Enough of the Shenanigans; Let Nyako Go!Articles/Opinion Sunday, November 17th, 2013
By John Ainofenokhai
Not many people realise these days the manner in which the governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, was railroaded as the gubernatorial candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in his state in 2007. The retired Rear Admiral was in his farm when his former boss in the military, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, sent for him. There was minor disagreement over the gubernatorial primaries in Adamawa. Nyako did not “participate” in the primary election just like his colleague, Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger state. But both were handed the party flags in their respective states by Obasanjo under the guise of party supremacy against the dictates of democracy, fair play and justice.
In Imo state, there was a similar plot to impose Charles Ugwuh, another friend of the former president, as the PDP gubernatorial candidate. Ugwuh’s case was even more defensible as he, at least, participated in the primaries although he came in a distant fourteenth position. But unlike in Adamawa and Niger, Ifeanyi Araraume who won the primaries in Imo State went to court to argue that the substitution of his name with that of Ugwuh contravened the law and the Supreme Court agreed and declared him the rightful PDP candidate in Imo state.
Although some aggrieved members of PDP in Adamawa and Niger states kicked and protested the undemocratic means in which Nyako and Aliyu were imposed on them, PDP defended its decision on the basis of party supremacy. Winning the primaries according to the party is not enough grounds for any party aspirant to lay claims to the party ticket; there might be other factors that the leadership of the party could consider in deciding the ultimate party flag-bearer!
Party supremacy is indeed desirable and should be encouraged in our democracy, especially against the background of rampant indiscipline among party members. Yet, party supremacy cannot be an excuse to destroy internal democracy in political parties as the PDP did in 2007 when Obasanjo, single-handed, imposed Nyako and Aliyu on Adamawa and Niger people. The tepid performance of these two governors who are now in their second terms in office clearly testifies to the superiority of free choice, which democracy represents over any kind of imposition. Today, a majority of Adamawa people wish that their governor remained in his farm and continued the exportation of his mangoes rather than damaging their state with his clueless administration that has left the state more divided than at any other time in history.
From the outset in 2007, Nyako put forward the wrong foot by appointing un-countable number of aides some of whom were his wives and children. In fact, there was the issue of the struggle over who was to be the First Lady, which diverted the attention of the governor from issues of governance to mundane domestic quarrels. In Minna, the story is about the same, as the biggest achievement of Governor Aliyu, apart from going about delivering “lectures,” is perhaps the erecting of giant billboards across his state. There has not been any creative effort to improve the life chances of the long suffering people of his state.
It is not the poor performance of these two governors that is really annoying their people. What is upsetting many Nigerians, especially indigenes of Adamawa and Niger states is the grandstanding of Nyako and his Niger state colleague on democracy. Both men are using every available opportunity to parade themselves not only as democrats but more annoyingly as defenders of free choice. They are accusing President Jonathan of being a dictator when they are themselves incapable of surviving in a democratic process. And who can blame them since they are products of undemocratic processes?
Since, Bamanga Tukur was elected the national chairman of PDP, his governor has been waging a relentless war against him over the party structure in Adamawa. Those in the know will agree that the problem of the Adamawa state PDP executive committee precedes the election of Tukur as INEC had queried the congress that produced the dissolved former state executives of the party even under the leadership of Baraje. Nyako manipulation of the party structure in the state was geared towards enabling him to produce his successor. What Tukur simply did was to show courage in correcting the anomalies identified by INEC by organising a proper congress, which anti-democratic forces under the leadership of the governor have sworn to repudiate continually. This threatened the succession plan by Nyako.
Truth is, the ruling PDP has been undergoing a process of transformation under President Jonathan. For too long especially under former President Obasanjo PDP was famed for its petulance and disregard for the decisions of the courts. But nobody can say that about the PDP under Jonathan. Today, the PDP is doing everything possible to return the party to its rightful owners, the Nigerian people. The era in which the governors trampled upon the rights of other members with the connivance and even the support of the party leadership and the presidency is long over.
The crisis within the PDP precipitated by the seven rebellious governors including Nyako is all about getting the right balance amongst internal democracy, discipline and party supremacy. Those members who have benefitted from, or are products of the impunity of the past are working hard to stifle the ongoing reforms in the party. Governors, like Nyako, still believe that it is proper for one person in the name of being Governor to decide who replaces him if he is on second term; who contests for all the legislative positions in his state; who contests for all the local government chairmanship and councillorship positions; who is appointed minister, members of boards of parastatals or any other appointive position in his state including party positions. This is the true definition of tyranny and it is for this the rebellious governors seem to be advocating.
Nyako has thrown party discipline and all decorum to the wind in his shameful courting of the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC). He was recently reported to have declared to the ACP leaders that came to visit him in Yola that he has started inviting like minds in the PDP over to APC. In his own words: “As far as I am concerned, I have already distributed kola nuts to the entire Fulani nation and like-minds in PDP to leave en-mass to the APC,” Nyako’s grouse is what he calls the impunity in the PDP. Now, look who is talking! This is the same governor who was a product of impunity in 2007 and whose definition of democracy is “state party executive under the control of the governor.” He has declared to the world that he is APC bound. This man is irredeemable; and this understandable: he was never a politician. If he goes, I do not think PDP will miss him. So, the Party should let him go!Ainofenokhai is a public affairs commentator.
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