Adamawa Guber: Bamanga Tukur’s Son Withdraws for Ribadu
The race for governor of Adamawa State has taken a fresh dimension as one of the contenders and son of former national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Auwal, has secretly withdrawn from the contest.
But the withdrawal deal, coming on the heels of an understanding brokered by the trio of the principal private secretary to the president, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, the former national chairman of PDP and his brother, Dr Mahmoud Tukur, is to enhance the chances of the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, for the state’s No. 1 job.
The presidential aide and the former anti-corruption czar have a long-standing relation with each other — there were classmates — even as the latter has assured Ribadu he would ensure he got an automatic waiver to cross the hurdle of the PDP’s requirement of two years’ membership of the party.
Besides Auwal Tukur, other aspirants for the governorship seat include former political aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak; Marcus Gundiri, Senator Abubakar Girei, and Ahmed Modibbo.
It was also gathered that the acting governor, Ahmed Umaru Fintiri, is interested in the position.
The decision by Tukur’s son to back down for Ribadu was instigated by a meeting between the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, and some PDP stakeholders from Adamawa.
At the parley, Anenih who was perceived to be speaking the mind of the president told the state party leaders that any aspirant was open for the contest except aspirants suspected to be backed by former PDP chairman Tukur and former minister of petroleum, Professor Jubril Aminu.
While former health minister Dr Idi Hong is regarded as a political son of Professor Aminu, Auwalu is Bamanga Tukur’s son.
It was gathered that, in a bid to not lose steam in the governorship contest, a meeting was held in Kaduna by Tukur, principal secretary to the president Hassan Tukur and Dr Mahmoud Tukur, brother to the former PDP national chairman.
It was learnt that the decision to root for Ribadu was to block other party bigwigs like Gundiri and Senator Girei and Modibbo who are from the same Adamawa Central senatorial district of the state like the younger Tukur. It is believed that the push for Adamawa Central to produce the next governor of the state could favour Ribadu who is also from the central.
It was learnt that Auwal, who was also at the meeting, was persuaded to make his political structures within the PDP available for Ribadu upon his eventual defection. Auwal is propped to be either Ribadu’s chief of staff or secretary to the state government.
Following the resolution reached at the Kaduna meeting, it was gathered that Hassan Tukur facilitated a meeting between President Jonathan and Ribadu but while the president was not averse to the coming of the former police top shot to PDP, he insisted that there would be a level-playing field for all aspirants. The president was, however, said to have agreed that Ribadu be given a waiver if he crossed over to the PDP.
However, there is intense pressure by some contenders in Adamawa PDP against the entry of Ribadu into the party as they fear that the process of his entrance into the party would threaten their chances.
It was gathered that their grouse is on moral grounds as, according to them, it is wrong for the presidency and the PDP to ask him to join the party and run for the top office under the party’s platform.
“It is going to be very unfair and unjust for the leadership of the PDP and even those at the Presidency to undertake this kind of huge joke; I call it ‘huge joke’ because it is unthinkable that someone like Ribadu who denigrated our party on a higher scale would be given that kind of treatment to the disadvantage of others, if it is true,” one of the aspirants said.
Ribadu neither denied nor confirmed the story. His media aide, Abdulaziz Fagge, referred leadership to Auwal for comments.
“I am not privy to that and the person who is said to have stepped down should be the one to confirm or deny it. You should also know that Nuhu Ribadu is still a member of the APC. “But if it happens that some people are urging others to step down for him, it shows Ribadu’s acceptability among the people,” he said in a text message over the matter.