Adamawa: Haunted by Ghosts of LG Polls

05 Feb 2013

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Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd)

Politics & Issues

Aftermath of the November 24, 2012 local governments polls in Adamawa State, the Peoples Democratic Party which won in all the 21 local government areas of the state is yet to get over the crisis that trailed the polls, writes Daji Sani

The current political situation in the Adamawa State is that of one party state as the outcome of the November 24, 2012 local government polls may have shown that other political parties are not strong in the state. And this, observers believe, holds great implications for the 2015 elections.
Although, the development is not peculiar to Adamawa State alone since the winner-takes-all disposition of politicians appears the in-thing; that the PDP won in spite of its internal crisis was what many have not been able to comprehend.

Stakeholders in that election were literally on the edge as chairman of Adamawa State Independence Electoral Commission (ADSIEC), Alhaji Ahmed Zalani, read out results of the exercise.

In his words, PDP won all the 21 chairmanship seats in the state and out of the 226 wards in the state, the PDP won 207 councillorship seats, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) won 13 seats and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), clinched six seats. Other political parties that participated in the exercise did not win any seat.

Zalani hinted that the rescheduled elections in some parts of the state had become imperative as results of the crises in the areas which had claimed a chairman of one of the political parties. He noted also that two of his ad hoc staff were severely injured and had since been hospitalized. He therefore appealed to politicians to shun violence and bear in mind that in any contest, a winner and loser must emerge at the end of the day.

But the National Conscience Party (NCP) and the CPC had immediately petitioned the Local Government Election Petition Tribunal. Secretary of the tribunal, Mr. Hashimu Suleiman told journalists that the Tribunal had received 38 petitions from some political parties that participated in LG polls.

According to Suleiman, NCP alone filed 12 petitions while the others were filed by the CPC. He said the petitions comprised of 23 for chairmanship seats and 15 for councillorship.

CPC chairman in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri, told journalists that the election was not free and fair and that the CPC would not accept the results, hence petition which he claimed was written on behalf of all the political parties and indigenes of the state.
The CPC, according to sources, is believed to have its stronghold in such areas as Mubi South LGA, Mubi North LGA  and Michika LGA but did not win elections in those area, thus suspecting foul play.

On the contrary, the Network of Civil Society Organization in Nigeria accredited to observe and monitor the exercise noted that the election took place as scheduled and that the conduct was relatively calm, peaceful, and transparent enough without interference or complains from any quarters.
Comrade Kalu Victor who was the spokesman of the Civil Society Organisation group told journalists in Yola, that ADSIEC was impartial in its conduct of the election.

“We observed that the turnout of voters was relatively low in some local government areas especially the rural areas, this was due to inadequate voter sensitisation and mobilisation for the election,” he noted. Victor said the monitoring team also observed that since the history of Nigeria including national elections, ADSIEC was careful and made available all election materials, both sensitive and non-sensitive to the polling units on good time.

Typically, the ACN which is the major opposition party has also rejected the results. Speaking through its publicity secretary, Mr. Yohanna Mathias, the party described the November 24 election council as nothing but a farce.
Mathias said judging from the shoddy way and manner in which the polls were conducted and the irregularities that transpired in the 21 local government areas of the state, no right thinking person would accept what happened, saying it was a negation of free, fair, transparent and credible election.

He said the crisis between the State and National Secretariat of the PDP as well as the court cases restraining ADSIEC from conducting the election left no one in doubts that the exercise would not hold. But the PDP in its characteristic manoeuvring posture, he said, suddenly resolved its irreconcilable contradictions and allowed the elections to hold.

Mathias blamed the state government for inadequate funding which led to shoddy preparations and alleged that old ballot papers of 2007 and 2011 were used to conduct the council election, a development that allegedly led to shortfalls of ballots papers in some polling units.
“There is nowhere in the world that elections are held with old ballot papers,” he said.

The ACN, he said, is not raising issues because it does not want to raise unnecessary dust but noted that the party was worried about the brazen perversion of  democratic tenets, adding that there are nowhere in the world that democratic rules are flouted with impunity without reaction.

The ACN spokesperson observed that some council areas that were known as the party’s strongholds  were won by the PDP, adding that council areas such as Lamurda LGA, Tongo LGA, Numan LGA, Michika LGA, Demsa LGA, and Ganye LGA were dominated by CAN and that there was no way PDP could have won in those areas.

But political observers in the state are of the notion that the brazen imposition of PDP on other political parties can explain the reason why politicians are jostling to join the party as well as the moves to wrestle the soul of the party from Governor Murtala Nyako ahead of 2015.

Lately, Nyako and the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, have been engaged in a running battle over the control of the structures in the state. This has further polarized the state into two factions of Chief Joel Madaki-led-executive backed by Tukur and the Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama-led executives which is favoured by Nyako.

The polity became heated up when the list of candidates for council chairmanship and councillorship of the PDP was sent to ADSIEC prior to the LG polls in the state.

Consequently, the national secretariat of the PDP accused the Kugama-led executive of insubordination and dissolved the exco while at the same time, inaugurated a caretaker committee for the state PDP headed by Ambassador Umar Damagun. The caretaker committee was
mandated to conduct congresses and handle affairs of the party in the state pending when a new exco comes onboard.

By implication, the Damagun-led executive brought back the Madaki-led executive backed by Tukur while a reinstatement order also empowered the Kugama-led faction which had since returned to reckoning.

Thus, for bystanders, this obvious polarisation had caused a deep seated animosity in the ranks of the PDP and across  all the 21 Local
Government Areas of the state with divided loyalty among the PDP members.

Already, there is the thinking in some quarters that the PDP crisis would give the opposition parties the leeway to wrest power from the PDP, especially with ongoing proposed merger between the ACN and CPC.

The controversial council polls may have come, the dust raised in consequence has not completely gone away. The fact, observers say
remains that the internal crises of the PDP indeed affected the outcome of the polls and which raised questions on why opposition parties couldn’t win a single chairmanship seat even in areas considered their strongholds.

But observers who had tried to proffer answers to the question argued that because of the popularity contest between the two political gladiators in the state, the Nyako faction had tried to either by hook or crook, maintain an edge by going ahead with the election and clearing the 21 councils, perhaps, to prove to Tukur that he is in control of the party’s structure in the state and can deliver Adamawa state to PDP come 2015.

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured, Adamawa, LG Polls

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