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Adamawa guber: Factors that helped Nyako to win

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From Blessing Tunoh, Yola

Choosing who rules Adamawa state is largely determined by a number of factors including religion and ethnic considerations. Political clout is usually secondary in this setting otherwise no one would have thought that Brigadier Muhammad Buba Marwa with all his track record of performance would place third in the just concluded governorship election.
Prior to the 2007 gubernatorial election in Adamawa, it was common knowledge in the state that Admiral Murtala Nyako was reluctant to play active politics talk less of vying for the governorship seat but he was prevailed upon against his wish. Political big wigs in the state including Marwa, were all tactically edged out either by disqualification or outrightly forced to step down for Nyako’s emergence as consensus candidate.
However Nyako’s return bid proved to be more complex than his experience in 2007 as he faced stiff opposition both from within and outside his party as some influential politicians in the state, across party lines, joined forces against him.
Several groups consisting of anti-Nyako elements emerged. The contention between him and them was his style of governance, the perceived tilt of patronage and allegations against the governor for promoting a“Fulani agenda” to the detriment of other ethnic groups in the state with some of the antagonists were at some point close to the former chief before they fell out.
One of such persons is Senator Jibril Aminu who brought the groups under a single umbrella he called “Adamawa Forum for Change (AFC).
Nyako’s first coming was impressive at take-off; addressing water, medical care and had won the heart and indeed votes of youths in the state with his Special Assistants programme and youths empowerment schemes. However, opposition chieftains insist that at a point all development stopped and austerity regime becoming the order if the day.
This led to the inability of ministries to function for lack of running costs; protracted strike action by state workers sequel to failure to implement minimum wage and other sundry issues added credence to their arguments.
However, Nyako had more friends than enemies and coupled with the goodwill associated with incumbency, it became clear that it would take a unified and well organized opposition to unseat him.
Tell tale signs that the opposition would not achieve their aim of unseating Nyako surfaced when the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which are considered two most formidable opposition parties in the state began a battle of ego which weakened them.
While CPC’s candidate Brig. General Muhammad Buba Marwa believes he is more sellable than any other opposition candidate and should be given their unanimous support with a promise to serve for just one term, Engr. Markus Gundiri of the ACN on his part argued that he did not at any point in time moot the idea of stepping down for Marwa not to talk of forming an alliance with the CPC on such terms.
As the race got hotter, Nyako enjoyed the support of the presidency led by Vice president Namadi Sambo, all three senators of the state, former governors of defunct Gongola state Bamanga Tukur and Wilberforce Juta, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Atiku Abubakar (whom Nyako’s bid actually brought together on a common ground since their altercation) among other PDP bigwigs.
Gundiri on his part had the support of the former governor Boni Haruna and his group consisting of non-Fulani ethnic groups in the state and elites of the state.
As for Marwa, it was more of a “one-man-riot” since he joined the CPC after he was edged out of the PDP primary.Most of the goodwill he enjoyed was from people outside the state who were either partakers of his achievements when he served as military administrator in Lagos and Borno states or his political associates.
On the side lines were the ANPP and ADC candidates who were also cleared by INEC to take part in the election. They were however, by no means considered a threat or asset by any of three major contestants.
Few weeks to the election, the state House of Assembly changed leadership from Barr. Sadiq Dasin to Umar Ahmad Fintri, both of PDP extraction. The move was strongly opposed by officials of Nyako’s government and leadership of the PDP culminating in protest by thugs said to have been sponsored by the party who cordoned the complex and put legislating on hold for at least seven weeks.
Civil servants on the other hand were aggrieved with the non-payment of their salaries for two months at a time when the Federal Government lifted subsidy on petroleum products to add to the hardship of longsuffering workers in the state. The opposition quickly took advantage of both situations which was attributed to the PDP-led government to campaign for change.
Security situation in the state also became fragile with the killing of about 15 Igbo traders in Mubi Council area of the state by unknown gunmen just as 12 worshippers were shot same day in a church at the state capital which compelled the state government to impose a curfew and put in place security measures to forestall reprisal from victims and further escalation of the situation.
The development also led to postponement of the election earlier billed for January 14th to 21st, and later February 4th, while the state experienced a panic driven mass exodus of mostly non-indigene Christians, who believed the attacks were targeted at them.
Another implication the situation had on the intertwined Muslim/Christian communities of the state was a belief by Christians that the attacks were intended to scare them away from polling units by the Muslim contestants –Nyako and Marwa and a resolve to vote for their own while some Muslims on their part who initially were in the opposition retraced their steps.
Opinion sampled by Peoples Daily Weekend indicates that playing the religious card in Adamawa proved to be a double edged sword that rubbed off negatively on Gundiri who was placed as Nyako’s biggest challenger and his supporters insisted was well on his way to the government house.
It did not come as a suprise therefore when out of total number of 1,843619 who were registered for the election only 685, 113 eligible voters took part in the election out of which 26,850 votes were invalidated.
A breakdown of the result indicates that Nyako got 302,953 votes which represented 44.22 per cent of valid votes cast and the required 25 percent in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the state. Gundiri on the other hand scored a total of 241,023 votes to place second on the table (35.1 per cent) while General Buba Marwa got 107,546 to come a distant third position (15.7 per cent).
Mrs. Musa, who was running mate to Usman Belel in ANPP bore the party’s flag when Belel dropped out of the race on the eve of the election; she scored 3885 (0.57 per cent) while Dr. Zainab of the ADC placed fifth position with 2846 votes (0.40 per cent).
The much touted gubernatorial election in Adamawa state has come and gone but the aftermath would remain with key actors of the process for a very long time with a lot of lessons to be learnt.
The pattern of votes indicates that there are serious grievances in many communities with regards to a feeling of social exclusion that needs to be addressed. For instance Nyako’s 302,953 block votes is dwarfed by the random 355,300 opposition votes which registers the level of his popularity.
On the percentage table, it is safe to submit that Governor Nyako is loved by 44.22 per cent of people in the state while 55.78 per cent voted against his governorship.
In his inaugural speech, governor Nyako however handed an olive leaf to his challengers and lauded their maturity and peaceful conduct adding that “there is no democracy without tangible opposition, so I pay a special tribute to them for putting a clean and peaceful contest and gallant campaign devoid of bickering.”
He also invited them to eschew bitterness, mend fences and face the task of nation building with one voice as posterity would judge the actions of all politicians. It is based on this that the Former Vice president Atiku Abubakar advises Nyako to “carry all stakeholders along rather than isolating or alienating groups however small, the PDP should lead the way in terms of internal cohesion, unity and harmony. This should be the immediate concerns of governor Nyako.”

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by ude mark anthony, February 27, 2012
after the rigging. the explanation
there was no how pdp was going to loose. pls save us the sermon

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