Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Former Governor Jibrilla Umaru Bindow
By Ibrahim Aliyu
The 2023 elections seem far off but political pundits across the country are already making permutations on the possible outcome of the election that is about two years away.
It is a tradition that political parties hold their primary elections to elect whoever will fly the party’s flag at various levels before the general election.
Most political analysts say it is the most critical stage in the survival of any political party. In Nigeria, most of the crisis witnessed by political parties is due largely to the lack of entrenchment of internal democracy. The Adamawa APC witnessed a serious intraparty crisis in 2019 as a result of dissatisfaction by its members with the way former Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow emerged as the flag bearer of the party. This led to legal battles, massive anti-party activities by its members, and subsequently loss of control of the state to the opposition PDP.
Big players in the party like the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr.Babachir David Lawan, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Senator Abdulaziz Nyako, Halilu Modi, Engr. Markus Gundiri and so many other influential members of the party were actually not happy with the way and manner the party primaries were conducted.
The infighting in the APC did not only cost them the governorship seat but two senatorial seats and five House of Representatives seats as well.
Although the 2023 elections is still far, the APC in Adamawa appears to be making efforts to put its house in order as they strategize to take back power from the incumbent PDP government of Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri who appears to be losing its popularity and goodwill by the day.
This is evident by the recent defection of former Governor Bala James Ngillari, Senator Ishaku Abbo, two former House of Representatives members; Nwagubi Fons and Titsi Ganama among others.
This is not to mention the speculations going round that very soon some members of the state House of Assembly and indeed his cabinet members will defect to All Progressives Congress (APC).
Dr. Umar Ardo, a former governorship aspirant of the PDP has severally expressed his dissatisfaction with the leadership style of the Governor Ahmadu Umar Fintiri to the extent that he led a splinter group of the party known as the r-PDP. Today Adamawa PDP is factionalized with one group led by Tahir and the other by Dr Ardo.
While the opposition APC is putting its house in order and loading its arsenals ahead of the 2023 elections, several party bigwigs have started indicating interests openly or secretly to run for the office of the Governor of Adamawa state.
Among them is former Governor, Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow. Although he is one of those who has not publicly made his intentions known, it is, however, clear from his activities since his return to the state for the first time since he lost power to the PDP-led government that he is actually working to get back his office. While some of his supporters are indeed happy with the steps he has taken to reclaim his office, they are indeed sad with his utterances in respect to Governor Fintiri led government. The former governor did not speak like an opposition leader rather a senior member of Fintiri’s government.
For instance, during his first visit to the party secretariat after about two years since he lost power, Bindow asked party members not to criticize or attempt to sabotage the Fintiri-led government.
“Adamawa state Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is my younger brother, friend, and confidant. I will not be a party to anything that will spoil or portray his government in bad light and I will not encourage anyone of you to do so. The Governor is doing his best and needs the support of all citizens to succeed.”
These statements were not taken lightly by the APC leadership during the meeting. The party chairman Alhaji Ibrahim Bilal had in his response assured the former Governor they will not cease to criticize the PDP-led government because that is the role of the opposition in every democratic setting.
Bindow’s statements according to some party members are in a way giving credence to the allegation that he is planning to team up with Governor Fintiri to defect to the PDP to run for the northern zone senatorial seat which he once occupied in 2011.
Analysts are worried as to why an opposition leader who just lost power to the incumbent drum support for the same person who took power from him? It has become clear according to some members that handing over the APC governorship ticket to Bindow is like adopting Fintiri for a second term in office. For APC to succeed in 2023 they need somebody that can challenge Fintiri with all seriousness.
With the return of Senator Abdulaziz Nyako to the party, and his subsequent alliance with former governor Bindow not minding what transpired in 2019, many thought the party will wax stronger but the utterances of Bindow Jibrilla on Fintiri has weaken a lot of APC members and in particular his supporters.
If Dr. Ardo who is from the PDP and Senator Abbo who just defected to the APC will be firing salvos at the incumbent Governor, one would only wonder why the opposition is instead calling for support for the same government who accused him of not building a single classroom while in government for four years.
Abbo had severally accused Fintiri of enriching himself and abandoning party loyalists who struggled to get him to power.
The senator in an interview in 2019 published in tribuneonlineng.com said,
“as a result of Fintiri’s pettiness and dictatorship in governance and party affairs in the state, PDP is not only in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but on life support machine struggling for survival. The Governor is running the party like a gangster and I will never eat on the same table with dictators”.
Abbo said his exit from the PDP was as a result of the mismanagement of the party’s Adamawa state chapter by the state Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri who he accused of causing an internal crisis.
While delivering his address when he and others were received by the APC at the Adamawa state party secretariat, the senator reiterated that he is not desperate about power.
“We are not desperate about power, but we are desperate about one thing, which is removing that thief (referring to Fintiri). We have come together to take over power from this kleptomaniac government of the PDP. We knew what Fintiri did in power when he was acting Governor for just 76 days in office, he nearly sold government house and the records are there with the EFCC. The situation now is that a thief was caught in a house, taken to court, and returned to the same house to be in charge. That is our unfortunate situation in Adamawa state,”
senator Abbo said.
If people who were in the same party with the Governor and from the same zone will point out defects in the present administration and also leave the ruling party in the state to the opposition APC, one would only but wonder why Bindow, a former Governor who Fintiri snatched power from will want to play soft on the government. If Bindow continues with this attitude, it will be better for APC to adopt Fintiri as its candidate.
This surely gives rise to a fundamental question bugging the minds of many, is Bindow having a tryst with Fintiri?
Ibrahim Aliyu is a public affairs commentator and he writes from Mubi.