Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Daji Sani write that Emmanuel Bello, a governorship aspirant in Adamawa State has recovered from a temporary setback to resume an earnest pursuit of his goal.
In a short time, Chief Emmanuel Bello has attained many targets that he set for himself in his home state, Adamawa. Having climbed the rungs of public office so fast, his eyes are set on the highest office in the state.
At first, the assumption was that he rode on the back of General Halidu Hannaniya, the influential former boss of the Federal Road Safety Commission who is one of the kingmakers in the politics of Adamawa State. There was some merit in this supposition owing to the fact that he had no experience in public service at the time he entered the fray. From nowhere, Bello became the man to beat in Gombi/Hong, a political constituency considered a hot spot, with diverse political interest. The area had the likes of the former Minister of State for foreign Affairs, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong. This, however, did not stop Bello’s quick trajectory.
In fairness to him, Bello had an enviable educational background and exposure, having travelled far and wide, crowning it with a stint in the media. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, he became a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). To his credit, many remember his years as a federal legislature in glowing terms. Given the fact that he was a fresher, majority of his constituents gave him a pass mark for representing them well.
Apparently, some political bigwigs were not comfortable with his rising profile. He was too independent-minded to be any one’s errand boy. This autonomous disposition cost Bello the chance of returning to the House of Representatives. The choices became so narrowed that he could not contest the election on the platform of the PDP for a second term due to strong opposition, impunity and lack of internal democracy in the PDP. He was forced to leave the PDP to the APC to contest the governorship election in Adamawa state in 2014.
Bello struggled against the incumbent governor for the governorship ticket of the APC in 2014, but was defeated. He linked his defeat to impunity, favouritism and misconduct in the APC.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections and knowing that the stalwarts that ensured his defeat in 2014 are still running the affairs of the party, Bello resigned from APC last March and moved with his teeming supporters across the state to pitch his tent with the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in order to achieve his governorship ambition in the forth coming election.
Boasting of thousands of supporters across the 21 local government areas of the state, Bello’s defection is no doubt a major set back to the APC. He told journalists in Yola, at a recent SDP rally that he exited the APC because the ideals of the party were bastardised by some dominant forces.
But it seems like controversy follows Bello like a shadow. Already, his presence in the SDP has shaken the party to its very roots. No sooner he arrived the SDP than he was slammed with a suspension over alleged attempt to muzzle other party aspirants. It was reported that while the text of Bello’s suspension was being read at the party’s secretariat, thugs allegedly loyal to Bello attacked Ibrahim Bebetu and Dr. John Njiling, the State SDP Chairman and his Secretary respectively. The party executives accused Bello of unauthorized membership drive through fake party membership register and membership cards which he printed and distributed at wards and local government levels without the party’s consent at the state.
A former member of the House of Representatives, representing Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, Bello has boldly announced his entry into the governorship race against the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow.
In Adamawa State and beyond, Bello is popular for creating jobs, encouraging skills acquisition and entrepreneurship. This strategy remains his tested and successful solution to insecurity and the humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen attacks bedeviling the state. His people-oriented projects in his constituency include renovation of hospitals, building of clinics, empowerment projects through skills acquisition programs for women and youths and rebuilding of dilapidated primary schools in his constituency before the advent of the Boko Haram insurgency.
His supporters at the rally commended Bello’s response to humanitarian crisis in his constituency which was under the control of the Boko Haram insurgency and his recent visit to villages attacked by the herdsmen to donate relief materials.
Narrating his experience in the APC, Bello concluded that he had no choice than to seek his political fortune elsewhere as the APC in Adamawa State had become characterised by confusion, lack of cohesion, impunity and misconduct. He said his hope to to better the lot of the people in the state was truncated by impunity in the APC,
adding that he envisaged then that moving from the PDP on whose platform he was elected as a member of the National Assembly to the APC would help him.
“I was a member of APC. We mobilised for the good people of the state. Our effort is still being talked about as a watershed mass mobilisation of the people of the state by a political movement, but it was unfortunately thwarted by some dominant forces in the state. I have decided to move out of confusion in the APC with my one hundred thousand supporters across the 21 local government areas of the state to graciously join the Social Democratic Party to actualize my desire for our people.”
Bello has registered with the SDP at his ward in Garkida, Gombi local government area of the state. He said “My decision was informed after due consultation with my supporters and my political associates across the state. We agreed to move to SDP because the party’s manifesto represents our philosophy, ideals and our fundamental political position. I am satisfied with the manifesto of the SDP. It is a blueprint l will like to implement in Adamawa state and by extension by an SDP President for Nigeria in general.”
According to the National Youth Leader of the SDP, Iliyasu Mohammed Maina the coming of Bello and his supporters to join the SDP has rejuvenated the party in the state.