By Tom Garba, Yola
It’s time for pre-nomination campaigns and political activities have taken the centre stage in Adamawa, northeast Nigeria. The environment here is charged with aspirants having a field day crisscrossing the length and breadth of the state.
For the first time in this dispensation, I am witnessing a stellar constellation of gubernatorial aspirants who, in every sense of the word, qualify.
In All Progressives Congress (APC), there are heavyweights including a woman, who are jostling for the party’s ticket, with each hoping to win the primaries to face the incumbent People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
One cardinal truth to face though is the stark reality that PDP is the government in power and office. Therefore, APC must shop for the best among its best to win. The big question is, who can fit this bill?
A step or two back in time will reveal an ugly scenario that led to the loss of the gubernatorial seat in 2019. By then, APC had gone in disarray, polarised along primordial lines. This rocked the smooth sail of APC.
Comatose as the party was, one can still say all hope is not lost, considering the who’s who in the party…the big names in national politics are still in the party. The governorship aspirants are all credible, able, and fit to dislodge the PDP. But APC needs unity and sportsmanship to accomplish that task.
Among the good people aspiring to be the governor are young energetic men like Alhaji Ahmadu Hamman (Dan Maje Adamawa) who came from the blues earlier in 2021 and aroused the political tempo with good criticism of the present Adamawa government. The barely 37-year-old ingenious Adamawa son of the soil is a scion of the extended traditional ruling clan of the Fombina emirate is hope to the youth. He believes in the “not too young to run” agenda set by young Nigerians who believe it’s their time to participate in leadership.
Dan Maje is a business magnate with tentacles in diverse fields. Hamman is one of the many party faithful who desires quality leadership for the good people of Adamawa.
Abdullahi Ahmed Musa, an Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, graduate and highly experienced in clearing and forwarding agent also joined the lineup of wannabes. The man popularly known as Mr Speaker, an excellent orator, stormed the stage of Adamawa politics. With his replacement slogan, he claimed he saw beautiful glorious dawn on the state’s destiny; he vowed to change the economy of the state with a zero allocation policy. Mallam Ahmed who is into estate valuation has billboards and posters all over Adamawa State, preaching his replacement mission.
Umar Mustapha Madawaki (Otumba) is no doubt a man with letters, and experience in diverse fields. He was a teacher in high school and an oil and gas magnate. He is a household name in Adamawa politics.
Otumba is always in the news for good reasons. To change the government, which he believes, is shortchanging the masses with laudable projects that are needless because of the hidden agenda of syphoning public funds. He is a renowned critic of the PDP government under Rt Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. He once ran for the office of senator for Adamawa Central district.
Another governorship aspirant, Wafari Theman Dallatu, is a middle-aged ex-member of the Adamawa State House of Assembly. The reputed party loyalist is the RIFAN state coordinator after he has served APC as the secretary. Pharmacist Dallatu’s aspiration received a boost from the younger generation because of his youth inclusion strategy.
The former lawmaker who represented Hong is making waves, he is moving in grand style to get the APC ticket. This man was said to have an endorsement from a politician heavyweight linked to the Aso Rock Villa cabal who has vouched to anoint him a consensus candidate.
An Iron Lady in her own right, Engr Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani), has also thrown her heart in the ring. Binani had set and broken many records. She is the only female aspirant from the Adamawa Central Senatorial zone and is the heroine of the masses. She is a cousin to the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari.
Binani once represented the people of Yola South, Yola North and Girei at the House of Representatives. Her tenure was seen as a productive one with excellent representation. The heroine is the incumbent Senator representing the Adamawa Central district.
This woman has worked on sponsored many bills that became laws. Chief among those bills are the ones that converted the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, into a conventional university. Another is the one that changed the status of the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, to a teaching hospital. The former businesswoman has also worked on a bill that will upgrade the Garki Dermatology Clinic in Abuja to a federal institution.
Her constituency projects including rural people empowerment programmes abound in every local government of the state. This woman is and will remain a beacon of hope for the Adamawa people.
Rt Hon Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas is a House of Representatives member for Toungo, Ganye, Jada, and Mayo Belwa serving his second term. Namdas is also young, able and versed as the House committee chairman on information and the defence committee.
Namdas served the government of Boni Haruna as the Press Secretary is not a pushover. He grew his political wings from the media because of his political prowess from being a media executive and was tipped for a running mate of Engr Marcus Nathana Gunduri in the SDP party in 2011. Today, he has gone far and made his face and his governorship aspirations much wider than one could imagine. His claim of being the frontline aspirant is connected to how far he has gone in meeting all critical stakeholders irrespective of party affiliation, intimating them of his dreams.
The one and only giant among the APC aspirants is Senator Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla (Bindow). He is the immediate past governor and recently declared his intention to return to the Yola Government House.
Senator Jibrilla hopes to come back to renew his constitutional mandate for a second term in office. A former Senator for the Adamawa North zone. His experience in politics has been established and his success as a business magnate helped him to manage the resources of Adamawa State better than is the case under PDP.
Of all the APC aspirants, Bindow needs little introduction. He has paid his dues over the years in making sure APC regained its lost ground and acceptance by the entire people of Adamawa State. While still a governor, Bindow served the state with a sense of responsibility. He worked the roads (over 370). From 2015 to 2019 Jibrilla served the people of Adamawa with an unprecedented infrastructure development record. He set the standard that any incoming government has to follow suit.
He has control of the party structure in many of the local governments. From the Northern zone of Adamawa where the incumbent Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri hails, he controlled the party apparatus with uncommon dexterity.
Knowing the weight, strengths and weaknesses of these aspirants, one will easily ask, who will match Governor Fintiri? If it is not Bindow who else? He has a record that can be matched to dislodge the present government. He is a Muslim from the Njanyi ethnic group. The incumbent is also a Marghi Muslim. Bindow is from Mubi South Local Government Area, extending his political weight of support to Mubi North and Maiha by 100 per cent. These three LGAs have over 250,000 eligible voters. The APC is intact, with no major defections. Rather, there was an addition of a serving Senator to the APC fold from PDP. Fintiri who is from Madagali Local Government Area seems to lack control of the PDP party because under his watch his linesmen and notable politicians like Former Governor Bala James Ngilari and Chubado Babbi Jabbi have defected from PDP to APC. The eligible voters of Madagali who are less than 60,000 are far below the over 100,000 voters of Mubi North where Bindow has total control.
By a simple analysis, Bindow is the best among the APC aspirants to be seen as the political iroko tree that can give the PDP sleepless nights. This can only be possible if the APC family has a thoughtful and inward unity of wanting to win the 2023 election under the clear view of taking back power void of personal interest and sentiments.
If it’s not Bindow, there is a possible outrage of power lost. Good as the other aspirants are, their weaknesses of overall general acceptance can never be compared with Bindow’s who as the immediate past governor has been tested and should be trusted.
Some may argue why he was not able to win the 2019 election. Serious political observers said there was no way APC would have made headway when all the critical stakeholders in the party went into the election as a divided house. In 2019, Bindow was an orphan whose political friends, supporters, and fathers had deserted him over a serious intraparty feud with the presidency having a passionate interest to oust him.
As it stands, if APC wants to feel a sign of victory, Bindow has what it takes to give a good fight. Without the party coming together to be a unity opposition, even if it’s Bindow no way APC can make a good impact in the 2023 general elections because of the aforementioned reasons. But with Bindow rolling out the affairs of the party as a good aspirant and be supported by all party’s stakeholders, it is him and only him that can bring success to the APC family, considering the glaring factors and the reality on the ground.
So if it is not Bindow, no one else can defeat Fintiri in the 2023 governorship polls in Adamawa.
Tom Garba is Adamawa based Journalist, wrote this Opinion from Jimeta-Yola
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