The ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have intensified their battle to control Adamawa State.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the PDP was working hard to force the state governor, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, to resign so that the ruling party could recapture the state.
The governor, it was further learnt, almost bowed to pressure from the PDP members in the state House of Assembly when the investigative panel set up by the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Ambrose Mammadi, began sitting in Yola early in the week.
It was learnt that the governor was ready to resign early this week.
It was, however, gathered that his party, APC, persuaded him not to resign, while the party leadership continued to lobby some of the lawmakers.
Sources said the APC thought that it was still premature for Nyako to resign while the leadership of the party was trying to frustrate the impeachment plot.
There were reports that the embattled governor would, on Tuesday, tender his resignation letter and pave way for his deputy, Mr. Bala Ngilari, to be sworn in as governor.
Nyako, who was reported to have left Abuja for Yola, the Adamawa State capital, to resign however made a surprise appearance at the National Council of State meeting on Tuesday.
His spokesman, Ahmed Sajo, was reported on Wednesday as saying that his boss was still considering resignation.
He had said, “The resignation is just an option. That is if the whole thing will lead to a crisis, there will be no option than to resign.”
But a member of the APC National Working Committee, who confided in one of our correspondents, said that the party was not in support of the governor’s plan to resign.
He said, “We are supporting the governor and we have been working to frustrate the impeachment plot. We cannot be discussing our strategies on the pages of newspapers.
“But we do not want him to resign. He has been told not to resign.”
Nyako had, in the letter, accused the President of committing genocide against the North in the name of Boko Haram. But the governor was said to have refused to apologise at the meeting.
While the APC leadership lobbied some lawmakers in Adamawa State, it was gathered that the PDP was also putting pressure on them not to back down from the impeachment plot.
Efforts to get reactions of the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, failed as he had yet to respond to the text message sent to his mobile telephone.
But Mohammed had on Wednesday accused “higher authorities” of instigating the impeachment.
Though the PDP, distanced itself from the issue, saying that it should not be dragged into the impeachment plot, the spokesman for PDP Stakeholders and Elders’ Forum, Dr. Umar Ardo, on Friday threatened to sanction any legislator on the party’s platform who backs out of the move to impeach Nyako and Ngilari.
Ardo said, “The impending impeachment of Nyako and his deputy is a PDP affair, we have got to a level where none of our 20 lawmakers who earlier signed the impeachment notice will be allowed to withdraw. Any PDP lawmaker that retraces his step ceases to be a member of PDP.”
Speaking through its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, on Thursday, the PDP said that it would be uncharitable for anyone to drag the national headquarters of the party into the crisis.
He said, “What is happening in Adamawa State is a local affair. Members of the state House of Assembly were elected by their people to represent them.
“Even Governor Murtala Nyako, who has since left the PDP, has told the whole world that he will ask for President Jonathan’s help if he needs it.
“I don’t know why you want to drag our party into an issue that is purely a local affair between a governor and his legislators.”
But a member of the House of Representatives from Adamawa State, Mr. Nwangubi Fons, said that only God could save Nyako from being impeached.
Incidentally, Fons, who represents Mayo-Belwa/Jada/Ganye Federal Constituency, is the governor’s representative.
Nyako hails from Mayo-Belwa Local Government Area of the state.
“Unless there is divine intervention, the governor is going, because members of the state House of Assembly are on the right path,” Fons told Saturday PUNCH in an interview in Abuja.
He said the Adamawa lawmakers had already gone far in their decision to impeach Nyako, whom he accused of running the state without consulting other stakeholders, particularly those who supported his election in 2007.
Asked what could have been the governor’s offence, Fons replied that Nyako did not feel that he should be accountable to the people of the state.
He said, “Nyako has failed to work based on the principle of budgeting.
“He overspends money and maintains only his family and friends in the system. He has abandoned those who worked for him and has no respect for anybody, including Mr. President.
“When he came into office, the first thing he did was to do away with the person, who single-handedly brought him to office, Prof. Jibrin Aminu.
“If the governor has been good, how come all the eight members of the House of Representatives from the state are in PDP?
“Hardly will anybody say that the governor is performing.
“If you are good as a governor, 19 members of the state House of Assembly will not sign to impeach you. It means that they have abandoned the governor.”
However, Nyako’s spokesperson, Sajo, faulted the lawmakers’ planned impeachment, adding that the people had rejected them.
He said, “Some of these members of the state and National Assembly brought rice and sugar to distribute to people, but the people rejected the gifts. This, you will agree with me, tells how the people have rejected them.
“The people rejected these gifts in spite of the untold hardship they are passing through even during this holy month of Ramadan.
“As a politician when this happens, you have to take a second look at yourself. Then somebody sits down in Abuja and tells you that the governor has lost people.
“Do you have an idea of how many people gathered when the governor inaugurated chairmen of our development areas on Thursday? The banquet hall could not contain the people, most of them sat outside.
“What the governor is interested in is to ensure that peace reigns in Adamawa State.”