Adamawa State: Let the Games Begin

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By; Babayola Toungo.

There has been a great deal of discussion of late about the “re-defection” of Nuhu Ribadu and Marcus Gundiri back to the All progressive Congress (APC) fold.  The cacophony of voices and the amount of bile generated is enough to drown a walrus.  It is causing the APC boat to list and my prayer is that this would not cause the boat to capsize.  It is exactly these same issues that caused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boat to go under, which of course the APC profited from.  At least in Adamawa State.

A year ago, the people of the state entrusted the APC with the governance of the state and by extension their destiny, despite the presence of “heavyweights” in other parties – Nuhu Ribadu in PDP, Gundiri in SDP and Ahmed Modibbo in the PDM.  The trust reposed on the party and its gubernatorial candidate is an extraordinary responsibility that most of our politicians don’t appreciate.  This piece is not about condemning or condoning anybody or any person’s acts of commission or omissions but only a contribution to the debate on the motives of our politicians in moving from one boat to another without compunction.

It is no news that the PDP boat has long capsized.  This may be attributed to its baggage of impunity, haughtiness, immorality and other unwanted gear it loaded from all the ports it passed along in its sixteen years of kleptocratic governance.

The PDP, which continuously ruled Adamawa State between 1999 to 2015 hasn’t experienced smooth sail since 2005 when the fight between Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar kicked off.  The electorate swept aside the PDP in 2015 and voted in the APC.  In my estimation, the PDP in Adamawa State simply morphed into the APC, with all its baggage, and now the chickens appear to be coming home to roost.

The “re-defection” of Ribadu to the APC appeared to have ruffled some unsettled feathers in the state because some local politicians, who have been calling the shorts and flexing their local political muscles, in the state believe they will lose their relevance once the more urbane, cosmopolitan Ribadu and the other defectors get settled in. The noises coming out of Yola is akin to punching the panic button or waving a red flag at a mad bull.  Let’s look at the whole brouhaha and try to interrogate the reasons behind the frothing in the mouth by government officials.

Nuhu Ribadu and Marcus Gundiri along with some of their supporters decamped from the PDP and the SDP respectively ‘back’ to the APC last week.  This should not be motive enough for all the spilling of blood we are witnessing.  The unstated reasons may not be unconnected with the control of the party by the various camps trying to position themselves for 2019.  Many people believe Nyako is trying to reinvent himself through Ribadu while BD Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, is trying to get a foothold, which he now lacks, through Gundiri.  Those who are jittery can be found in the Atiku camp, which hitherto have been enjoying total control of the APC in the state with unqualified support from most of the citizens, whose choices have been narrowed.  To someone like Atiku, the control of the party and government in Adamawa state is his main political life support since his sacking from Abuja by Bola Tinubu.

The Atiku crowd may flatter itself in believing that no one will wrestle control of the party because they are in control of government machinery.  They should ask Goodluck Jonathan how ineffectual that could be.  The haste in punching the panic button by top government operatives the moment it became apparent that Ribadu and Gundiri are ‘re-defecting’ is indicative of the insecurity of those pulling the levers of governance in the state.  Any government worth its name will gladly welcome the duo into its fold – as a matter of fact go out of its ways to woo them.  I am at a lost as to what the group is scared of.

Nuhu Ribadu may be a brand name in the fight of corruption in Nigeria, but that brand has lost its lustre long ago when he chose to associate his name with those he accused of being monumentally corrupt and inept in the past.  For him to be relevant again, he must prove he is a reborn Ribadu of days gone by, when his name struck fear in the hearts of thieves.  He still has three years to do so. But then those associated with his re-entry into APC are still before the courts to clear their names on allegations bordering on what he fought against as a policeman.  He will be well advised to avoid repeating his 2015 faux par.

As to Marcus Gundiri and his alleged sponsor, the SGF, the jury is still out. Gundiri has been a constant occurrence on Adamawa political landscape but easily fades away immediately elections are held.  We have seen this same pattern of politicking with both the late Wilson Sabiya and Dr. Bala Takaya.  The moment elections are over they vanish into thin air only to resurface when the bell is tolled for polls.  The stress of playing opposition politics, which may keep the government on its toes, is not for them; ideologies and manifestoes are something for “lesser” politicians who don’t have a pool of votes. I hope they do not intend to play such politics that was their wont in the past because the days of such archaic thinking are long gone.  Though the SGF have been active in politics at the national level, he is barely known politically in Adamawa State and this may be his opportunity to make him known.

The PDP listed and capsize because we reached a stage in our political development that Nigerians began to believe that getting the party’s ticket for any elective office is sine quo non for winning any office; many believed that the party was “undefeatable” and “indestructible”. Many people joined the party in droves for fear of being left out of the “loop”.  The weight of those who were running to the umbrella coupled with its hated culture capsized the boat.

I am afraid the APC is listing now, particularly in Adamawa State where everybody wants to sit on the starboard while the stern is empty at the moment.  The first shots of 2019 have been fired.  We have a three year marathon competition ahead of us.  We will see who are the long distance runners and who are merely 100 metres dash specialists.

Just my thoughts, anyway.

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