Gundiri bows to Aisha’s sibling
The saying that it never rains but it pours holds true for the embattled governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow. And the governor does not need the services of soothsayers to tell him that his second term ticket on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is fast disappearing into a stormy political weather.
Recent political developments within and outside the state show that a semblance of political snare has been laid to trap the governor, whether by design or accident. But Bindow seems to have given occasion to some of these dangerous schemes by himself, when he initiated political battles against those well-heeled in the art of political turf wars, especially a group he called “ Abuja politicians.”
Some observers say the governor appeared to be politically naive regarding the repercussions of his actions and his use of words at different forums against the enemies he contracted and then courted the deadly ‘Abuja Politicians’ to the list of his political enemies.
The governor labeled the so-called “Abuja politicians” as political terrorists out to destroy his administration at a time he said he was working hard to restore the lost glory of the state. He accused the group of making both financial and other demands that he cannot afford to honour.
While addressing his supporters around May 2017 the Government House, the governor said:”Adamawa money is not for sharing to Abuja politicians. I will not take one naira of the state and give it to anybody because I want his support.”
Return ticket in jeopardy
RECENTLY, the governor’s hope of picking the APC ticket for next year’s gubernatorial election suffered a setback. The national leadership of the party suspended the entire Adamawa State executive committee of the party that had, two weeks ago awarded him automatic ticket. The state executive was accused of committing numerous offences against the APC constitution.
Some of the infractions, which the national leadership considers punishable offences include total disrespect to the National Working Committee (NWC), use of impolite words against the party’s senior stakeholders, leaders and taking side with one aspirant to the detriment of other contestants. To further compound Bindow’s political troubles, his formidable rivals are busy oiling their machinery to swoop on him ahead of Saturday APC governorship primaries. Part of the plot against Bindow is to unleash the younger brother to the wife of President Muhammadu Buahri, Alhaji Mahmood Halilu Ahmed.
In a bid to perfect that ambush, one frontline aspirant, Mr. Markus Gundiri, was asked to step down. Gundiri stepped down from further contest and immediately declared total support for Buhari’s brother-in-law, Ahmed.Without doubt, eminent APC stakeholders in Adamawa are bent on removing the governor from office to ensure the return of what they say is good governance in the state through prompt payment of workers’ salaries and provision of people-oriented projects.
Last Monday at Bindow’s hometown, APC chairman in Mubi- North Local Government area, Alhaji Usman Seriki Mudu, abandoned the governor and declared his support for Buhari’s in-law. Mudu, who spoke at a rally in Mubi, said he had lost hope in the present government under Bindow’s leadership and appealed to the electorate in the entire northern zone to back the candidature of Ahmed.
The leader of Buhari’s group and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal, while speaking at a ceremony marking the stepping down of Gundiri in Kwambla, Hong Local Government area, regretted that APC under Bindow has been turned into a religious tool to discriminate against other indigenes on the basis of their religious faith.
According to him, “I don’t want to go on self-exile. Bindow’s return will mean majority of Adamawa people will go on exile because I cannot be in Nigeria to witness the gradual killing of my people by a man that lacks everything a normal leader should posses. We will never again have someone like Bindow as Adamawa governor.”
Many eminent APC stakeholders were in Kwambla in their numbers to witness what some of the speakers at the occasion called “operation Bindow must go,” as all the structures of Gundiri were handed over to Ahmed to enhance Bindow’s defeat at the primaries.
Kwambla has turned out as the new Adamawa APC’s village shrine, as contestants converge on it to get Lawal’s blessing. Speaking at the former SGF’s country home, Gundiri said he took the decision to support Ahmed in the interest of the people of the state. He said it was a sacrifice to ensure that Bindow did not return so that Adamawa workers and other people might regain their dignity by getting the dues of their hard labour.
Even the former chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, is said to be reconsidering his governorship ambition in deference to Aisha’s brother’s gubernatorial ambition. The former deputy governor to Mr. Boni Haruna, Senator Bello Tukur, said the stepping down of Gundiri had ended the governor’s second term bid ahead of the primaries.
Tukur said: “This administration is a calamity to our people. Gundiri has pocketed his personal interest for the general interest of the people. We must take advantage of his elder statesman’s action to harvest the votes for our candidate.”Ahmed, who commended Gundiri and his supporters for putting aside his interest to ensure that the people are rescued from the claws of Bindow, said he would recover all the funds meant for the state, but which found their way into private pockets.
The president’s brother-in-law, Ahmed stated: “I know where all the funds that belong to Adamawa people are kept and I will recover all the money from the governor when I take over power from him next year. Workers should be patient when they elect me; their pending salaries will be paid without wasting time because I know where the money is kept.”
Perhaps, to fast-track the governor’s exit from the contest on the platform of APC, the national secretariat of the party has announced direct primaries for Adamawa State, a situation that has put the governor on edge days to the primaries. They believe Bindow is not popular because he has not fulfilled his electoral promises to the people of the state.
The governor’s political nightmare got worse last week as local government workers and former elected councilors, led by Mr. Moses Dili, reminded Bindow that the non-payment of their salaries and entitlements would only be paid after his exit since he told them last May the deputy governor’s office that he could sever his hands to pay them.
Governor Bindow, during his declaration speech two weeks ago which was boycotted by eminent APC stakeholders, said his three and a half years in office had not only been rough, but also turbulent. He accused his predecessor of leaving a backlog of salary arrears, which he claimed affected his performance.
“My predecessor, despite the huge federal allocation, refused to pay salaries.” he said.“I cleared seven months’ salaries arrears, but still at the local government level we are still battling with the issues, but I know it will be over in the next few months to come,” he said.
While pleading with APC stakeholders and the people of Adamawa State to vote him back for a second term, Bindow promised that he would acquiesce to their demands and also improve on his performance to meet the challenges of the people. He expressed optimism of his return in 2019 and enjoined his supporters to be law abiding and embrace peace as one of the major weapons for development in the state.
The big question, which only the governor can answer is, in the event that he fails to clinch APC governorship ticket, where would he take his second term ambition? Feelers in Yola point to the possibility of him picking the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Senate nomination form by proxy. Or would the next election mark the end of Governor Bindow’s political career? Answers to the last question would be known this weekend when Adamawa State APC members vote in the direct governorship primary election.