By Rotimi Fasan
MURTALA Nyako, governor of Adamawa, one of three states which the cowardly but murderous insurgents in the north have virtually turned into the headquarters of their operations, is fast posing or acquiring reputation as an opponent of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He has been particularly critical of Jonathan’s handling of the fight against the terrorists that the president’s equally confused and confusing style of engaging has lionised into the seemingly invincible killer group that the world now pays close attention.
Last month Nyako all but turned the table against Jonathan in spite of the latter’s weak and foolishly pacifist approach towards the demented beasts that have run over the north-east- Nyako all but called Jonathan the actual killer of the hundreds of Nigerians that the terrorists have dispatched to the ages.
In a rambling, angry letter that was riddled with wild allegations Nyako, last month, accused Jonathan of genocidal intentions against the people of the north-east if not the north as a whole. The non-performing, now mutinous troops that had been deployed for peace-making purposes, Nyako claimed, were Jonathan’s own occupation squad in the north-east.
In spite or, in fact, because of Jonathan’s poorly coordinated fight against terror Nyako accused him in his letter of deliberate unconcern and failure to respond to the plight of the people most affected by the activities of the terrorists.
The governor had nothing to say about the despicable behaviour of northern elite like him. These were people whose sly accommodation of the terrorists when it suited them to do so contributed to Jonathan’s initial vacillation and vexing lack of will in fighting and destroying the terrorists. This was when the odds of victory were very much stacked in his favour.
Murtala Nyako also had nothing to say about the fact that large swathes of the entire north-east where he and two others in Borno and Yobe claim to govern are routinely sacked under the de facto rule of terrorists who serve advance notice of their invasion and yet encounter no resistance.
Until the latest outrage of abduction of God-knows-how-many hundreds of school girls in Chibok the terrorists, Nigerians are beginning to learn, had for long been in the ignoble business of abducting nubile girls. They could have their pick of the best damsels without the distraction of marriage rites.
And yet Nyako and company who have ceded huge parts of states they are supposed to be governing to the terrorists, content to go around in heavily armed convoys for their own protection, persist in the pretence that they are governors.
In one word Murtala Nyako has, in his letter and since, remained totally silent on what qualifies him and others to be governors of such an ungovernable region as the north-east. He rests easy and has no qualms about his untenable position, probably, for the simple reason for which most people have held Jonathan responsible for the impunity of the terrorists: that the president has full and f inal control of state powers to fight the terrorists.
Thus in spite of the fact that Nyako and some other northern leaders encouraged the terrorists by their unseemly silence when the insurgents began their reign of terror under Jonathan, today they join other Nigerians in blaming Jonathan for not fighting the terrorists or mismanaging the deployment of state power to fight them.
The irony of it then that Jonathan hoped to avoid the wrath of the northern elite by vacillating in his fight against terror when he could have been more decisive.
He has therefore given cause, however unjust, for Nyako to turn the heat on him when Nyako himself could not be said to have done or be doing anything productive about the situation. Nyako’s performance as governor in Adamawa has been very ordinary and remarkable, perhaps, for no greater reason than that he once sought to assign different responsibilities to his wives in their role as ‘first ladies’.
He is hardly different from if not worse than Jonathan in this regard. Now he feels justified to point accusing fingers at Jonathan and criticise his fight against terror, the latest being the president’s desire to extend the imposition of emergency rule for another six months.
Nyako has been at the arrowhead of those opposed to the extension. His grouse is that the declaration of emergency rule is a non-starter and should be ended if it has so far had no useful effect on terror after one full year. The so-called emergency rule is in fact only so by mere words of mouth. Neither the powers of the governors nor any structure of the states have been affected by the declaration.
Federal power has not been brought to bear on state authority any more than at anytime before the declaration of emergency. The terrorists still go about their business unhindered and in broad day light. One is at a loss therefore understanding why Jonathan wants emergency rule extended under these circumstances.
Nor is it any less perplexing why Nyako whose powers as governor has nowhere been affected by the emergency should be bothered if emergency rule continues. Either way, neither Nyako nor Jonathan stands to lose anything. Only the ordinary people who have been left to their own devices and at the mercy of outlaw groups suffer.
The only reason for the ongoing tango between Nyako and Jonathan therefore might be explainable as one of clashing egos and politicking- the sheer desire of one to be contrary, perhaps for the sake of it or for political reason; to position himself as the spokesman of the north and the latter-day hero of this absurd drama between terrorists and legitimate authority.
Jonathan on the other hand would in the face of unrelenting chaos rather stick to the semblance of order that emergency rule promised but has yet to deliver. His is an unspoken fear of the unknown, of what might happen if and when emergency rule is declared over.
Luckily for both men the decision as to what path to take on the matter of emergency is not in their hands. The better for us all as it might end up bogged down in finger-pointing. The House of Representatives has already given its say-so to the extension while the Senate shifted decision on the issue till this week.
Whatever position is finally taken would only have meaning for the people of the north-east and other parts of Abuja and the north as a whole when they can again live their lives without having to glance over their shoulders in fear of the next explosion or abduction. Jonathan might soon have something tangible to show in favour of emergency rule if only to anticipate the end of foreign help which can only be for a while.