Saturday, 19 July 2014

THANK YOU CORRUPTION!


So after months of political drama, Governor..... ex-Governor...... Mr....... ermmmmm...... (don't know what to call him now)......Murtala Hammanjoda Nyako was finally impeached on the 15th of July, 2014. From the joyful jubilations of the people of Adamawa state, it couldn't have come earlier. The delay tactics, the executive begging, and the kissing up of the president's backside
could not keep the Governor in his seat. He thought to resign so his vice could take over but even the deputy was having non of that. The deputy, Barrister Bala Ngilari, resigned just before Mr. Nyako himself was impeached. In the end, Mr. Nyako got charged with 20 charges and was found guilty of 15 of them. Mr. Ngilari was absolved of any wrong doing, which means he can still come out for political office. The people won; Nyako lost! But before we condemn him to a life of penury (which is absolutely impossible), let us take a look at all he did wrong.


When driving into Adamawa, just before you get to Lamurde, you hit bad roads for miles and miles on end. Your insides will be rattled and jangled just because you chose to drive into/out of the state. In fact, there is a joke between motorists and passengers alike that as soon as you hit bad roads, you know you are in Adamawa state and when you meet good roads, you are in Gombe. One would think that these are Federal Government projects and nothing to do with the Governor but you need to come into the state capital itself to understand what is really going on. The state capital is Yola and there are some good roads but there is one glaringly impossible road and that is the Yolde Pate road. That road is so bad, cars probably groan after passing through there. Keke Napeps too! Rumour has it that the deposed Governor promised not to touch the road because that constituency didn't vote for him. Still in Yola, as soon as you leave the Lamido's palace, the road gets progressively worse all the way to Wuro Hausa. The road from Yola to Jimeta (another major suburb) is horrible too; though in all fairness, they started some work on the lane going from Jimeta to Yola about two months ago. Now, Jimeta is riddled with poor roads. The road from behind the Police Barracks to the Bekaji Juma'at mosque is just an eyesore and completely designed by potholes. The same can be said about the road from Bekaji mosque to Bank Road roundabout. The 'roads' from Bekaji mosque through Karewa Extension and Karewa-Masakare are not even fit to be called roads. The entire Masakare doesn't have any motorable road. Even the road to the Government House from A.T Housing unit is bad! Jambutu is also a place with bad roads. Of course there are some good roads. Bank Road is good......atleast to some extent, so are most of the roads in Shagari, Bishop Street, Hospital Road, around Jimeta Modern Market etc, but most of the roads in Adamawa are pretty poor. Also, you cannot believe that no streetlights in the entire Yola North and Yola South are working. Bank Road is only lit up by the banks on that road.

The bridge that connects Jimeta and Hayin Gada, Sangirei and other towns that way is lined with street lights that are not working! Sometime last year, the streetlights from the police quarters to the government house were all working.......for about a month. They eventually went the way of other streetlights. Adamawa is a town kissed very passionately by the sun on a daily basis. The energy from the sun can be used to run solar powered streetlights without so much recurrent expenditure. The streetlights are supposed to be charged by the sun and blaze all night. But no......the governor didn't think of that. It just wasn't his priority.


One thing that many would have thought would be the governor's priority were drainages; seeing that Adamawa -the entire state- is a flood risk zone. It is no surprise that Adamawa experienced a major flood two years ago. What is a surprise is that there are still not many drainage networks in most parts of town. 



What is bad in the state is that there are no jobs outside the Civil Service or any of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar's ventures. This is not the deposed governor's fault but he could have tried to bring in foreign investors who would have made use of the states natural resources to set up factories and industries, thus creating jobs. Adamawa produces enough rice, fish, groundnut and even fruits to turn the state into an investor's haven. Forget the alleged insecurity. Adamawa is peaceful enough for investors to bring in their big bucks. If the governor had tried to bring in investors, the state would have been flourishing right now, at the very least.

Atiku's companies are enjoying no competition, as many people will rather buy his water and drinks than many brands.......including even the really, really established brands. And since the brands in most cases, are just small time businesses, it is easy for him to be the chief player in the business world of Adamawa. An influx of investors would have meant equalling the competition and creating more job opportunities for the people of Adamawa state. The former Governor instead focused on ensuring his own mango farm got more investors, hence making him the largest Nigerian supplier of mangoes to Germany. There are many people who will quickly say that he had the farm before being the Governor. In fact he had a big farm since about 1993, but you cannot deny that his farm garnered more attention (and hence more business) when he became Governor; it is afterall a farm that is generating huge income by producing musk melons, mangoes, dates, passionfruit, banana, fish, boar goats to mention a few. Being the President of the Horticultural Crop Growers Association of Nigeria, the Practicing Farmers Association of Nigeria and the Apex Farmers Association of Nigeria and coupled with the fact that he had successfully incorporated new agricultural technologies into his farming techniques (to the tune of producing mangoes with dead seeds so he is the only supplier of the mango seed), if he had really asked foreign investors to come revamp the state's agricultural sector, they will have been lining up to do his bidding. But for the Governor (like most Nigerians), he was only concerned about personal advancement and growth rather than what would benefit the entire people of Adamawa. Why make such a sweeping statement? Simple! He is the sole owner of one of the largest dairy farms in the country, that is , Sebore (EPZ) Farms, and he also owns the largest Mango farm in the country, hence his nickname; Baba Mai Mangoro (Wikipedia). He was credited to have said that the mango section of his Sebore Farms had the capacity to generate N3.5 billion annually. This statement was uttered while he was addressing farmers at the Yola South Farming Skills Acquisition Centre on the 15th of August, 2010.  Just the mango farm brings in that much! That is good business for an individual. It could have been better business for Adamawa if the Governor had used his tenure well. 


Coming into the world of sports, Adamawa has only one sport stadium; emphasis on the word stadium and not complex. Even the stadium is not in the best of shapes. It is a bit dilapidated, most definitely nothing to write home about. Now sports is another way to generate income for the state. Many of the jobless youth would be better employed if they have sports facilities to expend their energy. If the stadium was rehabilitated, the incidence of drug abuse ( which is on the rise in Adamawa state) would have been better controlled. Other related crimes would have been curbed. This was one area where the governor failed to really put interest. 



All the above mentioned are not as bad as the Governor refusing to pay the salaries of the Batch 'D' teachers for about two years. That, more than anything else, was the final nail on his impeachment coffin. The educational sector of Adamawa state was already in the gutters. Students of all public schools in the state were a disgrace to the educational sector. More and more students couldn't read or write and they kept being promoted to higher classes until they wrote their final examinations that they were sure to fail. An educational system that was already that bad shouldn't have been neglected by the non-payment of teachers. The non-payment of teachers contributed to the lack of motivation shown by students of public schools in the state. And while we are still on this, Nyako was deducting money from the teachers salaries that he paid. Some would receive N25, 000 this month and N19, 000 next month. The salaries were fluctuating so much so that teachers didn't remember what their agreed salary structures were again. What was really surprising was that when teachers went to protest the non-payment of their salaries in front of the Government House on the 4th of March, 2014, many of them accused the Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmad Sajoh, of physically assaulting them and blatantly telling them that the government wouldn't pay them, to the tune of even taunting them by asking what they would do about it. When asked why they didn't take their story to the press so that people would know what really happened, they said the pressmen were there and that they could bet that the clip showing them been beaten would not be aired. They were right. 



Add that to the other allegations against the Governor-financial recklessness, use of public funds to sponsor fictitious visits, diversion of funds meant for flood victims, fraudulent amount of over N8 billion contract to a company linked to one of his wives, misappropriation of state internally generated revenue etc- and you know that Nyako got himself into a fix that only God could have saved him from. God chose the people. 




All of these does not mean that the state House of Assembly isn't as corrupt as the deposed Governor. Where did they get off following through on impeachment proceeding after they switched allegiance back to PDP? Why did they wait until they were in opposing parties to bring the Governor to book when it was clear that his gross misconduct and corruption was a thing that had been going for a long time? Does this mean that evil political holders will only be made to dance to the tune of justice when they are in opposing parties? While most of the offenses were committed when Nyako was a card carrying member of the PDP, no noise was made. Though, that is not entirely true. In February 2008, the Election Petition Appeal found Nyako guilty of all the 16 allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by the House. Tribunal upheld nullification of his election. Though he won the by-elections and resumed office on the 29th of April, 2008, it wasn't long before the House initiated moves to impeach him. This impeachment didn't happen only because the late President Umaru Yar'Adua stepped in. It is even said that the Governor had such cordial relationship with the State House of Assembly that in 2010, he was called the 'Messiah Governor' by the House. It was no surprise then that Nyako was re-elected. Between 2012 and now, something must have gone wrong with the ex-Governor and the Adamawa lawmakers. Did he divert the money alone? Was he no longer giving them what it was that made them friendly in the first place? What turned the relationship sour? These are the questions that Adamawa citizens  (and Nigerians) need answered.



As for all the conspiracy theorists, do you really think the man who had not been paid for two years cares whether the President had a hand in the impeachment? Do you think that the teachers whose salaries were cut care that the lawmakers only cared about their plight when the governor cross-carpetted? The truth is, no. They don't care! They are glad that they have been freed of a Governor they deemed regressive. And everyone saying the President has something to do with it should go look at the way the President has handled most issues since his ascension. He has shown such clueless behavior that it is quite impossible to see him as the mastermind of the impeachment. The PDP might have planned it but the President most definitely was not the mastermind. If the President was capable of that, the nation would have been rid of some of her many problems by now. Really impossible in fact! Bribery is just not enough of a hold on the legislators to have caused them to doggedly ensured that Nyako was impeached.  But this is what is annoying is that the opposition party is crying blue murder for a man who is guilty! If Nyako had not done any wrong and the house clamored together to have him out, that would have been a totally different issue. Here is a man who is corrupt and rather than be shamed that they accepted a man with no integrity into their party, they are crying out about him being removed for the self same corruption they have been accusing the PDP of. If they have been singing that the President is corrupt and should be removed, why do they want a corrupt Governor to remain just because he is in their party and the opposition party ratted him out? Is this stance not showing that the APC is no different from the PDP? One would have expected that if they planned to rid the country of corruption, they would  have expressed regret of having accepted a corrupt person like Nyako into their party, thereby painting them in the same brushstoke. But alas, that is not the case. In fact, the moment the APC started accepting PDP decampees (the very same ones they had labelled corrupt and evil to the nation) into their party fold, they effectively told Nigerians that they really didn't care about moving the nation forward. Oh! Buhari must be having trouble sleeping knowing that he has aligned himself with the same kind of people he had been trying to oust. Well....this is no surprise as the APC failed to distance herself from the infamous Nyako memo. It would have been a surprise if they distanced themselves from his corruption.



In the end, the next Governor of Adamawa needs to know that the eyes of the nation is now on the state. He can either make history by lifting Adamawa out of the gutters or he can continue in the foolishness of the past administration. It will do him good to bring more investors than just the former vice President. It will also do him well to harness the natural resources Adamawa is blessed with and use it to lure not just individual investors, but big multinational companies. Adamawa citizens will expect good roads, running water, proactive measures towards ensuring another flood doesn't cripple the state and generally, better living conditions. Adamawa state does not care whether it is APC or PDP that will wrought this change; all she wants is good governance so that her people can maximize her potentials. Who is going to pull Adamawa state from her current backwater-town status and turn her into a thriving, developed state? Adamawa citizens await.........




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