*Says embattled gov is a liability to APC
By Jimoh Babatunde
Dr Aliyu Idi Hong is a young man who is not afraid to call a spade a spade. As one time Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State before the 2007 general elections, he was not scared to take on the big names in the party. He was later appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, later Health before berthing at the Foreign Affairs.
On the notice of impeachment served Governor Nyako by the House of Assembly
One would have no moral rectitude to disapprove what the House of Assembly in Adamawa State is doing because what they are doing now is part of their constitutional responsibilities. One of such responsibilities is to check the excesses of the governor otherwise it would become a monarchical system or dictatorship where the governor would act or behave anyhow he likes.
That is the reason, in their wisdom, the framers of our Constitution gave the powers to check the excesses of the governor to the assembly. If in their own judgement the governor has grossly infringed on the constitutional provisions, the Constitution has empowered the house to impeach him or his deputy.
So, first and foremost, the House of Assembly is performing its constitutional responsibility and those of us outside who do not have a clear picture of the situation or access to the privileged information that the House has, should not be in a hurry to either castigate or condemn their action because they are being paid to carry out this function in the interest of the state.
And to some of us who are citizens of Adamawa State and also watchers of events in the state, this impeachment is coming too late or belated because we have complained severally about the poor performance of the governor, his constitutional infringements, but nobody listened to us. But as the wise people would say, it is better late than never. And I can tell you that the people of Adamawa share the lawmakers views and position on this matter and support them.
Many people think the impeachment has to do with Nyako’s movement to APC
I don’t share this view because he is not the only one who has defected from the PDP to the APC. How about Rotimi Amaechi, Musa Kwankanso or Wamakko? He is not the only governor who has defected from the PDP but you cannot say the same of the other governors. This is local politics and local action; it is the House of Assembly that has embarked on this action; not the party or ordinary person on the street.
The Constitution empowers the House to check the excesses of the governor and that is exactly what they are doing now. It is like the National Assembly is empowered to check the excesses of the president so that whatever decision he takes is consistent with the Constitution and financial and administrative regulation of our civil service.
But, unfortunately, in Adamawa, this has completely been flouted because the governor doesn’t know if the Constitution exists, the governor doesn’t know if financial regulations exist and he doesn’t know if there is an administrative regulation that ought to guide his actions. And, most importantly, the governor and his family are ruling the state as if there would be no tomorrow and there is no accountability. But they have forgotten that the House of Assembly is empowered statutorily to check them.
So, I don’t know why you could say it is because he joined APC. But for those who are complaining, let them come and answer those few allegations which the House has adduced as the reasons for their impeachment call. I think any rational person who knows how the state operates and what is available in the state, knows that the charges that the House has put forward are even conservative. Because if you go through the details of what is happening in the state, you will know that the governor should have been impeached a long time ago and not now.
On the court asking the House of Assembly to stay action
I think this is an abuse of due process. Are you saying that the House of Assembly has no constitutional responsibility to impeach a governor? That is their statutory responsibility and I think the court action is part of the effrontery people use to still due process in this country. I think it is even not fair for somebody to restrain a statutory body of government that has constitutional responsibility to carry out certain function or resort to legalism to stop the performance of such function.
I think what should have been fair in this case is for people to allow the process to go on and see how it ends. Because I don’t think that the House is even in a hurry to impeach, otherwise they would have simply done so on the day the charges of impeachment were brought against him. But there is a provision for him to answer these charges and there is a panel set up by the Chief Judge of the state to go through these charges and if in their wisdom these questions that the members of the House have asked have been clearly and properly answered by the governor, there would be no impeachment.
So why would you be in a hurry to quash the process or afraid if you know that your books are clean? You should allow the process to go on. One can not really fathom how the whole saga would play out. One can only say that the ultimate decision is in the hands of the House of Assembly and those other institutions that are supposed to participate in the process.
The House has given him notice of impeachment and they have brought charges; so it is now left for the governor and his deputy to answer these charges and if they answer them clearly to the satisfaction of the assembly there would be no impeachment. Maybe these are phantom charges or they are not unfounded or there are other things that may have happened that the members of the House of Assembly are not too aware of, it is for the governor to answer these things clearly and correctly to them. But it is not fair for anybody to bring legalism to it and try to hamper the whole process. This is a constitutional process and should be allowed to take its course.
On the chances of PDP in the state come 2015 based on this impeachment saga
The fact that the governor has defected to another political party doesn’t mean that he has any clout to win election. For the records, this is a sitting governor and there was a by-election in his own local government and the PDP fielded a candidate in another political party and we defeated him one hundred percent. And, again for the record, the fact that Nyako defected to the APC doesn’t mean that Adamawa is an APC state.
Everybody knows that Adamawa is a PDP state right from inception and it would continue to be like that. Nyako didn’t defect to the APC with other members of the House or National Assembly. You can see how weak he is. He is not like other governors because there are other governors who are in total control but he is not. 99% of the stakeholders in the state are still in the PDP.
Nyako alone and his small group defected and some of them are even negotiating and pleading that we bear with them for the meantime, because they are just concerned about their monthly salary and that when the time comes they would come back home to the PDP. Nyako knows this because his commissioners, local government chairmen and advisers are saying this and are identifying with us and because we don’t have money to pay them their salaries for the time being they are saying we should give them time.
How about Atiku Abubakar?
Well, the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, is perhaps the only major stakeholder but Nyako has completely blocked Atiku in the APC. Atiku is the APC stakeholder at the national level and not in Adamawa because he has no space there. Come to think of it, Atiku is a national figure who is aspiring to become the president and therefore, won’t waste his time looking after Adamawa when he has 36 states of the country to contend with.
In fact, I have said it severally that APC was dead on arrival with the defection of Nyako to the party. It has helped us solve two problems. One, we have sent away a bad product; two, he has helped us in killing the goodwill of the APC, because APC would had been a formidable opposition in Adamawa. But with the coming of Nyako there, you can see that all the supporters and stakeholders of the APC there have all made a u–turn and returned to the PDP. This is exactly what would play out in 2015.
APC would not win a single ward come 2015 election in Adamawa. Write it down, because, as far as this current arrangement is concerned and if it subsists till 2015, Atiku would be busy with the national election, Nyako had already lost the goodwill of Adamawa State people, both the elite and at the grassroots. The PDP has more formidable followership and stakeholders and we are more united than them; we would win the 2015 election.
If the PDP will not implode with everyone in the state gravitating to it
I think it is a fear that some people entertain but I really don’t bother myself with that because a beautiful bride would naturally attract different suitors and that is what PDP has become in Adamawa. You could see that some of the major stakeholders in the APC have abandoned their own wagon and joined us and some of them are even hoping to contest election.
That is fine but there is a constitutional provision because PDP is a party of rules, law and order. As a new entrant in the party, you have to take a minimum of two years before you can contest an election, but if the party, in its own wisdom, has seen that they have no better material to win an election, they will give you a waiver to stand for the election. And if you are a member, once you quit, the party says clearly that you have to queue behind others who have remained there.
And as long as the PDP would abide by its rules and laws and follow the rules and allow due process to take place, I think it would be easier to solve this problem. PDP knows it has to provide for due process and level playing field otherwise it is courting problem. We know ourselves, we know our capabilities and we know everybody’s intent. As long as this thing plays out very well, we know that we would be able to accommodate our various interests.
His take on the Ekiti election won by the PDP?
It is a sign of good things to come in the PDP. It tells you that Nigerians have started seeing what most of us major stakeholders of the party had seen over the years that the PDP is the party of the country, it is the party of everyone, it is the party where everybody has an equal stake depending on your capability and your strength. I am happy and everybody is happy that the West has started to see again that there are assets in the PDP and they have started moving back.
Thank God that we have a very credible candidate and the people of Ekiti have seen the reason to invest in him. They have voted for him and they have voted for the PDP and I am confident that you would see how events would unfold in the 2015 elections. Don’t forget that not too long ago, the PDP was controlling the West except Lagos State. It was due to change of events and we lost out. But today we are retracing out steps, and, come to think of it, who owns the West more than the PDP when we have major stakeholders including the former president of the country from the South West?
If the feat can be repeated in Osun election
We are very hopeful. The hope is that, one, the president has guaranteed one man one vote, and two, we have confidence that Osun people would see that PDP has done well nationally and that the PDP has also done well in Ekiti and they have seen the trend. So if nothing fundamentally goes wrong we are quite hopeful that we would win in Osun.
On his political ambition
Well, I am still consulting but I have already expressed my intent to be a contender in the 2015 governorship election in Adamawa State. I have shown interest, I am broadening my consultation and negotiation and also building my vision and aspirations for the state.