Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Nyako’s troubled times

Atiku Abubakar and other Adamawa big men may have intervened to save Governor Murtala Nyako from impeachment, but lasting peace is still far away for the governor
MAybe it was the daring inhumanity in the attacks of the Boko Haram Islamic insurgents in the Northeast that pushed Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa to write two acidic memos on President Goodluck Jonathan alleged compliance to destroy the north.

The first memo was addressed to the Northern States Governors Forum, (NSGF) in which he accused the presidency of lukewarm attitude towards the insurgency and the fallouts of such on the Northeast.

Despite the nationwide outrage that followed the memo, mainly on the basis of the tone and inferences, Nyako was apparently undeterred as he made a follow-up on the memo even while he was away in the United States.

Subsisting rancour

It is the belief of many that the two letters were directly related to the present moves to impeach Governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy.
The angst of the presidency over the letter compounded the subsisting rancour that arose from the defection of the governor from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on which he was elected to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Remarkably, while he was in PDP, Nyako was a good ally of President Jonathan as he even doubled as special adviser to the president on agriculture.
However, the cordiality between the two men immediately soured once Alhaji Bamanga Tukur was made the national chairman of the PDP in March 2012.
Some influential people of Adamawa extraction based in Abuja who before Tukur’s exit had murmured against the Nyako regime found their voice again as they rallied round Tukur to mount opposition to Nyako.
Though their children are married to one another, the two men put their marital relationship aside as they fought one another to the hilt culminating in Nyako’s exit from the PDP to the APC and subsequently, Tukur’s exit from the office of national chairman.
Remarkably, the Abuja friends of Tukur were pointed as the ringleaders of the impeachment notice that was served on Nyako and were allegedly conduits of the alleged financial largesse reportedly provided by a Niger Delta governor to push the impeachment.
Nyako’s problems are, however, not just from outside the state. Even within the state his problems are Herculean as there are many within who are anxious to see his exit.
At a point, the current state chairman of the PDP, Chief Joel Madaki openly declared that the days of Nyako’s government were numbered. Madaki made the declaration when he visited the state House of Assembly to declare his support for the impeachment move.
Even before then, members of the House of Assembly had converged at the PDP state secretariat to formally announce that the entire 25 members of the House had decided not to associate with Nyako in his APC. That should have been a warning for the governor. But he apparently brushed it aside.

The plot unfolds

The legislators made deft political moves with the invitation of members o Nyako’s cabinet to appear before the house to give account of their stewardship. The invitations were hurriedly dispatched to the key ministries, boards and parastatals for their commissioners and chief executives to appear before the House, along with all their expenditures and bank accounts while in office.

The public gallery witnessed mammoth crowd as the commissioners and chief executives of parastatals took turns to appear before the law makers with deeply probing questions. At a point, one of the female commissioners, who could not communicate very well in English almost collapse while undergoing interrogations.

The quick intervention of some female lawmakers for the female commissioner to be discharged saved her from collapsing on that day as members of the public enjoying a rare opportunity of seeing a big madam in pains made mockery of her with taunts.

The probing questions of the commissioners inevitably led to the tabling of an impeachment motion against Governor Nyako and his deputy, Mr. Bala Ngilari.

The addition of Ngilari in the impeachment notice was a surprise to many stakeholders, but not totally for his associates who have watched for years how he and the speaker of the House of Assembly, Umaru Fintiri who are from the same place, have fought one another politically.

The impeachment notice was formally tabled on June 18, 2014 at a session of the House presided over by Speaker Fintiri.
The 20 count charge allegation of gross misconduct against Nyako and Ngillari was signed by 19 of the 25 members of the assembly.

On being received, the House directed the clerk to serve the notice on the governor and his deputy with immediate effect.
Getting Nyako to be served with the notice was, however, a drama. As the issue boiled, the governor relocated to Abuja making it difficult for him to be served with the notice.

The clerk upon the directive of the House leadership rushed to a Yola High Court, with a sworn affidavit seeking the leave of the court to serve serve Nyako and Ngillari the impeachment notice through the media.
Undeterred, members who were actually on recess reconvened to adopt the votes and proceedings of 18th June when the motion was received, making the impeachment motion a formality.
Nyako, meanwhile was doing what he had been loath to do; that is to beg.

Prominent persons

The governor in Abuja went on a circuit of some of the state’s most prominent persons pulling strings and where not, begging for mercy. One of those approached was Atiku Abubakar, the former vice-president who continues to wield much influence in the state.

For Atiku intervening to help Nyako was an issue. Though both of them left the PDP for the APC about the same time, intervening on behalf of Nyako was like a double-edged sword for some associates of the former vice-president as they recalled past acts of betrayals by Nyako of the Atiku camp.

Meanwhile, what came as a succor for Nyako was the judgment of the state’s acting chief judge, Justice Ambrose Memadi who refused the application of the House for the pair of Nyako and Ngillari to be served through the media.

“I hold that service of the notice of allegation against the respondents, (Nyako and Ngillari) must be personal service”, the Acting Chief Judge ruled.

With Murtala Nyako and his deputy not available to be served personally with the impeachment notice, and Nyako making underground peace with his foes, it is not surprising that the impeachment process may be running out of steam.

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