Nyako: A messy story

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The removal of Admiral Murtala Nyako as governor of Adamawa State was a prediction long foretold. But why he walked straight into the booby trap is a wonder

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

The atmosphere in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, hours after Admiral Murtala Nyako was removed as governor of the state on Tuesday was largely serene. Citizens went about their businesses largely unconcerned with the political asphyxiation of the state’s former number one citizen.

ADAMAWA—Acting Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Justice Ambrose Mammadi (L), administering Oath of Office on the  Acting Governor of the state, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru, at the Government House in Yola after impeachment of Nyako yesterday.

ADAMAWA—Acting Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Justice Ambrose Mammadi (L), administering Oath of Office on the Acting Governor of the state, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru, at the Government House in Yola after impeachment of Nyako yesterday.

The indifference was largely reflective of the feeling of detachment with which the former governor related with a large section of the citizenry. Nyako in the estimation of some was largely devoted to himself and his family with the appointment of friends and family in strategic positions in government.

Remarkably, family cronyism was one of the charges leveled against the former governor by the State House of Assembly.
When his political pangs came in the last few weeks it was as such remarkable that Nyako had very few associates to call up.

One person he rushed to was Atiku Abubakar, the former vice-president of the country, a man with whom he had maintained an on-again-off-again political relationship. Even when he was squeezed of cash by the federal authorities, Atiku was said to have rejected pleas for cash from the Nyako camp, allegedly after reports emanated that previous assistance from some All Progressives Congress, APC governors was not appropriately deployed to the correct judicial channel it was meant to help assuage.

Atiku had become perhaps the only high profile citizen from the state who identified with the former governor. It was also partly in Atiku’s interest to sustain Nyako, if not, for the benefit of protecting the former vice-president’s backyard ahead of the 2015 presidential contest. It was remarkable that Atiku was the only major political office holder from the state to have condemned the impeachment.

Difficult political options
With the loss of Nyako, nay, Adamawa by the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku would have difficult political options ahead of him in securing his home base.

Another person Nyako sought to make peace with in the state was his embattled deputy, Bala Ngilari to whom he apparently rushed to for an emergency political détente after months of political hostility between the two. Ngilari had refused to follow Nyako to the APC when the former governor decamped to the opposition party and by that, widened the political chasm between the two men.

Though Ngilari was served with the impeachment notice, sources in the state say that the notice on Ngilari was only a decoy to deceive Nyako as it had been negotiated with the original authors of the plot that Ngilari would resign at the last minute.

“Why do you think that his resignation letter appeared at the last minute and it was immediately accepted, while Nyako was not given the same opportunity,” a source privy to the development said.

Religious balance
The basis for Ngilari’s resignation, it was learnt, was to maintain the delicate religious balance between the Christian and Muslim populations in the state which are almost equally divided. By resigning, Ngilari, a Christian and former member of the House of Representatives allowed the speaker of the House, Umaru Fintiri, a Moslem to emerge as acting governor of the state.

The Peoples Democratic Party, it was learnt would also work to ensure that a Moslem emerges as the substantive governor in the emergency election due after three months following which it would be the turn of a Christian to get a fresh four year term.

Remarkably, last week, Nyako almost contemplated resigning, but fourth columnists around him, especially those who wanted to punish his past acts of political indiscretion wanted to rubbish him totally and persuaded him not resign. So, Nyako soldiered on, even eating his words on President Goodluck Jonathan who he had contemptuously dismissed only a few months ago.

While Nyako was persuaded not to resign, his deputy’s resignation letter was kept in safe custody in the Assembly complex.

Aloofness
But as the people of the state carried about their activities with scant regard for the fortunes of their former governor, some attributed his woes to aloofness.

”I sent him a couple of text messages warning him to reverse some of his actions and to stop the concentration of power within his family,” a former political associate of the former governor told Vanguard on Tuesday hours after the State House of Assembly voted to remove him from office upon his indictment by the seven man investigative panel of enquiry constituted by the immediate past chief judge of the state, Justice Ambrose Mammadi who retired from the judiciary a week ago.

Justice Mammadi it seemed for days was reluctant to constitute the panel as required by the constitution, but at the last minute, just days before he retired from the judiciary, he constituted a seven man panel to investigate Nyako and his deputy, Mr. Bala Ngilari of the multiple allegations leveled against them in the impeachment notice raised by the House of Assembly.

Nyako’s downfall many observers note, is reflective of his bad politics. After his emergence as PDP gubernatorial candidate in 2007 he wasted the immense political goodwill bequeathed from Senator Jibril Aminu and other patrons who invested him with power with unnecessary bickering. By the time he went for re-election in 2011, he was virtually on his own, as he had quarreled with virtually all his political patrons. Atiku was the only exception.

Though he almost single handedly had a say in the election of all 25 members of the House of Assembly, it was reflective of his bad politicking that by the time he crossed over to the All Progressives Congress, APC that not one of them went with him. Not even his deputy, Ngilari. So when push came to shove he was virtually on his own in the widened conspiracy against him.

Nyako’s Political Pathway

* Nyako was a member of Gen. Buhari’s ruling junta
* He was also a member of Gen. Babangida’s junta
* He returned to public service and  was elected governor in 2007 with the support of Senator Jibril Aminu.
* Not long after he came to office he became isolated from Senator Aminu and all those who backed him
* Strongly supported President Jonathan in the 2011 PDP primaries against homeboy Atiku Abubakar
*Defected to the APC in November 2013 upon issues he had with former party boss, Bamanga Tukur

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