By Charles Kumolu
S voters in Adamawa State go the polls today to elect its next executive governor, all eyes are on candidates of various political parties and their chances. But beyond this, the influence of some powerful politicians within and outside the state, would determine how the contest would be won and lost.

Face of Adamawa politics

NOTHING   has changed about how political contests are held since its 1991 creation from the old Gongola State.

The twin issues of religion and ethnicity have continued to play dominant roles in Adamawa politics. Hence ethno-religious  antagonism has become a norm in choosing who represents the state at all levels of government. For this reason, political heavy weights have often  engaged in politics of personality conflict.

The 1991 gubernatorial primaries of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, presented a vivid picture of Adamawa politics. That contest between former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr Bala Takaya was a deadlock, because of alleged irregularities. And it consequently led to a ban on the governorship aspirants.

Like then, Adamawa has continued to make screaming  political news. Producing the Vice president in 1999 made the state  more prominent in the polity.

Similarly,  the many survival battles of former governor, Boni Haruna from 1999 to 2007, also increased the state’s history of political intrigues. Suffering the alleged Abuja instigated storm could be described as a landmark in Haruna’s political career.

Aside gripping the attention of Nigerians, the Obasanjo/Atiku feud, no doubt, fueled the political crisis in the state.

It was a feud that pitched loyalists of then president and his deputy against one another in the state. Sides were taken by indigines of the state as regards who to support while the crisis lasted.

And it consequently led to the emergence of Murtala Nyako as the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the state. This was in 2007.

Nyako’s emergence, it would be recalled, was the peak of the Obasanjo/Atiku war of attrition, given that his emergence was achieved through the disqualification of most aspirants in what many described as trivial grounds.

The fallouts of that 2007 primaries, have continued to trail events in Adamawa. Little wonder, the administration of Nyako witnessed antagonism between the executive and prominent Adamawa bigwigs.

Even though, some party elders closed rank to ensure that Nyako emerged at the October 2011 primaries, the age-long supremacy battle between the governor and some senior politicians in the state, is still expected to be a factor in today’s exercise.

Therefore, as  the electorates file out to vote for the 8th executive governor of the state today, it is expected that beyond the frontline candidates, some unseen forces are poised to determine where the pendulum swings to.

Powers behind victory  a nd defeat Jubril Aminu

Professor Jubril Aminu, is among those, whose personality would determine today’s election.

During the first coming of Nyako as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the duo of Professor Jubril Aminu and former military administrator of Lagos state, General Buba Marwa (rtd), remarkably supported the retired Naval officer against the wishes of many party members.  Presently, the duo are no longer disposed to Nyako’s candidacy.

While Marwa is the main challenger in today’s contest, Aminu is generally known to be a non  fan of the former governor.

Jubril Aminu

Even though the political feud between Nyako and Aminu, may have existed before the 2011 general elections, observers, have identified Aminu’s failure to return to the Senate, as the handi work of Nyako.

With a political arrangement that gave the executive enormous powers over  election of delegates to state congresses, Nyako was reported to have decided Aminu’s fate, thereby thwarting his return to the senate.

Under this, Sen Aminu was schemed out and subsequently withdrew from the Senatorial race, having been replaced by Nyako’s protege, Bello Tukur.

In a similar manner, the state government allegedly blocked  moves by Aminu to become the PDP National Chairman, claiming that he failed to work for the PDP during the last general elections in the state.

Ever since, the relationship between the duo, has reportedly been  frosty.

Unlike others, which may not exist in the public domain, the Nyako/Aminu cold war, is a common knowledge.

For instance, the former Petroleum Minister, had at a public function in the state, declared thus:  “As a Muslim, you do not destroy a house you have built, and I built this house, but I regret to say, that the house, is no longer a house.”

With this kind of situation, it would not be out of contest for Aminu, whose  influence extends beyond Adamawa Central Senatorial, to work against Nyako’s victory.

Bamanga Tukur

For the one time governor of old Gongola State, the emergence of Nyako in Adamawa political manipulations in 2006, has in different ways affected Tukur’s political aspirations.

First was the emergence of candidate Nyako in 2007 ahead other candidates, which included Tukur’s son, Auwal Bamanga Tukur.

Bamanga Tukur

The second and perhaps the latest among Nyako’s perceived many sin, is the immediate past governor’s stance on the PDP chairmanship aspiration of Tukur.

Like Aminu, Tukur is among the three Adamawa, aspirants, whom the state government does not want to emerge as PDP national chairman.

Little wonder the trio of Tukur, Nyako and Adamu, were absent at the state PDP rally.

Naturally, this situation is enough to pitch the trio against themselves, but indications have emerged that Tukur had buried the hatchet. Hence, he would work for Nyako’s victory.

Already, watchers of political events in the state, have identified the Bamanga/Atiku  camp as, one group  that would make or mar the elections.

Atiku Abubakar

“I will enthusiastically work for the re-election campaign bid of Governor Murtal Nyako of Adamawa State in the forthcoming gubernatorial election, Our common interest to transform the PDP and re-mould it according to the ideals and objective for which it was formed in 1998 transcends personals interests.”

It was on this note that Atiku declared that he would work for the reelection of Nyako.

The latest romance between the former Vice President and Nyako, has been described as a better interpretation  of the age-long quote  that “there are no permanent enemies in politics, but permanent interest.”

Until the recent reconciliation, the former Vice President and ex-governor belonged to two opposing camps.  But his newfound romance with  Nyako is believed to be a major boost for the Adamawa State PDP chapter, which has been torn apart by divided loyalties to different actors.

Ahead today’s exercise, the former VP had directed his teeming supporters  spread across all political parties in the state to work for Nyako’s victory. He followed up this directive up by physically being present at the launch of Nyako’s campaign in Yola.

In addition, Atiku reportedly instructed  that the Labour Party, which he formed and nurtured to cease to exist.

Atiku affirmed that the collapse of the political structure of the Labour party in support of the ruling party signals the death of opposition in the state.

AHMADU Umaru Fintiri

Ahmadu Fintiri, is one man whose influence will dwarf other competing interests in deciding, who becomes the governor.  A better knowledge of the role of incumbents in the emergence of public office holders, speak volume about Fintiri as a factor in today’s exercise.

Formerly, at a disadvantaged position following the crisis that rocked the state House of Assembly. Fintiri  was the Speaker of the State House of Assembly until January 26, 2012 when he assumed his current position following the Supreme Court judgment that sacked five governors across the country.

Before his emergence  as speaker, he was the Majority Leader of the 25-member Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – dominated House with Hon Sadiq Ibrahim as the Speaker. Ibrahim and his former Deputy, Mrs. Wale Fwa, the only legislator to have held that position in the history of the House, were impeached for alleged incompetence leading to the emergence of Fintiri and Kamoti La’ore as speaker and deputy speaker respectively.

Olusegun Obasanjo

Even in the absence of federal might, Chief Obasanjo is still seen as a factor in some state chapters of the PDP. And Adamawa is no exception, given that he is a known admire of Nyako, who served in the military with him.

In fact, Adamawa, was reputed to be the state with many cases of federal interference, during the eight-year tenure of Obasanjo. This is why Nyako’s emergence at the behest of the former President, was

no surprise to many.

Olusegun Obasanjo

In a manner reminiscent of his support for Nyako in 2007, the former President recently led party chieftain to the PDP rally in Yola.

Accordingly, Obasanjo told voters that PDP had been at the helm of affairs in Adamawa State since 1999, adding that the party would do everything possible to triumph in the January 14 election.

He also thanked Adamawa indigines  for voting PDP both at the presidential and the National Assembly elections last year, he, however, urged them to repeat the feat by supporting Nyako today. Therefore, the presence of Obasanjo at the Adamawa rally, has been   described a major boost to the party’s chances.


Northern governors

Like  the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, the Northern Governors Forum, is known to be an influential   umbrella of governors from the 19 northern states.

Known  for its display of comradice any time a fellow governor is at the crossroad, the influence of NGF would directly and indirectly loom large in today’s polls.

Any candidate this powerful political pressure group throws its weight for, is positioned to emerge victorious.

Many are not in a hurry to forget how the Northern governors, reportedly prevailed on the presidency to support the candidacy of Aliyu Magatakada Wammako during the Sokoto PDP primaries.

In the heat of the Sokoto PDP crisis, it was reported that the governors had reminded President Goodluck Jonathan about the pact they had before the 2007 general elections.

The agreement had bordered on automatic second term ticket for all the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It was learnt that the Northern governors were also worried about the security implications of dropping Wamakko at a time the North had been held hostage by Boko Haram sect.

With this scenario fresh in mind, the support of the governors would be pivotal in today’s election.


Gen Mohammadu Buhari

Gen Buba Marwa (rtd) is governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in Adamawa  but Buhari’s name is also as loud as Marwas’ in the state. Reason: Buhari personifies everything CPC.


Therefore, the former Head of State is one of the unseen hands, who would contribute to how the elections would be won and lost. Buhari had during the flag off campaign for Marwa, urged  the electorate to emulate the people of Nasarawa in ensuring CPC’s victory.

He described Marwa as a tested and responsible person that could be trusted to deliver if elected as governor of Adamawa in today’s polls.


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