Tukur’s Imposition of Cousin Started PDP Crisis — Murtala Nyako
Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, spoke with some journalists on his defection from the PDP, the state of emergency and other issues.
Some people are saying you committed political blunder by moving to APC. Do you agree?
If I like it (or not), my running for political office is over. Am I going to contest as governor again? Did anyone tell you I want to be a senator? I told David Mark, in front of President Goodluck Jonathan that God forbid me seeking to be a senator. I am not participating in this game.
Secondly, they started saying I wanted my son to contest as governor. I had to come out and tell them, I promise you on my word of honour, I am not supporting my son for governor in 2015, he is not contesting. Neither is my wife.
Political parties must continually evolve. In those days you could get away — and some of them in the past got away with this level of impunity — and nobody challenged them. Democratic culture must be developed from top to bottom and people down below should have a right to select their unit leadership and their ward leadership.
The practice of rigging election or anybody coming out to say I am putting this person at the local government or House of Assembly, has to stop.
What was the genesis of the crisis in the PDP in Adawama, which led to your defection?
We had a bye-election here, we finished the primary on a Saturday and on Monday morning, the Chairman, sitting down in Abuja, sends the name of his distant cousin on his mother’s side, who never contested in the election primaries as the candidate for that election and Independent National Electoral Commission, which witnessed the primaries and the party headquarters, which witnessed the primaries, didn’t shout to say ‘no, we did not witness this man as the winner.’
The PDP hierarchy is corrupting our security and judicial institutions by the day. They can corrupt INEC, they can corrupt the Nigerian Police; otherwise, how can you explain a situation where governors were meeting, one DPO was sent by his boss to come and tell them to disperse.
You say you wanted us to sit down and reconcile with you, we sat down to discuss what action to take: whether to reconcile or not to reconcile with you and you sent a DPO to us.
This level of anarchy is it not worse than ‘I, brigadier so and so; on behalf of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic, all you bastards are gone now!” We cannot wait for that, the people must see we are self-correcting ourselves. Self-correcting the political system, we will not accept this level of impunity. It’s not just Adamawa. I have craw-craw on my foot for fighting in Bonny during the civil war, it has not gone yet, I was commanding officer of NNN Akpe. There was fire dropping all over me, all over my ship! You want me and my children to go through that hell of fire again?
Was there an agreement between President Jonathan and northern governors for him to serve for only one term?
In the first place, when that agreement was brought for me to sign, I told them that in the agreement signed in 2003, this President was number 73 (Obasanjo was there). We agreed that the terms 2007 and 2011 belonged to the North. He was number 73 at that time; he was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa. So, when they came, they said I should sign. They said he had agreed he would sign that he would not contest in the year 2015. In the first place, I said I did not believe him because he did not give his pledge for the agreement signed in the year 2003, they said ‘ah, ah Baba Maimangoro,’ I said ok, I will sign. So I signed.
Who brought the agreement?
The Niger State governor was there, the Katsina State governor was there, all of them, northern governors, were there. They were there trying to get our support for Jonathan. The Niger State governor took it to him and he signed. Obj (Obasanjo) will tell you, he came here and sitting here pleading with me to support Jonathan in 2011. Jonathan came here and virtually took an oath to serve only one term.
Did Obasanjo come with Jonathan?
Absolutely! That he was going to serve for only one term. So, when he went back to Obasanjo to seek for his support for 2015, Obj asked him, ‘How? You came here, you promised me in the year 2011 and I went country-wide to get you support.’ I told all of them, Obasanjo told us that he had promised that it was only one term that he was going to do.
Who has that agreement now?
The Niger State governor has the agreement. We want to deal with people with honour. Not people who want to drag us into civil war because of impunity, because of lawlessness, because of not fulfilling their pledges that will only take us to civil war in this country. Leaders must be honest with their colleagues and must be honest with the greater society. I have my craw-craw from the first civil war, and if there is the need to develop another craw-craw in another civil war, I will stand by.
You feel so strongly about the declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa State… (cuts in)
Since this Boko Haram thing started, we have not seen a single Adamawa man caught as a member; go and check the books. Then suddenly, you slammed a state of emergency on us. There are some totally innocent people, who sell food at night; you tell them go back to go home by six o’clock in the evening; there is curfew from 6 o’clock to 6 o’clock. How will they earn a living? Their own job is to cook food and to sell it between 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the night.
This has adversely affected the economy of the ordinary man but the evil few in Abuja don’t care about it. All this hardship they are bringing to our people, they did not even calculate it. There is no need for it. I, as a former military man, wrote the present President three years ago, to say this Task Force you are doing, this is my observation. Like Obj (Obasanjo) said, not even an acknowledgment.
We, as governors, sat down and assessed the security situation, we advised, they said I and a few others should go and see the President to tell him about this security situation. He didn’t even bother to give us audience till today. I was a naval officer, I was the one that established the security branch of the Nigerian Navy, I have been the longest-serving chief of policy and plans of the Nigerian Navy; at least, I know about security. He didn’t even bother to hear anybody.