HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO, in this piece looks at the upsets in the Adamawa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the President’s brother in law joins the governorship race.
The declaration of Dr Mahmood Halilu Ahmad, younger brother to Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, to contest the Adamawa State governorship seat under the ruling All Progressives Congress Party (APC), is causing ripples within the party in the state. For one, it has put the second term ambition of the incumbent Governor Muhammad Bindow, come 2019, in an unpleasant state, largely because Ahmad is naturally seen to enjoy the blessings of the president.
The declaration of Ahmad, Gov. Bindow and Engr Markus Gundiri, makes the number of contenders in the governorship race, the ruling APC in the state to three. With a scenario like this the ruling APC is heading towards a tough primaries in the state.
The President’s In-law popularly called ‘Modi’, code named his campaign project, ‘Actualisation Agenda’ which is widely speculated to enjoy sponsorship from his elder sister, Aisha Buhari who is from the state. Ahmad’s narratives indicate that he is not out to accord the incumbent governor any political niceties.
And his utterances and promises to tackle Bindow’s shortfalls and bad governance, at the secretariat of APC while addressing party stakeholders and supporters who trooped out in large numbers, confirmed this. He vowed to clear unpaid salary arrears owed the 21 local government employees, leave grants, promotion and other entitlement to public service productivity in the state.
Other areas he pledged to improve, includes, infrastructural development, for job creation through robust Internally Generate Revenue (IGR), in the state.
The impact of agricultural diversification of Mr President, he explained, has not been properly harnessed, hence the desire to revamp the sector for farmers. He accused Bindow of dishonesty and failure in addressing the plight of the people of the state.
As if that was not enough, a picture of President Buhari and his In-law displaying his governorship nomination forms was virile on the social media, which was easily interpreted as the president’s endorsement of his ambition to win the APC primaries and fly the flag of the party in the state.
The aspirant recent justification of the cost of Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for presidential and gubernatorial race also, is clear indication that he is financial and otherwise ready to be a stronger challenger of Bindow in the Guber race may force the incumbent governor to use money to get support of the people.
“Youths constitute larger segment of the society, would be engaged in various sectors to boost human capital development in the state.
“My administration if given the mandate, tend to address leakages in the economy, for viability of the Internally Generated Revenue ((IGR) of the state.
“The Agricultural diversification of President Buhari, is not properly harnessed despite huge number of peasant farmers, would be given the desired attention.
“We would make the state viable through prompt payment of workers salaries, youths and women empowerment.
The gubernatorial hopeful, promised to support the party financially for it to maintain its status of winning party in the state. Pundits aver that the promises by the gubernatorial hopeful, to address shortfalls of the governor including, alleged lack of real empowerment programs, remain instructive.
According to pundits, Modi, who was also a member of the APC’s presidential campaign council in 2015, is said to have a good political relationship with the former Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Babachair Lawal, whose loyalty to Mr President is unshaken.
During various press conferences, the former SGF has maintained that, anything worth doing for Buhari should be done well, in the state and at the national level politically. Some believe that such utterrances may be a snide shot at the governor.
Going by this confirmation of loyalty, to Mr president, the brother of the First Lady may enjoy political preferential treatment, from the former SGF to actualise his gubernatorial ambition in the state. This is inspite of the fact that Marcus Gundiri, another aspirant in the party, is the former SGF’s kinsman.
Still, some analysts argue that these factors may align to yield positive results for the president’s in law, especially with the strained relationship between Lawal and Bindow over alleged irregularities that trailed the recent conduct of APC congresses, as well as the controversy surrounding the adoption of indirect primaries, as method for selecting candidate for the ruling party in the state.
Bindow has also been accused by some aggrieved APC chieftains who alleged they labored to bring him (Bindow) to power only to be abandoned. In the buildup to 2015 governorship election in the state, Immediate past governor, Murtala Nyako, had backed the ambition of Bindow until he the former ran into troubled waters with the federal government and was impeached from office.
With Nyako embattled, the then APC governorship aspirant was forced to seek a new political alliance which he got in the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who became is new benefactor and helped him to secure victory at the gubernatorial election. While Bindow’s relationship has long gone sore with Nyako, his rapport with Atiku became suspect following his refusal to join the former vice president in leaving the APC for the PDP late last year.
Nonetheless, some analysts are of the view that, Ahmad despite the support from his sister, the First Lady, lacks the capacity and popularity to emerge as the APC flag bearer of the ruling party.
Many people mostly argued that, they got wind of him, during his turbaning as the ‘Dujima Adamawa’ in April last year, by the Fombina Emirate council in the state.
Bindow is seen to still have the structure of the party to retain his seat as the governorship candidate in 2019, due to incumbency factors, more so because he is believed to be major sponsor of the party APC and its structures.
As a seating governor, furthermore, he is in-charge and control as major finances he is expecting the party, to favor and pay him back during forth coming primaries.
Going by the standard of the state, Bindow has added value ahead of any other contenders due to his developmental stride, which may make electorate to vote him for the second term in office.
With the season of defections still open, the governor might opt to defect to an opposition party if he perceives that his chances of returning to office are slim under the APC.
Only last month, a media report emerged that he was in talks with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his former party, following poor relationship with his party.
The governor was reported to have given some conditions that must be met before he could consider a return.
Secretary of the Adamawa State PDP, Abdullahi Prambe, was reported to have admitted that the PDP had been in contact with their former member, Bindow.
Prambe was quoted as saying, “We have been talking with the governor, and from the way things are going , something positive will happen soon. ”
The party also said it was confident that other politicians who defected with the governor to the APC in 2014 , would return to the PDP before the 2019 general elections.
The governor outrightly denied any talks with the PDP. His special assistant on Media and Publicity, Macaulay Hunohashi, said Bindow remained a resolute member of the APC and never considered dumping it for any party.
He said , “Governor Bindow has no plans to defect to any party. He continues to reaffirm his support to President Muhammadu Buhari’ s re – election bid. ”
The coming weeks are crucial for the party and all the aspirants as they head into the primaries, which is already shaping to be contentious.