BY GBENGA OKE
Since its was carved out of the old Gongola State in 1991 by the General Ibrahim Badamsi Babangida military regime, Adamawa State has had 10 men, both military and civilian, controlling the levers of power, who played crucial roles in transforming the state into what it is today.
Abubakar Salihu (Military)
Group Captain Abubakar Salihu, now a retired Nigerian Air Force Commodore, was appointed Military Governor of Gongola State in December 1989 by Babangida. After the state was split on August 27, 1991 into Adamawa and Taraba states, he continued as governor of Adamawa State until January 1992.
During his tenure, Salihu, in 1991, established the Adamawa State Polytechnic by merging the College of Preliminary Studies Yola and the Staff Development Institute Numan. After retiring as an Air Commodore, Salihu remained influential in politics. In December 2009, he was among northern leaders resisting the transfer of power to Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan during the incapacity of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
However, during his reign, the state suffered severe financial constraints. Judges were forced to use ordinary papers, loose sheets and exercise books to write judgments.
Abubakar Saleh Michika (Civillian)
Abubakar Saleh Michika was the first civilian governor of Adamawa State. he served from January 2 1992 to November 17, 1993. He was a member of the then National Republican Convention (NRC). Born in Michika, headquarters of Michika Local Council, Michika caused a stir when he said in 1992 that he would be willing to relocate to Niger Republic if there were a military coup in the country. And 14 years later, he made a controversial statement that the solution to the problems of corruption and misrule in the country was diarchy, a mixture of military and civilian personalities, with a military head of state.
A pragmatist, before the 1993 elections, he refused to meet Bashir Tofa, the presidential candidate of his NRC, but was helpful when late Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the candidate of the rival Social Democratic Party (SDP) came to his state. However in July 1993, after the Ibrahim Babangida administration had annulled Abiola’s presidential election, he said “Much as I personally admired Moshood Abiola as an individual, the idea of a southern president was unrealistic”.
Gregory Agboneni (Military)
Air Vice Marshal Gregory Agboneni was a soldier and fighter pilot for the Nigerian Airforce. He was Military Administrator of Adamawa State and later Cross River State between December 1993 and September1994 during the military regime of late General Sani Abacha.
Mustapha Ismail (Military)
Police Commissioner Mustapha Ismail was Military Administrator of Adamawa State between September 14, 1994 to August 1996 under Abacha. In January 1995, he opened the 16th General Assembly of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) in Yola, the Adamawa State Capital, asking the delegates to help build a nation with hope, pride, unity and peaceful co-existence for present and future generations.
Joe Kalu Igboama (Military)
Joe A. Kalu-Igboama was Military Administrator of the state between August 1996 and August 1998 during the military regime of General Sani Abacha.
Ahmadu G Hussaini (Military)
Lt-Colonel Ahmadu G. Hussaini ruled Adamawa between August 1998 and May 1999 during the transitional regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
He handed over to the elected civilian governor, Boni Haruna, at the start of the Fourth Republic. He was required to retire with all previous military administrators in June 1999 when President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed power..
Boni Haruna (Civilian)
Initially, Boni Haruna, a Christian was elected as deputy governor. He was to deputise for the Governor-elect, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. However, Atiku was later nominated as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidate and along with Obasanjo won the race for Aso Rock. Consequently, Haruna was elevated and sworn-in as governor. He was to be re-elected in 2003 and his tenure elapsed in 2007.
In March 2006, Boni Haruna sided his mentor, Atiku and spoke against a third term for President Obasanjo, saying most of the pro-third term governors were supporting it because they had something to hide. He repeated his opposition during an April 2006 meeting of 20 state governors.
In September 2006, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said that Boni Haruna was among 31 state governors under investigation by the commission.
Shortly before the April 2007 national elections, Haruna switched allegiance to the newly formed Action Congress (AC), which picked Atiku as its presidential flagbearer. Howvere, in April 2009, Haruna said that he was dropping support for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar due to Atiku’s failure to listen to the advice of his associates.
Murtala Nyako (Civilian)
Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) took over from Haruna in May 2007. Prior to then, he had served as military governor of Niger State and was appointed Chief of Naval Staff in December 1989. Nyako entered full-blown politics in 2006.
In February 2008, the Election Petition Appeal Tribunal upheld nullification of his election, and the House Speaker James Barka was sworn in as Acting Governor on 26 February 2008. A fresh election was conducted and Nyako won. He was re-sworn-in on April 29, 2008.
Soon after, the House initiated moves to impeach Nyako, but was prevented by the personal intervention of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The relationship was to improve and in March 2010 the Adamawa State House of Assembly passed a vote of confidence on Governor Nyako describing him as a “messiah” to the people of the state.
With positive judgments from the High Court and Court of Appeal extending his tenure beyond May 29, 2011 in view of his re-run election, Nyako was served a soured soup by the Supreme Court, which last week sacked him from office, ruling that his tenure should have expired in May 2011. Nyako is seeking a second term in office under the PDP and is a major candidate in tomorrow’s election. Democratic Party.
James Shaibu Barka (Acting Governor)
When Nyako’s election was first nullified in February 2008, James Shaibu Barka, the then Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly became the Acting Governor. Barka immediately sacked all of Nyako’s appointees including commissioners, committee chairmen, area administrators, special advisers and assistants. Barka handed over to Nyako on April 29 2008 after the re-run polls
In March 2010 the House of Assembly passed a law to award Barka a lifetime pension for his service as governor. The law was disputed as being unconstitutional.
Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Acting Governor)
Umaru Fintiri became Adamawa’s state acting Governor last week following the Supreme Court’s judgement that sacked Nyako on the ground that his tenure elapsed last May.