The Deal that Compromised Gari Mallam’s Political Dream
Why Gov Dakingari may betray his hitherto political godfather, Aliero again
By MARYAM MUSA
The intimidating political gathering in Kebbi penultimate week where President Goodluck Jonathan formally gave Sa’idu Nasamu Dakingari the PDP flag thus endorsing him as the gubernatorial candidate of his party after the April 2011 controversial election that brought him to power was annulled by the Supreme Court for series of electoral fraud and irregularities leaves much to be desired. The formal decampment of the political gladiators of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) the once strongest opposition party in the state whose petition through its gubernatorial candidate in the April 2011 election, Abubakar Gari Mallam with the strong backing of ex-Governor Adamu Aliero resulted in the sacking of Governor Dakingari, coupled with Professor Attahiru Jega’s pronouncement few days before the election that despite the deliberate and untimely exit of Aliero and the CPC’s gubernatorial candidate, Gari Malam from the party, INEC would not accept the replacement of any candidate. It insisted that the Supreme Court judgment that sacked Dakingari and ordered for a re-run election within 90 days did not clearly say political parties can change candidates, was a clear indication that last Saturday’s election’ that brought Dakingari to power was not only a formality but one that shouldn’t have been done because according to political pundits, it is one election in Nigeria’s political history that clearly produces a ‘winner’ notwithstanding the alleged sponsoring of candidates from other unknown and less popular political parties in the state, allegedly by the PDP in desperation to create false legitimacy and credibility for the controversial election of 31st March, 2012 that predictably brought Dakingari back to power and political reckoning. CPC’s national legal adviser said considering the special circumstance and political power play that resulted in the untimely decampment of its governorship candidate in Kebbi which is not the fault of the CPC as a political party, INEC should have consulted widely with its legal department and the CPC stakeholders at the national level and if need be to go through the Supreme Court again. This is because at the time the judgment was given, the Supreme Court too did not know that the candidate of the major opposition party in the state will dump his party. CPC said it is her right to have a candidate that will represent her in the gubernatorial election in the state in view of the circumstance and in view of the fact that they believe they have more supporters in the state than the PDP. CPC insisted that it was gross injustice and that by implication INEC has compromised the Kebbi governorship election and delivered it on a platter of gold to the PDP. Even though the typical political antics of the former FCT minister and ex-CPC chieftain in Kebbi, Adamu Aliero is known to many, his decision to dump the CPC at such a critical moment and having facilitated CPC’s petition to Supreme Court and a victory was secured, pundits did not believe the content of Desert Herald SMS Alert that revealed Aliero and Gari Malam’s decision to dump the CPC five days before it was formally announced. Many thought Aliero and Malam will take advantage of the growing popularity of the CPC in the state because of the Buhari factor and the political decline of the PDP candidate, Dakingari to campaign vigorously for a change of leadership the people are yearning for. But some pundits believe that considering the political history and antics of Aliero; having been elected as governor under the ANPP for eight years and decided to dump the party when his services and contributions were most needed and only to surrender the state to the PDP, secured a senatorial reward and later FCT minister and when the cabal he belongs to became irrelevant after Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s demise. He opted for the then popular CPC with the hope of unseating his hitherto political godson (Dakingari) that ‘betrayed’ him and to secure senatorial seat through the CPC, Aliero’s decision to dump the CPC at such a critical moment according to them is not at all surprising. DESERT HERALD gathered that the deal begun soon after the Supreme Court judgment that sack Dakingari. Inside sources reveal that it was Aliero himself that indirectly made the first move through his political godfather, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo after he reportedly declined to accept pleas sent to him through some notable emirs in Kebbi by Dakingari. An insider who doesn’t want to be mentioned told this reporter that it was Aliero’s greed, selfishness and that of his brother, Abba Aliero that resulted in their crisis with Dakingari. He revealed that after the 2007 election that brought Dakingari to power and having played the role they have played, Abba through his brother, Aliero brought a ridiculous claim of nearly two billion naira for Dakingari to use the resources of the people to pay them as total cost they incurred for bringing him to power. “You know Dakingari is not a spendthrift and he is against any form of corruption even though he and his brother Lawalli are also beneficiaries of inflated contracts so he told Aliero out rightly that he will not waste public resources as much as that amount. That was the beginning of his crisis with the Aliero brothers”, he revealed.
Instead of reaching the deal at the state level because of the disappointment he suffered in the hands of Dakingari, DESERT HERALD gathered, Aliero opted to go to the top and negotiate his interest partly leaving his old friend and now political stooge, Gari Malam in the dark. Considering the uncertainty if they allow the election to hold with the CPC actively as the major opposition party in the state both the PDP at the centre with Chief Obasanjo as the facilitator and Dakingari welcomed the idea to woo the Kebbi CPC notably Aliero and the gubernatorial candidate, Malam to the PDP as the most effective political manoeuver of containing the CPC’s threat. In sealing the deal which Dakingari has no option considering the involvement of the presidency, Obasanjo in his desperation to return as governor, DESERT HERALD learnt that Aliero was promised half of the commissioners in new cabinet and with at least three ‘lucrative’ ministries. Our source also revealed that the new government of Dakingari will consider the interest of Aliero in awarding major contracts henceforth while Aliero’s political stooge, Gari Malam was promised a ministerial appointment by the presidency for compromising and killing the chances of the CPC in the state. Malam is expected to be considered in the next cabinet reshufflement. Aliero according to the source will also be considered for either appointment or juicy contract by the federal government for facilitating the deal. While the federal government may fulfill its own side of the political bargain it is not likely according to those that are privy to the character of Dakingari to fulfill his own side of the deal to Aliero once he settles down in the Government House. Keen political observers of Dakingari’s politics and the typical greed of Aliero believe that he will never get along with Aliero and his political camp insisting that the relative peace now is like the peace of the graveyard and cosmetic in nature. DESERT HERALD gathered that part of the deal with Aliero which Obasanjo and other PDP stakeholders at the presidency facilitated is to give him (Aliero) the vice president in 2015 under Mr. Jonathan’s possible candidature thereby putting the ambition of Vice President Namadi Sambo in jeopardy. But beyond the issue of seeking political patronage and relevance, another credible insider that pleaded not to be mentioned told our reporter that Aliero’s alleged N30billion scam when he was governor in Kebbi and as minister of the FCT was sufficiently used by both Dakingari and the PDP to blackmail him to endorse and support the governor (Dakingari) he once claim is dictatorial and the worst performing governor in Nigeria. “Whatever method they used in compromising Aliero I can assure you that Aliero will soon regret it. They see him in Abuja and Kebbi as a political prostitute. He has no political value and dignity. As for Hassan and Hussaini Kangiwa they share same political faith and destiny with Aliero. They don’t know their left and right and they don’t know what dignity is all about. They are in politics to get power and money. Maybe they can get money but I can assure you that Hassan or Hussaini Kangiwa cannot win even a councillor in Arewa Local Government. Just go through their political history. Have any of them ever won an election? They are bunch of politicians without conscience. In Islam we called Hassan and Hussaini’s socalled philanthropic activities as Riya. They only help with a purpose and for the world to know and appreciate what they are doing not because of Allah. For Gari Malam I sincerely pity him. He has been used and he will be dump”, he lamented. DESERT HERALD also learnt that despite the fact that the Supreme Court on paper has sacked Dakingari and ordered for re-run election, Dakingari continued to dictate the tune for the acting Governor and Speaker of the Kebbi State House of Assembly, Aminu Musa Habib Jega. The sacking last week of the Secretary to the State Government Ahmed Sama and the Head of Service Ahmed Bunza by acting Governor Habib Jega was said to have been ordered by the then PDP gubernatorial candidate, Usman Dakingari. The subsequent appointment of Nura Kangiwa and Buhari Halidu Jega according to the source was also ordered by Dakingari and that the acting governor only makes a mere pronouncement. Sama’s offence according to DESERT HERALD’s investigation is for allegedly diverting N50million approved for security officials in the state. This paper was told by an aide to Dakingari that instead of Sama to handover the N50million approved by Dakingari and release to his office to the security chiefs in the state, Sama allegedly gave them only N10million. The deal according to Dakingari’s aide was discovered when the security chiefs shortly before the Supreme Court judgment visited Dakingari to thank him for the support of the N10million he gave them. “Dakingari doesn’t want the matter to come out because the ex-SSG too knows a lot about his deals that is why he instructed the acting governor to sack Sama. The plan is that since it is the acting governor that sacked Sama the public suspicion about Dakingari’s involvement and the real reason for the sack will be diverted from the press”, he revealed. In reaction to the decision of INEC not to give the CPC time to source for another candidate, CPC’s National Publicity Secretary Rotimi Fashakin told this reporter last week that even if INEC claim Gari Malam has not informed them formally of his decision to defect to the PDP, the well publicized ceremony that welcomed Aliero and Malam to the PDP attended by President Jonathan and covered live in the NTA is enough for INEC to act if they really want to be in facial. Fashakin said it is clear to everybody including the INEC that Aliero and Gari Malam are no longer in the CPC and the fact that it is not the CPC that sacked them and that they left on their own makes it even more justifiable for INEC in the interest of justice to allow them present another candidate since when the judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court the then CPC candidate is still in the party. Fashakin also stressed that the electoral law is very clear that if a candidate dies INEC must extend time and allow the political party affected to present another candidate because it is an unforeseen circumstance. He said the departure of Gari Malam too is unforeseen and was not arranged by the CPC and that it is even to the disadvantage of the CPC but still because INEC under Professor Jega wants to favour the PDP, “it denied our party extension of time and to be able to present a new candidate. Even after presenting a new candidate naturally you will give him little time to campaign and reach out to people that matters in politics. We will not present any candidate since we were denied to do so by INEC but I believe we will explore the legal option. We have a good case”, Fashakin told this reporter in a telephone conversation. If the response of the CPC is anything to go by and considering the fact that the controversial re-run gubernatorial election has been held in favour of Dakingari then the new governor may still face another legal challenge that is if the CPC are able to organize itself and challenge what many legal experts believe will be a clear victory for the CPC and its hope of presenting a popular candidate to contest with Usman Nasamu Dakingari probably if granted in some months to come. To many, the likes of Aliero, Gari Malam, Hassan and Hussaini Kangiwa etc will go down in the history of Kebbi’s politics as politicians that received so much from the people and accumulated more than they desire in the process but offered misery, deception and hardship to their people. Now that the combination of what many described as highly unprincipled politicians has helped Dakingari back to power against all odds, keen observers of Dakingari’s typical politics and approach to governance believe that the likes of Aliero, Gari Malam, Hassan and Hussaini Kangiwa may have played the last political gamble in their political career that may yield misfortunes instead of fortunes in future for yhem. With additional report by Israel Ohia