As the 2015 elections draw nearer, political gladiators in the different parties have begun strengthening their positions with a view to gaining an edge over their opponents.
The situation is already playing out itself in Adamawa State, where the governor, Murtala Nyako, has drawn a battle line with the Political Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, who happens to come from that agrarian state in the North-east. Although Nyako has made it abundantly clear that he is not running for any public office after next year, he has nonetheless taken up the gauntlet to challenge those who try to impugn him and his administration. He does not allow any careless statement or loose talk about him and his government to go unchallenged.
Gulak, a lawyer, who is one of the close associates of Jonathan, must have innocuously played into Nyako’s hands when he tried to impress upon Nigerians that the one-term pact allegedly signed by his boss with some northern political leaders in 2010 was a farce and that Nyako was lying. According to him, there was no such agreement between Jonathan and northern leaders.
In fact, Gulak, has consistently challenged Niger State Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, who first broached the issue, to be courageous enough to produce the so-called agreement if, indeed, it existed. Till date, neither Aliyu nor any member of the Northern States Governors Forum has been able to produce the controversial document to shame the Jonathan’s camp.
Nyako had in an interview with Sunday Vanguard, last week, insisted that Jonathan signed the agreement and virtually took an ‘oath’ to do only a term. According to the governor, it was former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who brought Jonathan to his office and begged him to support Jonathan, who had agreed in writing to do a single term.
The Adamawa governor said that he was reluctant to sign and support Jonathan since he had not given his blessing to the first agreement signed in 2003 that the presidency would remain in the North from 2007 to 2011. On the 2003 document, according to Nyako, Jonathan, who was then the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, signed as No 73 and pledged to stand by it.
As soon as the interview was published, a furious Gulak reportedly told an online medium that the Nyako was out of touch with the political reality in the country. He was quoted as describing his governor as being ‘politically dead’ and was consciously lying in a bid to score cheap political popularity.
The presidential aide has never spared Nyako, whom he describes as a stranger in PDP, who has really appreciated the favour done him by Obasanjo, who brought him from the ANPP to the party in 2007.
He is quick to remind the governor that he should be eternally thankful to the magnanimity of the party leaders, who brought him on board to win election and become Adamawa governor instead of causing unnecessary hiccups. Gulak, in an interview, asked angrily, “How can somebody like Nyako, who just came into PDP and was assisted to become governor without going through the primary, be talking about democracy and wants Nigerians to see him as a democrat?.”
But the governor feels that Gulak has taken his luck too far and should be placed where he rightly belongs. Tackling the political adviser through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmad Sajoh, Nyako described Gulak as a big political liability to Jonathan and, by extension, Nigeria, since, according to him, the SA does not know anything about politics and has never won any election in his lifetime.
Gulak…President needs time to focus on issues
Gulak…President needs time to focus on issues
The governor said it was unfortunate for Jonathan to engage a political neophyte as his adviser, thereby giving Gulak the undeserving platform to cause confusion and chaos in the country in the name of politicking for the president.
Nyako said, “Gulak has never been and will never be politically alive under the current dispensation. He has never won any political contest in this fourth republic either as an ANPP candidate in the FCT or a PDP aspirant in his home state.
“As a matter of fact all the candidates he (Gulak) supported in any election had lost such elections.
“Even the person that parades as the Chairman of his local government only did so as a result of a judicial pronouncement, which is currently on appeal. He never won in an electoral contest because with Gulak as his supporter he would never have won the election.
“Gulak has never even supported a candidate who won any election since the start of the fourth republic in 1999. In 2007 and 2011, Gulak had supported different candidates for the position of member Adamawa State House of Assembly, and the present Speaker, who is also from Gulak town, defeated his candidates.
“Just last week, he dabbled into the election of the District Head of Gulak in which only a handful of electors are involved including his own father who is a Village Head. However, the candidate sponsored by Gulak scored zero votes. Who then is the political dead horse?”
But responding to the issues raised by the governor against him, the political adviser dismissed Nyako as a man living in the past and does not know his right from left.
Gulak said that contrary to the claim by Nyako that he has never won any election in the fourth republic, he has been winning and assisting others to win elections. Gulak cited Jonathan as one of those he actively supported in 2011 and he won and said that it was only people with a warped sense of history who could describe him as a political failure.
The presidential aide said, “It is not true that I have not won election or that anybody that I support does not win election. I supported Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and he won the presidential election of that year.
“I have also contested election to my state House of Assembly and I won. I was even elected the Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly and the records are there for anyone to see.”
The political adviser said it was unfortunate for the governor, who only joined politics many years after he had done so, to try to underrate his political prowess.
The SA said, “I joined partisan politics before Nyako. He does not know his right from his left.
He will soon be in political oblivion because he has no radar that will assist him.”
The tar brush deployed by the two sides has the potential to shape the political dynamics of Adamawa and give the superior side some advantage over the opponents. But as the political atmosphere remains fluid and unclear, who can boast of carrying the day? The situation is not helped either by the unwillingness of the two sides to give way to the other in the ever-changing political turf in Adamawa and Abuja. Who loses and who gains at the end of the day?