Speculations over the fate and future of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State finally came to a halt Tuesday, July 15, 2014, with his impeachment by the State House of Assembly.
It was in all respects a fall long foretold. It also brought to an abrupt end, weeks of intense politicking and wheeler-dealings as Baba Mangoro -as Nyako is fondly called- sought, fruitlessly, to extricate himself from the political noose into which he roped himself.
Considering the manner in which Nyako conducted himself in office, nobody appears to be shedding tears on his downfall. In fact, it is expected that the large number of political heavyweights he sidelined or trampled upon since becoming Adamawa governor in 2007, may be clinking good wine glasses now.
Now that Nyako is gone (never mind his promised face-saving recourse to the law courts), it is safe to reduce his eventual downfall to three major reasons: bad governance, plain stealing of public funds and wrong-headed politics as exemplified by his ill-fated decision to join the All Progressives Congress, APC and embark on a solo journey to political uncertainty.
For the past month, Adamawa has been on the boil which got to a head in the past week after the Chief Justice, consequent upon the resolution of the House set up a seven-man committee to investigate the 20-count allegations against Nyako. The governor and his deputy, Bala Ngilari, were last month served notices of impeachment by the House which alleged that they indulged in gross misconduct, corrupt enrichment, official malfeasance and nepotism.
Nineteen out of the 25 members of the Assembly signed the notice following a motion moved by the deputy speaker, Mr. Kwamoti Laori who represents Numan Constituency. Some of the allegations against Nyako included diversion of N2.3 billion workers’ salary for September and October 2011, and illegal deductions and diversion of N142 million emoluments of workers in May 2014. He was also alleged to have squandered N4.8 billion and N7.1 billion in 2012 and 2013, respectively, through the office of the Secretary to the State Government against budgetary approvals.
When you add the alleged diversion of huge amounts of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, local government funds and the N500 million Federal Government intervention fund for the 2011 flood victims for personal use, the picture of the financial rape of the state becomes even clearer. Yet, analysts say they are just a tip of a big iceberg. The report of the seven-man investigative panel had, as expected, indicted Nyako who did not make any attempt to defend himself.
Facing imminent impeachment, Ngilari had resigned shortly before the House made its verdict public, thereby evading the stigma of impeachment. With Nyako’s impeachment, the House Speaker, Alhaji Umaru Fintiri, is now the acting governor, a position he will occupy until a substantive governor is elected within 90 days.
Stories are told of humongous amounts being siphoned from public coffers to finance the many political battlefronts he opened as well as a lifestyle that was increasingly lavish. For a man who cared less about the poverty ravaging his state, his ouster is welcomed as good riddance to bad rubbish.
His politics may be as distractive as it was divisive. Not bothered by the debilitating insurgency ravaging his state, Nyako would rather gallivant across the country along with other colleagues in the name of ‘progressivism’, depleting his state’s lean resources in funding the bottomless pit called APC. Beyond those, however, what raised concerns within Adamawa State and across Nigeria are the reports consistently linking Nyako to the rising security challenges in the North East, and which he has never really bothered to explain. Rather with each passing day, the spate of incendiary statements had increased, going from bad to worse since he joined the APC, a party that has been linked in some quarters with the Boko Haram insurgency.
Though certain Northern leaders have in the past vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Jonathan, the dimension of Nyako’s opposition to the Federal administration goes beyond the ordinary. It remains an unproven allegation but Nyako’s links with the ongoing jihad by so-called Fulani herdsmen raise concerns within security circles, especially after hundreds of imported Fulani ‘herdsmen’ were linked to him. They were imported, according to reports, ostensibly to work in his vast multi-purpose Sebore Farms.
The breakdown of governance in Adamawa has been no less amazing than the controversies surrounding the governor himself. For a man who boasted 20-strong Peoples Democratic Party members in the House, he was unable to convince even one of them to accompany him in his ill-fated journey into the All Progressive Congress. To make matters worse the five APC members that received him into the party, abandoned him soon after for the PDP. So did the party’s erstwhile leaders like Buba Marwa.
Nothing better illustrates Nyako’s naivety than his pillar-to-post efforts to stop his impeachment. A man who has for the better part of his tumultuous tenure sidelined top politicians in the state, he had suddenly started courting the likes of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and Malam Nuhu Ribadu. He had rushed to Atiku whom he had abandoned even during their days in the PDP, along with former PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to draft him into the peace effort. They tried, no doubt, but their efforts were too little too late as the House members were committed to make the old man pay for his sins.
His departure is indeed a good omen for Adamawa to start anew, away from unnecessary distractions. It is a time for the traumatized people to turn attention away from a man who, for the better part of his tenure, engaged in all sorts of shenanigans at the expense of governance and the people’s welfare.
Hamisu Abubakar, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Kaduna, Kaduna State.
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