Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Crack in Adamawa PDP Snowballs Into National Crisis

The little crack that appeared on the walls of the Adamawa PDP in 2005, has not only widened but is threatening to tear the national secretariat of the PDP apart.

Principal actors in the recent crisis rocking the Adamawa State chapter of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) had initially denied the involvement of the national chairman of the party; Alhaji Bamanga Tukur in the fray.

When the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party sacked the state exco of the party last year October and constituted a caretaker committee headed by Ambassador Umar Damagun, the group that had the support of Governor Murtala Nyako, fingered Bamanga as the unseen hand behind the move, but the anti- Nyako group denied vehemently saying it was an action conceived and taken by the NWC to restore sanity to the party in Adamawa.

But Tuesday's action by the some members of the NWC knocked off every form of pretense laying it bare that the PDP crisis in Adamawa has much to do with just the need to restore order in the party.

In what appeared like a coup plot, 10 members of the NWC reversed the entire decisions the NWC had taken on the Adamawa issue just about three months ago.

The manner the reversal order was announced rang the bell loudly and clearly that the PDP national secretariat is split on the matter. The 10 members led by deputy national chairman of the party; Dr. Sam Jaja and the PDP national secretary Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in a coy manner laden with intrigues waited for an auspicious time when they were sure that the mind of the national chairman would be occupied with other things to strike.

Knowing full well that Tuesday, 8th of January 2013 had been set aside for the election of the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, Oyinlola and his group waited till the national chairman departed the premises of the PDP national secretariat for the presidential villa, venue of the BOT meeting, and immediately called a press conference and announced that they had met and set aside the decision taken by the NWC last year sacking the Mijinyawa Kugama led exco of the PDP in Adamawa State.

The Oyinlola led members of the NWC also dissolved the caretaker committee set up by the NWC to conduct fresh congresses in the state while giving recognition to the Kugama led exco which they had earlier sacked.

It denied ever dissolving the ward and local government executives of the state and described as shocking and embarrassing the ward, local government and state congresses that was conducted by the caretaker committee it had set up.

"For the records, the National Working Committee, hereby dissociate the party leadership from the purported congresses which were neither authorized by the NWC nor monitored and/or supervised by the national secretariat. In the history of the PDP only the national secretariat of the PDP conducts state congresses," it said.

Bamanga's reaction

Though the PDP national chairman is yet to react to the action of the Oyinlola group, it is obvious that the action was done surreptitiously done and executed without his knowledge.

Political adviser to the national chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Gusau when contacted said it is bewildering how the members of the NWC would have taken the step to reverse their own decision only few months after they announced their position on the matter.

He said though he was away when it happened hence cannot say what informed their decision, the Adamawa exco as far as he knows had concluded the congresses before the Oyinlola led NWC took the action.

Chairman of the Adamawa State congress committee, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong also said the NWC's action was dead on arrival as it was taken after the caretaker committee had fully discharged its functions and handed over the running of the affairs of the party to an elected exco.

Likely consequences

Members of the PDP in Adamawa State have made it clear that since the action of the Oyinlola group came after the caretaker committee had discharged its functions, the new exco led by Joel Madaki would take over the running of the party in the state.

But the Nyako group as shut its ears to the actions taken by the Damagun led caretaker committee pretending the order from the Oyinlola led group is final.

Our correspondent reported there were wild jubilations at the Government House in Yola while the secretariat of the party where the Madaki led exco would have sat to conduct its affairs was sealed by security agencies.

This to many analysts suggests that all the efforts made to find lasting peace to the Adamawa debacle has failed and that the gap between members has further been widened.

More than that, it shows that the national secretariat of the party has taken sides on the matter and that the matter if not resolved immediately could erode the integrity of the body to settle that particular dispute as well as others in the future as already, people are beginning to interpret the crisis as a manifestation of a long dispute between the national chairman on one side and the national secretary of the party.

Background to the crisis

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as vice president of Nigeria did so much to make the PDP in his home state of Adamawa concretize into a formidable fortress which he had intended to use as a springboard to launch his presidential ambition.

The Adamawa wing of the party benefitting immensely from this interest grew and became the rallying point for northern politicians.

But the same factor that contributed to the growth of the party later turned its albatross. When former President Olusegun Obasanjo after the 2003 election, decided to move to stop Atiku's ambition to succeed him, it was to the Adamawa PDP that he first went and set in motion a process that scattered the unity and cohesion of the party members till Atiku was forced to leave the party late 2006.

Obasanjo in 2005 introduced what he called the membership revalidation exercise for all PDP members ostensibly to frustrate Atiku and his supporters from re-registering as PDP members.

Though Atiku found his way round the move, but the structure he had put in place was dismembered as many of his supporters were prevented from manning key positions in the state wing of the party.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when Joel Madaki, then chairman of the party left to contest for the PDP gubernatorial ticket in the state, which was denied him and given to Murtala Nyako on a platter of gold.

Atiku and his supporters left for the Action Congress (AC), to enable Atiku a platform to contest the 2007 presidential election but the schism introduced to the party refused to go.

Then deputy state chairman of the party, Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama who assumed the position of chairman due to the exit of Madaki warmed his way to the heart of Governor Nyako and consolidated his grip on the party, such that no election was held to elect a substantive chairman for the party from Madaki's senatorial zone as is the custom in the party thereby allowing Kugama to continue.

Not only did Kugama continue as chairman, but the tenure of his exco was allowed to continue beyond the four years which should have ended in 2008.

Last year however, the party organized a congress and re-lected Kugama, but the process was faulted by the other members who complained of not being involved. The Independent National Electoral Commission also faulted the congress and wrote to the national secretariat of the party to ensure fresh congresses are conducted.

The recent crisis

The real moment of explosion came when INEC faulted the entire congress of the party from the ward to the state level.

With the battle line now clearly drawn between those who want a fresh congress; signifying the opposition and those against, signifying those in support of the governor, the crack deepened as all efforts to resolve the issue proved abortiove.

On one side are Senator Jibril Aminu, Dr. Umar Ardo, Senator Grace Bent, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong, General Haldu Hananiya and a host of others while Governor Nyako and Kugama are on the other side.

It was the elders who petitioned the NWC of the party which deliberated upon the issues raised in the petition and sacked the Kugama exco and appointed a caretaker committee to conduct fresh congresses in the state.

But Nyako had been adamant and had refused to recognize the caretaker committee and continued to relate with Kugama as the chairman of the PDP in Adamawa State. The state governor also went ahead to ban all political activities in the state when it was obvious that the committee is going ahead with the congress.

Somehow the order failed to stop the committee and it went ahead to organize the congresses from the ward to the state level.

The state congress

At the state congress which held on Tuesday, former state chairman of the party, Chief Joel Hamman Joda Madaki, was returned as the newly elected chairman of the party together with the former secretary of the party, Barr.A.T. Shehu.

This was after an earlier injunction on the state caretaker committee of the PDP led by Amb.Umaru Damagum was vacated by the court as few days to the election, one Alhaji Mustapha Njobdi and two others had filed a motion against the PDP and 10 others before the Acting Chief Judge, complaining that their fundamental human rights had been trampled upon by the refusal of the Caretaker Committee to allow them participate in the December 27, 2012 PDP ward congresses in the state.

Hong who presided over the congress said the election was conducted in the principle of consensus and was aimed at bringing unity and mutual coercion among party members.

Amb. Damagun on his part said his mission as caretaker chairman has been accomplished. "It was on record that some elements in the party did everything possible to halt the exercise including court injunctions and ban on political gathering, but all to no avail, because we succeeded in doing the right things," he said.

In his post acceptance speech, Chief Joel Madaki assured that he will run an all inclusive executives, called on the Nyako's camp to support them and move the party forward.

Governor Nyako's fear

Nyako's fear stems from the fact that he may lose the authority to determine who succeeds him if he allows the party to slip away from his control.

Thus all along he had maintained that the only exco of the PDP he recognizes in Adamawa is the the one led by Kugama.

"It must be realized that the Kugama-led exco was duly elected by the same congress that brought them as the national executive, and the Adamawa exco was later ratified by the Tukur-led working committee.

"Our position in Adamawa is that the decision of the NWC to dissolve the state executive is yet to be ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party and, therefore, let the dissolution be rescinded in the spirit of justice and fairness," he said.

Involvement of Nigeria Governor's Forum

Sources say the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to set up a presidential committee on the Adamawa crisis, was taken when a group of governors led the chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, Governor Rotimi Amaechi met with him and made a case for Nyako alleging that Nyako is suffering because he is from the saem state with the national chairman of the party.

They asked the president to intervene by reversing the dissolution of the state exco saying if it is allowed, would expose the governors who by convention are supposed to be leaders of the party in their respective states to ridicule and would further cause more problems for the party once a key national officer of the party has a problem with any of them.

The president then agreed to set up a committee headed by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa but which was equally rejected by the other group saying there is no way the Lamido committee would be fair to all.

Sen Aminu later accused the governors of using their forum to intimidate the president .

The dynastic linkage

It is alleged that at the base of the entire imbroglio is the bid by the two leading figures in the crisis, Governor Murtala Nyako and Bamanga to ensure they hand over to one of their sons in a bid to build a dynasty in the state.

Bamanga's son, Auwal who was in the House of Representatives between 1999 to 2003 has been contesting for the PDP governorship ticket even before his father became national chairman of the party. But the emergence of his father as chairman it is feared would serve to further pave the way for him using the instrument of the party in the state.

Hong however denied this. He said the protest within the party has nothing to do with the ambition of Bamanga or his son saying the agitation is in order to restore sanity to the party and give every stakeholder a sense of belonging by running an inclusive party.

He said the fact that Bamanga's son has been in the race for the governorship and has contributed to the growth of the party even before his father became national chairman, defeats that allegation that that is what the struggle is all about and exposes it as a mere blackmail.

Governor Nyako also denied insinuations that he was trying to impose for his eldest son, Abdul'Aziz who had retired from the Navy and was turbaned as Sarki Matasa Adamawa, by lamido Barkindo as governor in 2015.

" It's not true, let them wait and see the year 2015 is still far," he said.

The Governor said he would produce his successor through 'internal democracy' arguing that there was no other means a PDP candidate would emerge than through 'internal democracy', as he said the era of godfatherism is gone.

He added that the party primary in the state for the 2015 gubernatorial polls would be transparent as only the most popular candidate would emerge through it. He said he had no anointed candidate for the governorship position but that he was determined to strengthen internal democracy within the state chapter of the party ahead of the 2015 governorship ballot.

Oyinlola group came after the care-taker committee had discharged its functions, the new exco led by Joel Madaki would take over the running of the party in the state.

But the Nyako group as shut its ears to the actions taken by the Damagun led caretaker committee pretending the order from the Oyinlola led group is final.

Our correspondent reported there were wild jubilations at the Government House in Yola while the secretariat of the party where the Madaki led exco would have sat to conduct its affairs was sealed by security agencies.

This to many analysts suggests that all the efforts made to find lasting peace to the Adamawa debacle has failed and that the gap between members has further been widened.

More than that, it shows that the national secretariat of the party has taken sides on the matter and that the matter if not resolved immediately could erode the integrity of the body to settle that particular dispute as well as others in the future as already, people are beginning to interpret the crisis as a manifestation of a long dispute between the national chairman on one side and the national secretary of the party.

Background to the crisis

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as vice president of Nigeria did so much to make the PDP in his home state of Adamawa concretize into a formidable fortress which he had intended to use as a springboard to launch his presidential ambition.

The Adamawa wing of the party benefitting immensely from this interest grew and became the rallying point for northern politicians.

But the same factor that con-tributed to the growth of the party later turned its albatross. When former President Olusegun Obasanjo after the 2003 election, decided to move to stop Atiku's ambition to succeed him, it was to the Adamawa PDP that he first went and set in motion a process that scattered the unity and cohesion of the party members till Atiku was forced to leave the party late 2006.

Obasanjo in 2005 introduced what he called the membership revalidation exercise for all PDP members ostensibly to frustrate Atiku and his supporters from re-registering as PDP members.

Though Atiku found his way round the move, but the structure he had put in place was dismembered as many of his supporters were prevented from manning key positions in the state wing of the party.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when Joel Madaki, then chairman of the party left to contest for the PDP gubernatorial ticket in the state, which was denied him and given to Murtala Nyako on a platter of gold.

Atiku and his supporters left for the Action Congress (AC), to enable Atiku a platform to contest the 2007 presidential election but the schism introduced to the party refused to go.

Then deputy state chairman of the party, Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama who assumed the posi-tion of chairman due to the exit of Madaki warmed his way to the heart of Governor Nyako and consolidated his grip on the party, such that no election was held to elect a substantive chairman for the party from Madaki's senatorial zone as is the custom in the party thereby allowing Kugama to continue.

Not only did Kugama continue as chairman, but the tenure of his exco was allowed to continue beyond the four years which should have ended in 2008.

Last year however, the party organized a congress and re-lected Kugama, but the process was faulted by the other members who complained of not being involved. The Independent National Elec-toral Commission also faulted the congress and wrote to the national secretariat of the party to ensure fresh congresses are conducted.

The recent crisis

The real moment of explosion came when INEC faulted the entire congress of the party from the ward to the state level.

With the battle line now clearly drawn between those who want a fresh congress; signifying the opposition and those against, signifying those in support of the governor, the crack deepened as all efforts to resolve the issue proved abortiove.

On one side are Senator Jibril Aminu, Dr. Umar Ardo, Senator Grace Bent, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong, General Haldu Hananiya and a host of others while Governor Nyako and Kugama are on the other side.

It was the elders who petitioned the NWC of the party which deliberated upon the issues raised in the petition and sacked the Kugama exco and appointed a caretaker committee to conduct fresh congresses in the state.

But Nyako had been adamant and had refused to recognize the caretaker committee and continued to relate with Kugama as the chairman of the PDP in Adamawa State. The state governor also went ahead to ban all political activities in the state when it was obvious that the committee is going ahead with the congress.

Somehow the order failed to stop the committee and it went ahead to organize the congresses from the ward to the state level.

The state congress

At the state congress which held on Tuesday, former state chairman of the party, Chief Joel Hamman Joda Madaki, was returned as the newly elected chairman of the party together with the former secretary of the party, Barr.A.T. Shehu.

This was after an earlier injunction on the state caretaker committee of the PDP led by Amb.Umaru Damagum was vacated by the court as few days to the election, one Alhaji Mustapha Njobdi and two others had filed a motion against the PDP and 10 others before the Acting Chief Judge, complaining that their fundamental human rights had been trampled upon by the refusal of the Caretaker Committee to allow them participate in the December 27, 2012 PDP ward congresses in the state.

Hong who presided over the congress said the election was conducted in the principle of consensus and was aimed at bringing unity and mutual coercion among party members.

Amb. Damagun on his part said his mission as caretaker chairman has been accomplished. "It was on record that some elements in the party did everything possible to halt the exercise including court injunctions and ban on political gathering, but all to no avail, because we succeeded in doing the right things," he said.

In his post acceptance speech, Chief Joel Madaki assured that he will run an all inclusive executives, called on the Nyako's camp to support them and move the party forward.

Governor Nyako's fear

Nyako's fear stems from the fact that he may lose the authority to determine who succeeds him if he allows the party to slip away from his control.

Thus all along he had main-tained that the only exco of the PDP he recognizes in Adamawa is the the one led by Kugama.

"It must be realized that the Kugama-led exco was duly elected by the same congress that brought them as the national executive, and the Adamawa exco was later ratified by the Tukur-led working committee.

"Our position in Adamawa is that the decision of the NWC to dissolve the state executive is yet to be ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party and, therefore, let the dissolution be rescinded in the spirit of justice and fairness," he said.

Involvement of Nigeria Governor's Forum

Sources say the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to set up a presidential committee on the Adamawa crisis, was taken when a group of governors led the chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum, Governor Rotimi Amaechi met with him and made a case for Nyako alleging that Nyako is suffering because he is from the saem state with the national chairman of the party.

They asked the president to intervene by reversing the dissolution of the state exco saying if it is allowed, would expose the governors who by convention are supposed to be leaders of the party in their respective states to ridicule and would further cause more problems for the party once a key national officer of the party has a problem with any of them.

The president then agreed to set up a committee headed by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa but which was equally rejected by the other group saying there is no way the Lamido committee would be fair to all.

Sen Aminu later accused the governors of using their forum to intimidate the president .

The dynastic linkage

It is alleged that at the base of the entire imbroglio is the bid by the two leading figures in the crisis, Governor Murtala Nyako and Bamanga to ensure they hand over to one of their sons in a bid to build a dynasty in the state.

Bamanga's son, Auwal who was in the House of Representatives between 1999 to 2003 has been contesting for the PDP governorship ticket even before his father became national chairman of the party. But the emergence of his father as chairman it is feared would serve to further pave the way for him using the instrument of the party in the state.

Hong however denied this. He said the protest within the party has nothing to do with the ambition of Bamanga or his son saying the agitation is in order to restore sanity to the party and give every stakeholder a sense of belonging by running an inclusive party.

He said the fact that Bamanga's son has been in the race for the governorship and has contributed to the growth of the party even before his father became national chairman, defeats that allegation that that is what the struggle is all about and exposes it as a mere blackmail.

Governor Nyako also denied insinuations that he was trying to impose for his eldest son, Abdul'Aziz who had retired from the Navy and was turbaned as Sarki Matasa Adamawa, by lamido Barkindo as governor in 2015.

"It's not true, let them wait and see the year 2015 is still far," he said.

The Governor said he would produce his successor through 'internal democracy' arguing that there was no other means a PDP candidate would emerge than through 'internal democracy', as he said the era of godfatherism is gone.

He added that the party primary in the state for the 2015 gubernatorial polls would be transparent as only the most popular candidate would emerge through it. He said he had no anointed candidate for the governorship position but that he was determined to strengthen internal democracy within the state chapter of the party ahead.

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