By Emma Ujah & Henry Umoru
The battle to impeach Gov. Murtala Nyako of Adamawa reached a crescendo last week with the state legislature and the governor playing hide-and-seek over the service of the Impeachment Notice.
In this interview, Dr. Umar Ardo, a former governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and one of the major opposition figures says that no one can save the governor from the impeachment, insisting that Nyako is as good as gone.
What is your take on the current battle to impeach Gov. Murtala Nyako?
Most people in Adamawa are desirous of regime change. Given the way the governor led the state for the past seven years, the people of the state are uncomfortable because he has virtually brought the state to its knees- politically, economically, in terms of infrastructure and security-wise. He has destroyed constitutionalism. Rule of law and election process in the state.
Since the governor came to power, there have not been elections in the state, whether internal elections within the party, either to elect the party executives or local government elections for councilors and chairmen. So all these things collectively destroyed the democratic base of the state and these made the people of Adamawa State incapable of using their God-given talents to carter for themselves.
You said that there have been no elections in the state since the governor came to office but not long, there were party ward congresses where officials of the party at that level were elected?
But you heard the troubles that came up- virtually APC is dead because they did not conduct the party’s congresses according to the party’s guidelines.
I am not a member of the APC but it made members like Gen. Buba Marwa and a lot of that party’s leaders to abandon that party and to return to the PDP. That shows that Murtala Nyako does not respect the wishes of the people in any kind of election in the state.
Do you know that the chairmen and councilors in Adamawa State were sworn-in around 6.30 in the morning? That was because the governor knew that waiting for them to be sworn-in at 8 or, 9 or 10 in the morning would have been impossible as people were ready to obtain court injunction to stop him from swearing them in because there were issues.
What were the issues?
The issues were that he did not conduct local government primaries at all. The governor just sat down with the so-called party excos, drew up a list of local government chairmen and councilors and gave it to the state SIEC.
Gov Nyako has less than a year to end his second term. What is so urgent that he must be impeached now?
Nayko is as good as gone. I have read stories that APC governors or some people are trying to help Nyako. I don’t see how. The moment the stakeholders of Adamawa take a position on any matter, it sails through.
When we the stakeholders took a decision on the Kugama exco, didn’t Governors’ Forum come to the state? Did it help him? It did not help him. It is the same thing now. No matter how external forces try to influence it, nobody can influence this issue.
So can you address this issue of about, why can’t you wait for the next eleven months?
You see, eleven months is a date too far. Any person that is of good standing would not want to have a regime that destroys his society. The Nyako regime in Adamawa has destroyed the state. And no people would want to keep such a regime, a day longer. And that is why we want Nyako to go immediately.
There are also other benefits that people would get because if we remove Nyako and his deputy from office, constitutionally, the speaker takes over and then election would be conducted in three months.
This election would be important in two aspects. One, it would determine who is the strong party in Adamawa State. PDP would bring his candidate, APC would bring its candidate, and we go to election. Then secondly, if we conduct free, fair, transparent and credible election in Adamawa State within three months, it would then remove the notion that elections would be impossible in the north east zone because of the insurgency.
I think we have to remove Nyako at the earliest possible date. Not just to get these things done but also to halt the chaos that he has thrown the state into.
What is the confidence that you have that the House of Assembly can actually remove him?
Most definitely. If you understand the politics of Adamawa, the role we have played in the past in the state, Nyako is as good as gone. I have been reading in the papers where they are saying that APC governors or APC members are going to help to save him, I can’t see how.
No matter how he mobilizes external forces, to try to influence it, nobody can influence Adamawa. The moment we sit down and take a decision on that, Nyako is as good as gone. We are very patient, we we’re patriotic in the hope that there would be a change.
How is his regime handling the issue of the security of Adamawa state?
From day one when they declared the state of emergency in Adamawa State, personally I objected to it. I objected to it because after reading section 305 of the constitution, I realised that Adamawa State did not qualify to have an emergency rule because we did not meet one of the seven conditions for emergency rule.
And Nyako threatened that he would go to court knowing that they were going to stop his state allocation. But immediately the House of Representatives blocked removal of the allocation to the affected states, Nyako not only refused to go to court at least to ask the Supreme Court to determine these issues whether the President really has power to put state of emergency in any state of the federation, if these seven conditions are not met. Instead, Nyako went hobnobbing with the Speaker who blocked the removal of the subvention and then invited him to Yola where he named a street that was not there after him.
Is there any way that the administration has fueled the insecurity in the state?
In Adamawa state, we have a minimum of 27 different ethnic groups and when you play one group against the other, when you play one faith against the other, the marginal outcome would be social tension. And social tension would come and cause insecurity in so many varied ways. So this policy of playing one against the other in its self is responsible for the tension and probably has aggravated the violence in that state. Other than that I did not see any other way. But that is how I feel.
And when people are hungry, when there is nothing to do, when there are no jobs, when children don’t go to school and they say that the idle mind is the workshop of the devil. Our people are idle. Everybody is idle. How can you have peace when you are hungry? You are idle, you are hungry and you expect peace, no. Nyako did not provide the environment for our people to be productive and to be busy and to have something for themselves.