Softly, Softly, Al- makura

BY VICTORIA N. IKEANO vikeano@yahoo.co.uk
How unpredictable Nigerian politics can be! The best of friends can be sworn enemies overnight and arch foes can also become bosom friends suddenly all in pursuit of some political interest. And to achieve that interest, our politicians employ all arsenals within their reach, whether fair or foul, for to them, the end justifies the means. In an interview sometime ago, the All Progressives Congress (APC) national vice chairman for the north central zone, Alhaji Suleiman Wambai had said that Nasarawa State was about the only stable state in the zone as all the other states that make up the region had one problem or other which the leadership is mediating on. Not anymore, as Nasarawa is now among the ‘quarrelling’ states.
At the centre of the quarrel are two gladiators. They are incumbent governor, Umar Tanko Al-makura (Galadiman Kwanderre) who is serving out his two terms next May and is now contesting for the Nasarawa south senatorial seat, and former governor of the state, a ranking senator, representing Nasarawa west, Abdullahi Adamu (Turakin Keffi). Both were originally members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Al-makura unable to clinch PDP’s guber ticket against then incumbent governor, Akwe Doma (R.I.P.) defected to Muhammadu Buhari’s then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) on which platform he defeated Doma to emerge governor and therewith the only CPC governor in the federation. On this basis he prides himself as Buhari’s first political son and Nasarawa state Buhari’s laboratory as it is the only state the retired general took with him in the formation and coalescing of the other legacy parties that is known today as APC. Al-makura was re-elected in 2015 under the APC.
On his part, Abdullahi Adamu governed Nasarawa state for two terms (1999-2007) flying the PDP flag. He became senator in 2011 with the party. However, he was among the political heavyweights that moved over from PDP to APC in 2014. He has remained there since and indeed is one of President Buhari’s staunch allies, for which reason he and senate President Bukola Saraki exchanged bitter words sometime ago, after Adamu accused Saraki of betraying Mr. President.
The current spat between Al-makura and Adamu is said to have started at an APC stakeholders’ meeting during which the governor is said to have voiced his choice to succeed him – Engineer A. A. Sule (a director in the Dangote group). Senator Adamu is said to have proffered another aspirant, giving reasons for it. At a meeting with some members of his ward, etc., Senator Adamu speaking in Hausa was reportedly vexed that Governor Al-makura is allegedly drafting his education commissioner, Aliyu Tijanni to challenge him for the Nasarawa West senate seat. He allegedly told them something to the effect, “I had the senate ticket unopposed until September 9 ……. Who is Tijani to challenge me … I am going to teach him (Almakura) a lesson…”
In my estimation, the senator spoke off the cuff as this was supposed to be a ‘family’ meeting with his people, where he bared his mind about what was bothering him. I do not think it was meant to be published. I say so because if they were meant for public consumption he most probably would have been more cautious in choice of his words. There is a world of difference between what many of our politicians/leaders say in public and in private. Some of the things they say privately are not meant to be swallowed hook, line and sinker especially for those of them that are fond of joking when speaking informally, although I agree that some jokes could be expensive.
Anyway, Governor Al-makura took those translated words on their face value and fired back through his Communication Strategist, Yakubu Lamme, saying that he had respected and tolerated the former governor long enough and that he was going to retire him from politics. This blew the matter into the open. Al-makura confirmed his readiness for a battle when he set up a ten-man panel of inquiry headed by his Finance Commissioner, to probe Abdullahi Adamu’s tenure as governor, specifically, the Farin Ruwa independent power project, the Zimbabwean farmers’ scheme and concessioning of some government-owned enterprises. This is coming some 12 years after the senator left office. Critics would see this as a political witch-hunt especially as the panellists are not entirely non partisan persons.
The Farin Ruwa electricity project was considered a laudable scheme at the time it was started especially as it would greatly improve electricity supply in the state thereby boosting commerce and attract investors into this largely civil service state. At the time he left office it was about 70 per cent completed although the original plan was to have it completed and commissioned by end of his tenure. The succeeding government did not continue it neither did this one, perhaps because of some funding and other issues they have with it. The Zimbabwe farmers’ scheme was undertaken because it was believed that the white Zimbabwean farmers that were being dislodged from that country because of a new land policy there could bring their expertise to bear in Nasarawa state to boost agriculture, especially as a similar scheme was successful in Kwara State. As for government –owned firms, it is agreed that government has no business running enterprises but that this should be left in the hands of private-sector players for better results, hence the concession. I am not defending anybody per se, only giving the theoretical underpinnings for those projects/decisions. As is typical in Nigeria, critics would find fault with their executions.
Asked why he is instituting the probe now, Governor Al-makura replied, “Certain issues take a long time before they unfold themselves. That is the case with the commission of inquiry I have constituted because the issues at stake were issues that have taken many years to culminate into the need and necessity for investigation”. Not a few will disagree. According to Senator Adamu, the crux of the matter is that Almakura “is trying to force a candidate on the APC in the state, I did not agree on that , I advised him accordingly, he sees my not agreeing with him as a confrontation and that is why he is now shadow fighting”. Governor Almakura himself boldly stated, “I want to tell you today that I am the party leader in the state and I have a right to my choice”, quickly adding, “The era of godfatherism where people will want others to step down for them is gone”. But if the governor has a choice can the delegates go against their party leader’s choice?
One will appeal to Governor Al-makura not to embarrass the former governor as he is an elder and a leader. He should let bygones be bygones in the greater interest of Nasarawa state. Abdullah Adamu knows very well that a governor wields more powers than a senator. He should accord him the necessary respect both personally and officially as he had promised. Men and women of goodwill within and outside the state should intervene to settle this unbecoming quarrel amicably.
, softly, Al-makura
BY VICTORIA N. IKEANO vikeano@yahoo.co.uk
How unpredictable Nigerian politics can be! The best of friends can be sworn enemies overnight and arch foes can also become bosom friends suddenly all in pursuit of some political interest. And to achieve that interest, our politicians employ all arsenals within their reach, whether fair or foul, for to them, the end justifies the means. In an interview sometime ago, the All Progressives Congress (APC) national vice chairman for the north central zone, Alhaji Suleiman Wambai had said that Nasarawa State was about the only stable state in the zone as all the other states that make up the region had one problem or other which the leadership is mediating on. Not anymore, as Nasarawa is now among the ‘quarrelling’ states.
At the centre of the quarrel are two gladiators. They are incumbent governor, Umar Tanko Al-makura (Galadiman Kwanderre) who is serving out his two terms next May and is now contesting for the Nasarawa south senatorial seat, and former governor of the state, a ranking senator, representing Nasarawa west, Abdullahi Adamu (Turakin Keffi). Both were originally members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Al-makura unable to clinch PDP’s guber ticket against then incumbent governor, Akwe Doma (R.I.P.) defected to Muhammadu Buhari’s then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) on which platform he defeated Doma to emerge governor and therewith the only CPC governor in the federation. On this basis he prides himself as Buhari’s first political son and Nasarawa state Buhari’s laboratory as it is the only state the retired general took with him in the formation and coalescing of the other legacy parties that is known today as APC. Al-makura was re-elected in 2015 under the APC.
On his part, Abdullahi Adamu governed Nasarawa state for two terms (1999-2007) flying the PDP flag. He became senator in 2011 with the party. However, he was among the political heavyweights that moved over from PDP to APC in 2014. He has remained there since and indeed is one of President Buhari’s staunch allies, for which reason he and senate President Bukola Saraki exchanged bitter words sometime ago, after Adamu accused Saraki of betraying Mr. President.
The current spat between Al-makura and Adamu is said to have started at an APC stakeholders’ meeting during which the governor is said to have voiced his choice to succeed him – Engineer A. A. Sule (a director in the Dangote group). Senator Adamu is said to have proffered another aspirant, giving reasons for it. At a meeting with some members of his ward, etc., Senator Adamu speaking in Hausa was reportedly vexed that Governor Al-makura is allegedly drafting his education commissioner, Aliyu Tijanni to challenge him for the Nasarawa West senate seat. He allegedly told them something to the effect, “I had the senate ticket unopposed until September 9 ……. Who is Tijani to challenge me … I am going to teach him (Almakura) a lesson…”
In my estimation, the senator spoke off the cuff as this was supposed to be a ‘family’ meeting with his people, where he bared his mind about what was bothering him. I do not think it was meant to be published. I say so because if they were meant for public consumption he most probably would have been more cautious in choice of his words. There is a world of difference between what many of our politicians/leaders say in public and in private. Some of the things they say privately are not meant to be swallowed hook, line and sinker especially for those of them that are fond of joking when speaking informally, although I agree that some jokes could be expensive.
Anyway, Governor Al-makura took those translated words on their face value and fired back through his Communication Strategist, Yakubu Lamme, saying that he had respected and tolerated the former governor long enough and that he was going to retire him from politics. This blew the matter into the open. Al-makura confirmed his readiness for a battle when he set up a ten-man panel of inquiry headed by his Finance Commissioner, to probe Abdullahi Adamu’s tenure as governor, specifically, the Farin Ruwa independent power project, the Zimbabwean farmers’ scheme and concessioning of some government-owned enterprises. This is coming some 12 years after the senator left office. Critics would see this as a political witch-hunt especially as the panellists are not entirely non partisan persons.
The Farin Ruwa electricity project was considered a laudable scheme at the time it was started especially as it would greatly improve electricity supply in the state thereby boosting commerce and attract investors into this largely civil service state. At the time he left office it was about 70 per cent completed although the original plan was to have it completed and commissioned by end of his tenure. The succeeding government did not continue it neither did this one, perhaps because of some funding and other issues they have with it. The Zimbabwe farmers’ scheme was undertaken because it was believed that the white Zimbabwean farmers that were being dislodged from that country because of a new land policy there could bring their expertise to bear in Nasarawa state to boost agriculture, especially as a similar scheme was successful in Kwara State. As for government –owned firms, it is agreed that government has no business running enterprises but that this should be left in the hands of private-sector players for better results, hence the concession. I am not defending anybody per se, only giving the theoretical underpinnings for those projects/decisions. As is typical in Nigeria, critics would find fault with their executions.
Asked why he is instituting the probe now, Governor Al-makura replied, “Certain issues take a long time before they unfold themselves. That is the case with the commission of inquiry I have constituted because the issues at stake were issues that have taken many years to culminate into the need and necessity for investigation”. Not a few will disagree. According to Senator Adamu, the crux of the matter is that Almakura “is trying to force a candidate on the APC in the state, I did not agree on that , I advised him accordingly, he sees my not agreeing with him as a confrontation and that is why he is now shadow fighting”. Governor Almakura himself boldly stated, “I want to tell you today that I am the party leader in the state and I have a right to my choice”, quickly adding, “The era of godfatherism where people will want others to step down for them is gone”. But if the governor has a choice can the delegates go against their party leader’s choice?
One will appeal to Governor Al-makura not to embarrass the former governor as he is an elder and a leader. He should let bygones be bygones in the greater interest of Nasarawa state. Abdullah Adamu knows very well that a governor wields more powers than a senator. He should accord him the necessary respect both personally and officially as he had promised. Men and women of goodwill within and outside the state should intervene to settle this unbecoming quarrel amicably.

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