation 

As the governorship election approaches, the body language of Adamawa State governor, Alhaji Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, depicts that of a man unsure of his return to Government House in Dubli. This is as a result of the landmines he helped to plant against his second term ambition.

After being awarded victory by former Governor Murtala Nyako’s political structure, which outsmarted former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s governorship candidate, Bindow became rebellious; fighting chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that helped realised and supported his victory.

Bindow’s political crimes cut across both political and religious lines, in terms of making key appointments, which completely sidelined Christians. All appeals from Christian leaders headed by the Adamawa State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Bishop Dami Mamza, that the governor included Christians in key cabinet positions fell on deaf ears.

The Numan federation, comprising four local governments, is a no go area for Bindow. Over 300 people were killed in the area, but the governor is yet to pay condolence visit to the people. So, they have vowed to remain in APC and vote against him.President Muhammadu Buhari’s men in Adamawa State headed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. David Babachir Lawal and other renowned APC chieftains in the state have vowed to go on self-exile if Bindow is returned as governor.

At different media fora, the Buhari supporters said their party has no governorship candidate in the state and so; they would only work for the president’s re-election.Last month, the former chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, told journalists in Yola that Adamawa APC would only canvass votes for Buhari, stressing that the party had no governorship candidate and that party members should look for candidates of their choice in other parties.Bindow’s campaign flag-off attendee list confirmed that the threat by Buhari’s supporters is real and has a negative impact on Adamawa APC candidate.

The Buhari key men in the state, such as Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), former Governor Murtala Nyako, former APC governorship contestant, Mr. Markus Gundiri, Senator Abubakar Geiri, Senator Bello Tukur, Senator Mo’Allah Idi and other stakeholders boycotted the occasion and vowed to only mobilise votes for Buhari.

The campaign flag-off also attested to the fact that APC leaders, including the family of the first lady, Aisha Buhari, whose younger brother, Ahmed Halilu contested for the governorship but lost, are determined to vote against Bindow. Last month, Babachir told journalists in Yola that Buhari’s supporters wouldn’t work for the governor because he didn’t possess required certificate to seek election as governor.

He said: “We have nothing personal against the governor. Our interest is to ensure that APC retains leadership in the state. What we are avoiding is for opposition party to go to court and collect our party mandate because the governor is embroiled in a certificate forgery crisis. We challenge the governor to publish his certificate, so that we can be sure and work for him.”

The spokesman of Buhari’s supporters group (Babachir) said the only project APC has in Adamawa was to work for Buhari’s re-election, pointing out that his group was mobilising party members to be on standby, waiting for the outcome of the Federal High Court judgment on the alleged certificate scandal.

While reacting to the governor’s absence at the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) peace pact, an APC stakeholder, Mr. Uba Danarewa, told The Guardian that the governor’s action confirmed the stakeholders’ earlier position that he couldn’t win the election. Danarewa said the stakeholders had decided to work only for Buhari’s re-election, as the governor had squandered APC fortunes in the state, and that he no longer had any political value.

However, the Director General of the governor’s campaign organisation, Mr. Felix Tangwami, said Bindow’s victory was a done deal. He asked those seeking the governor’s office to wait till 2023. He said since the governor was able to win the primary, which to some people was mission impossible, he could also win the governorship election. He said those complaining were the same people that rejected indirect primaries and insisted on direct primaries. He wondered why they were still complaining after using the process they required.

Tangwami said the party and Bindow’s campaign organisation had begun holding meetings with aggrieved aspirants to resolve relevant issues and face the election as one strong family.He said out of the 109 House of Assembly aspirants that contested and lost in the primaries, 89 attended the meeting at the Government House, and were ready to work with Bindow’s government.

Another APC chieftain, Alhaji Umar Duhu, a former national vice chairman of Northeast zone, also said nobody could stop Bindow’s reelection in Adamawa. He said there was even no need for campaigns, as Bindow’s achievements were enough to campaign for him. 

PDP And Fintiri’s Chances
Alhaji Ahmed Umaru Fintiri is the governorship candidate of the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State. He was twice the acting governor, as well as the longest serving Speaker the state ever produced.His entrance into the governorship race appears to threaten Bindow’s second term ambition, as both APC top chieftains and other political parties in the state have directly or indirectly indicated strong interest in his candidacy.

Defeating the incumbent has become a political habit with Fintiri. In 2007, he defeated an incumbent House of Assembly member of the ruling PDP, while he was in the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). His political weapons, according to some analysts, are his goodwill and interest in workers.

Alhaji Mohammed Mubi, an APC chieftain from Governor Bindow’s hometown said: “I think God listens to Adamawa people’s prayer, which is to return Fintiri. Party politics has failed us woefully in Adamawa. So, our concern now is for the right person to do the job; it is not the party again. If you look at the governorship contestants, apart from Fintiri, all of them come to Adamawa only during elections. To majority of us, that alone has disqualified them.”

The choice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as PDP presidential candidate has also seemingly sealed the governorship deal for Fintiri. In 2015, Bindow confessed in the media that Atiku made him governor with his N500m gift; a statement that sparked off APC’s stakeholders’ campaign of Bindow must go.

Recently, some top APC and SDP chieftains declared support for Fintiri, and adopted him as their unity governorship candidate. Last month, the group’s spokesman, Alhaji Abubakar Mubi told journalists in Yola, after an eight-hour closed-door meeting of the chieftains of the two political parties that after reviewing the credentials of the governorship contestants, only Fintri stood out.He said their decision to adopt Fintri was based on grounds that party politics had failed to bring development to the country, and that they decided to support contestants strictly on personal merit.

Alhaji Mubi urged Adamawa people to avoid party politics and cast their votes in 2019 strictly on candidates’ track records, since party politics had failed woefully to bring development to the state. Meanwhile, Fintiri has received the total backing of all the important members of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on the ground that he is not religiously biased like other candidates, who are using religion to recruit voters.

According to Pastor John Musa, the appointments Fintiri made during his time as acting governor proved he would run his government strictly on merit and not religion. “Bindow’s government is only for a few people. It is not a government for all Adamawa people, which is why he will never return.”

Nyako: In The Race To Stop Bindow
Senator Abdullaziz Nyako is a serving senator representing Adamawa Central zone. He is the first child of former Governor Murtala Nyako, who spent seven years as governor before he was impeached in August 2014.

Senator Nyako is contesting the governorship on the platform of Action for Democratic Congress (ADC), a party run by the Nyako family. Many political analysts consider his contest rather curious, considering that his father ruled the state for seven years, and he (Senator Abdulaziz) was awarded senate ticket immediately after his father’s exit.

ADC, from investigations is only popular in Mayo-Belwa local government, the home of the Nyakos. Aside posters in front of his father’s house, his presence is not seen or felt in other parts of Yola.Alhaji Abubakar Hassan, one of Nyako’s supporters, said Nyako was not in the race to win elections, but to stop Bindow by dividing APC into two factions. One faction formed ADC, which he said had reduced the governor’s votes.

He said the biggest political problem Senator Nyako would face is that the PDP senatorial candidate for southern zone, Mr. Binos Yorio is from the same local government as Nyako. He pointed out that the people of the area have brighter chances of getting the Senate seat for the first time since creation of the state, than to embark on unprofitable governorship tourism contest.

Emmanuel Bello: Lagging Far Behind For SDP
MR.Emmanuel Bello from Gombi local government was member, House of Representatives for Gombi/Hong federal constituency in 2007 on the platform of PDP. He could not return to the House, as his people voted against him.

In 2015, he decamped to APC, but lost at the primary, securing less than 20 delegates. Since then, Bello disappeared from the state and only reappeared contesting for governorship on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP).His entrance has divided his party, as the main executive supporters have moved to Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), making SDP in the state a shadow of itself. His campaign is not popular in the state, as his party has no contestant in some offices, and even those the party presented were merely filling gaps.

Bello’s name can only be heard in some small private churches in the state, where the owners consider him a Christian candidate and are mobilising their scanty membership to support him. It is clear that he is lagging far behind the real contestants, since his party lacks both the financial and membership strength to face PDP or APC at the poll.


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