BEFORE MURTALA NYAKO IS IMPEACHED
Let me start by concluding that it is a question of time before Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, is impeached by the State House of Assembly. It is an impeachment that has long been speculated and when last Wednesday, June 18, the legislators moved decisively against him, it came as no surprise to many who have watched the shenanigans that pass for governance in that state.
The breakdown of governance in Adamawa has been no less amazing than the controversies surrounding the governor himself. In a state ravaged by poverty and the debilitating activities of insurgents, Nyako - rather than seek solutions to the problems - gallivant across the country along with other All Progressives Congress (APC) colleagues in the name of progressivism and revel in unnecessary distractive political activities. He has become notorious for making incendiary pronouncements that have on many instances put the nation on edge.
The governor and his deputy, Bala Ngilari, were last Wednesday served notices of impeachment by the House which alleges that they indulged in gross misconduct, corrupt enrichment, official malfeasance and nepotism. Nineteen out of the 25 members of the Assembly signed the notice following a motion moved by the deputy speaker, Mr. Kwamoti Laori, who represents Numan Constituency.
The notice did not come as a surprise many considering the manner in which Nyako has conducted himself in office. Stories are told of humongous amounts being siphoned from public coffers to finance the many political battlefronts the old man is opening as well as a lifestyle that is increasingly lavish.
Few of the allegations contained in the 20 charges of financial misconduct may suffice here. The governor was alleged to have fraudulently awarded an N8 billion contract through SNECOU Group of Companies Limited, a company linked to one of the governor's wives. The project was never executed but the money has since been paid and siphoned out. On another occasion, a company, Hydro Source Resources Limited, was alleged to have been mobilized to the tune of N300 million for the construction of the Mubi bye-pass road which was never executed.
Nyako, whose wife Halima is the Chairman of the state's Action Committee on AIDS, is alleged to have violated his oath of office by fixing a large number of his family members and friends in government appointments. The state MDGs' office, for instance, which allegedly squandered about a billion Naira in 2013 alone, is mainly peopled by the governor's cronies and close relations. When you add the alleged diversion of huge amounts of the State's internally generated revenue, local government funds and the N500 million Federal Government Intervention fund for the 2011 flood victims, for personal use, the picture of the financial rape of the state becomes even clearer. Yet, analysts say the allegations are just a tip of a big iceberg.
The level of misappropriation and diversion of billions of Naira are significant, no doubt, and many believe Ngilari is just guilty by association and will finally be extricated from the allegation. That leaves Nyako squarely in the box. Beyond those, however, what has raised concerns within Adamawa state and across Nigeria are the reports consistently linking Nyako to the rising security challenges in the North East, and which he has never really bothered to explain. Rather with each passing day, the spate of incendiary statements from him has been rising to deafening decibels. One has not forgotten his claim that he had distributed kola-nuts to his Fulani kinsmen to reject the PDP and move to the APC….
Though certain Northern leaders have in the past vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Jonathan, the dimension of Nyako's opposition to the Federal administration goes beyond the ordinary. It remains an unproven allegation but Nyako's links with the ongoing jihad by so-called Fulani herdsmen raise concerns within security circles especially after hundreds of imported Fulani 'herdsmen' were linked to him. They were imported, according to reports, ostensibly to work in his vast multi-purpose Sebore Farms.
A border state, Adamawa, has been used as a launch pad for both the Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani mercenaries to attack and destabilize Nigerian towns. Media reports say no fewer than five hundred Fulani mercenaries mostly from the neighbouring countries of Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Libya were imported into the state and are camped at the border village of Typsen in Toungo Local Government Area of the State.
Early this year, Governor Nyako had caused uproar in the country by accusing the federal government of 'full-fledged genocide' against Northern Nigeria. In a memo to mobilize Northern governors, he suggested that Boko Haram is a tool in the hands of President Jonathan, a Southerner to destabilize the North, using the declaration of State of Emergency and the deployment of the Armed Forces. His efforts to incite the Northerners against their Southern kith and kin may have failed, but it further exposed Nyako as a tribalist, a religious bigot and a selfish ruler who is primordially sentimental.
His actions have not only drawn widespread condemnation from all over the country, cutting across religious and political affiliations, it has brought him odium from even among his Northern colleagues. It comes as little surprise that he also lost a lot of ground at home leading to the ongoing impeachment. For a man who ascended the governorship with high hopes, Nyako has squandered all the goodwill along with his state's lean resources. A good riddance to bad rubbish, he will ultimately end his political career in ignominy, and we hope it will be an opportunity to return the state to sanity.
Written By Abba Adakole