HUSSAINI HAMMANGABDO, captures the events at the recent turbaning of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the 7th Waziri Adamawa.
he Lamido Muhammadu Aliyu Mustapha’s palace last week Sunday, witnessed unprecedented guests who came from within and outside the shores of Nigerian to witness the coronation of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the 7th Waziri Adamawa.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo ,Senate President , Bukola Saraki, former Chief of Army staff Gen.Kenneth Minimah, Governors of Sokoto Aminu Tambuwal, his Gombe counterparts, Hassan Dankwambo, Darius Ishaku of Taraba, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa states and captains of industries and those who were not opportuned to grace the occasion sent representatives to the glamorous turbaning ceremony which held in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
The turbaning ceremony, it was gathered, afforded the PDP chieftains the opportunity to hold a close-door meeting. The meeting it was learnt included some serving and past Governors, Senators and House of Representatives as well as some former Commissioners who retired from Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla Bindow’s cabinet to support Atiku’s candidature for president come 2019 elections.
The meeting which held before the turbaning ceremony started, was to strategise on how to win the 2019 general elections at all levels.
Politically, the turbaning boosted the reputation of the new Waziri, as someone that is loved by his people and generally accepted all over the country and a formidable politician of the times.
It also helped to project a new chapter in Atiku traditional standing , as the 2nd most important position in the Fombina palace apart from the Lamido himself.
By this honour Atiku has entered the chronicle of Waziris in Adamawa since 1876 which includes Alim Alkasum, from 1872-1890, Abdulkadir Pate Alkasum 1891-1923, Mallum Hamman Mallum Babba 1923-1963.
Others are:- Muhammadu Ribadu, 1963-1965, Hamman Bello Abba Lawan 1968-2002, Muhammadu Abba Muhammadu 2010-2017. Atiku was conferred with the new title in June this year. His son, Aliyu Atiku Abubakar became the new Turaki, a position recently held by his father.
He and his son’s elevation to new titles of Waziri and Turaki respectively, followed the demise of former Waziri Alhaji Muhammadu Abba Mohammadu the sixth Waziri after a protracted illness.
However, the absence of the South-east governors, a zone from which he picked his running mate, was curious. This is in spite of fact that PDP has three regions under its control.
The absence of the governors re-ignited insinuations that they are still not appeased over Atiku’s decision to pick former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, as his vice president ahead of the presidential election.
The governors and some political office holders had to beat a retreat in their earlier opposition to Obi’s emergence sparked a backlash, particularly from outside the zone. While they tried to explain that their objection to Obi was not out of envy, they hinted that they will have a meeting with Atiku when he returns from his trip to Dubai.
Atiku, after he returned from Dubai met with South-east leaders in Enugu. But the PDP governors were not in attendance. While it remains hazy whether or not they were invited to the meeting, the governors along side the Deputy Senate President, Sen Ike Ekweremadu, held a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja.
But the governors have dismissed claims that their absence was to spite Atiku. On his part, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State said his absence was due to previous scheduled appointments.
“Far, far from it, we are working with him. Our governor was at his event last week. He could not come for this one because he has two engagements today, and in fact, I am talking to you from a ceremony,” Mr. Enyinnaya Apollos, Chief Press Secretary to Governor, was quoted to have told newsmen when asked.
Also chairman of South-east Governors Forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, denied that governors absence at the event was a boycott.
Umahi, who responded through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, said: “There is nothing like boycott. His Excellency, Governor Umahi, is currently (last night) in Lagos attending Ndigbo Lagos Foundation.
“He didn’t boycott it, rather he is attending South east assignment. His Excellency, Peter Obi, is also here. Other governors are represented and if there is anyone boycotting, it should be personal because I know South east is not fully being controlled by PDP.
“There are other states controlled by APC and APGA and there is no way South east governors could be said to have boycotted it.”
But the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, through it’s National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, cautioned the South-east governors to be mindful of the people’s mood.
“When the candidate of their party went to Enugu State, they were not there. A week after they went to the Villa to ask the President to do for them in three months what he could not do for them in three and half years. Now, they have an event in Yola and they were not all there. The advice to those governors is for them to gauge the mood of their people because there are some of them seeking re-election for a second term. Before they start this game, they should try and gauge the mood of their people properly.”
However, the absence of the South-east governors from the meeting didnt take away from the political mileage Atiku received.
Speaking at the event, the Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Mustpaha, at the turbaning said, he elevated the celebrant to his new title, which is the 2nd most important, in the Emirate council, for his contribution to the development of the state and country at large and humanity.
The Monarch, cited setting up American University of Nigeria (AUN), Adama plast, Faro water and Gotel communication companies, as some of the landmark achievements, for employment and job creation in the state brought by Atiku Abubakar.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, under whom Atiku served as vice president between 1999 and 2007, and who was the first and one of only four people who spoke at the corronation , said Atiku deserves the honour.
Obasanjo, urged the new Waziri to carry everyone along in the discharge of his new title, the way he handled his former office as former Vice President of the country.
The former president said Atiku would carry his new office with diginity and with respect and would do credit to the office in a way that would make the Lamido Adamawa proud of him.
He advised Atiku, nonetheless, to do all in his capacity to serve his new role well and not allow his national engagements prevent him from the discharge of his duties as custodian of cultural values and heritage of his people.
“I do know that too, when we were in Abuja dealing with national and international affairs, you didn’t joke with cultural affairs at home. So, you more than deserve this elevation.
“Importantly, the new title is acknowledgement, that hope has been given to you.
“You should know that, the honour done to you is through opportunity, for your respect for cultural values and heritage.
“The way you carry your office in the past, you should equally carry this one, no matter your engagement”.
Minister of FCT, Musa Bello who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the occasion, wished the new Waziri peace and prosperity during his reign.
Bello who hails from the state, thanked the dignitaries who witnessed the coronation of whom he described as his uncle.
Atiku in his acceptance lauded the Native Authority and the Northern regional governments, for providing him free education which got him to succeed in life, having come from a poor family back ground.Atiku thanked the Lamido, for the honour done him, and pledged his irreversible support in the transformation of the emirate council.
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