Alhaji Ibrahim Babayola Mustapha is an Adamawa prince and chieftain of the Labour Party. In this interview, the politician speaks about the administration of Governor Murtala Nyako, the forthcoming governorship poll in the state and the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, among others. Excerpts:
Why did you pitch your tent with the opposition, instead of the ruling party in the state?
I have been a businessman right from time. I also engage in community development and philanthropy. I have also been supporting principled politicians financially to achieve their political ambitions since the return of democracy in 1999.
But in 2011, I joined partisan politics. Many politicians who are desirous to come to power by all means and partake in treasury looting ran to the PDP to seek nomination. You know that being in the PDP is synonymous to electoral victory.
But I decided to remain close to my people by joining the Labour Party and contested for the House of Representatives seat under its platform. Despite the numerous challenges from the incumbent PDP oligarchy and the opposition from the Adamawa traditional institution, headed by the Lamido of Adamawa who is my cousin, we have fought gallantly during the last April elections.
Adamawa State is facing another round of governorship elections. What is your forecast on this?
In a nutshell, the political situation in Adamawa State is a direct function of the incumbent government's development on ground. The experience of Adamawa people in the hands of Nyako in the last four years of his tenure has changed the political set up of the state and has also created a tense political atmosphere especially now that the governorship election is around the corner.
Having lost popularity and support in Adamawa, Nyako currently only rely on the blessings of President Goodluck Jonathan, threat to traditional rulers to deliver their chiefdoms for him as well as the newly invented scientifically modified rigging system recently used in Kogi State guber poll
But Nyako was said to have emerged through a popular vote in 2007?
The emergence of Nyako as the governor of Adamawa State in 2007 in the first place was the handiwork of the political forces that controlled the state then. Thus, Nyako was the product of circumstances that were foisted on the people. With Nyako as the governor and his cronies that comprise of his family members and loyalists, it was then clear that the emergence of a formidable anti-people government was in place - in readiness to ride the machinery of the new government to oppress the state.
This tiny but powerful group of people has overrun everyone in the state just like cataclysm to entrench their hegemony by running the state as their private estates. Through this, they became fabulously rich. The group has hijacked the government of the state and has taken absolute control by determining who gets what and who losses out, depending on the degree of loyalty extracted from the assessment of the followers.
Nyako has failed in all ramifications as none of his campaign pledges in 2007 was delivered by 2011. His campaign propaganda in 2007 which include the provision of infrastructure, revamping of agriculture, provision of alternative power sources, among others has all remained elusive at the end of his first term in office. Adamawa is worst off with Nyako as its governor.
The state has never enjoyed the kind of windfall from the federation account like it did under Nyako. Despite the huge sum of money received, the state is still enmeshed in poverty with no justifiable achievement on ground.
For instance, apart from the cries of non performance, the people of Adamawa have endured physical and mental torture due to his style of leadership. It is only in Adamawa State that almost all the entire work force has gone on strike for as long as six months with no positive response from the governor. His insensitivity to the plight of the people is very painful. Therefore, we feel he doesn't deserve another term in office.
But if Nyako eventually succeeds in his re-election bid, there is a need for him to learn some lessons from his Taraba counterpart on issues relating to growth and development of a state. On assumption of office, Governor Danbaba Suntai demonstrated a clear zeal for the developing his state.
During his first term in office, he transformed Jalingo, the state capital, to a real urban centre with almost everything working. He established a new state university, a nursing school in Jalingo as well as state polytechnic in Suntai. These are remarkable achievements. Therefore, Nyako should learn from our neighbouring state.
Your party supported President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 election despite the fact that some members of his party accused him of violating its zoning policy. Why?
In the first place, the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as president is in cahoots with the global trend, the young generation are taking over position of authorities. This can be seen in the United Kingdom, where David Cameron is prime minister and the United States where Barak Obama is president, among others.
It is evident that prior to Jonathan's inauguration as the president in 2010, there was vacuum in leadership precipitated by President Umaru Yar'adua's ill-health where some elements in the totem pole of power hijacked the presidency, by perpetrating corruption, abuse of office, nepotism and all what not.
Also, we had a situation where an ex-governor who was wanted for corruption charges both at home and abroad was given refuge in the presidency through the collaboration of some serving ministers. But today this story is history.
As an Adamawa prince, what is your take on the traditional institution?
It is unfortunate that the traditional institution in Adamawa State is coming into partisan politics. Thus, there is a need for total restructuring of the entire Adamawa traditional institution so as to conform to this era of modern world.