Hussaini Hammangabdo writes on the ripple effect caused by the return of former guber candidates, Nuhu Ribadu (PDP) and Marcus Gundiri (SDP) to the APC in Adamawa State.
The return of the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and former governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) guber candidate, Markus Gundiri to the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Adamawa state seems to whirling a political storm in the state ahead of 2019 governorship elections.
Naturally, supporters of Ribadu were happy for his return to actualize his political ambition to contest governorship come 2019. They perceived him as a man with good track record having chaired the anti corruption agency the EFCC for years and from Fulani majority ethnic group in the state.
The 2011 presidential aspirant under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), had said he was happy return in to the APC, while addressing party supporter at APC Secretariat in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
Ribadu said the ruling APC as a party has cleaned up some of its internal crisis which led to his exit from the party in 2015, pointing accusing fingers at some highly distinguished individuals of the party who hijacked the party structure in the state and facilitated the impeachment of the then Governor of the state Murtala Nyako.
He said “I am happy to return to APC I did not come to hijack the party structure but to work hand in hand with Governor Bindow lead administration in moving the party and the state forward.
“I left APC in 2014 as a result of disagreement over the manner the party in the state was handled by some out colleagues I tried had to resolve the party but to no avail I don’t have an option than to exit’ .With the sincere invitation I received last year I decide to return after due consultation with stakeholders, party affiliate and members of my family.
“ When I lost governorship elections in 2014 in the state I was the first candidate that congratulate governor Bindow over his victory at the polls’’
Ribadu said due process of his return to the party was adhered to where he registered at his wards, local government and state levels.
Similarly, Marcus Gundiri, formally defect to APC same day with Ribadu.
Supporters of Gundiri perceived him as a politician who has supporters in the state having emerged second runner to the Gov. Muhammadu Jibrilla in the last guber elections.
He also enjoys the support of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal who hails from same local government Hong local area as him.
Investigations revealed that the return of Gundiri was facilitated by the presidency to once again prepare him for next governorship elections come 2019.
Gundiri’s closeness to the SGF reflected in his speech at the APC office in the state the day he defected. He said “many people are making noise about my return to APC while they don’t know how APC came on board we are the founding fathers of the APC and we urge party supporters to bury their differences.”
Gundiri left APC for PDP and later to SDP and contested for the governorship.
Welcoming Ribadu and Gundiri at the APC secretariat in Yola, the acting party chairman, Ibrahim Bilal, urged the two politicians to support and cooperate with the Jibrilla-led administration for the betterment of the state adding that the current Adamawa state government is running an open government in order to carry everybody along.
He used the occasion to assure APC members of victory at all levels in the state and country at large, describing the returnees as a big catch to the party in the state.
However the return of Ribadu and Gundiri might not be going down well with the forces in the state government. The pomp and pageantry that should have accompanied their return was lacking, at least on the part of the state government.
Political observers in the state perceive the return of Ribadu and Gundiri as not ordinary. So far, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has loomed large not only in the state but nationally too.
With the impeachment travails of Nyako, the former Vice President has become the political rallying point in the state. He is perceived to have the governor’s ears as far as affairs in the state are concerned.
What’s more, with 2019 in sight, the political realignments are beginning to assume new dimensions.
As such, many believe that the return of Ribadu and Gundiri, especially, the later factors into this ongoing realignment.
Perhaps, that explained the lack of enthusiasm from the state government on the return of Ribadu and Gundiri, analysts opine.
In a veiled reference to the return of the duo, the chief of staff to the governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abba Jimeta, announced that the state government was not interested in organizing reception to welcome back some politicians returning back to the party.
Describing such reception as waste of resources, he added that returnees should register themselves at their respective wards irrespective like any other person.
He said “there was a request from Abuja top politicians to organize rally to welcome back some politicians who he did not mention, Who ever want to join or rejoin APC should go to his ward and register; that’s the right thing to do”, Abba said.
‘’You can not intimidate us no matter who you are we got letter from Abuja asking us to organize a rally to receive somebody at Ribadu square who ever want to join the party should go register at his wards we cannot stop him the party does not belong to any body when we won elections he was not in APC when we cast vote he was not in APC we no longer need anybody’s assistance we know the struggles we went through to win elections,” he stated.
He observed that APC won all elections in the state without the support of the returnees who left for the then ruling PDP and wondered why there should be a reception to welcome such people back now that the battle is over.
The utterances of Abdulrahaman Abba did not go down well with some politicians in the state. Watchers of events in the state are already interpreting it as a peep into the mindset of the administration, considering the weight of the personality that convey the message.
Meantime, the main opposition party in the state, the PDP was not left out of the saga. During a press conference lead by its chairman Chief Joel Madaki accused ruling APC for rigging the just concluded local government elections in the state and called for the cancellations of the elections.
That said, pundits see the political schemings in Adamawa state as the struggle for control of the party’s machinery, particularly between Atiku and Governor Jibrilla, on one side and that of Nyako and B.D Lawal in preparations for the 2019 elections.
Jibrilla, a first time governor seeking to succeed himself, has at many occasion pointed out that he has no political god father adding that God gives position to any person he wish.
But, Atiku, having appointed his daughter as Commissioner for Health in Jibrilla’s cabinet is widely believed to be nursing a presidential ambition in the next dispensation.
The former VP who visited the national secretariat of APC in Abuja where he had close door meeting with the national chairman of the party, John Oyegun, urged the party to address issues in the party. Though details of the meeting was not made public, sources said that Atiku was at the party Secretariat Headquarters to rob minds with the leadership of the party on how to address some national issues affecting the integrity of the party.
Still, for Ribadu and Gundiri, they are no strangers to unsettling political equations. Recall that upon his surprise defection to PDP, Ribadu enjoyed the full support of the then presidency caused seethed disenchantment within the party in the state ahead of the polls, a situation which contributed to the party losing the state.
Against the resistance of powerful forces in the state, Ribadu emerged candidate of the party in a primary conducted in Abuja. Gundiri upon losing out in PDP, moved to the SDP and just like in 2011, rattled the more powerful parties – PDP and APC.
With the political maneuvering still evolving in the state, it is early days yet to posit where the power base will be.