By ROGERS EDOR OCHELA
”The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress”—Ngugi Wa Thiongo.
Nasarawa State congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which held on Saturday March, 17th, 2012 at Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa may have come and gone, but its thunderous outcome is still reverberating across the length and breadth of the state. One of the major fallouts of the eagerly-awaited congress was the political humiliation nay demystification of the two-time governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a man who hitherto has been strutting the state’s political landscape like a peacock deluding himself as the invincible political leader of the state.
The humiliation has all the trappings of a tornado, as after the exercise, all Adamu’s cronies who vied for various political positions in the leadership structure of the party were forced to eat the humble pie by acolytes of the immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma. It was really interesting watching the sudden crash from the Olympian height of a man who touted himself as the best thing that has happened to Nasarawa state. It was akin to de-robing of a masquerade in a market square.
The congress offered the members of PDP a wonderful window of opportunity to winnow the chaff (boys) from the grain (men). After the transparently contested election presided over by Col. Aminu Isa Kontagora with observers from Independent National Electoral Commission and other groups, the following officials emerged triumphant: Chief Yunana Iliya (Chairman); Aminu Nagogo (deputy chairman); Adamu Oyanki (Secretary); Sabo Weibe (Organising Secretary); Mark Neto (PRO); Usman Ibrahim (Financial Secretary); Bunu Yahaya (Auditor); Bala Abel (Treasurer); Agwai Barde (Youth leader) and Shittu Bala (assistant financial secretary.
Others are: Abdulahi Gwamna (zonal chairman, North); Suleiman Mohammed (assistant secretary, west); Ogiri Jacob (assistant organising secretary, North); Dantatu Mohammed (assistant organising secretary, west); Sidi Ndagi (assistant secretary, south) and Makka Adams (assistant organising secretary, north).
Prior to the congress, the renegade faction of the party led by Adamu tried all the tricks within its arsenal to either sack the exco led Chief Yunana Iliya or to hijack the party structure through the backdoor to no avail. One of their strategies was a petition, which was not only sent to the PDP Headquarters in Abuja, but also published as an advertorial in an Abuja-based national daily.
It would be recalled that Yunana, a former secretary of the party in the state emerged as its chairman four years ago after Yusuf Ayitogo, the present Vice-chairman North-central of the party had served two terms. Reliable sources averred that Adamu’s grouse with the Iliya-led executive of the party is premised on the belief that they were unduly loyal to Doma, a development he (Adamu) found totally irksome and objectionable.
Sources also alleged that Adamu was having sleepless nights that the PDP-dominated state assembly was giving his new found political godson, Tanko Al-Makura splitting migraine in the governance of the state. The pertinent question begging for answer is: what is really the cause of the festering feud between Adamu and his successor and a fellow party member, Doma and the entire party?
Offering an insight into why Adamu and his acolytes were desperate to sack him by all means, Chief Iliya in an interactive session with newsmen early this year said: ”the grievance of this group of people is because the former governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Akwe Doma removed them from their positions as commissioners. That was the beginning of the problem, because they felt they were the only qualified candidates of the party and not others, and also they have forgotten that they were political appointees who can be removed at anytime. That is why they hijacked the governorship election; even when we gave them everything necessary to ensure that the party wins the election, unfortunately, they went and did another thing entirely”.
From all intents and purposes, the road to victory for Doma’s faction of the party at the recent congress was not paved with gold, but with several landmines carefully planted by the renegade faction of the party ranging from physical harassment and intimidation; vandalization of the party secretariat and Iliya’s vehicle to threats of elimination from hired assassins etc. When all these arm-twisting tactics failed to yield the desired dividend, they resorted to the court where they obtained a ‘black market injunction’ restraining the party from going ahead with the congress. For the umpteenth time, they met a brick wall as the party went ahead to conduct a transparent and highly successful congress.
Adamu’s litany of woes stretched all the way from Nasarawa to Makurdi, capital of Benue State where his attempt to impose his stooge, Capt. Ibrahim Abdullahi as Zonal Auditor was roundly rejected. He was booed and heckled like a persona non grata. At the end, Abubakar Shamsudeen Maikasuwa emerged as the preferred candidate.
Right from the onset, a high preponderance of political analysts in the state and even fellow party members were of the opinion that Chief Iliya was the candidate to beat in spite of the shenanigans of his opponents. Their submissions were based on the fact that Iliya has progressive ideas in addition to representing generational change that the people so much cherish. They people were not prepared to trade off a winning team for anything else in the world.
Also, younger elements within the party in the state relate better with a dynamic chairman like Iliya who can connect with them and understand their needs and aspirations. The record of his performance in the last four years speaks volumes about his capability to transform the party. He is a utility chairman with formidable reach and influence within the larger PDP family.
For long, the media and a rampaging band of bootlicking sycophants have created a larger-than-life image of Adamu in the minds of unsuspecting people of the state. They have passed off the ex-governor’s doings as a proof of capacity for growth, and his tentativeness as evidence of forethought, lauded his hare-brained schemes as strokes of genius, and generally made him come across as the best thing that has happened to Nasarawa State since it was created thirteen years ago. The myth of invincibility woven around him by his ubiquitous sycophants has unfortunately been shattered at the just-concluded congress.
Those close to him aver that Adamu has a mortal fear for a free and fair election. Little wonder, he tried in vain to hijack the leadership structure of the party in the state through the backdoor. It has equally been discovered that the ex-governor thrives best in a climate of ‘wuru-wuru’ and ‘mago-mago’. He lives in constant fear of demystification. The air of bravado he seems to be exuding is directly linked to the fact that with the monetisation of Nigerian politics and with a huge financial war-chest, he thinks he can bamboozle the people of Nasarawa state and waltz his way to holding PDP in his grip in perpetuity.
With the resounding victory recorded by the Akwe Doma faction of PDP in the just-concluded congress, does anyone need the services of a soothsayer to know, who between Doma and Adamu is the undisputed leader of the party in Nasarawa State? In spite of all the media vilifications of Doma, orchestrated by reactionary forces, the immediate past governor of the state has remained accommodating of all dissenting voices and unshaken in his role as the quintessential leader of the party in the state. Now that Adamu has bitten more than he can chew, his recent misadventure occasioned by vaulting ambition has cast a pall of uncertainty on his political future. How sad!
Ochela is an Abuja-based media consultant and public affairs analyst