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8 Mar 2019

More Predictions And Analysis Few Hours To Guber Elections

Twenty-nine people were okayed by the Independent National Electoral Commission to participate in the coming governorship election as candidates of their respective parties in Adamawa State, as indicated in a notice released by INEC earlier in January.

Of the 29, only five carried out varying levels of campaigns. The rest simply sat back, giving the impression that they either knew they would get to nowhere and would rather save the campaign money or they do not have the money in the first place.

Of the five who campaigned for votes, Abel Behora, the candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), made the least efforts. The reverend who started his governorship aspiration in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) but had problem finding accommodation there, and left to grab it readily at the ANN, started campaign late and did not continue with the intensity he would have required to cover sufficient grounds.
Conversely, his former fellow party man in the SDP, Emmanuel Bello, who remained in the SDP and eventually got elected unopposed as the governorship candidate, is easily the governorship candidate who conducted the most comprehensive campaign.

“Chief Emmanuel Bello was a colossus in the field of campaign. He had this knack for tearing through the state with such gusto that I admired. If campaign efforts solely win elections, he should win the Saturday election convincingly,” a Yola-based public affairs analyst,” Umaru Yusuf, told our correspondent on Thursday.

Senator representing Adamawa Central District in the National Assembly, Abdul-Aziz Nyako, is the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Unlike Emmanuel Bello of the SDP who did not rely on his limited visibility as a former House of Representatives member but created notable visibility through long and intensive campaign, Abdul-Aziz at first appeared as if he believed his being a serving senator and son of a popular former governor of the state, Murtala Nyako, would be enough to sell his candidacy.

Abdul-Aziz later commenced a state-wide campaign, however, and demonstrated a peculiar feeling for remote populations, as his long convoy drove into hinterlands to meet with people in such out-of-the-way villages that his peers avoided.

Of the three mentioned thus far: Abel Behora, Emmanuel Bello and Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Abdul-Aziz Nyako would appear to have the brightest chances; not on the strength of field campaign alone but on other factors. Abdul-Aziz has a name, Murtala Nyako, his father and former governor, that speaks for him

Murtala Nyako who ran a popular two-term government, is still hugely popular among the masses and he had prefaced his son’s campaign by what he described as a Thank-You tour of the state to express his gratitude to the people for the support they extended to him while he was governor between 2007 and 2014.

It is believed that his father’s fame, more than anything else, would carry him far but not so far, because the question of who becomes the Adamawa State governor after the March 9 election is believed to be between the incumbent governor, Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Umaru Fintiri of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The slim victory by the PDP during the Presidential and National Assembly polls in the state has encouraged the party to expect much on Saturday.

Also since the February 23 election, candidates of 10 political parties have expressed support for the election of its candidate, Umaru Fintiri. They first expressed that resolve on March 4, and on March 6 they renewed that resolve and demanded a credible election which they said would guarantee Fintiri’s success.

One of the 10 candidates, Lami Musa of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) had said she took the decision to support Fintiri because Fintiri had reached out to her personally over the matter and his integrity was proven in the past during his tenure as an acting governor of the state.

Fintiri was adjudged to have done well when he was acting governor in 2014 following the impeachment of then governor, Murtala Nyako. Although Fintiri who was the speaker of the state House of Assembly, acted as governor for less than three months (July 15 to Oct 1, 2014), he won the hearts of many and became known as ATM after he paid off salaries owed workers before him, fulfilled other financial obligations and carried out notable capital projects.

It is unclear how the factor of PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will work for Fintiri. Atiku has urged votes for PDP candidates across board, but he has not been known to give Fintiri the sort of support that the Fintiri camp expected from him.

A source close to both Atiku and Fintiri who spoke on the matter in confidence, said, “Atiku has not been forthcoming with funds that Fintiri expected. Fintiri’s problem now is lack of funds. His finances are drying up. He expected much from Atiku but he is not getting it.”

The source said that Atiku is indeed wary of Fintiri and would prefer Governor Bindow retaining his seat than Fintiri becoming governor. “The relationship between Atiku and Bindow is very cordial and strong. In fact, Atiku trusts Bindow more than Fintiri. Bindow respects Atiku a lot and has always been careful not to offend Atiku despite being in opposing political camps,” the source said.

Atiku can be said to be an exception to the friends that Bindow has been able to keep, however. Bindow is said to be known for turning his back on old friends and benefactors. Ex-governor Murtala Nyako is mentioned as a classical example of a benefactor that Bindow distanced himself from upon becoming governor in 2015.

A veteran journalist recalls the story in these words: “Murtala Nyako staked his fame and resources to put Bindow in power. He played the most significant role in making Bindow governor but Bindow promptly shut his door against Nyako, so much so that Bindow did not pick his phone when Nyako called to congratulate him on being announced governor. Bindow has kept Nyako from himself since then.”

That may explain why Murtala Nyako has remained in the APC, perceivably to please President Muhammadu Buhari and othera party leaders, but has been campaigning for his son, Abdul-Aziz of the ADC.

Other notable APC members in the state who are not supporting Bindow’s reelection bid, include former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Lawal Babachir, as well as Bindow’s opponents in the October APC governorship primary: Nuhu Ribadu and Ahmed Halilu (Modi).

Although current SGF, Boss Mustapha, spoke enthusiastically last week about working to resolve Bindow’s conflict with these people, the reconciliation is unlikely to have achieved much dividends as similar past efforts failed badly.

Bindow’s chances will, however, be boosted by his acclaimed performance since becoming governor in 2015. He is credited with having done good roads in the state capital, Yola, and in other principal towns across the state. He has not done badly with payment of salaries to workers either.

Yet, it is difficult, as things stood by Friday morning, to predict who becomes Adamawa State next governor. But the fight is between the big two: incumbent Governor Bindow of the APC, and the PDP candidate, Fintiri.

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