Posted by John Shehu | 26 August 2013 | 7,365 times
Governor Murtala Nyako has a penchant for picking fights. At the last count, the Adamawa State helmsman had engaged President Goodluck Jonathan in a big fight, the root cause of which has nothing to do with the President’s delivery of democracy dividends or not. It is about him being denied “total control” of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Adamawa State Chapter. So is his fight with Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the PDP. His quarrel with Tukur is the root of the crisis in the PDP and that spilled over to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Knowing the implication of a national chairman coming from his state, Nyako had fought the choice of Tukur until the superior fire power of Tukur’s supporters overwhelmed him. Like Tukur, Nyako wants his son to be the next governor of the state. What is baffling watchers of Adamawa State politics is why Nyako, who is a “declared failure”, is hell bent on making his son governor when he has not creditably discharged the mandate given to him by the people.
To the people of Adamawa State, the fight against the President and other prominent sons of Aadamawa like Prof. Jibril Aminu, who was instrumental to helping him to power, Alhaji Hassan Adamu and Chief Joel Madaki is nothing compared to what they experience day-in-day-out in the hands of Murtala Nyako. Last two weeks the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mr. Kobis Aris, descended on Tukur. He said: “Tell me anything good that has come out of the party since he became the chairman. Rather he has brought the party to ridicule.” This is the diatribe against anybody opposed to Nyako.
For most states it is a thing of pride when their indigenes are appointed into high offices. Such appointees are celebrated. Newspaper adverts are placed congratulating them and the President. A state delegation would also be sent to thank the President. The state government would traditionally hold a state banquet to honour such an appointee.
So when Air Marshal Alex Badeh was appointed the Chief of Air Staff, he must have looked forward to being received by his state. But the Governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, didn’t think much of the appointment, so to date he has refused to host or officially receive the Chief of Air Staff, or attend any function by him, including the burial of his mother. Sources close to the Adamawa State Government say the reason for this strange development is that hosting the Chief of Air Staff would have amounted to recognising that there is a higher authority than Governor Nyako.
“You might wish to remember that he was Chief of Naval Staff more than 27 years ago. So what is the big deal about being a Chief of Air Staff?” said another source.
Air Marshal Badeh, according to sources in the know, has continued to accept the lack of recognition from his governor, who being a former militry officer should have in the “espirit de corps” celebrated him.
Sources say the root of the crisis are the projects that the Chief of Air Staff has embarked upon in the state since his appointment. One of the two main projects that have reportedly angered Nyako is the Air Force College that the Nigerian Air Force is building in Adamawa State. Sources claim that Nyako, whose record is described as a shame, is angry that the Air Force School is raising questions about his failure to pay attention to the educational sector in the state. The project which started is nearing completion and is indeed ready for the first intake of students next month. The project has in the absence of any project by the state government provided employment opportunities for the indigenes. It is the question being asked by the people that has gotten Governor Nyako worried and informed the subsequent allegation that Air Marshal Badeh must be interested in becoming the next governor hence the location of the project in Yola town, as a showcase of what he is capable of doing.
The other project is the re-opening of the Air Force Strike Force Base. The base, which was closed down during the Ibrahim Babangida government, was ordered re-opened by President Goodluck Jonathan on the advice of Air Marshal Badeh due to the on-going war against insurgency. The North East is the hot bed of the militant Boko Haram group. The Chief of Air Staff didn’t re-open the base because of any cheap politics. Whatever he does, according to associates, is in the best interest of Nigeria. For instance, the school was not built in his village or in his local government.
The upgrading of the base with the injection of more fighters, patrol aircraft and helicopter gunships has brought back life and positively impacting on trhe local economy.
Alex Badeh, as Chief of Air Staff, has never forgotten his roots. He is a man with conscience who remembers what the society gave to him and decided to solve the water problem confronting his people. His village, Vimtim in Mubi North Local Government Area, has a notorious water problem, leading to avoidable deaths. Attempts to solve the problem through the sinking of boreholes have failed woefully. Experts advised the state government that only an earth dam would solve the problem. Tired of waiting for the government, Badeh mobilised elites from the town to rally friends who contributed to the building of an earth dam.
“What the chief did was to use his goodwill. But, mind you, it was not only him that got support for the project,” said a source.
The big problem that Air Marshal Badeh has is that he is embarking on projects that have direct impact on the lives of the people. And this is making people ask questions as to why the state government cannot measure up to standard.
Adamawa State has produced several service chiefs and inspector generals of police. It is the home state of General Gibson Jalo, who was the Chief of Army Staff under President Shehu Shagari. There is also Air Vice Marshal A. D. Bello, the late Air Marshal Ibrahim Alfa, Ibrahim Babangida’s Chief of Air Staff, and the present governor who was the Chief of Naval Staff under Babangida. Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta and Ibrahim Sulieman have been inspector generals of police. Of them all only Alfa is remembered for using his position to attract projects to the state.
Air Marshal Badeh sees his appointment as an opportunity to touch lives. This was what motivated him in instituting a sports competition in his local government, to challenge the youths to “do something” with their life. The last edition had the great Kanu Nwankwo as a Special Guest of Honour. For the youths of Mubi, seeing Kanu in person was more than a dream come true.
The effects of these programmes is what is causing problems for Nyako. The Nyako people have a feeling that even if Badeh is not a candidate he “influences political directions” and this is why he is seen as a threat.
For many people who are aware of the non-recognition of the Chief of Air Staff by the Nyako administration, the press release by his Director of Press Ahmed Hajo, advising that Air Marshal Badeh should mind his job and not get involved in politics was a huge surprise. People were surprised; they said: “So afterall he knows there is a Chief of Air Staf after all the self-denial? There has been no attempt, in fact, there had been a denial by the Nyako administration that the Chief of Air Staff is from Adamawa State. There is nothing to recognise him as a worthy son of the state, even a courtesy call.”
The chief, according to sources, had had at least five events to which the state government was officially invited. They include the thanksgiving service by the chief on his appointment, the burial of his mother, and the hosting of the chief by his Course 21 coursemates. There was also this reception by the Adamawa Forum to which Governor Nyako was invited and in his usual character refused to attend.
Friends and indeed Adamawa indigenes are scandalised that the state governor would make such a statement against the chief. They allege that what Nyako wanted was to get the President to remove the Chief of Air Staff. But the President understands the opposition of Nyako to the appointment of the chief and his refusal to honour him. The President had sent representatives to Abia, the home state of the Chief of Army Staff, and to Delta State, the home state of the Chief of Naval Staff, and none to Adamawa State, because the state has refused to host him, said a presidency source.
The power struggle between Tukur and Nyako is understandable, but between the Badeh and Nyako is baffling the people of the state, as they see no valid reason for the fight.
Those who know Nyako say he wants to be the lone voice in Adamawa State, hence his penchant for picking fights with the entire people of the state. How far that leads him remains to be seen.
•Shehu writes from Jimeta-Yola. •Photo shows Governor Nyako.
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