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Adamawa PDP: Stuck in Crisis

Governor Alhaji Murtala Nyako

A recent attack on the Peoples Democratic Party secretariat in Adamawa State has heightened fears that the crisis plaguing the state party is far from being over, writes Daji Sani

It was the least expected even though all had not been well with the party for some time now. But it happened! The secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, came under attack recently. However, that the secretariat was attacked was not the issue in the party, allegations that it may have been orchestrated by some elements in government is what is giving stakeholders worries.

Some government officials were believed to have ordered the attack in order to forestall a meeting of the state caretaker committee under the leadership of Ambassador Umar Damagun- a committee ordained by the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP in the wake of the crisis in the state chapter.

It was in the morning of Saturday, December 8. Some youths had marched on the party secretariat, lit bonfire in front of the secretariat, apparently to protest and disrupt meeting of the committee. But sensing that what had begun like a mild protest could degenerate into a bigger mess especially that the youths had started to burn tyres; the leadership of the party immediately sought the deployment of policemen to disperse the crowd.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mohammed Ibrahim, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said no arrest was made but promised that the police would fish out the culprits.

Damagun, while speaking with journalists, said a recent statement credited to the state Governor, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, was capable of orchestrating the attack. Besides, he noted that the governor was on his way to the airport when the incident occurred and passed through the secretariat but did nothing.

But Chief Press Secretary to Nyako, Alhaji Maijama’a Adamu, condemned the allegation in strong terms, noting that amongst the governors that had governed the state, Nyako is one who has been working assiduously for the sustenance of peace and development of the state.

Maijama’a told THISDAY that the allegation was orchestrated to tarnish the good image of the governor before the people of the state. He, therefore, advised those casting aspersions on the governor to desist from statements capable of throwing the state into a state of anarchy.

The NWC had on October 16, 2012, dissolved the Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama-led executive of the state PDP on basis of insubordination and other offences and consequently inaugurated a caretaker committee headed by Damagun to run the affairs of the party in the state. The committee was given the mandate to harmonise and reconcile aggrieved members of the party as well as conduct congresses in the party.

But in spite of the dissolution of the state executive committee, Nyako told journalists at the Government House that as far as the state government was concerned, the dissolved executive was in absolute control of the party in the state.

Damagun, reacting to the statement, also said the caretaker committee was the only recognised executive committee at the national secretariat of the party. He, therefore, advised Nyako to support the course for the benefit of peace and the current transformation going on in the party.

As a result, the Damagun committee has since had a running battle with the dissolved Kugama executive over control of the party in the state. But Damagun said such intimidation and media bickering would not deter his committee from doing what is right on the basis of the party’s constitution.

He said because of the significance of the Saturday meeting, their opponent had no choice but to instigate the attack because the national secretariat of the party and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had approved and fixed between December 27 and January 10, 2013 for congresses in the state.

The Saturday meeting was meant to address party supporters and the media on the development as well as announce dates approved by INEC and the national secretariat for the congress elections that would hold from the wards to the local governments and state.

Feelers have it that the stand of the NWC may have been to address the lingering agitation by some stakeholders of the party in the state who had alleged alienation in the scheme of things.

Thus, some stakeholders have called on the governor to call his men to order and desist from name-calling in the state media, which has become a tool for propaganda in the hands of government and its supporters.

However, because of the tide the development is assuming, some people are now pleading with President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into the situation before it gets out of hand. They are of the view that with what happened on December 8, there is an indication that if nothing is done to salvage the situation; a state of anarchy might be inevitable or the PDP might as well lose Adamawa to the opposition party.

Analysts believed that should Nyako refuse to recognise the caretaker committee and the congresses of the party are conducted, he might lose the party structure to his political enemies. But if he aligns with the committee, woos some of them to his side and goes into the contest, he might as well reclaim the party structures and remain leader of the party in the state.

Yet, some pundits believed that should the governor lose the structure of the party to Tukur’s men, the tendency that Nyako and his men might defect to another political party is high since the 2015 election is the bone of contention between the political gladiators in the state.

But such a development, pundits believed would not augur well for the PDP and that the best thing to do is reconcile the tendencies and persuade the governor to agree to a 40-60 sharing formula. If that happens, observers believe Nyako would still maintain his position as leader of the party in the state come 2015.